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Hollywood Earthquakes versus Reality

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

It’s all over social media, and it did over $54 million at the box office in its opening weekend. What are we talking about? The movie “San Andreas,” which chronicles the potential destruction from a magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent, even larger, aftershocks.

The great thing about the movie — and all of the Hollywood special effects — is that after the movie is over and the popcorn is eaten, you get to go home safe and sound. However, the reality is that an earthquake can very well be a devastating natural disaster.

Reality vs. Hollywood

Prior to the movies’ release, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last month, followed by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake, rocked the country of Nepal, with casualties in the thousands and tens of thousands left homeless; over 8,000 people have been killed from these combined earthquakes.

You also may remember the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Mineral, Va., in August 2011. It caused significant structural damage from central Virginia to southern Maryland and the Washington D.C. area, to include Fairfax County. The quake, with hundreds of aftershocks, damaged more than 1,400 homes and businesses in Virginia.

Now’s a great time — while the topic is fresh on our minds — to remind ourselves of the proper steps to take during an earthquake: “Drop, Cover and Hold On!”

There are simple actions we all should do to get prepared to survive and recover. Visit www.earthquakecountry.org/sevensteps to learn more.

Learn More

Get Ready to ShakeOut!

Posted at 8:30 a.m.

Get ready… it’s almost time!

The Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill begins today at 10:16 a.m. and you can participate where ever you might be. The earthquake drill is a great time to practice the actions you should take during a real earthquake — drop, cover and hold on:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl. So drop, cover and hold one immediately.

Get ready to practice at 10:16 a.m. and take part in the Great Southeast ShakeOut. Learn more at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.shakeout.org/southeast.

So Why Should I Drop, Cover and Hold On?

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

Why is it important to do a Drop, Cover and Hold On earthquake drill? To react quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down — or drops something on you.

Wally Simmons, loss prevention manager with our Risk Management Division, says that participation in an earthquake drill is an important personal preparedness activity.

 

Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects. It is extremely important to move as little as possible to reach an identified place of safety since most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking.

Look around you now, before an earthquake.

  • Identify safe places such as under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall in your home or office so that when the shaking starts you can respond quickly.
  • An immediate response to move to that safe place can save lives.
  • And that safe place should be within a few steps to avoid injury from flying debris.

Great Southeast ShakeOut

So when can you hold an earthquake drill?

You can practice your response to an earthquake at any time, but next Thursday, Oct. 16, is the annual Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill, and already over 1.6 million folks have registered to participate — in their home, school or business — at 10:16 a.m.

Simmons offers several suggestions on how you can participate regardless of where you might be.

 

We can’t allow ourselves to forget that Virginia has felt the impact of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake with hundreds of aftershocks damaging more than 1,400 homes and businesses. The purpose of this exercise is to continue to practice lifesaving responses in the event of another real-world event.

Get more details and register your participation at www.shakeout.org.

southeast shakeout earthquake drill

Great Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is Two Weeks Away; Are You Registered Yet?

Great Southeast ShakeOut Oct 16, 2014

Posted at 1 p.m.

Wherever you are two weeks from now (home, school, work or play) – on Thursday, Oct. 16 – you can learn about earthquake safety by joining in the Great Southeast ShakeOut, a multi-state earthquake drill set for 10:16 a.m. Register now to participate in the ShakeOut and learn how to drop, cover and hold on:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl. So drop, cover and hold one immediately. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room to get under a table.

Also, during an earthquake, don’t run outside. Trying to run is dangerous because the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by falling bricks, glass and other building materials. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.

If you can’t participate Oct. 16, hold an earthquake drill for your family, workplace, organization or school anytime through Dec. 31, and you can still register your participation in the ShakeOut.

Last year more than one million Virginians took part in the Great Southeast ShakeOut. Learn more and sign up for the Oct. 16 earthquake drill at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.shakeout.org/southeast.

 

Why Should I be Prepared for an Earthquake?

Posted at 11 a.m.

Three-year anniversary of Virginia quake serves as reminder to register for Oct. 16 drill

Many of us remember exactly where we were and how we reacted on Aug. 23, 2011 — three years ago today — when an historic 5.8 earthquake centered in Louisa County, Va. knocked homes and buildings from foundations, destroyed schools and even heavily damaged the Washington Monument — proving that earthquakes can (and do) happen right here in Virginia.

“We learned unexpectedly what the safe response to an earthquake is, and it’s not to run outside,” said Jeff Stern, state coordinator of emergency management. “Since the Mineral earthquake, Virginia has participated every year in a multi-state earthquake drill so we all can practice and remember to drop, cover and hold on.”

Southeast Shakeout Drill -- Oct. 16, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.

Earthquake Drill

The Great Southeast ShakeOut multistate earthquake drill, which began in 2012, will be held this year on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 10:16 a.m.

You and your family — as well as your school, business and organizations you belong to — can sign up to participate in the ShakeOut online at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.shakeout.org/southeast.

Once registered, you will get information about how to plan a drill and practice the recommended actions should an earthquake occur:

  • Drop to the ground where you are.
  • Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck.
  • Hold on until the shaking stops.

