Thursday, May 28, 2009

Victims, please.....

We are in need of people to play the role of "victims" for the upcoming CERT drill scheduled for June 7, 2009. As a victim you will be expected to play your role as realistically as possible. You will receive "make-up" to show "wounds" and will have fake blood placed on your clothes. As such, please dress for the elements (we have the drill rain or shine) as you will be waiting outside to be found, in clothes that you can get very dirty, stained, and possibly even torn. Some of you may also be called upon to assist the rescuers in performing their duties. You may participate in any way you feel comfortable.

This is a very exciting opportunity to help your community. Live "victims" are essential to providing high quality training, and you'll learn quite a bit too! We'll even throw in lunch.
You need to arrive at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy (4600 West Ox Rd. Fairfax, VA) by 9:30am. The drill should be completed by 3:00pm. We will need you to participate for the entire time. However, if you need to leave early due to an emergency, just let a Controller know so we can account for you. Due to limited parking, it is requested you carpool as much as possible.

The schedule for the date usually goes something like this:
9:00am - Arrive and park.

9:30am - Check in. You'll be registered and your contact information taken. You'll be given a card with a set of "injuries" you are act out.

9:45am - 10:30am- You'll start in the makeup process. While this does not take much time, there is a wait to get through.

10:30am – Brunch and the lead instructor will give you a brief presentation on safety issues, and what to expect.

11:00am - 11:15am - You will be escorted to the area that you will be "trapped" or laying about.

11:15pm - The Drill begins. The rescuers will search, sort the victims by severity, extricate those who are trapped, and transport all victims to a treatment area.
2:30pm - Victim checkout, debrief, and "thank-you's" from the students.

We prefer adults, but will gladly accept minors 15 years and older with signed parental consent (contact for the form) and a full understanding of what's involved. If you would like a child younger than 15 to participate, they must be accompanied by a responsible adult who will not participate as a victim but will stay near the child during the entire exercise. At checkout, those that would like them can receive a certificate signifying 6.5 hours of community service provided.

Please give your name, phone number and E-mail address to and let them know you read about it on the blogspot.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Virginia’s Hurricane Tax Holiday is May 25-31: Get Ready Now for Hurricane and Flood Season

RICHMOND, VA – June 1 marks the start of hurricane season, and Virginians should take steps now to prepare their families and businesses. Regardless of where you live in the Commonwealth, the flood risk and property loss associated with hurricanes and tropical storms is high.

“It is so important that every Virginian treat hurricane season seriously,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “Hurricane season is flood season. No part of Virginia is safe from flooding because seasonal heavy rains and slow moving tropical systems can affect any part of the state.”

National Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 24-30, an excellent opportunity for all Virginia families to take three simple, low-cost steps to get ready: get a kit, make a plan and stay informed. This year, the Ready Virginia campaign is focusing on teaching families how to make a plan. For hurricane season, families should learn their designated evacuation routes, decide on an evacuation destination and collect emergency contact information. Go to for downloadable family plan worksheets.
Residents living in coastal and inland communities will benefit from Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, set for May 25-31.

During that week, no sales tax will be charged on the purchase of many items that can be used to prepare homes for hurricane and flood season and to fill emergency supply kits. Among the exempt items are bottled water; flashlights; batteries including cell phone batteries; food and beverage storage coolers; battery-powered or hand-crank radios, two-way radios, weather band radios and NOAA Weather Radios; cell phone chargers; carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and fire extinguishers; first aid kits; tarps, plastic sheeting, drop cloths and duct tape; artificial ice; empty gas, propane or diesel fuel tanks or containers; and generators. For a complete list and details go to

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, which produced torrential rains in the mountains of Virginia. Although Camille was a tropical depression when it hit Virginia, Nelson County recorded 27 inches of rainfall. Flash flooding killed at least 150 people and injured another 100 in the Commonwealth. “The message for us in Virginia is that even a significantly weakened tropical system can have deadly consequences,” said Bill Sammler, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “Fortunately, we now have NOAA Weather Radios, NWS Doppler radar and many other communication technologies that did not exist in 1969. But people still need to prepare their families and their homes and businesses because property damage can be severe during hurricane and flood season.”

