Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reston District Station Open House

On September 13, 3 members of the Herndon/Reston CERT sponsored a table at the Reston District Police Station Open House. Jack, Susy and Lani were providing information to the public by passing out pamphlets and the OEM CDs. A few people showed strong interest in becoming CERT members, which is always a bonus! Thanks to Tropical Storm Hannah, many people were interested in how to become better prepared, regardless of the disaster.
During the Open House, it seems that Sparky was captured by Animal Control for "allegedly" not having his tags updated!!

Once everything was settled, Sparky posed with the CERT members.

Also at the Open House, FCFD brought out various equipment trucks such as the ladder truck and Hazmat unit. The police station also sponsored a food drive by requesting the public to bring canned goods to fill up a police car. At the end of the Open House, the car was filled up to the windows with food to be donated. There were also various displays with the Medivac helicopter police boat and seized cars and motorcycles and rides for the children.

Monday, September 29, 2008

CERT community outreach events coming up and greetings to our new community outreach coordinator!

Hi folks!
First off, I want to introduce our new community outreach coordinator, Judy from CERT 29. Judy will be organizing the community outreach events and asking for help with them. Judy will have an email address up very shortly, in the meantime you can send things to me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org as needed. I'll still be your favorite volunteer PIO :); but I'll be more in the background doing other exciting things. Welcome aboard Judy!
Folks, show CERT and Judy your support for CERT by participating in an upcoming community outreach event. They're fun to do and help CERT gain new members. These events also raise interest in personal and family disaster preparedness among our fellow citizens.

Here are the community outreach events coming up in the next few weeks. Grab your running shoes folks, we are going to be busy!

Saturday, October 4th (this coming Saturday)-Fall for Fairfax event, at the county Government Center from 9am to 6pm.
CERT has two roles in this event; these being manning the CERT booth in the safety island area; and supporting EMS operations at the event. CERT 29's Judy and CERT 14's Barbara will be handling the EMS support duties.
We could still use some help at the CERT booth though. If you would like to come out for a few hours and "talk CERT" to the community, please drop an email to pio@fairfaxcountycert.org. I need your name, an email address and your CERT class number.

The next Saturday is where we are going to need LOTS of CERT help-take a look.

Saturday, October 11th, 11am to 1pm-Herndon/Reston CERT team members will be at the town of Herndon public safety day with a CERT display. Our CERT trainer Donna (IC for Herndon/Reston CERT)
said she has all the people she needs for this event.

Saturday, October 11th-Fairfax County fire and rescue department open house day, 9am to 4pm.
CERT will be in four (4 ! ) fire stations on this day with displays, CERT handouts and CERT freebies (crank up LED flashlights and the nifty new CERT refrigerator magnets!)
Here are the stations we are going to be in, and who has signed up to help so far.

Station #2 Vienna-9am-4pm.
So far, Steven from CERT 32 has tentatively agreed to help. We need more help at this station folks.

Station #14-Burke-9am-4pm
James from CERT 32 and Kevin from CERT 20 are handling this station. We're good here!

Station # 17-Centreville-8am to 4pm
Folks, please note the time change. At this station, we need to be on site at 8am.
We need helpers for this station, folks.

Station #1-McLean-9am to 4pm
Judy, our new outreach coordinator will be working this station. But, she needs help.

The fire and rescue department gives CERT instructor help; use of the academy for CERT 2 training, and support at many other levels. We need to show them OUR support on this day. Will you come out to help? If your'e interested please email pio@fairfaxcountycert.org with your name, email address and CERT class number.
WOW! That's FIVE ! community outreach events in ONE day. I don't know if you all have noticed, but our CERT outreach events are getting ever larger and more exciting. Folks, we really need YOUR help to get the message of CERT and preparedness out to our neighbors.

The next event (still tentative at this point, I'm waiting on confirmation) might be having a CERT booth at the new NOAA National weather service office opening day in Sterling, VA. This would take place on Saturday October 18th and Sunday, October 19th. This one is still in the works folks, as soon as we get confirmation we'll get the info out to you. Even if CERT does not participate in this one, I do know that as part of the opening day festivities, free SKYWARN weather spotter training classes will be held. Here is a weblink for you on this event:


On October 16th, CERT will be speaking at the Neighborhood Watch new member training session. This will be at 7pm at the Fair Oaks station of the Fairfax co. police department. If you have attended any of the CERT refreshers recently (you DID go through a CERT refresher, didn't you?) members of the police department have spoken to us about joining the Neighborhood Watch program. On this evening, members of CERT get to talk about joining theCERT program to the neighborhood watch folks.

