Archive by Author | Fairfax County Emergency Information

America’s PrepareAthon Day Wraps Up National Preparedness Month

Posted at 3:40 p.m.

Today, Sept. 30, is America’s PrepareAthon Day. It’s also the last day of the month, bringing to a close National Preparedness Month.

Each week in September our emergency management office has shared a video emphasizing several ways for you to become better prepared — how to make an emergency plan, how to make an emergency supply kit and how to stay informed.

Today’s video is about how you can get involved and help prepare your community be ready for and respond to any type of emergency.

You can join a program like Citizen Corps, but you can also get involved by simply making a commitment to check in on others, especially the elderly and vulnerable in your community, before, during or after an emergency event.

Learn more about emergency preparedness at and how to get involved at

Video: Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain

Posted at 7:40 a.m.

The morning commute is always interesting here in Northern Virginia — but add rain and things can get complicated.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has some good guidance for safe driving in the rain, like keeping extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Also, turn on your lights anytime it’s raining. Check out the video for more tips.

And most importantly, remember to turn around, don’t drown if you encounter high water or standing water on area roadways.

It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water.

It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.

It’s a Rainy Commute

Posted at 6:50 a.m.

keep calm and slow downOvernight rain continues this morning, making for a messy commute. The National Weather Service has also issued a flood warning until 10:45 a.m.

If you’re on the road this morning, please take a few extra minutes and drive with caution. Roads are wet — so slow down.

Before 5 a.m. this morning, law enforcement reported several roads affected by water. Here’s what we know about right now:

  • Chantilly: Multiple vehicle accident is blocking Route 28 northbound prior to Willard Road.
  • Fairfax Station: Burke Lake Road is closed at Jeremiah Court due to flooding.

If you encounter closed roads or roads affected by high water, do not attempt to drive through. Turn around and find an alternate route. And if possible, report any road issues to our non-emergency telephone number, 703-691-2131.

Today’s forecast calls for rain showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 8 a.m. Get more details on the weather forecast online, and be sure to sign up for Fairfax Alerts for severe weather alerts.


Flash Flood Watch Issued; Heavy Rain Possible

Posted at 4:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flash flood watch in effect from 6 p.m. this evening, Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Friday morning, Sept. 30.

A powerful low pressure system over the midwest will bring periods of heavy rain to our area tonight through Thursday night. NWS reports that widespread rainfall is expected with localized spots potentially getting up to a foot of rain. NWS notes that we should expect rain beginning this afternoon and continuing through Friday afternoon; heaviest amounts are expected to occur between midnight tonight and Thursday.

Precautions and Actions

These next few days will require more than the usual awareness, planning and preparations.

  • If you are near streams or drainage ditches, keep an eye on them and be ready to quickly seek higher ground. Water may rise rapidly.
  • Clear out storm drains and gutters to ensure that they are not clogged.
  • Those prone to basement flooding should prepare. Move items off basement floors and consider moving valuables to an upper level of your home.
  • Communities prone to flooding should prepare. Move vehicles to higher elevations. Don’t park in restricted areas and try to avoid parking under trees when possible.
  • Be prepared to take action if a warning is issued for where you are or if flooding is observed.

Continue to check in on the forecast for updates. Warnings will be issued for areas where flooding is imminent. Ensure that you get warnings from the National Weather Service through your mobile phone and or NOAA weather radio. Sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

With all high-intensity rainfall, street flooding is possible. If there is any possibility of a flash flood:

    • Move immediately to higher ground.
    • Do not wait for instructions to move.
    • Be aware of streams, drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly.
    • Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

Turn Around Don't Drown

And please remember to keep children away from creeks and their potentially rapidly rising waters.

In addition, remember if you experience water on roads, Turn Around. Don’t Drown. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. And it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.


Blocked stormdrains prevent the flow of rain from reaching streams and stormwater detention ponds. The water then backs up into streets and yards and may flood basements. Blocked stormdrains also may damage residential and commercial property and cause traffic delays.

Keep the openings of storm drains clear of debris to help alleviate potential flooding and to protect the environment. At no time should you attempt to enter a storm drain to remove debris.

Property owners are responsible for driveway culverts and bridges that are part of the driveway structure and are not public storm drainage system structures. Storm drains outside rights-of-way and easements are privately maintained by the property owner.

To report a blocked storm drain, call Fairfax County Stormwater Management, 703-877-2800, TTY 711, or the Virginia Department of Transportation at 703-383-8368, TTY 711.

Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System

Posted at 9:30 a.m.

Emergency Alert System (EAS) LogoThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) this afternoon, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

The purpose of the test is to ensure that EAS remains an effective means of public warning about emergencies and was designed to assess the President’s ability to send a message to the American people within 10 minutes of a disaster.

Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.

FEMA’s test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages. Specific language will differ slightly for the national test.

“This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.” (emphasis added.)

The test message will be transmitted in both English and Spanish, with EAS participants deciding which version to use for their communities. The test is intended to last approximately one minute and is expected to have limited impact with only minor disruptions of radio and television programs. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) will not be part of the test.

How EAS Works

The Emergency Alert System is a resilient form of emergency alert notification. Emergency alerts are created by authorized government agencies and sent to local radio and video service providers by local connections or through a central system administered by FEMA. The radio and video service providers then disseminate the emergency alert messages to affected communities. The FCC prescribes technical and procedural rules for communications providers’ participation in this process.