Thursday, December 30, 2010

CrisisCommons receives two-year grant

CrisisCommons is a global network of volunteers who use creative problem solving and open technologies to help people and communities in times and places of crisis.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars was awarded a two year, $1.2 million dollar grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support CrisisCommons as a full-time project through 2012. CrisisCommons is a commons-based approach to crisis management and global development.

The grant will focus on three main objectives:

  1. To provide community and technology liaison support during and after disasters;
  2. To facilitate a shared approach to research and innovation; and
  3. To establish trust and formalize relationships in the crisis response and volunteer technology communities.
More information about CrisisCommons is available at

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Attention CERT members - ADOPT A HYDRANT

The winter months bring a special challenge to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Large winter storms can often hide fire hydrants under a mountain of snow making them difficult to find quickly. In the event of a fire, firefighters have to locate and shovel out fire hydrants before hooking up to them. Precious time is lost. It is critical that the fire and rescue department have access to hydrants during a fire. Locating and accessing an obstructed or covered fire hydrant may take 5-7 minutes once firefighters arrive on the scene.
Normally, firefighters attempt to shovel every hydrant in their first due area, but sometimes this is difficult. Please take some time to help firefighters have access to a fire hydrant---don’t let your neighborhood hydrants remain “undercover.”
We are asking for your help by keeping fire hydrant s closest to your residence or business clear of snow. A three-foot clearance is needed on all sides.
Safety Tips: when shoveling snow, be aware of vehicle traffic. Do not stand in the street and be careful not to slip and fall.
The general public, associations, and civic groups (Boy Scouts, etc) may “adopt” a hydrant or hydrants in their neighborhood. If you volunteer to participate, please send an email to with the location or locations of the hydrant(s) that you pledge to keep clear.

The house you save may be your own!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Outreach HELP for Frostival- Don't hibernate , Celebrate!

Hey Fellow CERTs!!! We need your help at this years Frostival. It will be at the Dulles Expo & Conference Center. The hours are 10:00am - 5:00pm, except 12/31, that day will be 10:00am to 4:00pm. Come out for a 2 or 4 hour block and chat with your neighbors about CERT. This is a great way to give back to your community,your fellow Fairfax County neighbors, "The Gift of CERT".
Please email James our Outreach Coordinator at or Please cc me at also. For more info about Frostival, please go to Hope to see you out there!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What do you do if you smell Natural Gas?

For detection and safety, gas is normally added with the unpleasant odorant called mercaptan. If you smell a rotten egg odor, do not attempt to locate the leak source.Call 911. If the smell is strong or you also hear a blowing or hissing noise, vacate the building immediately, leaving doors UNLOCKED as you leave. Deny access to the building or area. Don't turn on lights, use a cell phone, flash light, don't start your car or open your garage door if you have an electric opener. Call 911 from a safe distance.

Fairfax FROSTIVAL Outreach Support

The 2nd annual FROSTIVAL is coming up from December 30 - January 2 at the Dulles Expo and Conference Center. FROSTIVAL is exciting winter-themed family festival, with programs targeted to elementary and pre-K aged children.

Fairfax County CERT has been asked to have a display and provide the attendees (parents and guardians) information about Preparedness and the CERT Program. This is the first OUTREACH event for 2011 that needs your support.

Event times are: 10:00am-5:00pm Daily (Except 12/31: 10:00am-4:00pm only)

We need at least two people to staff the display booth that can talk CERT during the event. Anyone available for any 2-4 hour block between 10:00 am and 4:00pm:

THURSDAY (12/30) FRIDAY (12/31) SATURDAY (1/1) and SUNDAY (1/2)

Please contact James at the OUTREACH Coordinator e-mail address or directly at

Fairfax County OEM December Emergency Preparedness Newsletter

The December Emergency Preparedness newsletter from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is now available online:

• PDF -
• Word (ADA) version -

For past issues of the newsletter, or to refer a friend to our newsletter page, visit
For more information about outreach and public education, and the latest news about emergency management, visit

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Preparedness

Winter Preparedness Information Available from Fairfax County

Dec. 5-11 is Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia and Fairfax County offers tips and information at

Topics include: cold temperatures and wind chill; frostbite and hypothermia; frozen pipes and plumbing protection; home heating assistance and alternative heating sources; road safety; pet safety; clearing snow and debris; and care for people with disabilities.

