Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Help Virginia Task Force 1: Spring Field Exercise

Virginia Task Force 1 is scheduled to have its Spring Field Exercise on April 28-30, 2008. This event simulates a full blown international deployment and they are looking for volunteers to assist the team as victims for search operations. This is an excellent opportunity to see how an Urban Search and Rescue team deploys its resources in the field. They are looking for folks who are able to offer a 4 hour block of time. If you are interested, please contact Steve Willey for more details. Please note this WILL count as a refresher.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Classes: Need Volunteers!!!

The new CERT classes are starting this week. Please review the calendar below. You’ll notice there are three classes, CERT 31, 32, and 33. CERT 31 is being taught at and by the City of Alexandria. We will not be involved in that except for the final exercise. We will need assistance with CERT 32 and 33. The dates we need help are:
a. May 7, May 8 for Triage
b. May 14, May 15 for Medical Operations
c. June 4, June 5 for Scenarios
d. June 8 for final exercise

You may come to any of the CERT 32 and 33 classes at the Fairfax Academy as a refresher if you’d like. Remember, you must refresh every calendar year in order to stay active. You can refresh performing any one of the following:
a. Attending an auditing single class currently being held.
b. Attending any single refresher class in the fall.
c. Being an actor/victim for a single class.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flood Safety Awareness Week: March 17- 21, 2008

Ooooh, we almost missed it! Very timely given the flooding in the midwest.

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

FEMA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service encourages citizens to know their flood hazards. National Flood Safety Awareness Week is intended to highlight some of the many ways floods can occur, the hazards associated with floods, and what you can do to save life and property.

For more information, please visit www.weather.gov/floodsafety/.

Additional Resources:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Classes Starting Up!

Next week, the classes that are happening at the Fire Academy are starting. Please review the calendar (at the bottom of the page) and see if you can help!

Also, we talk a lot in the beginning about the importance of the "customization" of your gear. If you have some products that you swear by (say, a great pair of safety goggles or kneepads), please leave a comment and a link or two attached to this posting so we can pass it on to our newest class members.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stargazer-An interesting way to keep in touch with others in an emergency

Hi folks,
Here's some information on the
Stargazer program.
To find out more, go to www.stargazer.org .
your volunteer PIO

From floods to fires, natural disasters are getting worse. What would you do if you couldn't get home, or had to leave home quickly? Would you have the medical and financial information you might need? Would your family know whom to call or where to find important papers, if something happened to you?

The Stargazer Safety kit

The nonprofit Stargazer Foundation has launched the BE REALLY READY campaign to help people be organized and take control in a crisis. The first thrust of this campaign is the Stargazer Safety Kit, a package of specially created, dynamic PDF forms that you can use to record and manage information you might need in an emergency. All you need is the free Adobe Reader to enter your information directly on these forms.

Stargazer Safety Kit The Safety Kit forms can be copied and saved, like any other file. After you have completed your forms, they can be printed, saved on your computer or removable storage device, emailed to others, or stored online, all under your control.
  • YOU enter your information on these specially created, dynamic PDF forms on your computer.
  • YOU store these dynamic forms on your computer or wherever you choose
  • NO ONE, including Stargazer, sees your information, unless you let them.

Help Yourself and Others

HELP YOURSELF: In this campaign, we want you to help yourself and your family first. Organizing your information is your responsibility. No one, including the government, can do it for you.

HELP OTHERS: Share the Safety Kit with your friends and colleagues. Email a copy of the special Zip folder containing the blank forms to your contacts.

Tell people to go to www.Stargazer.org to find out more about the program. From traditional word of mouth to online social networking, we need your help to spread the word.

HELP STARGAZER HELP OTHERS: Companies and organizations can make the Stargazer Safety Kit a free employee benefit, as well as share it with customers, partners, and the broader community. Larger entities can become sponsors, much like the sponsors of the Olympics. Contact us with possibilities and success stories.

We all have a stake in making our families safer, and in helping others to make the world a safer place. This campaign is a simple way for you to help yourself and to make a difference. Please HELP.
Sincerely, Stargazer - An Online Service for Social Good Art (JPEG) Arthur Bushkin
Chairman & CEO
Stargazer Foundation www.Stargazer.org
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Citizen Corps Council and Red Cross Opportunities for Fairfax County CERT Members

You may have heard that March is Red Cross Month!

Several local training and volunteer opportunties have been posted on the Citizen Corps Council blog.

We hope to see other CERT members at the free one-day Mass Care and Shelter Operations training in April.

And for those interested in operation centers, you might want to check out the Disaster Duty Officer volunteer opportunity.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Virginia Tornado Preparedness Day is March 18th!

VDEM News Release

Virginia Department of Emergency Management
10501 Trade Court, Richmond, VA 23236

CONTACT: Bob Spieldenner (804) 897-6510
FOR RELEASE AT WILL - March 3, 2008

Tornado Drills Save Lives in Virginia

-- Tornado Preparedness Day is March 18 --

RICHMOND, VA -- The recent tornadoes in Tennessee and Alabama show how important it is that everyone knows what to do during a tornado warning. Virginians will have a chance to practice tornado safety during the statewide tornado drill on March 18. Last year in Virginia, more than 210,000 people reported performing their own drills during the annual statewide tornado drill.

"We've seen the damage a tornado can cause with little or no warning," said Michael Cline, state coordinator of emergency management. "There is no doubt in my mind that these drills save lives every year."

Unlike hurricane season, there is no such thing as a "tornado season," and no part of the Commonwealth is safe from experiencing a tornado. Tornadoes have struck in every part of Virginia in every month of the year.

"Planning where to go and what to do at a moment's notice is the most important thing people can do to prepare for a tornado," said Bill Sammler, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service. "Receiving warnings via NOAA Weather Radio can give you the life-saving time you need to get to safe shelter, or reach a safe place in your home, school or business."

In 2006, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration distributed approximately 80,000 weather alert radios to public schools across the country. Homes and businesses should also purchase their own radios, which transmit NWS severe weather watches and warnings automatically, 24 hours a day.

"If you are asleep or don't happen to have a television or radio turned on when a severe weather warning is issued, weather alert radios are always on and ready to sound an alarm," said Cline. "It is the most effective way to monitor severe weather watches and warnings at any time of day."

VDEM and NWS recommend designating a tornado shelter in an interior room on the lowest level of the building, away from windows. A basement is best, but if there is no basement, choose an interior bathroom, closet or other enclosed space on the lowest level of the building as possible. Tell everyone where the designated shelter is.

To conduct a drill at home or work:

  • Announce the start of the drill.
  • Participants should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted nearby. They should move as quickly as possible to the designated tornado shelter.
  • Once people reach safe areas they should crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover their heads with their hands.
  • Once everyone has reached safe shelter, announce that the tornado has passed and the drill is over.

After the drill, perform an assessment. Determine whether the shelter you chose was large enough for everyone, easy to get to and uncluttered. Remember that tornadoes strike at all hours, and you might not have the benefit of being fully awake when a tornado warning comes.

Virginians should also know how to survive a tornado when they are not at home, school or work. Those caught outside during a tornado should find sturdy shelter and, if there is none, lie flat in the lowest spot possible (such as a ditch). Those in a car or mobile home should leave it immediately and find sturdy shelter or lie flat in the lowest depression in the ground. Those in large enclosures like a mall or auditorium should seek shelter elsewhere in the building, such as a restroom or interior hallway.

To date, schools and state and local government have registered nearly 100,000 participants in the statewide tornado drill, March 18 at 9:45 a.m. Families and businesses are also encouraged to visit www.vaemergency.com to register and learn more about tornado safety. �

your volunteer PIO