Volunteers Sought for WMATA Full-scale Emergency Exercise Nov. 4

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

The Washington Area Metro Transit Authority (WMATA) is seeking volunteers for a full-scale emergency exercise on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail Station, 6880 Frontier Drive, Springfield.

One of the main components of the exercise is the evacuation of a train on the roadway. Volunteers involved in the train evacuation could be on the train up to 60 minutes when the third rail power is de-energized to begin the exercise. Volunteers without mobility concerns should expect to access the roadway and walk back to an area of safety under the direction of the fire department.

Volunteers will act out the role of a Metro rider who is on the train at the time of the emergency and will be able to see first-hand how regional emergency responders handle the situation.

WMATA anticipates the volunteers arriving at 6:30 a.m., with the exercise beginning between 8:15-8:30 a.m. Volunteer participation should be over no later than noon, with the exercise completed no later than 2 p.m.

All volunteers will be required to sign a waiver in order to participate in the exercise. Participation is limited to those 13 years of age and older. Anyone younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Volunteers will receive free parking (parking Information will be shared prior to the exercise), an ID badge for the exercise as well as refreshments on the morning of the exercise and water during the exercise. In addition to the opportunity to provide feedback after the exercise, WMATA also can sign for or provide documentation for volunteers who require it for certifications or program participation, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other service organizations — just be sure to bring your form!

If you and/or a family member are interested in participating, register each person at WMATA full scale exercise Nov2018.

If You See Something, Say or Send Something

Posted at 11 a.m.

There have been numerous incidents in the last several days of suspicious packages being mailed to prominent officials or reports of unattended or suspicious packages.

We all play a role in protecting our community and each other.

One key way is to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings – from your neighborhood to a mall, and from public transportation to a public venue such as a stadium. Remember, “If you see something, say (or send) something.”

How to Report

If there’s an ongoing emergency, call or text 9-1-1.

If you see something suspicious, here’s how to report it:

When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to give the most accurate description possible, including:

  • Brief description of the activity.
  • Date, time and location of the activity.
  • Physical identifiers of anyone you observed.
  • Descriptions of vehicles.
  • Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone.

Protect Your Every Day

Homeland security begins with hometown security. It’s all about empowering everyday residents to protect their neighbors and the communities they call home by recognizing and reporting suspicious activity.

Fairfax Alerts

Don’t Forget ~ It’s Time to Shake Out and Not Freak Out!

Great Southeast Shakeout Earthquake Drill 2018

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.

Drop, Cover and Hold On

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.

Fairfax Alerts

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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.

Cybersecurity month 2018


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.

Cybersecurity Tips

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.

Cybersecurity Chat

SBA-online cybersecurity chat

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.

Cybersecurity Training

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).

Shared Responsibility

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!

Nationwide WEA and EAS Test on Wednesday, Oct. 3

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.