Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CERT ROCKS! At the Capital Shield exercise!

Hi folks!
On Monday, October 27th a number of CERT members participated in the National Capitol Region's Capitol Shield exercise. This is a yearly exercise in which local, state, and federal disaster response teams coordinate in a simulated, challenging and resource intensive disaster response effort.
CERT members participated initially as victims of a large scale disaster. Our day started at 5:30 am with check in to the site and moulage. Susy did her usual excellent job at making us all look ghoulish. We looked like refugees from a Halloween party once this was done.
We were then placed about the disaster scene. Susan looked really hurt,Cheryl and Cindy looked pretty "chewed up" too. Johnathan was lounging against a building battered, fluid leaking out of his ears. Woody,Bob,the other Bob,Henri and Jim just looked WAY messed up! Patty and Judy looked comfy in the drainage ditch,bruised and battered, reading their books. Sandra enjoyed being in a concrete culvert,with a massive "black eye". Brian looked great! with his guts hanging out. Eydie was just having a great time, lying bloodied on the sidewalk.
The responders came and triaged each of us,collected the wounded (worst first)and put us in the back of an ambulance for the ride to the casualty collection point. When we got there, we got triaged and were given nice white blankets for warmth (which weren't so white when we finished with them).
We took a break, one of the agencies there was kind enough to give us the use of a 15 passenger van to warm up in. We had some snacks, some water and a good time.
After this, we went back the building where our gear was stored and "geared up" for the next part of the exercise. We were told that Fairfax County CERT was called up to help in the disaster response!
Derek assigned our own CERT trainer Jim as the IC, Jim picked me to be accountability. The rest of us were broken into teams of two. Jim and I then reported to the command post for the incident. Jim told the IC of our capabilities as CERT members, and our willingness to help.We were given a briefing of the situation, told what our objectives were. We were to conduct a secondary search of a number of buildings on the property, pull out victims as we found them; then transport them to the casualty collection point. We were to report back to command when we had finished searching each building; noting any areas within the buildings (or buildings themselves) not searched. The overall command of the disaster response was the DC fire department. We were assigned the team name "CERT 400" and issued radios.
We went back to the assembled CERT team, briefed them on the task at hand and began the search in buildings closest to the center of the disaster. Folks, this was the first time EVER that Fairfax County CERT has been integrated into a multi agency, multiple jurisdiction disaster response operation. We were not "CERT volunteers" Monday-we were counted (and counted on) as a disaster response asset! This was a red letter day in Fairfax County CERT history.........................we weren't just "volunteers"-we were responders!
Folks, CERT 400 had a large area to search, with 8 seperate buildings within our area of responsibility. These consisted of large single story buildings with multiple rooms,some multi level structures, and a trailer or two. These weren't like searching in the burn building or high bay, folks! But, they were marked when teams entered, proper building searches were conducted, and each team marked themselves "out" of the buildings. The teams then reported back to CERT IC for reassignment. Some teams were pulled "out of service" for a rehab/rest period, and teams were rotated as necessary. We had a large area to search, and a lot of large buildings too. A rest period in operations like this was a must!
Several buildings were well out of our capability to search as CERT trained members, due to collapsed roofs, gas boilers,etc. The hazards in some of these buildings were real-real partially collapsed roofs, etc. This info was relayed back to the incident command post, professional responders would conduct a follow up search in those areas not accesible to CERT.
In one of the last buildings searched, two trapped victims were discovered. The CERT teams used leveraging and cribbing to extricate these victims, then carried them 1/4 mile to the triage area (although to the teams it might have seemed like carrying those victims 10 was very cold,windy and raining while the teams were doing this folks.)
Once the victims were in triage, and once all buildings within our area were searched/cleared/marked, our part of the exercise was over. We called the incident IC and reported "All buildings searched". We got back a "CERT 400, stand down. Job well done" from the DC fire IC .
We sat in the triage area and did a debrief of our activity, and Fairfax County CERT's part in Capitol Shield was over with. We were then given a tour of some of the areas where the professional responders were working their part of the exercise; we saw some VERY impressive operations going on folks!
That was CERT's day at Capitol Shield. It was a long day, but one filled with a lot of excitement and pride! Here's a list of those who participated in Capitol Shield; thank you all for participating and helping make a bit of Fairfax County CERT history!