CERT is a growing, lively and vital program. With your help, CERT will continue to help our neighbors in its own unique way. Come on, if you haven't tried working an outreach event, give it a try.

your volunteer PIO

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Upcoming CERT classes need victims

CERT class 34 begins on October 8th at the Fairfax Fire and Rescue Academy from 1900-2230. There are several classes that need victims. These are October 29 (Triage); November 5 (Medical Operations); November 19 (Disaster Scenarios) and the BIG KAHUNA- November 22 The Full Scale Exercise.

Come on out and join the fun. Maybe you will learn some costume ideas from the 10/29 exercise for Halloween.

Always wear grubby clothes that can get dirty, ripped or stained, good shoes and bring water.

Drop a line to actors@fairfaxcountycert.org to volunteer or if you have questions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Herndon Emergency Preparedness Panel Discussion

Lani Y. from CERT 4 represented Fairfax County CERT on an Emergency Preparedness Panel last night in Herndon VA. Other members of the panel included representatives from the Herndon Police, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Fairfax County Health Department Medical Reserve Corp, Loudon County OEM, and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).

Each of the panel members talked briefly about their organization and then fielded many questions from the audience. The entire discussion was filmed by Herndon Community Television (www.hctv.org) to be shown at a later date.

Kudos to Lani who did a fantastic job representing the Fairfax County CERT program.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A CERT training opportunity for you

Here's a training opportunity for you if interested.Thanks to E-C from CERT 12 for passing the info along. FYI-this does not count as a CERT refresher.
your volunteer PIO

Good afternoon, on Saturday the 27 of September, the Washington
Metropolitan Transit Authority will host its annual training day at the
Carmen Turner Training Facility in Landover.
The training will commence at
0900 hours. The address is
3500 Pennsy Drive in Landover Maryland.
Anyone is welcome.
We will have a guest speaker, and Chuck Novak and Ron Bodmer from the office of
Emergency Management. Following this, we will conduct and emergency
evacuation of train and conduct a walkthru of our rollover rig. The day
should last 3-4 hours and refreshments will be provided. Please feel free
to pass this e mail. Thank you and I hoope
to see you all there.

Lt. Earl P. Brown
Metro Transit Police

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our CERT victims-a victim's perspective

Hi folks,
I wanted to pass this article on to you. This article appears in a local sorority newsletter; and was written by a victim from the July 19th Herndon HS mass casualty drill. In this drill, CERT members and others invited by CERT participated as victims for the fire and rescue department. This person clearly had a positive experience through playing victim; they gained new perspectives on response operations, CERT and disasters in general.
Our CERT victim actor coordinator, Kevin from CERT 20 works really hard to get victim actors for a variety of exercises and drills. He's the one there an hour before a drill starts to ensure everything is "just right." During the drill or exercise, he's a bouncing rubber ball; going back and forth to ensure victims are safe, comfortable and accounted for. Through his efforts, these three sorority sisters had a great time, learned things and are looking at taking CERT training.
If you see Kevin, give him a big "attaboy!" for his efforts. You rock, Kevin.
your volunteer PIO

It started out like any social would. Our sisters Kiki, Tracie, Betsy, Janet, and legacy Crystal were at a high school football game. Our team had just made a touch down, and then tragedy struck—literally. A man lost control of his car while driving his son to the game, running into the bleachers and scattering injured fans everywhere. Kiki and Tracie were no where to be found. Janet was frantically searching for her daughter Crystal. Meanwhile Betsy was trapped under the rubble with a head injury, a broken leg, and broken ribs that made every breath and moan painful.

Welcome to a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Disaster Drill. Your sorority Sisters are fine. For some of us, this was our second drill, and we are looking forward to many more in the future.

Emergency "First Responders" need to have practice in case there ever is a terrible disaster, like our scenario. They utilize "citizen actors" to come out in their most beat up clothes to be "moulaged"—made up to have ghastly looking fake injuries with the aid of fake blood, putty, some duct tape (seriously!), and props.

