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Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week, May 22-28

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Of all the weather events that impact Virginia the most, hurricanes top the list. Historical storms like Camille, Fran, Floyd, Isabel, Gaston and Irene are a reminder to inland and coastal residents that significant flooding, damages and loss of life can occur in Virginia.

To emphasize the importance of preparing for hurricane season, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has designated this week, May 22-28, as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week in Virginia.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting (PDF report) a near-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin with 12 named storms, five to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

The National Weather Service (NWS) considers hurricanes among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. Even when hurricanes make landfall in other states, they can still cause significant damage and loss of life in Virginia. In fact, some of the worst storms in Virginia’s history were from hurricanes that made landfall in other states. Tropical storms or depressions can be just as damaging or deadly as a hurricane.

Learn more about hurricanes and how you can prepare.

Hurricane Preparedness Week: May 15-21

Posted at 1 p.m.

This week, May 15-21, is Hurricane Preparedness Week. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland, including dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes.

Here’s five things you might not know about hurricanes.

hurricane hazard risks

Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Take time now to prepare.

Learn more about hurricanes and follow the daily safety tip from NOAA at www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/hurricane_preparedness.html.

It’s National Small Business Week … Is Your Business Prepared for Disaster?

Posted at 2 p.m.

This week, May 1-7, is National Small Business Week — a time designed to recognize the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Small Business Week 2016

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year.

Small businesses play such a critical role to our economy; therefore, a plan is key if faced with an emergency. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster.

You can protect your business by identifying the risks associated with natural and man-made disasters, and by creating a plan for action should a disaster strike. By keeping those plans updated, you can help ensure the survival of your business. Some tips small business owners should consider are:

  • Contacting your insurance company to find out your exact coverage.
  • Calculating the financial effect (per day) a disaster would have on your business.
  • Creating a detailed communication plan for your employees.

For more information on preparing your business in case of disaster, visit the SBA website.

National PrepareAthon Day is This Saturday, April 30

Posted at 10:30 a.m.America's PrepareAthon April 30

It’s time to get prepared!

Twice a year — on April 30 and Sept. 30 — America’s PrepareAthon holds national PrepareAthon Days.

The goal is to build our nation’s resilience by increasing the number of individuals who understand what disasters could happen in their community, know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, take action to increase preparedness and participate in community resilience planning.

Why is the Prepare-Athon Important and Why Participate?

Between 1900 and 2014, the U.S. experienced 38 earthquakes, 166 floods, 568 storms and 936 tornados. In 2014 alone, there were more than 300 fatalities and more than 2,100 injuries due to weather-related disasters.

Based on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) national survey, 54 percent of the U.S. population do not believe their community will experience a natural disaster – and less than half of those respondents have a plan they have discussed with their family members.

Research shows that people are more prepared for a disaster if they are aware of community alerts and systems, talk about their preparedness plan with family and others, attend trainings and participate in a drill or exercise. What better way to get started than to participate in this month’s PrepareAthon?

Participation in America’s PrepareAthon is Simple

Everyone can participate including workplaces, schools, houses of worship, community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, as well as individuals and families. Also, participation in America’s PreparAthon can take place anytime throughout the year — just in case you can’t this Saturday.

Visit ready.gov/prepare to learn which hazards can affect your community, review the list of 10 actions and choose a preparedness activity that best fits your hazard. Next, register yourself to be counted.

Once registered, you can download a certificate of participation. Then – congratulations! You, your organization or group has now taken an important step toward preparing for disasters.

America's PrepareAthon 10 Ways to Participate

For more information about the PrepareAthon or emergency preparedness, email our Office of Emergency Management, or call them at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

Get Ready … Tornado Drill Starts at 9:45 a.m.

Posted at 8:45 a.m.

tornado preparednessThis year’s statewide tornado drill begins at 9:45 a.m. Hopefully you are ready to take part.

The tornado drill is an important safety exercise to prepare for nature’s most violent storms. Our state has been hit hard in the past by multiple tornadoes, including several just last month, which have cost lives and left extensive damage.

Fairfax AlertsThe drill will start with a message from the National Weather Service. Our Fairfax Alerts will also send a message. If you’re not yet registered for Fairfax Alerts, do so here: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.

What to Do During the Drill?

What should you do for the drill? Exactly what you would do if a tornado warning was issued for your area:

  • When a warning is issued, immediately take cover.
  • Move to a designated shelter such as a basement or windowless room.
  • Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect head and neck — crouch as low as possible to the floor, face down and cover your head with your hands.
  • If outdoors with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge.
  • Get out of vehicles and go to the closest shelter.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in an urban or congested area.

Practicing these steps at least once a year will help you be better prepared when a tornado occurs near you. Because as you know, there isn’t a season for tornadoes — they can happen anywhere at any time!

Learn more online about tornado safety. You can also contact our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711, or email oem@fairfaxcounty.gov.

And thanks in advance for taking part in today’s tornado drill.

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