Derek-who made it ALL possible.
our CERT trainer Jack-controller-he did a LOT of behind the scenes work to make this happen!
our victim actor coordinator Kevin-Made the victim part of the exercise a breeze!
our CERT trainer Susy-our moulage artiste' and controller for the morning!
Sandra from CERT 34-enjoying her first stint as victim!

The CERT 400 team
our CERT trainer Jim-IC
your volunteer PIO Terry-accountability
Team 1
Judy from CERT 29
Cheryl from CERT 31

Team 2
Richard from CERT 29
Henri from CERT 14

Team 3
Jonathan from CERT 29
Susan from CERT 29

Team 4
Brian from CERT 31
Eydie from CERT 23

Team 5
Patty from CERT 19
Kevin,our actor victim coordinator from CERT 20

Team 6
Cindy from CERT 32
Bob from CERT 29
Bob G from CERT 22

Thanks to all for an exciting day!

your volunteer PIO

Officer Procession Details

To follow-up on Kevin's "Just Take A Moment"

For anyone who is interested in coming out, the following information was released this morning and forwarded by a station Crime Prevention Officer. The date is not included in the press release, but he confirmed this is to take place tomorrow (October 30).

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release: 08/Funeral Info/(drg)
October 29, 2008
Funeral Procession for 2Lt. Frank Stecco

The funeral procession will leave Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road at approximately 9 a.m. and continue to Cecil D. Hylton Chapel, 14640 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge. Police have limited the number of vehicles in this special procession from the funeral home to a drive by of the Mount Vernon District Station before proceeding to the chapel.

Members of the community wishing to pay their respects to 2Lt. Frank Stecco are asked to line the procession route at points most convenient to them. The proper show of respect and honor for civilians is placing the right hand over the heart and holding it there while the hearse and the family pass.

Police anticipate crowds at the Mount Vernon District Station prior to the arrival of the procession. Parkers Lane will be closed briefly to traffic. There will be no street parking around the station. The community is advised to park away from the station and walk in.

The procession is expected to travel at approximately 25 miles per hour causing delays. Motorists who encounter the procession anywhere along the route are asked to give the right-of-way. Please do not break into the procession.

The funeral procession route is as follows:
Departure from Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home is expected to begin at
approximately 9 a.m.
1. Left on to Braddock Road
2. Right on to S I495
3. Right on Route 1 south
4. Left on to Fort Hunt Road
5. Right on to Sherwood Hall Lane
6. Left on to Parkers Lane, pause at Mount Vernon Station
7. Parkers Lane changes to Collingwood Road
8. Right on to George Washington Memorial Parkway
9. Construction at Mount Vernon Street changes to Mount Vernon
Memorial Highway
10. Left on to Route 1 south
11. Left exit I95 South
12. Exit #156 Dale Blvd Route 784 W Dale City Rippon Landing exit.
13. Stay left on Potomac Mills Road ramp
14. Top of ramp go straight into 14640 Potomac Mills Road Hylton Chapel

Interment will take place at Quantico National Cemetery at approximately 2 p.m. Services are open to the public; however parking will be extremely limited. Funeral Motorcade to Quantico National Cemetery.

The funeral procession will exit Hylton Chapel at approximately 12:30 and travel to Quantico National Cemetery Route:
1. Exit left on to southbound Gideon Boulevard.
2. Turn left on Dale Boulevard.
3. Southbound I95
4. Exit on to westbound Dumfries Road
5. Enter Quantico National Cemetery on left

The public should be aware that traffic along the roadways where the procession will take place will be impacted. Please be aware of the possibility of congestion or delay as you travel Northern Virginia roadways on Thursday afternoon.

Please be patient as family, public safety personnel, friends and the community mourn the death of 2Lt. Frank Stecco.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Change your clock......

...change you battery! In this case, change out the battery in your smoke alarms, since we all have more than one....right?

The program is based on a simple premise; when you change the time on your clock for daylight savings, change out the battery in those smoke alarms. This weekend, in the wee hours of November 1, early on November 2, we will once again reset our clocks and "fall back", so take a moment to change out those batteries in your alarms.

