Shop and Save During Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Posted at 1 p.m.

The 2015 hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Though hurricanes don’t typically make landfall in Fairfax County, the effects of high winds and flooding can wreak havoc on our community and businesses.

To assist in preparing for hurricane season, Virginia will hold its Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Equipment Sales Tax Holiday May 25-31.

During this time, items such as batteries, generators up to $1,000, chainsaws up to $340, smoke detectors, first-aid kits, flashlights and more will be tax-free. Check out the flyer below with details on items you can purchase — tax-free — or this list of tax-exempt items (PDF) from the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday 2015

The hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday is part of the statewide Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week, May 24-30, that coincides with National Hurricane Preparedness Week sponsored by the National Weather Service.

Learn more online or call our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711 for more details on the sales tax holiday, hurricane preparedness or other emergency preparedness related topics.

Health Officials Investigating Confirmed Measles Case

Posted at 5:35 p.m.

The Fairfax County Health Department and the District of Columbia Department of Health are investigating a confirmed case of measles in an adult with recent history of international travel.

The individual has been discharged from Inova Fairfax Medical Campus and is no longer contagious. Prior to diagnosis, the individual visited multiple locations in both Washington, D.C. and Fairfax County.

Public health workers are engaged in a coordinated effort to identify those who were in direct contact with the person with measles and are making the appropriate notifications. Out of an abundance of caution, the health departments are also informing people who may have been exposed during the time period prior to the diagnosis when the person was contagious, between May 10 and May 16, 2015.

People who were at the locations listed below, at the times indicated, may have been exposed to the measles virus and should call the health department in that jurisdiction to determine their risk for measles.

In Fairfax County, a call center has been established to address concerns and answer questions about measles. Anyone concerned about exposures in Fairfax County are encouraged to call 703-267-3511 between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. today and between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, May 20 and May 21.

For concerns about exposures in Washington, D.C., people should contact the District of Columbia Department of Health at 202-420-0199.

Preventative treatment may be recommended for those who were exposed and are unvaccinated and at high risk (including pregnant women, infants under the age of 12 months, and people with severely compromised immune systems). Please call the health department in your jurisdiction as soon as possible to be assessed for exposure risk.

Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus that is spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected individual. While few measles cases are reported in the United States, the disease is common in many parts of the world.

Symptoms of measles usually appear within 7 to 21 days after exposure and can include fever greater than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and cough, followed by a blotchy rash that appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. The disease is most severe in infants and adults.

People who have received at least one dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in the past are at very low risk of being infected with measles. Measles is easily preventable through safe and effective MMR vaccine. All members of the community who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to do so to protect themselves and others.

Residents who were present at any of the locations listed above during the exposure times should review their family’s vaccination history and call their health care provider if they experience any symptoms of measles. Please call ahead before going to the doctor’s office or the emergency room and tell them that you may have been exposed to measles.

If you or a family member has not received the MMR vaccination and you were present at one of the locations listed below during the exposure time, then please call either the Fairfax County Health Department or the D.C. Department of Health at the phone numbers listed.

For more information on measles, visit the Fairfax County Health Department at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd, the District of Columbia Department of Health at www.doh.dc.gov or Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.state.va.us.

Locations in Washington, D.C.:

Location Exposure Time Health Department to Call for Questions/Concerns
Embassy Suites
900 10th St., NW
Washington, D.C.
Sunday, May 10 through
Friday, May 15, All hours
District of Columbia Department of Health
202-420-0199
IFC Building
2121 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.
Monday, May 11
7 a.m.-2 p.m.
District of Columbia Department of Health
202-420-0199

Locations in Fairfax County, Va.:

Location Exposure Time Health Department to Call
Inova Fairfax Medical Campus
Emergency Department
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, Va.
Tuesday, May 12
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fairfax County HD
703-267-3511
Inova Fairfax Medical Campus
North Tower (Floors 6-11)
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, Va.
Friday, May 15 at 3:30 p.m. to Saturday,
May 16 at 3 p.m.
Fairfax County HD
703-267-3511
Inova Fairfax Medical Campus
North Tower (Lobby)
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, Va.
Friday, May 15, 3:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, May 16, 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Fairfax County HD
703-267-3511
Inova Fairfax Medical Campus
Women’s and Children’s Bldg.
(Ground Level & Basement)
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, Va.
Friday, May 15, 3:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, May 16, 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Fairfax County HD
703-267-3511
Woodburn Medical Park Building #2
3289 Woodburn Road
Annandale, Va.
Friday, May 15, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fairfax County HD
703-267-3511
The Shelby Apartments,
6200 N. Kings Highway Alexandria, Va.
Sunday, May 10, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday, May 15, 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
Fairfax County HD
703-267-3511

Be a Home HERO at One (or all) of Three May Outreach Events

Posted at 10 a.m.