Fairfax County uses a number of tools and resources to keep residents informed about the weather and operating status, including the Fairfax County website (, Twitter (, Facebook (, the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN — and Fairfax County Government Channel 16 (

Additional winter preparedness information is available at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management winter weather Web page (

Monday, November 29, 2010

Prince George County, MD looking for volunteer "hostages"

Prince George's County, MD will be hosting a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional drill on December 9, 2010, simulating a terrorist/hostage scenario. This will be the third drill in a series of three. Fairfax County public safety agencies have been involved in the previous drills and in preparing for the upcoming drill. They are looking for 20-30 more people to volunteer to act as "hostages" for the December 9 drill. BC Kenny Wolfrey (BC407-B) will be present as an evaluator as part of the COG LEEMS committee. If anyone is interested they can contact Ms. Melissa Rivord @ 202-962-3261.

Monday, November 22, 2010

To fry, or not to fry.....

Yes, it is the annual "be careful when frying a turkey" post! Yet again I have dug into the CERT archives to dig up and beat the dead turkey I have posted for the last three years. I know it is repetitive, but bear with me.
Have you thought about how you might be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey? What the heck does this have to do with CERT, safety or anything other than a cooking class or something on the Food Network? Has Mike gone completely crazy? Has cooking with Emeril Lagasse gone to his head? Good questions all!

Over the past few years there has been a growing trend of people frying their turkeys. I have to say, fried turkey sure do taste good, this is a fact. Unfortunately, if you are novice, or even have experience frying a turkey, it is a serious and dangerous prospect.

There are many reasons a deep fryer can be dangerous. Since using the typical pedestal type turkey fryer SHOULD NEVER BE DONE INDOORS (this includes a garage or barn, even if is not entirely closed in), making sure you have the space and equipment to do this outdoors is important. Also bear in mind, the weather; if it is windy, raining or snowing, this could affect your fryer.

In order to fry your turkey you will need to get the oil in the fryer up to at least 350 degrees ...350 degrees, which, if you did not know, IS REALLY HOT! Working with an unstable product such as blazing hot oil over an open flame is dangerous, even if you know what you are doing.

Other safety issues include:* If the burner is not on level ground, the units can easily tip over, spilling hot oil (3-5 gallons of hot oil at 350 degrees!!!) onto the burner and creating a LARGE, FAST fire.* If the pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill over when the turkey is lowered into the pot. Oil will hit the flames on the burner and engulf the burner with fire. There are ways to measure out the right amount of oil, which is imperative to ensure you do not have the pot overfilled.* Water and hot oil do not go together. Partially frozen turkeys contain water of course, so if you lower a partially frozen turkey into a fryer, expect an extensive fire. Heaven help you if you place a frozen turkey in the fryer; to help defrost it....this will cause an explosion as the water expands in the hot (350 degrees ) oil. DON'T do it.* The outdoor fryers have no thermostat controls, so they can overheat quickly and cause the oil to boil over the sides of the pot before you can react.

* The pot and handles get extremely hot (remember, 350 degrees of boiling oil), posing severe burn hazards.

I am sure there is someone out there saying to themselves, "I won't let Mike yuck my yum, I am going to fry a turkey anyway". Fine, be that way. It won't be the first time someone did not listen to what I said and partially burned their house know who you are.You still want to fry that turkey? Ok, fine. Please, bear these things in mind as you go about frying.
These are not guaranteed to stop a fire or keep you from getting burned, but they may help in mitigating a larger disaster (such as burning your house down):* Never use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck or inside a garage, home, or within any structure.* Place the fryer a safe distance away from any building (bear in mind if you place it in the grass, the grass should not be overly dry, nor overly wet. Also count on the grass dying and never growing back).* Fryers should be used on a firm, flat surface to prevent them from tipping over. Try the middle of a parking lot....not the sloping driveway in front of your house next to your car.