There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. There are also combination smoke alarms that combine ionization and photoelectric into one unit, called dual sensor smoke alarms.
Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, the United States Fire Adminitration (USFA) recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms.

In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

While you change out the batteries in your alarms at least once a year, you should consider changing your alarms themselves every 8-10 years, or, when you move into a new residence. Why? Do you trust your life to the former homeowner in hopes they changed the battery on the alarm regularly and maintained the alarm itself?

Having an alarm is only one part of your home safety plan. Ensure you have planned what to do in the event the alarm does sound and you have to exit your residence, not only in the light, but under the cover of darkness as well. Lastly, as I have said many times before, it is not enough to have a plan, you MUST practice the plan as well, your life, or the life of someone you love, depends on it.
For more information, visit the USFA's website:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just take a moment...

Take a moment from your busy day this week to reflect, a member of our Public Safety Family has left us. Take a moment to remind yourself, that 2nd Lt Frank Stecco (42) was out in the field training with rescue operations, making sure they are top-notch and well prepared for emergencies. Take a moment to remember that our Family does this and takes risks everyday. Remember that this 19 year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department was doing what he loved, he would have done nothing else. Remember that he was well respected, loved and will be missed. Most of all do not forget that he leaves behind a wife and 3 children, that he loved.

As our Family mourns this coming week, take moment to remember that we too train to make sure we are top-notch and well prepared. We make sure our family and neighbors are safe. We do this because we love it and want to make a difference. We honor Lt Stecco as we too would do nothing else.

Take a moment this week to make a difference, thank a member of our Public Safety Family, thank your family. Thank God that we have Family like Lt Stecco, that is a role model for us. Most of all, just take a moment and grieve.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NOAA Open House Sterling Va.

The NOAA Open House at their new facility in Sterling, VA, had Fairfax CERT in attendance. Even though Sterling is in Loudoun County, many people from all over the region stopped at our CERT booth while touring the Weather Station. We were in good company in the open sided tent. Virginia Emergency Management, FEMA, USGA, and the American Red Cross were some of the other booths around us. We were there Saturday and Sunday. Judy 29 manned the booth on Saturday and Terry 14 manned it on Sunday. Andrew 15 did double duty manning the Red Cross booth and CERT.

We had visits from Loudoun County CERT people and West Virginia Emergency Management to name a few. If interested people weren’t from Fairfax County, I told them to go to their county web site and search for CERT. I signed up a few people from Fairfax County interested in CERT. Not only did I “talk” CERT, but I encouraged people to put together and have ready a 72 hour emergency kit. I told them that with Daylight Savings Time ending (“fall back”) this is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors, and to put together or pull out and check your 72 hour kit. We had new CERT magnets to pass out for this event. I attended the dedication of the new facility, until the wind picked up and I had to run out to check on our display. You would think that NOAA would have had a calmer day for the event.

Notables on hand were The Honorable Donna Edwards. U.S. Congresswomen, Maryland 4th District; Vickie Nadolski , Deputy AA, NOAA; Chris Strong, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA/NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office; Daniel Gropper, Thunder Eagle, Inc.; Margaret E. McKeough, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; Dean Gulezian, Director, NOAA/SWS Eastern region; Bruce Sterling, Coordinator, Virginia Department of Emergency Management Region II; Topper Shutt, Chief Meteorologist, WUSA-TV Channel 9; and Jim Lee, Meteorologist-in-Charge, NOAA/NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office.
I got to tour the Facility and even got to see the “hardened” room where the staff would go if a tornado threatened the facility. Judy CERT 29.

Terry's report
I had some help Sunday, Andrew of CERT 15 helped on the display (and helped run the Red Cross display too-he was there to take Skywarn training.). There were a number of Fairfax Co. CERT members attending the open house, Sandra from CERT 34 was there to take Skywarn training, one of the ladies from CERT 21 came through; and people from Loudoun Co. OEM were there as well. Margaret from NOAA treated us to a private tour of the facility,
I wrapped it up around 5pm; Andrew and I broke down and loaded the displays for the drive home. It was a really "comfortable" event; people were pleasant, the display location was IDEAL, and people were pretty interested in CERT. A good day. Terry CERT 14

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hey CERT 34-Wanna play? As a victim at Capitol Shield?