Last year, one million Virginians took part in the Great Southeast ShakeOut. Fairfax County has consistently been at the forefront for participation in each year’s drill. Let’s continue that high level of participation again this year. Register today!

We’re Participating in the ShakeOut … Are You?

Posted at 11.55 a.m.

When the earth shook on Aug. 23, 2011, we did not expect it. An earthquake affecting Fairfax County?

Yes, we all experienced a real earthquake and many of us simply did not know what to do.

In the 14 months since that earthquake, Fairfax County Government has been working to enhance our policies, practices and procedures so we’re ready the next time an earthquake strikes. Earthquakes have been included in our Emergency Action Plan (EAP) template and every county worksite has updated its EAP to include earthquake response. Additionally, all employees have received information about the most appropriate earthquake response –“Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

Has your business, faith community or other type of organization taken extra steps to prepare? What about in your home? Have you considered what preparations are needed in advance of a no-notice earthquake?

Great Southeast ShakeOut, Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m.If not, then you have a chance to get started this week with the Great SouthEast ShakeOut drill. More than 1 million people from Maryland to Georgia have registered for the drill this Thursday, Oct. 18. You can join us – your government — as one participant to help ensure that our whole community is taking steps together to prepare. The ShakeOut will occur wherever you are — home, school, work or play — simultaneously in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“By participating in this large-scale earthquake drill, our residents and employees alike have empowered themselves to prepare for and survive a potentially dangerous event,” says Teri Flynn, Fairfax County Government risk manager. “Everyone shares the responsibility of employee safety to include the safety of those residents that use our facilities to conduct business or receive services. However, ensuring there are basic principles of survival with a solid, universal plan in place was a major change to our process.”

Over the past several months, our Risk Management Division adopted a more robust and time-tested EAP template for its county EAP template. This was shared with all county agency Emergency Action Coordinators to ensure our hundreds of county worksites (with 12,000 employees and thousands of daily visitors) have a current plan. The Risk Management Division, along with the Office of Emergency Management and Office of Public Affairs, have been communicating on how to participate and coordinating employee participation in state/regional drills such as the Great SouthEast ShakeOut and the Statewide Tornado Drill in order to test plans.

Last August, many of us simply didn’t know what to do. We’ve been working to improve preparedness and response plans since then. Come this Thursday at 10:18 a.m., our government employees will know how to respond.

Are You Registered for the Great Southeast ShakeOut Yet?

Posted at 3:51 p.m.

Join your friends and co-workers who plan to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” in the first-ever Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill this Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m. Governor Bob McDonnell also has proclaimed the Oct. 18 as Earthquake ShakeOut Day in Virginia.

The ShakeOut will occur wherever you are — home, school, work or play — simultaneously in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C. You can participate by practicing what you should do if an earthquake strikes so that you and your family will be better prepared.

Learn more and register yourself, your family, your school, your office and your organization for the ShakeOut drill at www.shakeout.org/southeast.

Unfortunately, many of us do not know the safe response to an earthquake.  Emergency management and preparedness experts agree that Drop, Cover and Hold On is what we should do to reduce injuries and deaths during earthquakes. 

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.  Do not try to run to another room to get under a table.  Earthquakes occur without warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. Drop, Cover and Hold On immediately.

Don’t run outside. Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous because the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by falling bricks, glass and other building materials. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.

Register for the ShakeOut at www.shakeout.org/southeast. For more information, contact our Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

Drop, cover and Hold On - Participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut on Oct. 18, 2012, at 10:18 a.m.

Virginia’s Earthquake Shake One Year Later

Posted 1:51 p.m.

Virginia earthquake map

Image courtesy U.S. Geological Survey. View full image.

One year ago today, right now, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral, Va., and our county felt it along with a good portion of the Northeast.

Earthquake preparedness may not have been on top of your mind given the rarity of  the earth moving here. One year later, though, take a quick look at some earthquake preparedness tips.

Two of the most important tips:

  • The best protection is to get under heavy furniture, such as a desk, table or bench, staying away from large windows, mirrors or other glass.
  • The greatest danger is directly outside buildings, at exits and along exterior walls, due to falling debris.

Participate in Upcoming Earthquake Drill

Great SouthEast ShakeOut logoFor the first time, Virginia will participate in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut, an earthquake drill set for Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m.

There are many ways for individuals, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups and others to participate in the SouthEast ShakeOut, including the day of the drill.   

Our Medical Needs Registry

Medical Needs Registry IconFairfax County maintains an active “Medical Needs Registry” specifically for providing assistance before, during and after emergency events like hurricanes and earthquakes. 

The Office of Emergency Management  is currently coordinating a call to all registered residents within the traditional flooding areas of Fairfax County.  If you or a family member has an ongoing serious medical condition and you live in Fairfax County, registration in the Medical Needs Registry is free and all information is kept strictly confidential.  Registration can be made online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/specialneeds.

Emergency Preparedness Chat

Dave McKernan, coordinator of Emergency Management, is online now answering your questions about the earthquake, Hurricane Irene, and emergency preparedness tips.

Follow the chat and submit questions here: http://go.usa.gov/kGA

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