The only real requirements for a "citizen actor" are to be able to follow directions, tolerate being outside in heat, cold, rain, or snow, and to be able to ham it up to simulate a victim in a real disaster. Children over the age of 9 are welcome to join in as long as they have a parent or other suitable chaperone with them.

It's like going to a horror movie in that you get caught up in the drama in it, knowing all along that you are actually safe. We were coached ahead of time on what to expect, and there were non-drill participants constantly checking on us.

The service part of being a "citizen actor" is apparent—"first responders" need to have practice, and there isn't any way they can get it without living, sometimes screaming, people on which to simulate rescues. What may be less apparent are the valuable things that the "citizen actors" get back. The drill is a lot of fun—sisters will be comparing stories for some time to come. It is an opportunity to get to know first responders who may some day be helping you out in an emergency. Maybe the most important thing is getting a sense of what will happen in case of a real disaster—for instance, did you know that when you are screaming in fear and pain that first responders will not stop to comfort you? They will pass you by and attend to someone who is unconscious. After all, if you can scream, you are obviously breathing.

You too can join in the fun and the "give back" to your community. All you have to do is send an email to Kevin at actors@fairfaxcountycert.org and he will let you know when and where the next drill will be. Better yet, consider taking the CERT (community emergency response teams) training. CERT members are citizens like you and your sorority sisters who are prepared to be first responders in the event of a massive community disaster when fire and rescue personnel would be overwhelmed. Several are considering taking this training. Why don't you join us?

Monday, September 22, 2008

CERT community outreach-the week in review

Hi folks!
CERT community outreach has been BUSY these past few weeks! Here's a recap of some of the events we have attended recently in support of national preparedness month.
Wednesday, September 10th-Your volunteer PIO got the chance to speak to the Faith communities in action meeting. This is a group of leaders from all the different churches in the county, there were probably 100 people in attendance from all faiths. I gave a short talk on the CERT program, with emphasis on the new CERT "basic" program for groups wanting to take the mobile, volunteer instructor taught version of CERT. Thanks to CERT 23's David, who came out to help set up the display and take pictures. Thanks to CERT Lewis as well, for getting us the opportunity to speak at the meeting.

Saturday, September 13th-CERT had an informational booth set up at the Centreville Day fall festival. We talked to people about the CERT program and handed out information on disaster preparedness. It was a good event; we were in a prime display location and had a good bit of interest in CERT. Folks, it was HOT out there, but getting preparedness information to our fellow neighbors was worth it. A big "YOU ROCK" goes out to James from CERT 32 for helping out. He covered the event until I could get off work that day. He had never set up the CERT display before, but got CERT checked in, got us a prime display space, and fielded questions like a pro! Nice job James!
On the same day, Lani from CERT4 had a CERT display set up at the county police department Reston district's open house. As always this is a popular event and well attended by the public. Nice job!

Saturday, September 20th-CERT had a booth set up at Groveton Baptist church in Alexandria. The church had its first ever "fun day", and it WAS fun. We had a prime booth location (in the hall on the way to the free food they were giving out) and we got to chat about CERT to lots of interested people from the south county area. The church treated us like kings too; this was a great event. Their event was rousing success, and we'll be back there next year!

This was just one week's worth of community outreach events. This week we go to the FDA emergency preparedness fair in Alexandria. This event is Tuesday September 22nd, and should be another good event to promote Fairfax County CERT and disaster preparedness.
Don't miss out on all the fun! We have more events coming up ! Community outreach is vital to getting new CERT members, and helping teach our neighbors about disaster preparedness. Want to help? Contact me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org if you want to participate in future outreach events!

your volunteer PIO

Can You Find the Fairfax County CERT members?

In the new National CERT Newsletter?


Hint - there are two of them to find!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Hi folks!
I literally got this information two seconds ago......
The fire department drill, scheduled for tomorrow starting at 7am at Mount Vernon high school has just been CANCELLED. It will be rescheduled for another time.
Thank you to all of those who offered to participate! And, if you want, you can come help at the Groveton Baptist church event tomorrow from 11am to 2pm. Contact me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org.

your volunteer PIO

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CERT basic-mentioned in local paper AND the first national CERT newsletter!

Hi folks!
Check out the link below. The (front page!) article talks about the new CERT basic program, being taught in the Herndon/Reston area. Check out the article!


