Posted at 11 a.m.
A survey by AAA Mid-Atlantic reveals that the vast majority of Virginia and Maryland residents are not prepared for extreme weather events. The poll also exposes the fact that most don’t give a second thought about making safe driving decisions should a significant storm hit. They also have ignored the “Turn Around Don’t Drown” warning and driven into hazardous flood waters.
Driving through flooded roadways is an extremely dangerous behavior, yet alarmingly, four in 10 (41 percent) of drivers in Virginia and 38 percent of Maryland drivers report having done so in the past.
The survey of area residents shows that only 19 percent of Virginia respondents and just 18 percent of Maryland respondents said their storm preparations include securing adequate supplies like food, water and batteries, but also a family emergency plan.
“The survey validates the concern and the fear that few of us are prepared for a major or a large-scale disaster, a mega storm, the next catastrophic event or the ‘next big one.’ The watchword is ‘be prepared,’ yet an alarming numbers confessed to driving through flooded or water-covered roads or to not having a plan for evacuating their homes in a major event. This is astounding,” said John B. Townsend II, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Virginia experienced 12 direct hits from major hurricanes from 1851 to 2004, according to an analysis by the National Hurricane Center. Meanwhile, Maryland was impacted by two direct strikes by the deadliest, costliest and most intense hurricanes on the U.S. main-land from 1851 to 2004. Since then, both states have been impacted by major tropical storms or hurricanes that resulted in heavy flooding. Such systems can also spawn smaller and localized weather-related damage.
Fifty-six percent of Virginia respondents said they were not at all concerned about residential damage while 13 percent said they were very concerned and 29 percent said they were somewhat concerned. Similarly, 50 percent of Marylanders said they were not at all concerned about residential damage while 14 percent said they were very concerned and 36 percent said they were somewhat concerned.
Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S., causing billions in economic losses each year. Currently, there are only about 660,000 flood insurance policies in force in Virginia and around 267,990 flood insurance policies were in force in Maryland in 2011.
“If you don’t have a personal/family emergency plan, take the time to create one now. This includes discussing various scenarios with your family and rehearsing the actions you’ll take if and when a disaster strikes,” said Townsend. “Talking about what to do with family members is critical. Advising family members to stay in a safe place, for example, rather than pushing safety limits to get home so that others won’t worry, will give everyone greater piece of mind.”
Read the complete press release on the AAA Mid-Atlantic survey, along with severe storm/hurricane preparation tips from AAA. Note that you may need to enter your ZIP code to access the press release.
Posted at 8:30 p.m.
Sprint cellular service in the region is still affected due to a transformer fire in a Sprint facility.
If you receive a busy signal when you call 9-1-1, you should attempt to text to 9-1-1, use a landline phone or use a cellphone covered by another provider.
Full cellular service for Sprint customers may return by tomorrow evening, Aug. 17.
Sprint cellular service is affected throughout the area. If you receive a busy signal when you call 9-1-1, you should attempt to text to 9-1-1, use a landline phone or use a cellphone covered by another provider.
Posted at 3 p.m.
The Fairfax County Community Chaplain Corps (FCCC Corps) is in search of ordained Fairfax County resident clergy who are interested in participating in the Corps.
The deadline for applications is August 26, however, interested clergy are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The next training series begins Sept. 19.
Click here to download an application.
Chaplain candidates will participate in 50 hours of training between September and March 2017 to include two online courses and five classroom courses. FCCC Corps certification will be awarded in March 2017 upon successful training completion and candidate reviews.
The FCCC Corps provides spiritual care and pastoral crisis intervention to community members impacted by the effects of a disaster or emergency. Chaplains work as part of an emergency or disaster team under the direction of an incident commander and in cooperation with the county’s public safety agency chaplains and mental health professionals.
Posted at 8:30 a.m.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — in coordination with state, local and tribal emergency managers and state broadcasters’ associations in Virginia and North Carolina — will conduct a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) this morning, Wednesday, June 22, at 10:02 a.m. (EST).
This voluntary test was rescheduled from an earlier scheduled test in February that was canceled due to severe weather.
The EAS test is made available to radio, broadcast and cable television systems and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. It will verify the delivery and broadcast and assess the readiness for distribution of a national-level test message.
The message of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of EAS, normally heard and seen by the public: “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”
Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine what technological improvements need to be addressed. The next national test is scheduled for Sept. 28. Results from the test will support preparations and improvements leading up to the national test.
In addition to learning about emergency events from the EAS system, you are encouraged to sign up for local alerts for your smart phone and email. You can receive alerts for severe weather alerts and severe traffic alerts, as well as other emergency-related alerts from Fairfax County. Sign up for free at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.