Be a Home HeroOur Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is hosting several emergency preparedness volunteer opportunities this month.

Volunteers are invited to participate in a new outreach program — Be a Home HERO (Home Emergency Response Options) — that delivers emergency preparedness information and supplies to neighborhoods across Fairfax County.

Help your community get better prepared. Check out these events where you can be a Home HERO.

  • Emergency Information Bag Packing  – Volunteers are invited to pack emergency information bags from 5:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC), 4890 Alliance Drive, Fairfax. Volunteers will receive dinner, a t-shirt and a tour of the Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center. Register online at http://bit.ly/1DyowbK.
  • STEP Program Bag Packing – The Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program brings emergency preparedness to Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) fourth grade classrooms. Volunteers are invited to help pack student backpacks with emergency flashlights, blankets, homework assignments and other preparedness information. Volunteers will be provided drinks and snacks. The STEP bag packing effort will be held on Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at MPSTOC, 4890 Alliance Drive, Fairfax. Register at http://bit.ly/1HfWj0y.
  • Emergency Information Neighborhood Program  – Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna. Breakfast and lunch are provided! Register at http://bit.ly/1J6GxWu.

For more information about any of these events, contact OEM at 571-350-1000, TTY 711, or email oem-outreach@fairfaxcounty.gov.

National PrepareAthon Day is Tomorrow, Thursday, April 30

Posted at 10 a.m.

National PrepareAthon Day is tomorrow, Thursday, April 30. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reports that millions of residents across the country will take an action to prepare for emergencies.

If you would like to participate, but aren’t quite sure of how, the above FEMA graphic provides guidance with 10 things you can do. Don’t worry. You don’t have to do all 10 immediately, but try to accomplish as many as you can so that you and your family will be better prepared for any emergency.

America's PrepareAthon

 

Two Preparedness Events April 28 for Houses of Worship and Faith-Based Organizations

Posted at 11 a.m.

Worship Watch Meeting

Unfortunately, houses of worship are not immune to criminal activity. Common crimes targeted towards them include larceny, burglary, vandalism and arson.Worship Watch

Fairfax County Police are hosting a Worship Watch workshop, free of charge, tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28, from 6-9 p.m. at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 8304 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield. RSVP to attend the meeting. If you have questions or need more information, call 703-360-8928, TTY 711.

Worship Watch encourages congregants to become more involved in reducing the opportunity for crimes to occur on facility premises. Workshop attendees will receive crime prevention training, facility security assessments, information on how to receive crime alerts and community information, and other valuable crime prevention tools.

Fairfax County Police implemented this new program in February, modeled after Neighborhood Watch, aiming to help keep houses of worship safe and crime-free.

Webinar: Preparing Houses of Worship for Emergencies

The Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are hosting a webinar to prepare faith-based organizations for disaster.

The webinar — “Preparing Houses of Worship for Emergencies” — will provide faith-based and community organizations with critical local, state and national resources that can help get communities better prepared for disasters and emergencies.  Subject matter experts from emergency management, the faith-based and volunteer sectors, and the federal government will answer questions about engaging the faith-based community in disaster preparedness activities.

Preparing Houses of Worship for Emergencies will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28, from 2-3 (ET). Open this link to join in and watch the webinar.

 

Hazardous Weather Outlook This Afternoon; Severe Thunderstorms are Possible

Posted at 12:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Fairfax County and portions of the National Capital Region for this afternoon and evening, with thunderstorms likely late this afternoon and evening. According to the outlook, a few of the thunderstorms may become severe with a threat of damaging wind gusts, large hail and an isolated tornado.

Our Office of Emergency Management has been in contact with the local National Weather Service office, which predicts the severe weather will move into our area between 4-6 p.m.