Hi folks!
As you all know, CERT is scheduled to participate in the national capitol regions' Capitol Shield exercise on Monday, October 27th. CERT will be participating as victims, and for the first time as responders too.
Some of you currently taking CERT classes (CERT 34) have expressed interest to me and others in participating in this exercise. Unfortunately, you have not graduated from CERT training and the responder role in this exercise is for CERT graduates only.


After consulting with and clearing this with our victim actor coordinator and Derek, here's something you could do as a current Fairfax County CERT class student.

How would you like to be a VICTIM at the Captiol Shield exercise?

Below is a link to a story from last year's exercise; this will give you an idea of what this exercise is, what it is designed to do, how it is conducted and how important the role of victim is to the exercise planners.

Folks, if you are interested in playing victim, here is what we need from you.
1. an email sent to and expressing your interest in playing victim at Capitol Shield. (Kevin and I are both keeping running lists of responders and victims only.We want to make sure everybody is accounted for. makin' a list, checkin' it twice......... :)
2. Your name and CERT class number.
We need to recive this info as soon as possible. An email will come back confirming your participation in the exercise. A "Briefing" email will be sent out next week with information as to times, location and the like.

The exercise is scheduled to take place at the old Lorton prison site in Lorton, and the following is a tentative timeline for the day's events.
Fairfax County CERT is committed to providing role players and then after being rescued, transitioning into responders only on Monday, 27 October. CERT class students will be allowed as victims only.

October 27th, 2008 – Capital Shield Exercise-Lorton prison site.

0530 – moulage starts with support from Walter Reed Army medical center.

0700 – Exercise Starts

0710 – all role players are placed into the scene

Approx. 1200 – after being rescued, CERTs will be transitioning to responder activities. CERT class student victims will leave at this point.

Approx. 1730 – 1900 – CERT response ends

Yes, the drill starts at 5:30 AM. It will be an early start to an excitement filled day. You will need to wear clothes that can be torn, dirtied and stained-after all you will be portraying an incident victim. More details will be sent out in the briefing email.

Folks, If you want to see some of the things you're learning in class put in action, this will be an ideal way to do it. If your'e interested just let us know.

your volunteer PIO

Friday, October 17, 2008

Responder rehabilitation during incidents-new NFPA 1584 standards

Hi folks!
Rest and rehabilitation during emergency response operations is vital to a first responders' health and well being. Even in the context of our CERT classes and drills; one can easily understand that a
responder who's tired and worn out is simply not as effective as one that is rested, hydrated and alert.
Below is an interesting article and powerpoint presentation regarding new federal NFPA standards for first responder rehabilitation. Check it out, you may find the information quite useful.
your volunteer PIO

The Emergency Management and Response—Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) reviewed the new National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard for firefighter rehabilitation. It outlines the responsibilities for responders at fires (and other incidents) by specifying the standards for rehabilitation (also referred to as “rehab”) to preserve continuity of operations.

According to the NFPA, rehab should occur whenever on-scene activities pose the risk of emergency personnel exceeding a safe level of physical or mental endurance. The types of incidents will vary from structural and wildland fires, hazmat incidents, multiple casualty incidents, and any prolonged operation during bad weather. The standard specifies that fire and emergency medical services are expected to take the lead in sharing the rehab concept with law enforcement and other emergency departments and agencies that take part at the scene.

The new standard defines eight key objectives for rehab. These include relief from environmental conditions, rest and recovery, and active or passive cooling or warming as needed. They also include rehydration, calorie and electrolyte replacement, medical monitoring, member accountability, and release for return to duty. Hot conditions will require shelter from the sun, sunscreen, hydration, and prevention of burns from contacting hot asphalt. Cold weather priorities may include shelter from wind and snow, frostbite prevention, increased caloric intake, and methods for thawing gear.

The area devoted to rehab may be as simple as a single rescue or ambulance unit. It also may be as complex as a tent equipped with generators and communications equipment. Access to fresh water is essential, although many Emergency Services Sector agencies prefer sports drinks that provide electrolyte replacement. Basic needs such as portable toilets should be considered early.

