Register Now for Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

Posted at 10:45 a.m.

At 10:20 a.m. next Thursday, Oct. 20, the Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill will be held. The annual drill is the time for us to practice our drop, cover and hold on skills in case we were to encounter an actual earthquake.

Over 1.2 million Virginia residents registered to participate last year. And Fairfax County has always led the way in registered participants — so let’s do so again this year. Register now to participate in this year’s drill.

Southeast ShakeOut Drill Oct. 20, 2016, 10:20 a.m.

Drop, Cover and Hold On

Drop, cover and hold on is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes. The ShakeOut drill is our opportunity to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes and learn what to do — and what not to do.

  • Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.
  • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand.
    • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter.
    • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).
    • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs
  • Hold on until shaking stops.
    • Under shelter, hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.
    • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.Drop, Cover and Hold On for earthquake safety

Virginia Earthquake History

Virginia and much of the East Coast experienced a widely-felt earthquake at 1:51 p.m. eastern daylight time on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was located near Cuckoo, in Louisa County. With a magnitude of 5.8, this is the largest Virginia earthquake recorded by seismometers. More than 80 aftershocks have been reported by the USGS and the area is currently being monitored by geophysicists from several leading science institutions.

The U.S. Geological Survey is now reporting that this is the most widely-felt earthquake in U.S. history.

Fairfax Alerts

If you’re not already registered for Fairfax Alerts, which sends emergency alert messages via text, email and phone, sign up today. You’ll not only get severe weather alerts, but also a reminder message about next week’s earthquake drill. Sign up at

Update on the Track of Hurricane Matthew

Posted at 3:40 p.m.

There has been a significant change in the forecasted track of Hurricane Matthew — and that’s good news for us!

Hurricane Matthew Update

A ridge over the eastern part of the country and a storm coming across the Midwest should push Hurricane Matthew to the southeast of the Mid-Atlantic region. The current forecast has some rain and wind over the area Friday night into Saturday but this is not related to Hurricane Matthew. The storm is still a few days away so the forecast could change again, but the weather models are now starting to converge on this being a low likelihood of any major impact for the region.

Fairfax County Weather Forecast

Overview and Impacts:

  • Hurricane Matthew was positioned just north of Cuba this morning. The official track from the National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Matthew moving northwest to the Florida coast by Friday morning. Matthew is then expected to move north-northeastward and near the Carolina coastlines by Saturday night.
  • The latest forecast guidance has Hurricane Matthew moving northeast and then east from the Carolina coastline Saturday night into Sunday night. This keeps the track of Matthew south of the Mid-Atlantic and direct impacts from Hurricane Matthew are no longer expected.
  • Showers are expected as early as Friday ahead of a cold front. Locally heavy rainfall is possible along and near the Blue Ridge mountains however flooding is not expected at this time. Showers will continue through Saturday when the cold front crosses the region.

Watch the track with the National Hurricane Center’s interactive tracking map.

Our emergency management office will continue to monitor the storm. For updates, follow this blog and be sure to sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

Mount Vernon District Disaster Recovery Training

Posted at 10:30 a.m.

Community Collaboration for Community ResiliencyIn times of disaster, Fairfax County can’t recover without community partners and especially the partnership of Fairfax County houses of worship. Mount Vernon District faith communities, nonprofits, homeowner associations, PTA’s and other groups are invited to come together to receive important information and training.

  • Seminar: Thursday, Oct. 13 — The goal of the seminar is to connect neighbors and educate organizations about the disaster recovery efforts in Fairfax County and how each community partner can contribute to the process. Explore how local groups can form Community Resiliency Groups (CRGs) for their community’s recovery after a disaster. The Mount Vernon District faith communities will be an integral part of the CRGs, so you’ll want to appoint several key members to represent your congregation.
  • Exercise: Thursday, Nov. 3 — The Mount Vernon District community groups and houses of worship will meet again and practice how they will work together in response to a local disaster. This will be a facilitated table top exercise, designed by the FEMA National Exercise Program, that creates a simulated disaster environment where we test and practice the information acquired from the seminar.

Both events will be held at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 7836 Fordson Road, Alexandria and begin at 6 p.m. with dinner (free) followed by the seminar at 6:30 p.m. Ample time will be given for question and answer (Q&A) and discussion during the evening sessions. Both evenings will end at 8:30 p.m.

Register online at https:// Please advise us of any ADA accommodations needed or food requirements when you register. For any questions, call 703-324-7608, TTY 711.

CERT Training

Another training opportunity is available from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training classes begin on Monday, Nov. 7, at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy. There are two sessions each week on Mondays and Wednesdays that run until Dec. 7. The class is 28 hours in length, plus the final practical exercise. Learn more on the Fire and Rescue blog.

Hurricane Matthew Preparedness

Posted at 11:45 a.m.

While Hurricane Matthew is still approximately 7 days away from potentially impacting the Mid-Atlantic region, time will move quickly, especially if the storm continues north on its current track (shown below).

This update is designed to raise awareness for both businesses with large scale/complex responsibilities (major construction projects, major outdoor events, etc.) and residents of the storm’s potential arrival timing.

Overview and Impacts:

  • Hurricane Matthew is currently positioned over western Haiti. The official track from the National Hurricane Center tracks this system across the Bahamas and towards Florida by Thursday night. Matthew is then expected to move north-northeastward and near the Carolina coastlines by Saturday night.
  • The latest forecast guidance has shifted the track of Hurricane Matthew further west and the potential exists for the Mid-Atlantic region to see impacts as early as Saturday.
  • A track into the Mid-Atlantic would bring the threats of tropical storm force winds, freshwater flooding and coastal flooding to the region.
  • Confidence remains low on the exact track as well as the timing of when the system may potentially impact the area.
Matthew is currently a category 4 storm although some slight weakening due to its interaction with land over the next 24 hours it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days.

Matthew is currently a category 4 storm although some slight weakening due to its interaction with land over the next 24 hours it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days.

Take time now to review your organization’s commitments/activities for late this week through the weekend to identify if there are any special risks that need to be addressed should the storm track towards us. Now is the opportunity to give yourself time to think about what needs to be done and to start working through your pre-storm checklists.

Our Office of Emergency Management will be monitoring the storm closely and will pass on any relevant updates. Share this blog post with friends and others in your workplace (and ask that they subscribe) and sign up for free severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

Phone Outage Affecting Burke Area

Updated at 4:10 p.m.

The Verizon FIOS outage in the Burke area has been resolved.  Normal service to 9-1-1 has been restored.

Posted at 3:40 a.m.

Verizon is experiencing an outage of Fios landline telephone service in the Burke area that may affect residents in the vicinity of Burke in contacting 9-1-1 or any telephone number from their Verizon Fios service.

If you need 9-1-1 in the Burke area, please use a wireless cellphone to contact 9-1-1.  Text to 9-1-1 is also an option to reach 9-1-1.

Verizon informs the county this is a problem in the vicinity of Burke and that it may be resolved by 9 a.m.