NVFC Junior Firefighter Scholarship & Grant Applications due June 1

The National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Scholarship and Grant Program application period deadline has been extended until June 1, 2009. The scholarship program will award a combined total of $100,000 in scholarships to junior firefighters to fund their pursuits in higher education in 2009. Scholarships are awarded to individuals involved in the junior firefighters and Explorers programs from across the nation who demonstrate commitment and dedication to their local program. Applicants must be a senior in high school or have graduated from high school within the past three years. For additional information and to download the application, visit

Recap of the Ambulance Chase and Viva Vienna

This weekend CERT members assisted in operational roles at two different events-the ambulance chase 5k run and the Viva Vienna festival.

The ambulance chase was an exciting event; from an activity and a CERT learning standpoint. Initially we were there to just volunteer; as the event unfolded it became apparent a CERT IC would make the event run smoother from a CERT volunteer perspective. James from CERT 32 was appointed the CERT IC "on the fly" and below is his report.

I think we can say the support mission was well received – all did an outstanding job. After the initial assistance in setting up I made sure the event coordinator (Hana) knew we were ‘available’. She asked us to help with traffic control near the start and finish point for the initial Fun Run for the kids. I observed that here Station 21 volunteers were very involved with the race/run details and she need us to assist somewhat with the traffic, even in the Government center parking area. Just before the beginning of the RACE we were put aboard the cone trailer to be dropped off at designed spots as the cone were being repositions ahead of the runners.

We were assigned to 7 route locations that were not covered by police officers. Bob and Grace and Sandra were posted at traffic light controlled intersections where the runners would turn right. Gert was a little further down at a primary exit of a shopping center. Judy established a control point at the entrance to the Penino Center where the runners would also exit when they completed that loop. I was at the through lanes opposite the Government Center entrance to make sure the runners continued straight ahead. Bob was at the entrance on the other side of the street where the runners hit the 3-mile mark. Bob and I received many a ‘thanks you for volunteering’ from the runners as they passed, as I am sure the other CERT members did. We probably could have used a few more volunteers although for the area and at that time the traffic was very light.

I reported to Hana when Bob and I returned to the starting point, and again when I was able to say with certainty that all our CERT members were accounted for. Hana thanked us for our support and wanted me to send her a list of the names of the 8 volunteers.

I think we made points with this event and maybe will be asked back again next time.

Jim from CERT 32

A huge YOU ROCK goes out to all the CERT volunteers that made a difference in the running of this inaugural event! Pictures of the event and the volunteers are on the Fairfax County CERT page on Facebook, the web address is .

Your volunteer PIO was also helping out this weekend; for a short time at the ambulance chase and another event; I worked a CERT operational role at the aide tent at the Viva Vienna festival.I was there on Saturday and Sunday to assist members of the Vienna volunteer fire dept. with logistics, crowd control during EMS calls, patient logging and organizing the aid station.

The weekend was for the most part quiet-we handed out lots of "bandaids and sunblock"; but we had some EMS calls where I had to keep the crowds back (not as easy as it sounds). I learned the importance of being ready at a moment's notice-we were in the middle of setting the aid station up Sunday morning when an EMS call came in.
Having one's gear packed, checked and ready to go at all times makes a HUGE difference in ensuring all goes well during a call, and during CERT operations too. I even got to sit in on the debrief of this one call-and I learned a LOT.
I wish other CERT's had had some time to work this event-the Vienna VFD folks were an absolute JOY to work with.These folks went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and useful. Even though the Vienna folks are the professionals; this CERT was made to feel like "one of the guys". I felt like they wore blue shirts, I wore a CERT vest and that was the only difference. It was one of the best operational role events I've ever worked; yep I enjoyed it that much.

We still have CERT operational roles at the Herndon festival and Vintage Virginia event this weekend, and Celebrate Fairfax next weekend. If you would like to participate, drop me a line at with your name, your CERT class number and a contact phone number. CERT operational roles can be worked at by CERT basic and CERT 2 graduates. C'mon, join the fun!

your volunteer PIO

Monday, May 25, 2009

Citizen Corps News: Upcoming Events of Interest for Citizen Corps Councils & Partners

Citizen Corps supports weekly and monthly outreach themes which encourage and promote civic engagement, public safety, preparedness, resilience, and volunteerism. The outreach themes are intended to be used as an opportunity to jumpstart work with additional Citizen Corps partners and affiliates on promoting awareness, planning events, and media outreach to strengthen community preparedness at the state and local level. Local Citizen Corps Councils and partners may contact local representatives from the organizations below to learn how the community can benefit from involvement, reach out to citizens about participation, and involve the local media in distributing information on these events. These events will help raise awareness for local Citizen Corps activities and ultimately increase community preparedness, training, and volunteer participation.

