Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why don't we do it in our sleeves?

Hi folks,
In light of the current swine flu outbreak, Derek found a gem of a video for us. It's a "blogworthy" video!
It's a cute, funny and informative video on proper coughing techniques called "Why don't we do it in our sleeves?" If you took the infectious disease CERT refresher last year, this is the video that was shown during the class.
You can find the video at this link:


Take a peek,enjoy it and pass the link along to your friends and family!

your volunteer PIO

Monday, April 27, 2009

Virginia Swine Flu precautions press release

This press release from VDEM (Virginia Department of Emergency Management) was sent out at 3pm today.
Stay safe, folks.
your volunteer PIO

Governor Kaine Announces Precautions to Prepare Virginia to Respond to Swine Flu Outbreak

RICHMOND — Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced today that, though there are no confirmed cases in Virginia, the Commonwealth is preparing for any outbreak of swine flu by increasing its communication with healthcare providers, and is preparing to receive additional antiviral medication from the Centers for Disease Control. The state's Health Commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley, is declaring a public health emergency which will give her more tools to coordinate any necessary response, including access to the state's database for all licensed health care providers so that information can be more effectively and widely communicated. The state is also extending and enhancing its seasonal flu tracking program to ensure that any confirmed cases are promptly reported and tracked.

"We have been planning for a situation like this for many years," Governor Kaine said. "We have a surveillance system in place that is closely tracking reports of influenza-type illnesses, our state laboratory is prepared to quickly conduct and report tests on suspected cases and we currently have some 770,000 courses of antiviral medication in our stockpile and will be receiving an additional 280,000 courses from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control within a week."

Since 2006, the state has conducted six exercises to test its emergency preparedness plan for pandemic flu outbreaks.

"I share the concerns of health officials at home and abroad regarding swine influenza," said Governor Kaine. "Virginia is working in close partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies as well as other states, including those in the National Capitol Region. Our 35 health districts across the state, which have been active participants in our planning exercises, are working closely with their local communities."

Dr. Remley said that the current swine influenza outbreak is caused by a virus not previously seen in humans or animals. "Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu and typically include fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and runny nose. Additional symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, headache, chills and fatigue," Dr. Remley said.

Persons with swine flu are contagious for up to seven days after the onset of illness and possibly longer if they are still symptomatic. The CDC and the scientific community are still learning more about this new virus.

"Many Virginians have travelled to Mexico this Spring. If you have been back in the U.S. for at least a week and are not already ill, it is very unlikely that will develop swine flu from that exposure. If you have symptoms of flu and have travelled to this and other areas where swine flu has been identified stay home and call your local health care provider or health department," Dr. Remley said.

Virginians can monitor any developments regarding the swine flu on the websites of the CDC and VDH.

The Governor advised anyone with influenza like illness to protect themselves, their families and their fellow Virginians by following these standard guidelines:

If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
* If you feel you need medical attention, call ahead first so health care providers can take necessary infection control measures.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
# # #

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A feast of CERT operational opportunities for you!

Hi folks!
We have another request for CERT member help in support of an upcoming event.We have been asked to be course monitors for the 5K race that the Fair Oaks Volunteer Firefighter organization is hosting as a fundraising event. The event is called the Ambulance Chase,and will take place on May 23 at 8:00 am until 11:00 am at the Fairfax County Government Center. The Fairfax County government center is located at 12000 Government Center parkway in Fairfax.
CERT members will be posted through out the 5K course to monitor and report any incident.We will guide runners and spectators as necessary; but the main CERT member role at this event will be:

In case of any incident and until someone arrives:
-Manage scene if someone falls
-Report any incident
-Control crowd
-Protect and assist patients

This could be a very interesting and fun event to help out with. It's only three hours work but it's in direct support of the firefighters who protect our communities (and teach all of us CERTs, incidentally.) Let's help them out; they need LOTS of CERT members to make the course safe for the runners.
If you are interested in helping at this event (or any other upcoming event), please email me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org with your name, your CERT class number and a phone number.CERT basic folks can help too; don't be shy!

In addition, we are still looking for volunteers for the following events as well.

Herndon Festival - Thursday May 28 through Sunday May 31

Vintage Virginia (Bull Run Park) - Saturday May 30 and Sunday May 31

Viva Vienna Friday May 22 through Sunday, May 24th

Celebrate Fairfax - Friday June 5 through Sunday June 7

I look forward to seeing you at these events!

your volunteer PIO

Monday, April 20, 2009

CERT and the FY 2010 budget. Some GREAT news for you...

Hi folks!
Today the "mark up",or final draft of the Fairfax county FY 2010 budget was released by the county board of supervisors.The final copy of this budget is due to be signed on April 27th.

You may remember that our CERT program was facing an uncertain future; due to the proposed cutting of the management analyst in the fire department office of the volunteer liaison. Dana administers our CERT program; without her our CERT could have become an orphan program.

Tonight I am very pleased to say that CERT IS SAFE. Her position has been taken out of consideration for elimination. Folks, we keep our CERT program and CERT stays under the administration of the Fire and rescue department! The links below show the various budget restorations and adjustments that were made to the FY 2010 budget.



