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.

It’s Not Too Late to Register for the Statewide Tornado Drill

Posted at 11 a.m.

The Feb. 24 severe storm system that spawned eight tornadoes, caused five deaths and inflicted damage to more than 400 structures is a stark reminder that tornadoes do occur in Virginia.

Since tornadoes can happen anywhere at any time, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service hold a yearly tornado drill, which is fast approaching — Tuesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m. The drill is aimed to make everyone familiar with what to do in case a tornado were to strike your neighborhood or office building.

In this video, Sandi Fox of our emergency management office explains why you should be a part of this year’s drill.

Learn more about the drill and register to participate at www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes, however, registration is not necessary to participate.

Metro Rail Closed Wednesday; Options to Get Around

Metro will close the rail system all day Wednesday, March 16. What are some options to get around? Check out our Fairfax County Government NewsCenter for full details.

Daylight Saving Time Starts This Weekend — A Good Time to Check Smoke Alarms and Emergency Supply Kits

Posted at 4:30 p.m.

Daylight Saving Time is the time to change your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and restock your emergency supply kit.

This weekend — specifically at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13 — Daylight Saving Time begins. That means getting up to change the time on our clocks and watches, or if you’re like most folks, just change the time before you go to bed tonight.

Daylight Saving Time is often confusing. Just remember the old saying, “Spring forward, Fall back,” which means we lose an hour of sleep tonight as we move our clocks forward (spring) one hour.

It shouldn’t take too long to change the time — unless you’re a horologist with a huge collection of clocks — so we’d like to ask you to take a couple of preparedness steps along with changing your clocks.

For years, fire officials have encouraged us to change the batteries in our smoke alarms every six months, and what better reminder than Daylight Saving Time. And since it only takes a couple of minutes to change your batteries, go ahead and take a few more minutes and check your emergency supplies.

So before you go to bed tonight, here’s a checklist to make sure you’re prepared for any possible emergency — as well as not oversleeping:

  1. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms.
  2. Check your emergency supply kits (both in the home and vehicles) to make sure they’re fully stocked. If not, make a quick list of what you’ll need to do to get them ready — and then buy those supplies tomorrow or next week.
  3. Turn your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed.

For more information on smoke alarms, visit our fire and rescue department online. And for more on emergency supply kits and being prepared for all hazards, visit our emergency information page or our emergency management office.

 

Are You Registered for the March 22 Statewide Tornado Drill?

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

Just last month (Feb. 24), four people were killed in Virginia during the state’s first deadly February twisters on record.

Did you know that registration for Virginia’s statewide tornado drill — Tuesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m. — is now open. Have you registered yet?

Tornado Drill 2016

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Be prepared to act quickly.

  • There were 67 tornadoes in Virginia from 2011 to 2013.
  • 12 tornadoes occurred in Virginia in 2014.
  • Seven tornadoes were recorded in Virginia in 2015.

When it comes to tornadoes, there’s no such thing as a “tornado season.” Tornadoes can strike anywhere, anytime — and you need to know the drill. That’s the reason the March 22 tornado drill is so important.

Sign up today as an individual, or register your family’s participation, your school or your business.

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