NFPA 1584 (Recommended Practice on the Rehabilitation of Members Operating at Incident Scene Operations and Training Exercises) can be seen at:

The Calendar is Back!

Many thanks to Micah, our Calendar Wrangler, who has worked to get our events loaded and up to date. It's posted at the bottom of the blog so scroll on down!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NOAA Outreach event, Help needed

Calling all CERTs!! We have an event this Saturday and Sunday at the Sterling, VA NOAA center. This is NOAA's open house to show the public their new facility. You can even take a Skywatcher class and see weather balloons launched. Don't be shy. Come out and support your Fairfax CERT program. For more info email me.

Fairfax County Safe community forums scheduled

Hi folks!
The press release below was forwarded to me from Andrew of CERT 15. As we all know, budgets are tightening in the county due to the current economic situation. The county police department is holding a series of forums around the county to discuss the programs of most interest and usefulness to county residents. You may wish to attend one of these forums to voice your opinions and thoughts.

your volunteer PIO

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
Media Advisory: 08/288/LHC
October 15, 2008
Safe Community Forums: Your Chance to Speak Up

The Fairfax County Police Department is hosting a second series of Safe
Community Forums beginning Thursday, October 16 at West Springfield High School,
Spartan Hall, 6100 Rolling Road, Springfield from 7 until 9 p.m. These forums provide
an opportunity for the public to offer valuable feedback on the services and programs
delivered by the Fairfax County Police Department.

The police department is seeking innovative ideas on how they can best provide
public safety services for the residents of Fairfax County as they plan for the future. As
budgets tighten, the public plays a critical role in letting police know which public safety
services are most important to them.

In addition to the October 16 Springfield forum, others will be held:

Wednesday, October 22, Lynbrook Elementary School, 5801 Backlick Road,
Springfield, 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, October 23, Fair Oaks Church, 4601 West Ox Road, Fairfax, 7-9 p.m.

**There will be Spanish interpreters available at all sites.
For more information, please call 703/246-2253.

Donations for disaster victims made easy!

Hi folks!
I found this while looking at .
your volunteer PIO

Donations For Disaster Victims Made Easy

Release Date: October 14, 2008
Release Number: FNF-08-077

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging people who want to help disaster victims to make donations through voluntary organizations that are active in ongoing disaster operations.

For those who don't know who to reach, there is an easy way to provide financial support, donate time and skills or donate needed products. The National Donations Management Network is a Web-based system where individuals and the private sector can offer their support online to the voluntary organizations that are actively engaged in the ongoing disaster.

FEMA works in partnership with the affected states, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), the Aidmatrix Foundation and the private sector to direct donation offers to voluntary agencies in need as they support the thousands of displaced people. FEMA and Aidmatrix entered into a cooperative agreement, in 2006, to develop this donations management network. The Aidmatrix Foundation offers an online way to connect private sector or individuals wanting to offer support to the leading organizations in humanitarian relief.

The National Donations Management Network is located at Visitors to this site have the option to direct their donation to national level voluntary agencies or directly to the affected states who are managing their own state aid portals.

For information on the voluntary agencies that play a vital role in disaster recovery, visit the NVOAD site at

Last Modified: Tuesday, 14-Oct-2008 18:30:57

Monday, October 13, 2008

CERT Victim takes 1st Place!!!!!

One of our CERT victims decided to make their pumpkin a CERT Victim at a BSA Venture Crew pumpkin carving contest in Thurmont MD. This pumpkin won first place. Notice the professional use of bandaging using duct tape. Oh, never feed your victim after an injury, as you can see.
Thank you Patty Cert 19 for sharing and the Boy Scouts! (and Vicky & Cassandra, the victims many love!?)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 11, 2008 Fire Prevention Outreach event