The following are the upcoming events for the end of May and June… Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 24-30, 2009): Hurricane Preparedness Week can be utilized by local and state Citizen Corps Councils and partners to educate, train, and prepare the public prior to the official start of Hurricane Season on June 1st. The following NOAA and FEMA Hurricane Preparedness websites were created to inform the public about hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take protective action. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water. Visit and for more information and resources.

Home Safety Month (June 2009): Each year during June, the Home Safety Council, a National Citizen Corps Affiliate, works to educate and motivate families to take actions that will increase the safety of their homes. This year’s Home Safety Month campaign theme – Hands on Home Safety – asks the public to take some simple steps to create a safer home environment from the five leading causes of home injury – falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning. Visit the following website to obtain information and resources that Citizen Corps Councils and partners can share with community members to encourage them to take a hands-on approach to making their homes safer: National Safety Month (June 2009): Every year the National Safety Council, a National Citizen Corps Affiliate, promotes National Safety Month, an initiative that focuses on heightening awareness of important safety issues. The National Safety Council asks employers to help prevent work place injuries and individuals to protect their loved ones from injury. Visit the National Safety Month website to learn about opportunities for Citizen Corps Councils to become National Safety Month Sponsors or to become Safety Ambassadors. Additionally, the site offers resources, in both Spanish and English, to support each of their June 2009 weekly themes. Visit to learn more.

Lightning Safety Week (June 21-27, 2009): Summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena – lightning. In the U.S., an average of 62 people are killed each year by lightning; hundreds of others are injured. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a National Citizen Corps Affiliate, has recently posted new resources that Citizen Corps Councils and partners can use to increase lightning safety awareness, such as a brochure titled ‘Lightning Safety for You and Your Family’ and a lightning safety quiz for kids with Leon the Lightning Lion. Visit the NOAA Lightning Safety webpage at for more details.

A complete list of weekly and monthly outreach themes for 2009 is available on the Citizen Corps website at Sincerely, The National Office of Citizen Corps FEMA Community Preparedness Division

Friday, May 22, 2009

CERT graduation pictures posted on Facebook!

Hi folks!
Today I received the pictures from the recent CERT graduation ceremony. These have been posted to the Fairfax County CERT page on Facebook. The address is - search for "fairfax county CERT" and look under pictures.
If you see your smiling face in any of the pictures in the CERT photo albums; you can "tag" that photo. That way everyone will know who is who in the pics.
Congratulations to all the CERT graduates!

your volunteer PIO

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pictures needed....

Hi folks!
We have had a request for some CERT photos. Specifically,we're looking for digital pictures of CERT in action. In particular,we are looking for pictures from CERT events such as the Huntington flood recovery efforts in 2005, Celebrate Fairfax activities,community outreach events,CERT basic teaching and the like.
If you have some CERT action photos and would like to share them with others, send them in an email to me at .
We will be adding these pics to our Fairfax County CERT page on Facebook. We currently have 10 albums of photos and would like to have more if possible.

your volunteer PIO

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Help still needed at Viva Vienna! Ambulance Chase Saturday 5/23!

We still need some CERT help at the Viva Vienna event next weekend.The event times are as follows:

Saturday 5/23 1000 – 2200

Sunday 5/24 1000 – 2200

Monday 5/25 1000 – 1800

The fire department will have an Aide Tent staffed the entire time located in Front of the Freeman House on Church Street.We will be assisting the Fire and rescue department at this aide station.
If you have three or four hours to spare they could use the help.If you are interested, just send me an email to with your name, your CERT class number and a contact number.

Remember, the Ambulance Chase 5k event takes place Saturday, May 23rd from 8-11am at the Fairfax County government center as well. I have asked for final details on this event-when I get them I'll shoot out a briefing to all those folks that have signed up.