The FD office of the volunteer liaison (which has exactly two people in it) manage the affairs of 250 operational volunteer firefighters, 260 fire department administrative volunteers AND 373 plus Fairfax County CERT members. Two people do this......and two people will get to be able to CONTINUE to do this.

A hearty "YOU ROCK" goes out to the CERT members that sent letters expressing your concerns over the CERT budget issue. The district supervisors read each letter, they listened to every phone message. (And they suffered through a really horrible, but heartfelt speech I gave to them as well :) Without this outpouring of CERT support the outcome could have been VERY different.

It is through your efforts that we keep our world class CERT program as it is-alive, active and ever expanding.

Thanks to all of you!!

your volunteer PIO

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CERTs Complete Public Information Course

Judy Howell and Kevin Mullins completed the Basic Public Information Officer Training offered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management today. The course emphasized the fundamental skills and knowledge needed for emergency management public information functions. Subjects included conducting awareness campaigns, news release writing, public speaking and television interviews. Other attendees were represenatives from local fire departments, government agency's and Homeland Security organizations. Fairfax County CERT now has three trained Public Information Officers in its ranks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NEWS FLASH with UPDATE-CERT members needed for operational roles at upcoming events!

Hi folks,
Fairfax County CERT has been offered an opportunity for CERT members to fill operational roles at some major upcoming county events. We will be working directly with the Fire and Rescue department's on-site personnel; to include help at the first aid tents,general logistics duties and crowd control help during EMS calls.

The upcoming events are as follows:

Herndon Festival - Thursday May 28 through Sunday May 31

Vintage Virginia (Bull Run Park) - Saturday May 30 and Sunday May 31

Viva Vienna May 22-24 (This event is now a "go" as well).

The final, and largest event will be:

Celebrate Fairfax - Friday June 5 through Sunday June 7

In addition to the above mentioned duties (logistics, aide tents, crowd control );CERT members will also be running the child registration booths at this event. We will have a CERT outreach booth too. This event has attendance of 500,000 plus people on average.

Interested CERT members participating in any of these events would be expected to provide a minimum 3-4 hour block of time and would be working side by side with FD personnel.

If you are interested in participating in ANY of these events, please email me at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org Please give me your name, your CERT class,what event and what shift you would be interested in working. We will need lots of help!
Folks, this is an ideal opportunity to work side by side with our Fire and Rescue department. It's fun,it's educational and it is a great way to show what CERTs can do when asked to step up and help the community.

your volunteer PIO

WMATA Training for CERT Members

WMATA has been offering three-week rail safety courses for CERT members for the past five years. The class, which is intended for those who ride the Metro on a regular basis, meets three consecutive Wednesdays from 6 to 9 pm at WMATA headquarters in DC.

The first week is a terrorism module and takes place entirely at headquarters. The second and third weeks the class begins at headquarters and then continues elsewhere. Week two the class travels as a group to the Brentwood railyard where they learn the layout of Metro cars, the location of emergency supplies on each car, and the best way to evacuate the cars. Week three the group travels to one of the tunnels to learn how to navigate a tunnel and the third rail in an emergency.

Attendance at all three classes is required to complete the training. The class size is limited to 13, as that is the maximum number allowed in the tunnels at one time. For weeks two and three, students must wear sturdy work or hiking boots (without steel toes, as that is a conductor) and clothing that can get dirty and in which they can jump over things (no skirts). Valuables are best left at home those weeks.

All participants must pass a criminal background check conducted by Metro police prior to the start of class. For that, WMATA needs full name, SS#, race, sex and birthdates of each student.

Once a year those who have completed the training are invited to participate in a self-evacuation exercise to practice what they have learned.

Those who complete the training are considered "Metro Citizen Corps" members by WMATA.

The training is available to those who are preferably NIMS compliant, active-duty CERT members, and regular riders of the Metro.

Dates include:
June 3rd WMD/TARR
June 10th train overview
June 17th Tunnel walk

To sign up, please call Dana at 703-246-4683 to reserve your spot now!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Social networking sites and public safety-an article for you

Here is an interesting article,sent in by our CERT blog calendar guru Micah. This article is another example of the public safety sector tapping in to the power of the internet to get information out quickly to citizens. While you are looking at the DC fire site; check out the Fairfax County CERT page on Facebook too
your volunteer PIO

DC Fire/EMS Wants to Be Your Friend on Facebook

The city's fire department has embraced Web 2.0 and is on the hunt for a few more "friends" and followers.

DC Fire/EMS spokesman Alan Etter said today that the department is on Facebook and on Twitter. On Facebook search for "DC FireEMS" and on Twitter, follow the department's latest updates through "dcfireems."

On Twitter -- a service that allows people to follow updates, or "tweets" from other people -- Etter plans to post breaking news and other department updates. DC Fire/EMS's last "tweet" was on Sat. Apr 4, at 5:05 p.m. That said, "working fire - 3421 M St., NW - no injuries - commercial bldg."