This will be a long report on the 11 October Fire Prevention Outreach event. We had 4 fire stations to man with booths. Terry was at the Centreville #17 Fire station, Jim was at the Burke #14 Fire Station, Kevin was at the Vienna #2 Station and I was at the McLean Fire Station.
I got to the McLean Fire Station early (0800) after running the big booth to Vienna for Kevin. I met Chief Clyde Clark, the VFD chief for McLean. Chief Clark told me that they expected about a 1000 people to attend the open house that day. The VFD Asst. Chief had a table and chair set up for me in their Bay. I was set up next to the CPR table. The Fire Department had many demos and booths for all ages. The McLean station has one of the high tower ladder trucks and that attracted many people with it reaching up into the air, 10 stories. A few of the things the fire department demonstrated were how they use the jaws of life and other cutting tools to take off the roof of a car to get at a trapped victim and they had a fire fighter show how his turn outs and scot pack go on. The children were able to see and feel and hear what a fireman in full gear is like. I had many people ask what CERT was and took information with them. Many people were glad to know that the county has such a program. Adding to the excitement was the fact that we were at an active fire station that responded to calls during the day. I was treated well and was invited and ate a great lunch.
CERT Outreach Coordin.

Report from Terry
I covered the Centreville VFD open house today. Mark from CERT 21 came out to help too.It was a really good event; traffic was brisk throughout the day. This station will definitely want CERT back at the next Fire dept. open house.
Report from Jim
Burke Station 14 sponsored a very ‘professional’ open house for the community. The preparation and organization was first class.
The lady in charge (did not get her name) meet me when I arrived and had our place all set up with table, chairs and a sign in short order.
(Before the day was over they were presented with the First Place in the Battalion plaque by the Fire County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief).

Our CERT display (was placed between two of the event areas for the children (Smoke Alarms and Kitchen Safety) so I was able to attract the parents of the more than 600 children that passed by. I was able to sign up 5 individuals that were ‘really’ interested in CERT 2, and interested at least 20 more that were going to discuss the CERT Basic program with their neighbor associations and friends. Three people identified themselves as part of their community associations and were interested in bringing the CERT information back to their next board meetings.

Several people came by that were CERT in other parts of the country and did not realize it was active in this area. I received many positive remarks about CERT and the county effort by the way.

As people approach the display I could see interest in the ‘disaster’ pictures – but many thought this was a display for USAR. The “Are you familiar with CERT?” question and my lead-in explanation were well received as evidenced by the number that asked for the handouts before I offered them. Several children were attracted to the green helmet and brought a parent to the table.
I was able to handout more than 50 of the OEM cds – I made up a folder with printouts of the brochures so they knew what was on the CD.

As large as the Burke Station 14 event is each year it might reap dividends to have several (three) CERT members available next year. It would be hard to compete with ‘Stop-Drop and Roll’, the Kitchen Safety demo, and the Fire Alarm demo (all for kids) – but the parents, appropriately, would be easy pickins’ for some adult information.

Very enjoyable day – appreciated the Burke Volunteers’ hospitability (only noted the name Chief Bocknek but all were very helpful).
Chief Bocknek took a picture of me in front of the display on his cell phone to send to an office mate with Arlington County CERT ... something on the order of we have CERT also!

Also met Dana Powers and Jeff Katz from the Fairfax County Volunteer Office..

Report from Kevin
Our Victim/Actor Coordinator
I ran the CERT booth at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Dept's open house on Saturday October 11. The members and personnel could not have been more hospitable, they made sure that my table and chairs were ready before I arrived and they provided both breakfast and lunch. (it’s true, Fire Department food is awesome) The open house attendance was very good and there was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. I had the 'wall' display which had the large pictures which really caught the attention of both the kids and parents. I spoke 'CERT' to about 100 folks. Though familiar with our program, several firefighters also asked some very detailed questions on how we deal with different scenarios. As always it is always pleasing to hear from the public that they had no idea this program existed and was appreciative that the County is very forward thinking in regards to emergency planning. I also had a visit from Supervisor Catherine Hudgins and we had a very nice chat about our program. Dana Powers from the County Liaison office also came by to say hello. I have several names for the next class and as victims. Many more had planned to visit our blog site.I especially want to thank President Howard Springsteen and Ch Jeff Grey for making my visit very enjoyable, I truly felt welcomed.Of course kudos'to Terry & Judy for managing this event and getting all the stations covered and the displays delivered.

Monday, October 6, 2008

FEMA online NIMS classes updated

Here is some information regarding updates to several of the FEMA online NIMS ICS courses. For those CERT members who have taken these courses, there is no need to retake them. Per Derek, your current course certificates are still valid.
For those CERTs who have not taken advantage of this free online training resource, point your web browser to . FEMA offers a large number of interesting classes you can take online through the Independent Study Program. Oh, did I mention the training is FREE?

your volunteer PIO

Independent Study Program Course Updates and Reminders

Several Independent Study Program (ISP) courses relating to National Incident Management System (NIMS) training have been updated recently.

