Archive by Author | Fairfax County Emergency Information

County to Host Emergency Exercise on Tuesday, Sept. 19

Posted at 1 p.m.

operation thunderbolt strikes emergency exercise

Fairfax County will hold an emergency exercise, Operation Thunderbolt Strikes, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in two locations — Tysons Corner Center, 1961 Chain Bridge Rd, Tysons and the county’s Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.

Residents and visitors may notice an increased presence of public safety personnel and equipment (fire, police, etc.) in these areas.

There is no cause for concern — this is only an exercise.

Operation Thunderbolt Strikes will allow the county’s emergency management staff to examine and validate the coordination, command and control between the county’s emergency operations center and field command locations. Emergency management, public safety and health officials also will be able to test emergency planning and response capabilities, validate several emergency plans and improve the level of response in case of a complex coordinated attack.

If you travel in either area as part of your normal commute, you may want to sign up for free severe traffic alerts from Fairfax Alerts to stay informed about significant traffic delays. Visit for more details.

For more information on the emergency exercise, be sure to check this blog tomorrow for a short video recap.


Please remember, 9-1-1 is only for emergencies. For routine questions or non-emergency situations in Fairfax County, dial 703-691-2131. To report road hazards or ask road-related question, 24/7, call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).

Video: National Preparedness Month – Helping Your Neighborhood and Community

Posted at 1 p.m.

It’s the second week of National Preparedness Month. This week’s theme is “Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community.”

In this week’s video, Sulayman Brown, assistant coordinator of emergency management for Fairfax County, stresses the importance of being prepared for a minimum of three days (72 hours) before assistance arrives.

As part of your planning, be sure to include what you and your neighbors can do together to make sure everyone stays safe, such as checking on elderly neighbors and those with access and functional needs.

You’ll also want to stay informed with Fairfax Alerts so you can share information through your neighborhood groups. And you and your neighbors will want to get involved and can participate with groups such as Volunteer Fairfax and Citizen Corps programs.

Get more information from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management online at or by calling 571-350-1000, TTY 711. Emergency preparedness information can be found at

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can!

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month, a time to focus on planning for emergencies, with an overarching theme this year of “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

In this video, Seamus Mooney, coordinator of emergency management for Fairfax County, discusses the importance of having an emergency plan as well as how to stay informed before, during and after emergency events so that you can be better prepared for what happens.

“Hurricane Harvey has reminded each of us that disasters can change our lives and our communities in an instant,” says Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke. “Whether it’s a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake or a terrorist attack, knowing what to do when disaster strikes can be a matter of survival for you and your family.”

“Disasters can be overwhelming to think about, but don’t wait until it’s too late to ask yourself hard questions — and come up with good answers,” Duke added.


Be sure to follow this emergency information blog throughout National Preparedness Month for weekly videos on preparedness. And join us on the county’s Facebook page for a Facebook Live on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. as emergency management staff discuss what you should have in your emergency supply kit and how to be better prepared.

National Preparedness Month 2017 - Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can.

Ready, Set, Know Event Sept. 9-10

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

As part of Fairfax County’s local National Preparedness Month activities, we hope you can join us on Sept. 9-10 at the Burke Centre Festival at the Ready, Set, Know event brought to you by the Citizen Corps Council and the Office of Emergency Management.

Ready, Set, Know will focus on the theme of National Preparedness Month as well as preparing you for disaster by giving tips on being prepared, making a kit, making a plan and getting involved. A special part of the Ready, Set, Know event occurs on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when you can receive a pre-packaged starter emergency preparedness kit from Ready NOVA.

Learn more about Ready, Set, Know in this video with Matthew Marquis, community outreach liaison with our Office of Emergency Management.

The 40th annual Burke Centre Festival will be held at 6060 Burke Centre Parkway.

  • Saturday, Sept. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How You Can Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Posted at 3:15 p.m.

Never does our compassion and generosity become more evident than following a major disaster, as evidenced by the outpouring of concern and desire to do something for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Numerous nonprofits, faith- and community-based organizations, private sector partners and governmental agencies are working together to most effectively and efficiently help survivors cope with the impacts of Harvey.

But many are wondering what they can individually do to assist? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there’s one thing you can do and one thing you should not do. In addition, there’s guidance if you’re considering going to Texas to volunteer.

Cash Donations are Best

Cash donations offer voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster.

hurricane harvey donations

Do Not Donate Unsolicited Items

Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine or perishable foodstuffs at this time. When used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.


Texas and federal officials are also asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders. The National Volunteers Active in Disaster (VOAD) also noted the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.

To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear and valid identification. At this time, potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas and supporting survivors on the ground.

Our NewsCenter has more information and tips on how you can assist, including the warning signs of charity fraud. The Federal Trade Commission has details on how you can give safely.

You can also learn more from FEMA and follow FEMA’s Hurricane Harvey webpage.

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