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Video: County Holds Emergency Exercise

Posted at 10 a.m.

On Tuesday, Fairfax County held an emergency exercise — Operation Thunderbolt Strikes — at multiple locations including Tysons Corner Center, the county’s Government Center and the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

The exercise was held to test the coordination, command and control between the county’s EOC and field command locations, as well as test emergency planning and response capabilities, validate several emergency plans and improve the level of response in case of a complex coordinated attack.

In this video, Michael Guditus, exercise director and assistant coordinator of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, discusses the exercise and what organizers were hoping to accomplish.

Fairfax County holds numerous exercises and events throughout the year, including tabletop discussions and more involved functional and full-scale drills. The exercises range from agency-level scenarios to multi-agency, county-level and regional events.

For more on Operation Thunderbolt Strikes or the county’s training and exercise program, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

Fairfax Alerts

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).

Health Department Seeks Volunteers for Point of Dispensing (POD) Exercise

Posted at 11 a.m.

Did you know that the Fairfax County Health Department has robust plans in place to respond to a wide-scale bioterrorism attack?

To keep our plans up-to-date and staff trained and ready, those plans have to be tested. And that’s where you can help!

Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise

The Health Department is seeking volunteers to participate in our upcoming Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise on Saturday, July 29. From 9-11 a.m. a simulated POD will be operated at Centreville High School, 6001 Union Mill Road, Clifton.

Trained Health Department staff and volunteers will assist actors – POD clients – with filling out a screening form, dispensing faux-medications and answering questions. This exercise is intended to evaluate the Health Department’s ability to provide critical services during a disaster, specifically dispensing medication quickly to residents.

Register to participate as an actor by going to Eventbrite. If you have any questions, contact Liz Sullivan, training and exercise coordinator, at 703-246-8703.

Fairfax Alerts

Volunteer Victim Actors Needed for Weekend CERT Exercise

Posted at 4:30 p.m.

Fairfax County CERTNewly trained Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members will have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and work together with seasoned CERT members in a training this Saturday, June 10, at Virginia Task Force One’s (VATF-1) training facility at the former Lorton Juvenile Detention Center.

From moulage — the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training emergency response teams and other medical and military personnel — to triage, CERT members will experience it all in this unique opportunity to practice their skills in a realistic full-scale exercise, allowing players to react to information and situations as they are presented.

Your Opportunity to Participate

If you’re not a CERT member, you can still participate. Volunteers are needed to play victim actors. Victim actors simulate specific roles during exercise play, typically victims or bystanders.

As a victim actor, you may be covered in theatrical make-up (moulage), could be lying in a damaged building waiting to be rescued or even looking for your imaginary friend. The scenarios you’ll participate in allow CERT responders to gain insight and learn to treat multiple victims in a short period of time.

  • 7:30-8 a.m. ~ Victim actor check in
  • 8-8:30 a.m. ~ Responder check in
  • Late arrivals will not be admitted after 9 a.m.

If you’re interested, you need to register online and sign a waiver. Participants will receive lunch provided by one of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Canteen units.

Regional Full-Scale Exercise Focuses on Preparing for Complex Terror Attack

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

Law enforcement officials and other first responders from several National Capital Region jurisdictions will participate in a full-scale exercise tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26, designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the region.

The life-like exercise will occur between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and will include actors posing as casualties. The regional exercise will be staged at six sites in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, and will involve hundreds of police, fire and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors.

The locations include neighborhoods in Fairfax, Prince George’s and Arlington Counties, as well as the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of the District of Columbia. Fairfax County’s exercise site is the former Lorton Reformatory prison site.

There is no reason for alarm if you observe increased public safety personnel in the area of any of the exercise activity.

“We’ll stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties,” said Scott Boggs, managing director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). “However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.”

Emergency managers who work together at COG planned the exercise to help protect residents by preparing for an attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.