Another interesting link here for you as well:

Forwarded from the National CERT Office:

The National CERT Office is pleased to announce the first quarterly issue of the CERT National Newsletter. We are excited to share with the CERT community stories and information on local CERT activations, training and exercises that are happening across the country. We hope you enjoy this first issue. The newsletter is posted on the CERT website. Please click on the link to view the newsletter:


The National CERT Office
FEMA / Community Preparedness Division

Remember, we still need victims for the Saturday September 20th fire department mass casualty drill at Mount Vernon High School! Come on out, 0700 is the start time.

your volunteer PIO

Let's Get Ready: Kids

Sesame Workshop, together with the Department of Homeland Security's Ready Kids Campaign has developed a new bilingual initiative called "Let's Get Ready!" It is an interactive, on-line tool and resource, featuring Grover and Rosita.

Find out more at http://www.ready.gov/sesame/index.html

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

upcoming CERT community outreach events

Hi folks!
CERT has participated in a number of outreach events in support of national preparedness month, these are the events yet to come.

Saturday, September 20th-Mount Vernon high school, Alexandria-7am-1pm
CERT members have been asked to play victims for a fire and rescue department drill to take place here. We are looking for 30 volunteers for the 20th of September from 0800-1300 hrs. Need the volunteers there by 0700 for moulage. We are looking for all ages, but please no younger than 14. Be sure to wear clothes appropriate for the weather; and wear clothing that can get torn/dirty/stage blood stained.
The drill will take place at Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Mount Vernon Rd. Alexandria, VA. Contact our actor victim coordinator Kevin at actors@fairfaxcountycert.org if you are interested.

Saturday, September 20th-Groveton Baptist church, Alexandria, 10am-4pm (Hey! Two events in one day!)
We'll be helping support the church with their fall festival/emergency preparedness event. If your'e living in the south county area and would like to help, just email me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org with your name and CERT class number.

Tuesday, September 23rd-USDA FNS preparedness day, Alexandria 10am-2pm
We will have the CERT booth and handouts up and running at this event for USDA employees. Special thanks to Andrew of CERT 15 and Judy of CERT 29 for your help with this event.

Thursday, September 25th-Emergency preparedness roundtable, Herndon police dept.
Members of Herndon/ Reston CERT will help with a roundtable discussion on emergency preparedness and coordination between volunteer and official organizations. Lani of Herndon Reston CERT will be handling this event.

Saturday, October 4th-Fall for Fairfax-at the county government center 9am-6pm
CERT will have the booth set up for this event, along with handouts and freebies. In addition, CERT has been asked to provide two CERT members to help the EMTs during the event.
We still need one CERT to help with the EMT's and help on the CERT booth as well.

October 11th-Fairfax County fire department open house-multiple locations from 9am to 4pm.
We have been asked to provide CERT displays in the following stations:
# 2-Vienna
# 14-Burke
# 17-Centreville (volunteers need to be on site at 8am at this station)
# 1-McLean
We have some volunteers already signed up to help at Burke and McLean; but we still need more. If you would like to help, please email me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org with your name and CERT class number.

Community outreach is vitally important to get new CERT members, and to help teach the community of the need to prepare. If you have never helped with an outreach event, give it a try. These events are fun and the knowledge you pass along to your fellow neighbors is always well received. C'mon, give it a go!

your volunteer PIO

A training opportunity for you

Hi folks!
This information was passed on to us by Micah from CERT 31. Thanks Micah! If you are interested, contact the Red Cross directly.

your volunteer PIO
Regional Disaster Training Institute Are you interested in providing relief to our community in times of disaster? Red Crossers and partners who wish to become involved in disaster relief efforts are invited to attend our upcoming Regional Disaster Training Institute. This event will bring partner agencies and our Red Cross together to develop an increased understanding of each other's programs and enhance our ability to collaborate. Our first session will be held on September 27-28 at the National Capital Area Chapter Headquarters (8550 Arlington Blvd.; Fairfax, VA.) Participants must complete a registration packet and receive advanced approval in order to attend. Applications are due by September 19th. For a course schedule and registration form, contact kbriggs@arlingtonredcross.org. Please share this information with your colleagues and any others who might like to participate!

Monday, September 15, 2008

COME OUT AND PLAY! CERT victim actors needed Saturday, September 20th!