* Once the pot is filled with the recommended 3-5 gallons of oil (probably peanut oil) and the burner is ignited, you should never leave the fryer unattended. This also means do not cook if you are under the influence. Please, don't drink and fry.* Keep pets inside and keep children at a safe distance. A safe distance being somewhere where they will never see it because once they do, they will want to get close.* Use well-insulated gloves or oven mitts and wear safety glasses (I think I know where you might have a pair laying around) to guard against oil splatters.
* Do not wear loose clothing as these might ignite if you get too close to the flame or the oil, or both. If your clothes do catch on fire, remember, Stop, Drop and Roll!*Turkeys must be thoroughly thawed. While very tasty, be very careful of injecting marinades into your turkey. The extra liquid may cause the oil to spill over.*Keep a portable dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby. Never use a water type extinguisher to extinguish a grease or oil fire. Do not deploy the garden hose to assist with your turkey fryer fire, this will do MUCH, MUCH more harm than good.* If your fryer does catch fire call 9-1-1 immediately!

Finally, remember the oil (3-5 gallons of it) inside the pot will remain hot for hours after your turkey has been removed. DO NOT bring it indoors and again, keep children and pets away from the pot.

For more information on some of the hazards of cooking fires (not just the turkey fryer fires), please visit the United States Fire Administration's website for a copy of: Behavioral Mitigation of Cooking Fires by going here:

For a short demo on a fryer fire, go here:
Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Preparedness Week: Dec. 5-11

Several severe winter storms affected the Commonwealth throughout the 2009-2010 winter season, killing 14 and bringing multiple record-breaking snowstorms and cold temperatures to every part of Virginia. Power outages and blocked roads created a dangerous situation for many, and it could happen again this year.

Winter Preparedness Week, set for Dec. 5-11, is an opportunity to remind Virginians of the dangers that can come with colder weather and that taking three basic steps to emergency preparedness can make a big difference.
  • Make a plan. Closed roads can prevent you from going home. Decide on a meeting place outside of your neighborhood if your family is separated and choose an out-of-town relative or friend to be your family’s point of contact for emergency communications. With your family, write down your emergency plan – get a free worksheet at

  • Get a kit. Along with the basic supplies (three days’ food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio with extra batteries, and your written family emergency plan), add a first aid kit, medications if needed, blankets and warm clothing, supplies for special member of your household, and pet items.

  • Stay informed. Before, during and after a winter storm, you should listen to local media for information and instructions from emergency officials. Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions. You can get road condition information 24/7 by calling 511 or checking

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hurricane Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Be prepared, inform local authorities about any special needs before a hurricane strikes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010



SAN DIEGO - Yesterday, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate took the stage at the 2010 TEDMED Conference in San Diego, Calif., to announce a new public challenge to come up with creative ideas on how we can prepare communities before disaster strikes. Fugate posed the challenge to the audience as he discussed how responding to disasters takes an entire team, not just the U.S. government, and how we must plan for the entire community before disaster strikes. Fugate, a former volunteer fire-fighter and emergency medical technician, drew parallels between treating a sick patient and responding to a community devastated by a disaster. Although Fugate announced the new challenge at the TEDMED conference, FEMA is encouraging all members of the public to participate and submit their ideas by visiting

"As individuals, we are always thinking about staying healthy and protecting our bodies from disease, whether through vaccinations, doctor appointments, physical activity or other ways. Shouldn't we be thinking about protecting our communities in the same way?" said Fugate. "We are always encouraging individuals to visit and take the steps to be more prepared before disaster strikes, but I'm here to ask for your help and to recruit you for your ideas on how we can better prepare communities, entire communities, for disasters."

