Posted at 8 a.m.
This morning at 10:18 a.m., it’s time to “Shake Out. Don’t Freak Out.” as you practice how to Drop, Cover and Hold On during the annual Great Southeast Shakeout earthquake drill.
If you have time before the drill you can register your participation. But if you’re not registered, don’t worry. You can still participate. Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes — wherever you live, work or travel.
Learn more about the Southeast Shakeout earthquake drill at www.shakeout.org/southeast.
Meanwhile, the county’s Office of Emergency Management is partnering with Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield during the drill. Throughout the month, Greenspring residents have learned how to protect themselves from an earthquake by learning step-by-step methods to adapt for individual situations.
If you have difficulty getting on the ground or getting back up, you should adapt “Drop, Cover and Hold On” for your situation.
- If you are in a recliner or in bed, cover your head and neck with your arms or pillow until the shaking stops.
- If you use a cane, you can sit on a chair or bed and cover your head and neck with both hands until the shaking stops. Keep your cane near you so you can use it when the shaking stops.
- If you use a walker or wheelchair, lock your wheels and cover your head and neck with your arms, book or pillow until the shaking stops.
To see a demonstration of what you can do to protect yourself, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards-earthquake.
Posted at 2:30 p.m.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is commemorating its 15th year as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. It’s a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the nation during cyber-threats.
Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors will also declare October as Cyber Security Month in Fairfax County with an official proclamation at the board’s Oct. 16 meeting.
The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign is one such effort aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering residents to be safer and more secure online. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. We each have to do our part to keep the Internet safe. When we all take simple steps to be safer online, it makes using the Internet a more secure experience for everyone.
Here are a few tips and advice for staying safe online.
- Secure key accounts and devices. Use strong passwords, passcodes, or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Review these tips for passwords and securing your accounts.
- Lock down your login – Protect accounts with strong authentication.
- When in doubt, throw it out – Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, delete it.
- Back it up – Protect against data loss by making electronic copies of important files.
- Manage your privacy – Information about you, such as your purchase history and location, is valuable. Protect your data by being cautious about how your information is collected by apps and websites.
- Respond to identify theft, fraud and crime – If you are the victim of cybercrime, you need to know what to do and respond quickly.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots – Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your devices.
- Protect your money – When banking or shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with https:// or shttp://, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. Http:// is not secure.
In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, join the U.S. Small Business Administration (@SBAgov) and industry experts for a Twitter chat on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. on how to protect your business from cyber threats. The SBA will be sharing tips and resources to help keep your business safe. Follow along with the hashtag #SBAchat.
The SBA also offers a self-paced training exercise that provides an introduction to securing information in a small business. Topics include: Defining cybersecurity; Explaining the importance of securing information through best cybersecurity practices; Identifying types of information that should be secured; Identifying the types of cyber threats; Defining risk management; and Listing best practices for guarding against cyber threats. Access the course here.
Information technology and high-speed Internet are great enablers of small business success, but with the benefits comes the need to guard against growing cyber threats. As larger companies take steps to secure their systems, less secure small businesses are easier targets for cyber criminals. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provide a Small Biz Cyber Planner, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. Use this tool to create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns. The FCC also offers a Cybersecurity Tip Sheet (PDF).
Remember, cybersecurity is our shared responsibility and we all must work together to improve our nation’s cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of governments, companies, groups or individuals. Everyone shares the responsibility for cybersecurity – from the average smartphone user to a corporate CEO. So, let’s all do our part!
Posted at 12:30 p.m.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 3. The WEA portion of the test, which will be sent to consumer cellphones, will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT. The EAS portion of the test, sent to radio and television, will follow at 2:20 p.m. EDT.
This will be the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first nationwide WEA test.
The purpose of the test is to ensure that EAS and WEA are both effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and to identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.
The EAS and WEA test messages will be sent using FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized Internet-based system administered by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communications networks.
FEMA will administer the test, in cooperation with the FCC and the National Weather Service, and with the participation of the communications industry.
For more information, visit our article prior to the originally scheduled test on Sept. 20, which was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.
Posted at 3:35 p.m.
On the Sept. 26 edition of the “Health and Safety” podcast, learn about Fire Prevention Week, important phone numbers, the Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, CERT training and the Public Safety Career Fair.
Listen to the podcast below.
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about Fire Prevention Week, important phone numbers, the Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, CERT training and the Public Safety Career Fair. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
Since 1922, the National Fire Prevention Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires. Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of Oct. 9th to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which began on Oct. 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres of land. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, to be held Oct. 7-13, is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” It emphasizes three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire — and how to escape safely in the event of one:
- “Look” for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
- “Listen” for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
- “Learn” two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
Get more information from the National Fire Prevention Association at www.nfpa.org/fpw.
To be prepared for any emergency, you’ll want to save important phone numbers to your phone contacts so you are ready digitally before an emergency or crisis. Find the numbers you need online; just search “hotlines and emergency numbers” at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if it’s an emergency and you need police, fire or medical help, call or text 9-1-1 immediately.
Make plans for the Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. An earthquake can happen at any time and in any place, including here in Northern Virginia. In August 2011, there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that was felt across the region. Be sure to prepare before an earthquake by developing a family communications, an emergency kit and a personal support team. Learn more and register to participate at www.shakeout.org/southeast. In a video on the emergency blog at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/blog, Courtney Arroyo of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, discusses what to do during an earthquake — drop, cover and hold on — as well as instructions for persons with disabilities, mobility issues, pregnant women, mothers with infants and others who may be at work or at home. So watch the video on the blog and then visit www.shakeout.org/southeast to learn more about the Oct. 18 earthquake drill and register your participation.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. CERT trains county residents in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. Two new classes are offered in October. To find out more about the class dates and location, visit www.volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov and search “CERT.” And if you are hearing this after October, no worries — classes are held regularly. Visit www.volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov and search “CERT” for class availabilities.
Looking for an opportunity to make a positive difference in the community? Bored working a 9 to 5 job and want a rewarding career? Then join our public safety partners on Saturday, Oct. 20, to learn more about public safety career opportunities within Fairfax County. The Public Safety Career Fair is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Parkway. More details are on the Fire and Rescue blog at https://ffxfirerescue.wordpress.com/.
Finally, Fairfax County’s free alert system sends you important information during an emergency, helps you navigate your commute and shares community information. You also can customize your Fairfax Alerts to receive the information pertinent to you. Don’t miss this important information! Sign up today for Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.
That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Va., Government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.
Posted at 2 p.m.
An earthquake can happen at any time and in any place, including here in Northern Virginia. In August 2011, there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that was felt across the region.
Be sure to prepare before an earthquake by developing a family communications, an emergency kit and a personal support team.
In this video, Courtney Arroyo of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, discusses what to do during an earthquake — drop, cover and hold on — as well as instructions for persons with disabilities, mobility issues, pregnant women, mothers with infants and others who may be at work or at home.
Take the first step to preparing for an earthquake and other emergencies by signing up for emergency alerts from Fairfax Alerts.
The Great Southeast Shakeout Earthquake Drill
You can also be prepared for an earthquake by joining your neighbors across the southeastern U.S. who will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18 during the Great Southeast Shakeout earthquake drill.
You can join them by registering for the drill. Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes — wherever you live, work or travel.
Register for the Oct. 18 Southeast Shakeout earthquake drill online at www.shakeout.org/southeast.