Hi folks,
We just got a time sensitive request from Fairfax County fire and rescue for victim actors on September 20th. I apologise for the very short notice, but this is an excellent way to "play victim". It is also a truly eye opening way to see how the fire and rescue department responds and coordinates response to mass casualty incidents. If you can help, please contact our actor victim coordinator Kevin at actors@fairfaxcountycert.org.

Here is the email we received this morning.

Since CERT victims were a huge success last time (referring to the July 19th 1st Battalion drill at Herndon high school), the 6th Battalion would like to do something similar. We are looking for 30 volunteers (CERT, FRD, etc) for the 20th of September from 0800-1300 hrs. Need the volunteers there by 0700 for moulage. We are looking for all ages, but please no younger than 14. Be sure to wear clothes appropriate for the weather; and wear clothing that can get torn/dirty/stage blood stained.
The drill will take place at Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Mount Vernon Rd. Alexandria, VA.
Lieutenant Jared B. Goff
Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Field Training Officer - C Shift

your volunteer PIO

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fairfax County CERT and channel 16-check this out!

Hi folks,
I wanted you to check out this TV program. The program describes the various programs within the Fairfax County Citizen Corps. The TV program has been aired on the Fairfax County channel 16. To view the program, just click on the "video on demand" link
In the program, you can see a number of shots from various CERT exercises. We also get to see Kevin from CERT 20, our actor victim coordinator fielding questions like a pro. CERT outreach takes on many forms; Kevin did a great job handling this aspect of CERT community outreach efforts.


your volunteer PIO

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Volunteer in Louisiana: Roofing Skills needed

If you can help out, please contact Carolyn. Thanks!

Hands On Gulf Coast is currently supporting disaster operations in Chauvin, LA and is in need of approximately 12-20 skilled volunteers with roofing experience. After surveying the scene, the biggest volunteer need is for people with some roofing or construction experience. The work is virtually all tarping roofs, which will require some skill in carpentry to make sure tarps are secured as weatherproof and with the most efficient use of nails to minimize further damage.

Carolyn W. Kincaid
The Volunteer Center of the Virginia Peninsula

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Centreville day Saturday September 13th-help needed!

Hi folks!
CERT has been asked to participate in the Centreville Day festival, held in Centreville on Saturday September 13, 2008. The event will be held at St. John's episcopal church, which is located at 5649 Mount Gilead Road in Centreville, VA (just off Hwy.29). The time for the event is from 10am to 6pm (our part in the public service display area/side parking lot will be from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm). This event is a wonderful opportunity to help make our neighbors aware of personal and family preparedness.
Personally,I have a crisis with this event - I can't get the time off from work to set up the booth! Folks, I work pretty much seven days a week; on Saturdays I work until noon. Is there a CERT out there in "CERT land" that could set up the display and cover it until 12:30 or so? If someone can set up the display and cover the event until that time; I can come down and finish out the rest of the day with no problems.
Below are some of the particulars regarding set up of the displays. Parking passes will be issued to the participants; I have requested four passes. These should be given to us before the event; but I will clarify this ASAP.
Set up needs to occur prior to the start of the parade at 10am, and barricades will be set up by 9:30am to limit traffic. Parking passes will be provided to you and any volunteers who will be helping you throughout the day. Tear down will occur around 6pm, although you can always leave earlier if necessary.
Folks, if anyone can help, I would really!!!!! appreciate it. Please email me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org with your name, a phone number and your CERT class number.

your volunteer PIO

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Fairfax County CERT member in a news report!

Hi folks!
Take a look at this news report from the Voice of America. The report describes some of the Red Cross response activities to Hurricane Gustav. Look, do you see anyone familiar? That's right, our own CERT trainer Jack is in the report, doing what he does best-helping people in any way he can.
Nice job Jack!

your volunteer PIO

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fairfax County CERT Training goes “Mobile”

That’s right, we have taken our CERT training on the road to Reston VA. Thanks to the Reston Association, they have arranged and provide the facilities for us to use for this training. In accordance with the tiered approach of training announcement earlier this summer, this class will follow the basic FEMA curriculum. The training will be taught by our volunteer instructors with support from the Academy Instructors as needed. This five week class begins September 16th.

We look forward to the success of this training and taken it on the road again to your neighborhood. So if you live in Fairfax County, whether it is in the South, North, East, West, or any point in-between, get your neighbor’s interested and we’ll bring the training to you!

Improper use of candles when the power goes out...

As I said the other day, NEVER leave a candle unattended......