TEDMED is part of the TED conference series, which brings together speakers from a wide variety of fields, including business leaders, journalists, entertainment figures, scientists, artists and authors, to share their diverse experiences and how their fields intersect with health and medicine. Other speakers at this year's conference included CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Magician David Blaine, among others. For more information visit

Since joining FEMA, Fugate has reached out to a wide variety of groups and organizations, to expand what he refers to as the "emergency management team." He has met with leaders representing Wal-Mart, Target, AT&T, Family Dollar, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Retail Foundation and others to improve disaster planning and coordination. Earlier this year, FEMA put together the first ever Technology Sector Day, as a forum to bring government and key technology innovators together to discuss how to work better together and how to leverage technology to improve the way FEMA does business. Participants included tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Verizon and others.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at,,, and Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Monday, November 1, 2010

CERT 49 of Mt. Vernon Graduates 22

One of our largest CERT Level 1 classes to date, CERT 49 graduated Monday night. This marks the fourth class in the Mt Vernon area and is becoming very popular. The CERT Level 1 class has all the razzle dazzle of CERT Level 2 but without the patient carries and lifting/cribbing. This makes the class open to participants of all skill levels. Many of the students attended the CERT Level 2 Final at Lorton Prison October 30th as victims or as rescuers. This was a great group to teach. I look forward to many of them staying involved.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thank you Actors!

On a chilly Saturday morning, 61 awesome victim actors came out to help out students of CERT classes 47, 48 & 49 realistically practice all the skills they have learned in the last several weeks. The Lorton Prison was the venue for this drill and the victims were spread over 3 multi-level buildins in disrepair. All victims were identified, triage and evacuated during the 3 hour drill. The students really appreaciate the efforts of the actors, who really outdid themselves.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hurricane Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for a hurricane.

Halloween Safety

With Halloween just around the corner, many people have already begun making plans to celebrate the event. Halloween is an exciting, fun-filled time for young people. Costumes, decorations, and candy are just a few of the memories the season brings to mind. Unfortunately, Halloween is also a time for increased accidents, injuries, and deaths.

Reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the numbers of deaths among young pedestrians between 5-14 years of age are four times higher on Halloween evening compared to the same period during other evenings of the year. Many Halloween-related accidents and injuries can be prevented if steps are taken to include safety in the mix. Here are some things you can do to help make this Halloween safe:

· When purchasing costumes, masks, beards, and wigs, make sure “Flame Resistant” is on the label. Although this does not mean these items won't catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the ignition source.
· Avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. Purchase or make costumes that are brightly colored to be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Children should also carry flashlights.
· Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping or falling. Make up a child’s face with cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision.
· Welcome trick-or-treaters with bright porch lights and have exterior lights on. Make sure all pathways to your home are well lit.
· Make sure your yard is clear of things such as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flowerpots that could trip children.
· Candlelit jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings, consider the possibility of using flashlights instead of candles to light them.
TREATS· Remind children not to dip into their treats until an adult has carefully examined all candy for signs of tampering, including small pinholes in wrappers and torn or loose packages. A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from digging into their bag of goodies before they return home. Parents of young children should throw away gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys to avoid choking or hazards.
PARENTS - TELL TRICK-OR-TREATERS TO:· Be back home by a certain time. Set a time limit for your children to “trick-or-treat.” Also designate a specific route for them to take. Never trick-or-treat alone. Go with at least two friends for the entire evening. Have children call home if they need to. Provide them with a cell phone or change to make a call.
· Carry a flashlight and use it so that drivers can see you and you can see other people as well as hazards in the street.
· Cross only at street corners, never between parked cars, and never diagonally across an intersection.
· Look in all directions before crossing the street, and obey all traffic signals. Walk- never run, across the street. Use sidewalks, not the street for walking.
· Do not accept rides from strangers.
· Do not take short cuts through backyards, alleys, or parks.
· Do not go inside anyone's home.
ADULTS· Keep dogs and other pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.
· Patrol your street occasionally to discourage speeding motorists, acts of malicious mischief and crimes against children.
· Call 9-1-1 immediately to report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police department.
MOTORISTS· Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel on Halloween evening and when driving they should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets.
· Exercise extreme caution when driving a vehicle. Be on the alert for youngsters darting out into traffic whose vision may be obscured by masks,
· Stay alert! Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children.
· Remember to SLOW DOWN and prepare for the unexpected.
PARENTS & KIDS· Schools, fire fighters, libraries, or civic groups in many communities organize "haunted houses" and other Halloween Festivities for families. To avoid trick-or-treating troubles entirely, organize a Halloween costume party with treats, games, contests, music, and scary stories. Make your Halloween party the place to be!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last Call for Actor/Victims

