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It’s National Preparedness Month… Are You Ready?

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

According to a 2014 national survey conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 50 percent of Americans have not discussed or developed an emergency plan for family members about where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster.

The 11th annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) began yesterday (Sept. 1). National Preparedness Month is a time to concentrate attention on the importance of being prepared for any type of emergency. And this year’s NPM also is the first to include the America’s PrepareAthon Fall Day of Action, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Has your family made a plan? If not, use the free resources at ReadyNoVa to make your own family emergency plan or a business emergency plan.

30 Ways in 30 Days30 Ways in 30 Days

As we get underway with National Preparedness Month, we also encourage you to review a list of 30 simple steps you can take to become better prepared with our 30 ways in 30 days. These are simple things you can do — at your own pace — to ensure that you and your family are better prepared by following an easy-to-accomplish checklist.

In addition, our emergency management office will be sharing a video each week this month focusing in more detail on a specific preparedness action you can take. We’ll also feature other articles and resources this month, and what they specifically means for you, your family, your community and your business. Make sure you’ve signed up (at right) to get these by email so you don’t miss anything.

And if you haven’t done so yet, sign up for Fairfax Alerts to receive emergency information via your cellphone or email and stay connected to Fairfax County during emergency events.

Stay tuned for more on emergency preparedness and National Preparedness Month … and make the commitment today to become better prepared for any type of emergency.

National Preparedness Month

Observe Moment of Silence at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11

Posted at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 11, marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorists attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 men, women and children.

By presidential proclamation, Americans are called on to participate in a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the victims who died as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Flags should also be displayed at half-staff in honor of the individuals who lost their lives.

You may also wish to observe the day with ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services. Visit’s 9/11 Commemorations and Memorials to learn about:

  • Memorials in New York, NY; Washington, D.C.; and near Shanksville, PA.
  • Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
  • Photos, recovered objects and eyewitness accounts from 9/11.
  • Emergency preparedness efforts.

The county’s Memorial Grove, located on the Government Center grounds, is also a space where you may want to take a moment and reflect.

Remember to observe a moment of silence Wednesday, Sept. 11, starting at 8:46 a.m. and take steps during National Preparedness Month to build — or re-supply — your emergency supply kit, make a plan for your family and business, and commit to stay informed.

30 Ways to Prepare

Join Our Social Media Emergency Preparedness Campaign

30 Ways in 30 Days to PreparePosted at 12:05 p.m.

National Preparedness Month is underway and we need your help.

This month we invite you to take a look at list of 30 easy, practical ways you and your family, business or faith community can become better prepared.

How can you help spread the word? That’s easy.

  1. Join our social media campaign through your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Visit this page:
  2. Click the orange buttons to show your support through Twitter or Facebook.
  3. If we reach our goal of 100 supporters, then on Monday, Sept. 9, at 11:30 a.m., a tweet or Facebook update will be posted automatically to your friends and followers telling them about your commitment to emergency preparedness. Right now, our message would reach nearly 85,000 people at the same time.

We’re about 75 percent of the way to our goal. Can you help your community by serving as an information ambassador — and spare a tweet or Facebook post?

Pass It On! Fairfax Prepares Day 30

Posted 3:15 p.m.

day 30 iconWe’ve reached Day 30.

First, thank you to everyone who has tweeted, emailed, left comments on our Facebook page, and shared these 30 ideas and asks for the last month. Your dedication to preparing your home and family helps build a stronger, more resilient community. We hope you have found this series useful. Let us know what you thought of the information in the comments section below.

We have one final ask.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Share all 30 asks with at least one person (but we recommend many more!). Keep this cycle of information moving throughout our whole community so we take small, easy steps toward more personal preparedness.

The 30 asks (click each link for more details):

  1. Pets: Buy an extra bag (or cans) of food for your pet the next time you go to the store.
  2. Cash: Withdraw some extra cash from your bank or ask for cash back at a grocery store.
  3. Infant/Young Children: Review your infant and young children supplies that are essential to you as a parent or someone who may be taking care of a young child.
  4. Schools: Review the school preparedness resources so you’re familiar with emergency response plans.
  5. Emergency Survey: Though now completed, please sign up for at least one of our emergency information tools.
  6. Weather Radios: Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.
  7. Power Outages: Save your power company’s phone number to report outages on paper, phone or other device so you can access it safely.
  8. Batteries: Pickup an extra package or two of the most commonly used batteries in your home.
  9. Tornado Exercise Review: Review our series of blog posts from the tornado exercise and ask yourselves the various questions we posed.
  10. See Something, Say Something: Write down or save to your phone Virginia’s terrorism hotline phone number to report suspicious activities.
  11. Remember: Take a moment of silence today, in whatever way you choose, to remember Sept. 11, 2001, or victims of other disasters and incidents.
  12. Stay Informed: Ask a friend to sign up for at least one of our emergency information tools.
  13. Water, Water, Water: Calculate how much water you need for your household and purchase the appropriate number of gallons.
  14. Multiple Languages: Share emergency preparedness info in multiple languages.
  15. Get Involved: Review what the Citizen Corps or other emergency volunteer organizations do so you’re aware of them in case you decide later (or after an incident) that you want to join.
  16. Floods: Review list of roads that historically flood in Fairfax County and note which ones are near your home or part of your commute.
  17. Special Needs Registry: If you know someone with special medical needs or of an organization that helps people with social needs, please notify them of our Special Needs Registry.
  18. Make a Plan: Complete a family and/or business preparedness plan.
  19. Turning Off Utilities: Familiarize yourself with what utilities you have in your home and learn how to turn them off.
  20. Speakers Bureau: Recommend our Office of Emergency Management to speak with your group.
  21. Calling 9-1-1: Add a new contact to your phones for the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.
  22. How Ready Are You?: Test your Readiness Quotient.
  23. Two Ways Out: Design two ways out of your home/apartment.
  24. Importance of Neighborhoods: Talk about emergency preparedness plans with your neighbors.
  25. Medicines: Purchase extra over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or children’s medications you frequently use.
  26. Earthquakes: Register for the Great SouthEast ShakeOut or review earthquake preparedness tips.
  27. Take Pictures: Take pictures of all the rooms in your home so you have documentation of what you own.
  28. Car Preparedness: Find a small bag and place in your car with as many items listed above as possible.
  29. Get Where You Need to Be: Think about, explore and plan for alternate routes in advance of winter.
  30. Pass It On!: Keep this list moving through our community. Share these asks and tips with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and members of your house of worship.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at that you accomplished an ask.


  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

30 Ways in 30 Days logo

Get Where You Need to Be: Fairfax Prepares Day 29

Posted 8:05 p.m.

day 29 iconWe’ve waited 29 days to talk about — snow. Yes, the white stuff and its associated frozen version are likely around the corner. As we know from experience, our transportation patterns may need to change in response to snowstorms.

By staying off the roads during the worst of the winter weather, departments of transportation are more easily able to access roads that need treatment, snow plows can more freely clear roads and get to areas needing plowing and public safety officials can respond more quickly to residents in need of emergency services.

It may require you to take a couple of hours of personal leave during the winter, but leaving early enough to avoid bad weather and traffic gridlock caused by slippery road conditions is worth the investment. Thinking strategically about your travel and where you really need to be will require some planning and thought.

The phrase to keep in mind: Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: With winter on the horizon, think about your commute. Do you have alternate routes home in case there’s a need to modify your path? Think about, explore and plan for alternate routes now as we enjoy fall weather.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at that you accomplished an ask.


  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

30 Ways in 30 Days logo