Candle ignites 6th Ward home
by Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune
Friday September 05, 2008, 9:27 AM
Part of a house went up in flames in the 2300 block of Ursulines Avenue after a candle that residents were using because the home was without power inadvertantly tipped over and set the kitchen on fire.
A firefighter battling blaze was taken the hospital after cutting his hand, according to NOFD spokesman Michael Williams. He recieved stitches and is home.
Firefighters rang one alarm after receiving a 911 call at 9:55 p.m. from Hazel Wilson, who had just returned with her 22-year-old son Bobby and her 18-year-old cousin Zilton Lashley from their Hurricane Gustav-forced evacuation to a shelter in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Wilson, like thousands of others in New Orleans, had no power in her home. She lit candles to give herself some light to move around the house, and she gave one of them to Zilton so he could clean up the back of the home.
At some point, Zilton placed the candle on a plastic cabinet in the kitchen and left it there. Before he could get back to it, however, the candle lost its balance and tipped over.
Its flame ignited the nearby drapes.
The fire spread quickly, Wilson said -- the curtains, cabinet, walls, washing machine and even the bathroom burst into flames.
Firefighters arrived five minutes after the 911 call and helped Wilson, her son and her cousin emerge from the fire unharmed.
However, in the 45 minutes it took for the firefighters to extinguish the fire completely, one of the firefighters cut his hand. Paramedics took him to the hospital for stitches, according to New Orleans EMS spokesman Jeb Tate.
Wilson received both a voucher for a three-day stay at a hotel and $95 for food from the American Red Cross, she said.
Williams provided the following safety tips for residents living in their home without power:
-- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from things that can catch fire - clothing, fabrics, textiles, curtains and books.
-- Use sturdy candleholders that won't tip over easily and are made from a material that can't burn.
-- Use candles that are large enough to collect dripping wax.
-- Keep candles away from all flammable liquids.
-- Don't leave burning candles unattended, or within the reach of small children or pets.
-- Extinguish all candles when leaving or going to bed.
-- Always use a flashlight, not a candle, for emergency lighting.


Storm recovery guide online

Hi folks!
Below is a link to a GREAT guide on recovery after a disaster. The guide was produced by Louisiana State University. Just copy and paste the link in your web browser. Thanks Derek for providing the link!


your volunteer PIO

Prepare your home for Tropical storm Hanna

VDEM News Release

For Release at Will
Sept. 5, 2008

Citizens Should Prepare Homes Before Tropical Storm Hanna Arrives

RICHMOND, Va. - Citizens still have time to prepare their families, homes and property for the potentially damaging impacts of Tropical Storm Hanna, which could bring dangerous winds, tornadoes and flash floods to Virginia Saturday morning.

“The potential for tornadoes and flash floods with this storm is very real," said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "Falling trees could also cause widespread power outages, so you should be prepared to be without power, telephone, water or other utilities.”

State officials offer the following advice to protect lives and reduce damage before, during and after the hurricane.

Before the storm

  • Floods cause more damage and loss of life nationwide than any other natural disaster. If you live in an area subject to flooding, then you need to be prepared.
  • Learn the safest route from your home to a safe shelter from the high winds or flooding. If there is a flood, you may only have minutes to get to safety.
  • Have a battery-powered radio to stay informed in case the power goes out. Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio for National Weather Service reports and severe weather warnings.
  • Pre-pack a hurricane supplies kit with a minimum three-day supply of essential items such as water, non-perishable food, first-aid kit and extra batteries.
  • Trim back dead or weak tree branches and secure garbage cans, lawn furniture or anything that could become airborne and cause damage.
  • Fasten exterior items securely to your home to prevent them from becoming flying debris. Move loose items indoors.
  • Caulk/install weather stripping to all doors and windows to prevent wind from entering.
  • Install impact-resistant shutters or have cut-to-fit boards and mountings ready for all windows and doors.
  • Make all entry doors impact-resistant by installing head and foot bolts with a minimum one-inch bolt length into solid material to guard against wind pressure and to improve security.
  • Make an itemized list of all your personal property for insurance verification purposes.

If heavy rains occur

  • Keep your battery-powered radio tuned to a local station and follow all instructions. If you are told to evacuate, move out of the house or building to safe, high ground.
  • Be aware that floods are deceptive. Avoid known flooded areas. Floodwaters that are above your knees are dangerous. Turn around and go back to higher ground.
  • If you find floodwaters on the road while driving, turn around and find another route. The road could be washed out and rapidly rising water could lift your car and carry it away.