The final exercise for CERT classes 47, 48 and 49 will be held this Saturday October 30th from 0730 hrs to 1330 hrs. To make this exercise as realistic as possible for our students we are looking for victims who can act out their injuries realistically. The drill is held at Lorton Prison and lunch will be provided to all participants. This is also and excellent opportunity for students to receive community service hours. Contact Kevin at for more details.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Be Alert For Deer, a seasonal reminder from Fairfax County Police

Police caution motorists to stay alert for deer in the roadways.
Virginia was ranked among the top10 states in the nation for deer/vehicle collisions in 2009. The vast majority of these collisions occur during the deer breeding season between now and early January. Motorists should pay close attention and remain alert at all times, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are active and are likely to be seen quickly entering roadways in herds. Police are posting a mobile sign board on roads where deer/vehicle collisions have been reported in recent weeks, such as Braddock Road and Pleasant Valley Road.
Safety tips for motorists include:
· Deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
· Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
· Deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
· Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles; they may not work.
· If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle. Do not swerve to miss a deer. This may cause you to lose control of your vehicle, strike a tree or another vehicle or to overturn. If you cannot avoid hitting a deer, take the following precautions;
Slow down and grasp the steering wheel firmly with both hands.
Take your foot off the brake at the time of impact so the front end of your vehicle will lift up and enable the deer to go under the car, rather than over it – reducing the danger of it crashing through the windshield or windows.
If the animal is injured or killed, report the collision through the county’s non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.
To learn more about deer activity in Fairfax County, check

Monday, October 25, 2010

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Annual Full Scale Exercise -VICTIMS

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will be conducting its annual full scale
exercise on November 13, 2010. Each year VRE simulates a train related
emergency with VRE crew and passengers (volunteers). During this
simulation, local first responders test their skills in responding to a
situation on a VRE train. This year's exercise will take place in
Springfield, VA. We are looking for volunteers to be victims of this
simulated train emergency.

The emergency exercise will be held on Saturday November 13, 2010.
Volunteer victims need to arrive by 6:30 AM. The full scale drill will
last till 1PM.

The exercise will require that you are on board a stationary VRE train.
We will put theatrical make up to simulate injuries on select
volunteers. You will be given index cards (triage card) noting your
"injuries", if any. We ask that you dress in comfortable clothing and
covered shoes as you will be required to walk on uneven surfaces near
railroad tracks.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept children under the age of 10 years as
volunteers. We will require that each participant sign a "Release of
Claim" form in order to participate in the exercise. Volunteer victims
who are younger than 18 years will need their parent/guardian's
signature on the "Release of Claim" form.
Interested in joining us? Drop us a line at The
deadline to respond is November 5, 2010. Please put Volunteer Victim in
your subject line and provide us with the full name, email address and
emergency contact phone number for each of the volunteer victims. Please
note if the volunteer victim is an adult (18 years and older).

We will provide you with more details of the location, times and other
details on November 10, 2010.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CDC Hurricane Health & Safety Tip

Tip of the Week: If the power goes out during a storm, make sure that you use flashlights in the dark instead of candles for fire safety reasons.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Community Emergency Response Team Final Exercise
October 30, 2010 - Call for Victim Volunteers

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a system of training citizens to respond to large scale emergencies within their own neighborhood when the resources of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue system have been overwhelmed. These citizens are trained in the absence of a fire department response to mobilize and organize a rescue team for their community.