Here is the official Web Site for the Viva Vienna event.

your volunteer PIO

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This just in... The current Fairfax County Fire & Rescue EMT class needs volunteer victims for this Sunday, May 17. The class is being held at the Fire & Rescue Academy on West Ox Road. There are 2 slots open for volunteers 0800 to 1200 and 1230 to 1600. If you haven't volunteered as a victim recently this is a great opportunity! As always, the more the merrier.

Contact Don Melick for more details.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

CERT operations at upcoming events update

Hi folks!
I wanted to put up a list of the volunteers I have for the upcoming CERT operational roles at events . If you have signed up I should have your name on here; if not please send me an email at with your name, your CERT class number and a contact phone number (preferably a cell number).

We are still looking for help! If you would like to participate; operational roles are a great way to apply what you have learned in CERT class. We will be giving logistic support, managing crowds when EMS is running an emergency call on the event grounds; and working the child registration stations at the larger events. During the ambulance chase we will be working as course safety marshals.
Those who have worked in these support roles before can tell you just how important we are to the smooth running of those events.We do important, much needed and necessary work in these support roles. Working these events also gives the Fire and Rescue department much needed support in these times of tight budgets. Let's help them out! Participation by CERT 1/CERT Basic class graduates is welcomed; come out and meet your CERT extended "family"!
Have fun and put your knowledge to use!

Remember, you can participate in three outreach events per calendar year; this will fulfill your requirement for a yearly refresher class. Participation in Celebrate Fairfax counts as a yearly refresher itself.

Here are the upcoming events and those who have signed up so far:

Viva Vienna Friday May 22 through Sunday, May 24th
Terry from CERT 14-folks, I could use a little help with this one!

The Ambulance Chase 5k run-Saturday May 23rd,8-11am

Grace and Bob from CERT 34
Gert from CERT 38
Judy from CERT 29
James from CERT 32
Bob from CERT 21
Sandra from CERT 34

Herndon Festival - Thursday May 28 through Sunday May 31
We could use more help for this event. The Herndon festival and Celebrate Fairfax are large events attended by LOTS of guests.
Eydie from CERT 23
Peter from CERT 34
Randy from CERT 23
Peter from CERT 34
Randy from CERT 23
Donna from CERT 1
Bennie from CERT 31
Terry from CERT 14

Vintage Virginia (Bull Run Park) - Saturday May 30 and Sunday May 31
So far we have no takers for this event. Interested? Email me!

Celebrate Fairfax - Friday June 5 through Sunday June 7
This is an event attended by upwards of 500,000 people. We could use more help here if you are interested!
*********We also need a CERT IC for this event.******** If you are interested in being the CERT incident commander for the weekend, please email Derek. This opportunity is open to CERT 2 and CERT 3 members.
Judy our outreach coordinator-She will be manning the CERT outreach booth.
Friday June 5th
Randy from CERT 23
Terry from CERT 14

Saturday June 6th
Randy from CERT 23
Terry from CERT 14
Patty from CERT 19
Bob from CERT 34
Grace from CERT 34

Sunday,June 7th
Terry from CERT 14

Spend a few hours, "get refreshed"; and come out and help!

your volunteer PIO

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Fairfax County CERT graduation ceremony Thursday,May 7th-Be there!

Hi folks!
Thursday, May 7, 2009 is the date of the Fairfax County CERT graduation ceremony.The ceremony starts promptly at 7pm.The dress code for this event is business casual.

The ceremony is for all CERT classes that have not received their CERT class completion certificates. The last classes that had a graduation ceremony were CERT 14 and CERT 15; so all class members from that point forward are encouraged to attend.
If you wish to attend, PLEASE RSVP our CERT admin person Dana Powers at .

The location for the CERT graduation ceremony is the Massey Building "A" level conference room.The Massey building is Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department headquarters, located at:

4100 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Each CERT class graduate from classes 15 forward will recieve their course completion certificates at this ceremony. In addition, Fairfax County fire chief Mastin will be in attendance at this event. Light refreshments will be served.

Fellow CERT family members-this is YOUR time to be recognized for your CERT achievement. We look forward to seeing you at the ceremony!

your volunteer PIO