In addition, Virginia Dominion Power offers the following advice for homes affected by a power outage.

  • Turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as televisions, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to the appliance and possible overloads to the company’s system when power is restored.
  • Disconnect cable lines from televisions and stereos. This will prevent lightning damage to these items.
  • Leave one lamp or light on so you will know when power is restored.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Refreshers! Get Your Red Hot Refreshers!

We have CERT refreshers scheduled on Wednesday through the rest of the month of September. All take place at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy starting at 7pm - 10:30pm.



Remember that "disasters" can be messy, sweaty and dirty. Come dressed appropriately! You may not need gear for the infection control class but have it in your car just in case.

Themes include:
9/10 – Standard Evolutions
9/17 – Standard Evolutions
9/24 – Infection Control

C'mon out, have fun and refresh your skills!!

Generating Discussion

Ok, maybe it is really more like, "Generator Discussion". With impending storms heading this way and the possibility you, or someone you know, may be using a portable generator, here is safety advice to bear in mind from an organization I am familiar with:

Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using them are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper use of portable generators.
To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards:
Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
NEVER use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
Follow manufacturer's instructions.
Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer's instructions.
Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
To Avoid Electrical Hazards:
Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy- like structure.
Dry your hands before touching the generator.
Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension cord. Make sure en tire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch
To Avoid Fire Hazards:
Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers.
Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.

Stay dry and stay safe this coming weekend and please make sure your kit is fully stocked and ready to go, just in case (remember, no electric can openers). Also, be careful if you lose power and choose to use candles; NEVER leave them unattended!


Governor Kaine declares state of emergency

Governor's News Release

Gordon Hickey, Governor's Office (804) 225-4260; (804) 291-8977 (cell)
Bob Spieldenner, VDEM (804) 674-2400

For Immediate Release
Sept. 4, 2008

Governor Kaine Declares State of Emergency

– Authorizes state agencies to prepare for potential effects of Tropical Storm Hanna –

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Timothy M. Kaine declared a state of emergency today, directing state agencies to take all reasonable actions necessary to protect the health and safety of Virginians from the potentially damaging effects of Tropical Storm Hanna.

"Current forecasts predict Hanna will bring tropical storm force winds to Virginia, causing coastal flooding and the very real possibility of tornadoes and power outages," Governor Kaine said. "Virginians should listen to their local government representatives and local news media for instructions for the duration of the storm."

In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and preposition resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has staffed the Virginia Emergency Operations Center with response team members from several state agencies and other affiliated organizations. In addition, the Virginia State Police, Virginia National Guard and Virginia Department of Transportation have additional personnel on standby to respond to areas in the storm's path.

More information about what Virginia is doing to prepare for Tropical Storm Hanna is available at www.vaemergency.com. Detailed information about how Virginians can stay safe during an emergency is available at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.ListoVirginia.gov.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Virginia Selects Homeland Security Projects

For Immediate Release
Sept. 2, 2008

-- $23.4 million in grant funds allocated to localities --
RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Virginia has allocated $23.4 million in State Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGOP) funds to localities across the Commonwealth.

"These funds, provided by the Department of Homeland Security, help first responders purchase the state and local resources they need to prevent, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and natural disasters," Governor Kaine said.

Funded projects include:

Law Enforcement Operations ($9,279,000) – Expands and completes a statewide system that provides law enforcement agencies with secure access to regional crime data and counter-terrorism tools. In addition, funding will provide equipment and training to police and fire departments for regionally managed bomb squad responses. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services will manage the distribution of funds for both initiatives.

Enhanced Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Devices Capabilities ($1,700,000) – Funds new equipment and vehicles to detect and monitor weapons of mass destruction and to respond to structure building collapses. This funding will also replenish, replace and upgrade existing equipment as needed for the state’s nine Hazardous Materials Officers, 24 hazardous materials/WMD teams and seven Heavy Technical Rescue Teams, which are locally based and work together at the regional level. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Fire Programs will distribute the funding for these initiatives.