The IS-100 has been revised and released as the IS-100.a. The Independent Study Program (ISP) stopped accepting IS-100 exam forms as of August 31, 2008. All students must now submit the revised IS-100.a. The interactive web-based course and downloads for classroom are available online at the ISP website, (select "NIMS Courses" from the main menu and then select IS-100.a from the listing).

Instructors providing classroom training and submitting final exams as a group for IS-100.a via paper OpScan forms by postal service (not online final exam submissions) will need to call the ISP office at 301-447-1200 to request the final exam questions be mailed. Group exam questions for IS-100.a differ from that which is found online. You can request additional OpScan answer sheet forms for any ISP courses at

In addition to the IS-100.a revision, there are coinciding revisions for IS-100.LEa, 100.PWa and 100.SCa. IS-100.HC has not yet been revised. Group training materials are not available for the IS-100.LEa, IS-100.SCa or IS-100.PWa.

The IS-200 has been revised and released as the IS-200.a. Like the IS-100.a, ISP stopped accepting the IS-200 exam submissions as of August 31, 2008 and students must now submit the IS-200.a. Instructors providing group training for the IS-200.a should follow the same directions as provided above for the IS-100.a. The IS-200.HC has not yet been revised.

The IS-800.a was revised in February 2008 and is now the IS-800.b. ISP no longer accepts final exam submissions for IS-800.a. The interactive web-based course for IS-800.b is available at the ISP website. Currently, no classroom materials are available for download for IS-800.b.

If you have any questions regarding the revised courses or group submissions please call the ISP office at 301-447-1200 or email the ISP at


IS-700 has not been revised or updated at this point. All existing materials are current and valid.

We encourage you to always check our website at for the most up-to-date information on courses and course content prior to delivering training.

Fire Prevention/Fire department open house, Outreach event

Calling all CERTs!!! CERT will be in four (4) different fire houses on October 11, 2008. We will have a CERT display set up in each of these stations. I'm just one person and as good as I am, I can't be in 4 places at once, sooo... PLEASE HELP....We will be at #2 Vienna 402/402, #14 Burke 414/407, #17 Centreville 403/417 and Mclean 402/401. If we can get plenty of help we shouldn't need to be at the fire stations all day. The event will be from 9am to 4pm. The fire staions will be feeding us lunch ( and I hear firemen make good lunch) We need to show our support for our fire departments. email me asap!!!

Fall for Fairfax

Fairfax County residents came out on a perfect day to enjoy many activities and booths that presented at the annual Fall for Fairfax held at the Government Center, Saturday October 4, 2008. Of course, Fairfax CERT was there, sandwiched between shiny red fire engines and the Fairfax police helicopter. Terry14, our PIO, Barbara14 and Judy29 manned the booth. A few CERT’s stopped by to say hello. We had CERT’s that took a CERT class from different parts of the country come by and ask how to “plug in” to our CERT program now that they live in Fairfax County. Many people stopped and asked what is CERT and ogled our pictures of moulaged children. We generated 12 names of people interested in attending either a CERT basic class or a CERT 2 class. All in all another successful event.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fire Prevention week is coming.....

Hot on the heels of Preparedness Month which ran the month of September, we run headlong into October and Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week takes place October 5-11 and commemerates, in part, the Great Chicago Fire which occured October 10, 1871. Fire Prevention Week is celebrating its 83rd year of informing people on the dangers of fire and how to be more fire safe.

The theme of 2008's Fire Prevention Week is It’s Fire Prevention Week: Prevent Home Fires! A special emphasis is being placed on leading causes of home fires – cooking, heating, electrical, smoking materials and candles.
The majority of of all structure fires occur in residences. We have talked about it during the stunningly spectacular fire extinguishers class, but do you regularly check for home fire hazards? Have you purchased a home fire extinguisher and placed it in an accessible location? I could go on and on, but instead I will direct you to the United States Fire Administration's webpage on preventing home fires.