Tag Archive | prepare

8 Ways to Prepare for Significant Rain and Flooding

(Updated Oct. 2, 8:40 a.m.)

There’s a lot of rain on tap until Saturday, which could cause some serious flooding situations.

There are two storms to keep in mind:

  1. Friday to Saturday: The National Weather Service is predicting 2 to 3 inches of rain with likely flooding; flood watches are now in effect. The heaviest rain is expected between 2 and 8 p.m. Friday.
  2. Hurricane Joaquin: The path of the hurricane appears to be out to sea rather than on land; keep an eye on weather forecasts.

Here are 8 ways to get ready for the Friday to Saturday rain:

#1: Turn Around, Don’t Drown

If you’re out amid all of the rain that’s coming, we know this message may sound a little funny, but swift water rescues happen in our county when roads flood. Don’t drive through any flooded roads — “turn around, don’t drown.”

#2: Kids and Creeks

Do not allow children to play near creeks or other bodies of water that may rise rapidly. Many of our local waterways and creeks will likely experience some flooding, so keep kids away.

#3: Storm Drains and Gutters

It’s fall, so many of our storm drains and gutters are covered in leaves. Clear leaves from storm drains, gutters and other areas that, if clogged, could cause flooding.  If you live within a homeowner’s association or apartment complex check in to see if they plan to clear common areas.

#4: Move Valuables to Higher Ground

If you live in low-lying areas that have flooded before, move vehicles to higher ground. Try to avoid parking under trees when possible because the saturated ground may lead to downed trees. Move any valuables from the basement, especially if your basement has flooded before. Take pictures of your property before the storms to help validate any insurance claims.

#5: Sandbags

If you think you may need sandbags to protect your property from flooding, especially in areas that historically flood, please visit a local hardware store and get supplies there. Fairfax County does not provide sandbags.

#6: Fairfax Alerts and Wireless Emergency Alerts

Be sure to sign up for Fairfax Alerts and get the latest local watches, warnings and weather updates sent to your various devices. If you own a smartphone and if a dangerous situation warrants based on your location, then you will receive Wireless Emergency Alerts, which is separate from Fairfax Alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts come with a distinct ringtone and vibration pattern in order to get your attention. Pay attention to these alerts, which are usually sent by the National Weather Service.

#7: Supplies and Gas

Get your supplies – water, medicines, canned food, cash, pet food and more. View suggestions for emergency supply kits. In advance of all of this weather, it’s always a good idea to get a full tank of gas if you own a car.

#8: Phone Numbers

Save important phone numbers to your phone or write them down, especially your power company. Always report a power outage.

Please share this information with your family, friends and co-workers so our whole community can be better prepared.

Stay Informed, Be Vigilant, Prepare

In the aftermath of this week’s explosions at the Boston Marathon and the reported Ricin-tainted mail to elected officials, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. Officials in the National Capital Region encourage residents to take three simple steps:

  1. Stay Informed
  2. Be Vigilant
  3. Prepare

Stay Informed

First, know that there is no information of any specific threats to Fairfax County or the National Capital Region at this time.  Here are numerous ways to ensure timely receipt when there is emergency information disseminated:

Be Vigilant

Always be aware of your surroundings – from your workplace to your neighborhood to a mall to public transportation. Remember, “If you see something, say something.” 

Write down or save the hotline phone number to report suspicious activities. If you cannot easily locate someone in uniform, call one of the following numbers:

  • Washington, D.C.: 202-962-2121
  • Maryland: 1-800-492-TIPS (8477)
  • Virginia: 1-877-4VA-TIPS (482-8477)

For imminent threats, call 9-1-1.

You can also submit information through online forms through Virginia’s Fusion Center.


Mobile devices are an important way to stay informed and connected before, during and after an emergency. Here are some tips to prepare yourself and your mobile device; more information is online:

  • Communicate with friends and family via text, email, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Texting takes less bandwidth than phone calls and is often the best way to get through to each other in an emergency.
  • Make sure your mobile phone has an electric charger, inverter or solar charger.
  • If you lose power, you can charge your cellphone in your car. Just be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place (remove it from the garage) and do not go to your car until any danger has passed. You can also listen to your car radio for important news alerts.
  • If you do not have a cellphone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.
  • Save important phone numbers to your phone.
  • Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.

You should also prepare simple plans such as a Family Communications Plan and emergency contact cards for your children. Fairfax County residents can also create a family emergency plan or a business emergency plan at ReadyNoVa.org

Stay Informed, Be Vigilant, Prepare

This week’s events should remind us all that emergencies can and do occur at any time and in any location. The best thing to do to ensure your safety is to take these simple actions – stay informed, be vigilant and prepare – NOW!

If You See Something, Say Something

Posted 4:37 p.m.

In the aftermath of today’s explosions at the Boston Marathon, we urge you to be vigilant.

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

Write down or save to your phone Virginia’s hotline phone number to report suspicious activities – 1-877-482-8477. You can also submit information through an online form.

Additional tips to consider:

  • Move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior.
  • Do not accept packages from strangers and do no not leave luggage unattended.
  • Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
  • Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on such as electricity, telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs and Internet transactions.
  • Most importantly, stay calm, be patient and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.


Are You Registered for the Great Southeast ShakeOut Yet?

Posted at 3:51 p.m.

Join your friends and co-workers who plan to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” in the first-ever Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill this Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m. Governor Bob McDonnell also has proclaimed the Oct. 18 as Earthquake ShakeOut Day in Virginia.

The ShakeOut will occur wherever you are — home, school, work or play — simultaneously in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C. You can participate by practicing what you should do if an earthquake strikes so that you and your family will be better prepared.

Learn more and register yourself, your family, your school, your office and your organization for the ShakeOut drill at www.shakeout.org/southeast.

Unfortunately, many of us do not know the safe response to an earthquake.  Emergency management and preparedness experts agree that Drop, Cover and Hold On is what we should do to reduce injuries and deaths during earthquakes. 

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.  Do not try to run to another room to get under a table.  Earthquakes occur without warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. Drop, Cover and Hold On immediately.

Don’t run outside. Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous because the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by falling bricks, glass and other building materials. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.

Register for the ShakeOut at www.shakeout.org/southeast. For more information, contact our Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

Drop, cover and Hold On - Participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut on Oct. 18, 2012, at 10:18 a.m.

Get Where You Need to Be: Fairfax Prepares Day 29

Posted 8:05 p.m.

day 29 iconWe’ve waited 29 days to talk about — snow. Yes, the white stuff and its associated frozen version are likely around the corner. As we know from experience, our transportation patterns may need to change in response to snowstorms.

By staying off the roads during the worst of the winter weather, departments of transportation are more easily able to access roads that need treatment, snow plows can more freely clear roads and get to areas needing plowing and public safety officials can respond more quickly to residents in need of emergency services.

It may require you to take a couple of hours of personal leave during the winter, but leaving early enough to avoid bad weather and traffic gridlock caused by slippery road conditions is worth the investment. Thinking strategically about your travel and where you really need to be will require some planning and thought.

The phrase to keep in mind: Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: With winter on the horizon, think about your commute. Do you have alternate routes home in case there’s a need to modify your path? Think about, explore and plan for alternate routes now as we enjoy fall weather.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.


  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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