This approach is one way for DC Fire/EMS to compete with private paging services that listen to police and fire scanners and send out short alerts to subscribers, including several media organizations. Etter alluded to the competition in a note to local reporters: "I know there are services that describe events as well -- these will be OFFICIAL updates and will -- hopefully -- offer useable details." Meanwhile, in the department's Facebook profile you can see lots of photos of figrefighters and a video of DC Fire/EMS recruit class graduation.

On Facebook, the online presence of local law enforcement is growing. Among them, groups like "Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1- Auxiliary," "Friends Of Prince George's County Sheriff Deputies" and "Virginia State Police." Of course, lots of these groups are invite-only. But hey, you never know who might be looking for more "friends."

Theola Labbé-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose | April 6, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Category: Crime and Public Safety , Theola Labbé-DeBose

Friday, April 3, 2009

Request for Victims-April 7

Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Station 41-Crosspointe (9610 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station, VA)is requesting 10 volunteer victims to help out on vehicle rescue drills. Those of you who have nothing to do during Spring Break may want to check this out. There are 2 drills that day, consider doing one or both. Times are 830am-1130am & 130pm-330pm. Ages 16 and up may participate. Pizza and refreshments are provided. You must wear clothing that may get dirty, closed end shoes and long pants required. Contact Capt George Harley 703-474-6908 to sign up and for more details.

Help out our friends at the Fire & Rescue Dept!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Virginia's Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday May 25th-May 31st.

Hi folks!

Get ready to save money!
Stock up on supplies for your family’s
emergency supply kit and to protect your home.

By law, the items listed below are exempt from Virginia sales tax between May 25 and May 31.

Shop for items in this list that have a sales price of $60 or less:

• Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and reusable ice
• Batteries (excluding automobile or boat batteries)
o AAA, AA, C and D size
o 6- or 9-volt
o Cell phone batteries
• Any battery-powered light sources ,including
flashlights, lanterns and glow sticks -- no candles
• Tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and
other flexible waterproof sheeting
• Bungee cords and rope
• Ground anchor systems or tie down kits
• Ratchet straps
• Duct tape
• Carbon monoxide detectors
• Smoke detectors
• Fire extinguishers
• Empty gas, propane or diesel fuel tanks or containers
• Water storage containers, including buckets, barrels,
canteen, cans, cooler
• Nonelectric food storage coolers
• Bottled water, any size and number of bottles,
including flavored, carbonated and vitamin water
• Manual can openers
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radios (including
radios with an electrical power option)
• Two-way radios
• Weather band radios and NOAA Weather Radios
• Storm shutter devices that are made, rated and
marketed specifically for the prevention of storm
damage to windows -- no plywood
• Cell phone chargers
• First aid kits

$1,000 or less
Shop for items in this list that have a sales price of $1,000 or less:
• Portable generators and generator power cords
• Inverters and inverter power cables

Customers can use manufacturer’s coupons to lower the price
of an item so that it will qualify for the $60 or $1,000 price cap.

The Virginia Department of Taxation’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday
Guidelines and Rules are available online at www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.
For detailed information about how to prepare your family for hurricanes and
other emergencies, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov .

CERT 38-Welcome to the CERT family!

Hi folks,
A new CERT 2 class started this evening;CERT 38. On behalf of Fairfax County CERT, welcome to the family!
Tonight each of you new CERT members gained 373 brothers and sisters. I know your'e saying, "How did I do that?" Well,it's easy.You became CERT members! Fairfax County CERT is a great program chock full of people from all walks of life.Our family is unique; with diverse cultures, languages and wildly varying life experiences.We Fairfax county CERT members are from all over the world; rich and poor, young and old.
But, for all the fantastic diversity of our family; we CERT members are one-unified in one purpose. That purpose is to learn how to help ourselves, our families and our communities in times of major disaster.

You will find that the training you are taking can be challenging at times; at times stressful. You will train in whatever weather there is; because disasters rarely seem to happen when the sun is shining and it's 80 degrees outside. Sometimes you will go home tired,sweaty and dirty after your classes.

But, I can guarantee you will be going home EXCITED too. You will be excited in the knowledge you and your team moved a 9000 pound piece of roadway bridge off a trapped victim with 2x4's and CERT know how. Or, you and your buddy found a victim,extricated them, made a stretcher from "stuff" you found at the scene and toted them off the top of the multipurpose building. You will be excited in the fact YOUR victim got the best of care, because you as a CERT trained how do administer that care.You will be excited that your team came through the drill together, with all your team accounted for and unhurt. You will learn what "more rock, less talk" means....and you will be able to "speak CERT" fluently, just as your CERT brothers and sisters who have trained before you.

CERT training builds useful skills,knowledge and a lot of pride. In a major disaster when people are looking for help and normal rescue resources are overwhelmed; you will be able to effectively,decisively help others in their greatest time of need.

The others who have taken CERT training have gone through the same tests and trials you are just starting to undertake. We thank you for stepping up, to making that noble commitment to help others in times of major disaster. Welcome to the family!
I took some pictures of the class tonight-these are posted on the Fairfax County CERT Facebook page. Go to www.facebook.com and search for "Fairfax County CERT". Take a look!
your volunteer PIO