Statewide Shelter Planning and Enhancement ($2,270,000) – Continues work in preparing state shelters for a mass evacuation by installing proper wiring connections for generators; modifying shelters to comply with the Americans with Disability Act for Special Medical Needs populations; purchasing Web-based software to register, track and reunify families; and other software, training and supplies for shelters throughout the state. The Virginia departments of Social Services and Agriculture and Consumer Services will manage these initiatives.

Critical Infrastructure ($1,520,000) – Funds the development of a standardized smart card identity system called the First Responder Authentication Credential, or FRAC card, for emergency responders to gain access to a disaster area. This year, funding will focus on central Virginia; in previous years, the northern Virginia and Hampton Roads areas received funding for the FRAC system. Funding will also support the Automated Critical Asset Management System, a program that helps emergency managers track critical assets throughout the state. The Office of Commonwealth Preparedness will distribute the funds for these initiatives.

Emergency Medical Services ($1,391,100) – Supports the transition to the new Emergency Patient and Resource Registry, a secured online patient database that will track the location of each patient from disaster site to hospital. Activities will include data conversion, training and technical assistance. The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services manages this initiative.

Citizen Preparedness ($1,581,501) – Funds training and educating the general population and vulnerable populations as well as typing and credentialing volunteer resources. Funds will go to Virginia Citizen Corps programs, the Ready Virginia public outreach campaign, public education and purchase of citizen alerting warning systems, and development of a volunteer and donation database system. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will distribute these funds to the participating localities.

Other funded projects will support interoperability improvement; expanding the Metropolitan Medical Response System; exercises and training; and planning and assessment.

The Office of Commonwealth Preparedness and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management held several stakeholders' meetings where more than 200 local and state partners from all emergency and first responder disciplines took part in determining priorities and discussing options that Virginia would pursue.

HSGP grants encourage regional cooperation to reduce the risks of improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons through interoperability, information sharing and citizen preparedness. DHS distributes HSGP funds according to terrorism risk factor, demonstrated need and potential impact.

The HSGP allocation coincides with the beginning of National Preparedness Month, a time for families, businesses and communities to take action on emergency preparedness. More than 1,200 national, regional, state and local businesses and organizations are part of the fifth annual effort. More information about how Virginians can prepare for emergencies is available at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and at www.ListoVirginia.gov.


CERT Refresher Tonight

Hey all -- As a reminder, there is a CERT refresher class on Medical Operations tonight at the Fairfax County Fire Academy starting at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Red Cross Request for Volunteers

I got this from Dana. Please note -- This is not a Fairfax County CERT sponsored event. Anyone who would like to volunteer would be doing so as a private citizen under the auspice of the Red Cross. Please contact Greg if you can help out!

The Red Cross needs people to help with processing information from our clients who evacuated from Hurricane Gustav. The Red Cross will provide mileage and meals for volunteers who can help, and we will provide lodging from those who are not within 20 mile commuting distance. We are looking for 38 volunteers to assist the center. Ideally, we would like people to work either a 7AM to 3 PM shift or a 3 PM to 11 PM shift for three weeks. However, if someone can only to commit to one or two weeks, we may be able to use them to handle the large number of claims for assistance.

If anyone is interested in this opportunity, please contact Greg Suddeth at suddethg@usa.redcross.org.

Monday, September 1, 2008

February 17, 2009 ~ Digital TV Transition

I ran across this when reading the latest Citizen Corps newsletter.

Citizen Corps Affiliate, the Association of Public Television States (APTS) has expressed an immediate need to raise awareness of the February 17, 2009 switch from analog to digital television broadcasting.

Millions of American residents depend on television as a reliable source of information, to include vital emergency and disaster alerts and warnings. On February 17, 2009, all analog broadcasts will end. Analog television sets will
only work after that date only if they are connected to a converter box that will change digital broadcasts back into the old analog format.

Analog televisions without a converter box will not produce any picture or sound, which means people without a converter box will not have television as a source of information during any type of emergency. Converter boxes are available from consumer electronics retailers.

Cable or satellite subscribers aren’t likely to be affected by the DTV transition, but may want to check with cable or satellite providers with any questions about their service. Citizen Corps Councils are urged to inform members of your community - especially older adults and homebound individuals- of the digital transition to ensure they take any necessary action to receive and view over-the-air digital television signals.

For more information, please visit the DTV Transition Coalition Website, which also includes information on the DRV Converter Box Coupon Program. The (National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) provides more information, including how to apply for a TV converter box discount coupon.