Posted at 11 a.m.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal. Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season.
While hurricanes typically don’t strike Fairfax County directly, we often feel the effects of these storms with high winds and heavy rainfall, which can lead to localized flooding. Here are a few preparedness steps you can take today.
- Make a family emergency communication plan.
- Be sure to include your pets in your emergency preparedness planning.
- Identify an out of town emergency contact to coordinate information with family and friends.
- Keep an emergency kit where you spend time — home, car and work.
- Practice your preparedness plans with a drill or exercise.
- Sign up for local weather alerts and warnings from Fairfax Alerts.
- Check your insurance coverage and know if you have flood and wind protection.
Posted at 11 a.m.
We all have relationships. These relationships vary if you are an employee of a company, serving residents as part of the local government, or providing services to customers as the leader of a company. These relationships are vital because at the end of the chain of interactions and transactions is a person that is relying on you to get a job done.
Being proactive in ensuring these relationships and interactions continue without interruption is the heart of continuity planning.
In short, continuity planning ensures the ability to deliver resources to stakeholders by providing reliable options. It fills a vital void in the lifecycle in both business and government processes.
In this video, Avery Church, Fairfax County’s continuity program manager, highlights continuity of operations and the essential planning necessary for the success of a continuity program.
Watch the full video, including tips on how to be prepared and an interview with the county’s Police Department on its continuity of operations (COOP) plan.
Continuity Awareness Week in Fairfax County
Ongoing maintenance of a continuity program in business and government organizations plays a significant part in an effective resiliency capability. That’s why Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, on behalf of all residents of Fairfax County, proclaimed the week of May 14-18, as Continuity Awareness Week in Fairfax County.
The board proclamation urges all business and government organizations to take steps to increase resiliency and reduce operational risks by becoming familiar with and engaging in continuity planning. This special week recognizes both the for-profit and not-for-profit efforts to minimize operational disruptions.
The county’s Continuity of Operations Program was created in 2009 with the formation of an advisory work group to respond to the spread of the Influenza A virus. The program has expanded to cover all county missions and has been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an example of a best practice for state, territorial, tribal and local governments continuity of operations planning.
Continuity of Operations Planning
Continuity planning as we know it has been around since the 1970s, and even earlier in other iterations. Internationally, continuity planning has been used greatly in areas that were highly susceptible to natural disasters. For example, Japan and New Zealand developed plans to manage the effects of earthquakes.
The concept of continuity planning naturally expanded to include other known disruptions like terrorism, pandemics, extreme weather, financial and cyber. This growth has created a proven planning principle that is an umbrella for all actions related to mitigating against operational disruptions.
More recently, we have realized that the clear majority of these disruptions have the same mitigation, response and recovery footprint. Instead of focusing on creating custom plans for the specific disruption, as was done in the 1970s, the better investment proved to be focusing on plans that were mnemonic and applicable to a large swath of events.
Continuity planning focuses on ensuring proper program oversight, management of the programs reputation, planning against anticipated threats to our operations and performing each initiative in the most effective manner.
In modern continuity planning, we place emphasis on improving our weaknesses against these anticipated threats to our operations. Universally, these threats include vendors and their associated supply chains, the availability of our human assets, the vulnerability of IT and the persistence of single points of failure. These form the footprint that we find in post-disruptions, so focusing our mitigation and recovery efforts on these areas will greatly improve our capabilities.
For more information, contact Church, continuity program manager, at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.
Posted at 10:30 a.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for isolated severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and large hail possible this afternoon and early evening.
Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 5 p.m. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and frequent lightning. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 82. Southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 8 p.m. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 60. West wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Posted at 10 a.m.
PAW is a free event that empowers families to prepare for sudden emergencies, both natural and man-made. It will help families increase their resiliency by providing step-by-step methods to develop their emergency preparedness plans and kits. The program also provides hands-on, developmental training in family emergency planning, assembling a disaster kit, disaster meals and hands-on CPR.
Community partners will give information to families about keeping their families safe for any emergency that might arise. For example, the Fairfax County Police Department will be providing free car seat checks at the event.
Make plans to attend the Preparedness Awareness Weekend event on Saturday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gum Springs Community Center, 8100 Fordson Road, Alexandria.
Posted at 11 a.m.
inancial preparedness. It’s not something that’s top of mind for many of us when we’re considering our readiness for emergencies. But as an old oil filter commercial used to say, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.”
Sure, sometimes we may think about our emergency supplies and emergency kits and whether they’re stocked sufficiently. Or about how we’re going to get reunited with our children or loved ones if something happens while we’re at work. And maybe we remember to ask ourselves if we have enough batteries for our battery-powered radio or television in case we should lose power.
But what about really being financially ready for a crisis? Have you given that much thought? Any thought?
April is Financial Capability Month, as proclaimed by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and it’s a good time to give some thought to being prepared financially. Consider these tips:
- Plan for out-of-pocket expenses for lodging, food, gas and more if you have to evacuate your home for any reason. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis.
- Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
- Review existing insurance policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Store important documents either in a safety deposit box, an external drive or on the cloud to make it easy to access during a disaster. Remember things like a photo ID to prove identity of household members, birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members, Social security cards and pet ID tags.
- What about physician information to provide doctors with health info if medical care is needed? Copies of health insurance records to ensure existing care continues uninterrupted. Immunization records and medications. Also, be prepared for the cost of deductibles for insurance and medical co-pays.