New Severe Thunderstorm Risk Categories

To help us better understand thunderstorms — like today’s risk — the Storm Prediction Center has worked closely with National Weather Service (NWS) offices, social scientists, communication specialists, FEMA, forecasters and the general public, to arrive at a new five-category description of severe thunderstorm risks.

Understanding Severe Thunderstom Risk Categories
So for today’s storm, the below graphic from the Baltimore/Washington NWS office shows the affected areas and possible impacts of this afternoon’s weather.

Learn more about severe weather at www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/about.html#Severe.

In addition, remember to sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts, which can be sent to multiple email accounts as well as your cellphone(s).

Fairfax Alerts

Family Preparedness Webinar Thursday, April 16

Posted at 12:45 p.m.

Get ready for an exciting conversation on emergency preparedness for the entire family, presented by four women who have one title in common — mom.

These moms are well-known bloggers who will offer tips, actions and insights on how to get your family prepared for disasters. In addition, many of the preparedness actions discussed during the webinar will also qualify for participation in America’s PrepareAthon! (which, just like mom, wants you to be safe in case of an emergency).

Join the conversation on Thursday, April 16, at 2 p.m.

The webinar, “Easy Ways to Help Prepare Your Family for Disasters,” will feature preparedness information from:

  • Shelle Wells, blogger for Preparedness Mama.
  • Erica Mueller, blogger for Mom Prepares.
  • Tanya Ferraro, blogger for Bigger than Myself.
  • Shelly Lopez-Gray, blogger for Adventures of a Labor Nurse.

Register at http://bit.ly/1DuOd38. This webinar will offer closed captioning.

Don’t Forget This Morning’s Tornado Drill at 9:45 a.m.

Statewide Tornado Drill

Posted at 8:30 a.m.

Today is the day for the annual statewide tornado drill. It happens at 9:45 a.m. We hope you’ve registered, although it isn’t necessary to do so in order to participate in the drill.

This morning’s drill begins with the National Weather Service (NWS) sending a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts via the Emergency Alert System, simulating what you would hear during an actual tornado warning. Fairfax Alerts will also send an alert to begin the drill. (If you haven’t yet registered for Fairfax Alerts, it doesn’t take long — go ahead and sign up now.)

When the test tornado warning sounds or when you receive your Fairfax Alert message, you should move as quickly as possible to a safe area in a sturdy building. Safe areas are basements and interior rooms on the lowest level of a building such as bathrooms, closets or hallways. Once in the safe area, crouch down or sit on the floor facing down and cover your head with your hands. Also be sure to stay away from windows.

Twelve tornadoes impacted Virginia in 2014, causing numerous injuries and more than $700,000 in property damage. Tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning, and you need to know the drill. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives.

For more information about tornado safety and to register for this morning’s statewide tornado drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov.

 

Emergency Preparedness: Don’t Leave it to Luck

Posted at 9:15 a.m.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day — a time to wear green and celebrate.

But as Whitney Kazragis from our emergency management office demonstrates, St. Patrick’s Day can also be a great time to save some “green” while getting better prepared for any type of emergency — and without having to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Learn more about emergency preparedness; and be sure to sign up for emergency alerts for your inbox and cellphone from Fairfax Alerts.

Plan to Participate in the March 17 Statewide Tornado Drill

Posted at 9:45 a.m.

2015 Tornado Drill

Tornadoes can happen anywhere and at any time of year, making preparedness for these potentially deadly storms even more important. For example, Fairfax County had a couple of tornado watches and tornado warnings in 2014.

To be better prepared, businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals can practice taking cover from tornadoes by participating in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill Tuesday, March 17, at 9:45 a.m.

Registration for the tornado drill is not necessary, but you can learn more and show your support by signing up at www.ReadyVirginia.gov.

The annual drill is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service (NWS).

To start the tornado drill at 9:45 a.m. on March 17, the NWS will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning.

“Receiving a tornado warning as quickly as possible can make the difference between life and death,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “One of the fastest ways for people to get a tornado warning is by NOAA Weather Radio, which provides warning information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. However, cellphone apps such as Ready Virginia are also available that quickly provide critical warning information at little or no cost. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) also provide tornado and flash flood warnings via text message to any compatible cell within the warning area, even if you are visiting or just traveling through an affected area.”

For help in conducting a tornado drill and to register for next week’s statewide drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov.

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