We are in need of people to play the role of "victims" for this drill. 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. You must wear long pants and closed end shoes, due to the location, we can not make exceptions to this rule. 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 afterwards
You need to arrive at the Lorton Prison Complex, Youth Facility, 9845 Furnace Road Lorton VA 22079 (also known as Landfill Drive) by 7:30 am. We’ll have signs posted on the roads to direct you too. The drill should be completed by no later than 1pm. We'll need you to participate for the entire time. However, if you need to leave early due to an emergency, just let a facilitator know so we can account for you. Due to limited parking, it is requested that you carpool as much as possible.

The schedule for the date usually goes something like this:
7:30 am - Arrive and park. Check in. You'll be registered and your contact information taken. You'll be given a card with a set of "injuries" you are to act out.
You'll start in the makeup process. While this doesn't take much time, there is a wait to get through. The lead instructor will give you a brief presentation on safety issues, what to expect, and what CERT is all about! This is a great time to sign up for a class!

8:30am – 8:45 am - You'll be escorted to the area that you'll be "trapped" or laying.

9:00pm - The Drill begins. The rescuers will search, sort the victims by severity, extricate those that are trapped, and transport all victims to a treatment area.

NOON – Lunch, debrief, "thank-you" from the students and Victim checkout.

We prefer adults, but will gladly accept minors 15 years and older with signed parental consent (attached) with a full understanding of what's involved. 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 the person who provided you with this request. Bring the attached form to the exercise.

REQUIREMENTS: You must wear long pants and closed end shoes---no exceptions here! Also bring a water bottle for the exercise and a folding chair for lunch (put your name on your chair). Do not bring iPods, phones or any electrics that may get wet or damaged. Also wear sunscreen and bug repellant is recommended

This training is a very comprehensive class providing "real world" hands-on skill training in the above areas. Unlike traditional classroom training or task-focused practicals, Fairfax County CERT training provides a full disaster simulation every class! Our students receive practice in fitting all of their skills together and honing them under the stress that only our realistic training scenarios can provide. Our unique 32-hour curriculum includes easy remember mnemonics and simple to use and implement processes that provide our graduates with superior tools, judgment, and skills to truly make a difference in a disaster. Our instructors are experts in the fields of emergency response, terrorism, building collapse, command and control and more. Our instructors have been around the world responding to large-scale disasters.

With the full support of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, our CERT classes are conducted at our large and modern Fire and Rescue Academy. Here our training props include buildings, high rises, apartments, collapsed structures, vehicles, live fires, hazardous materials and more.

At the end of this training is a "big" final exercise in which they will have to respond to a "disaster" (This is where you come in). This disaster will encompass approximately four square blocks of area with multiple hazards within. These citizens will have to locate, extricate, treat, and evacuate the victims found within this disaster zone.

Monday, October 18, 2010

CERT National Newsletter for October 2010

Dear CERT Community,

The CERT National Program Office is pleased to announce the release of the October 2010 quarterly "CERT National Newsletter." This edition features stories on Haiti CERT’s response to the devastating earthquake and national emergency response efforts during natural disasters from local CERT programs across the country. Click on the following link to read and download the newsletter: CERT National Newsletter for October 2010.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter. If you know of others who would be interested in receiving CERT news and updates, please have them subscribe at the following website:


CERT National Program Office
Individual & Community Preparedness Division

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Friday, October 15, 2010

72 hour kit form COSTCO -- Great Price

I received this link from a fellow FFXC CERT member. This is a great deal. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Call for Operation Capitol Shield

This exercise is Wednesday 10/13 and Thursday 10/14. Wednesday is victim day from 0800 hrs to 1500hrs. Thursday 10/14 is CERT operational day, being victims in the morning and rescue & medical operations in the afternoon. All at the infamous Lorton Prison. DON'T MISS THIS! We don't always get invited to work with the professionals. Contact for details and info

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

National Capital Region Exercise

The National Capital Region (NCR) received funding to expand their capacity to care for critically injured patients across their 28 hospitals in the event of a traumatic disaster scenario. To validate this enhanced capability, the NCR is participating in a full scale exercise, which will test the hospitals within the Region.

Volunteers are needed to play as victims in the exercise. Mock victims will be asked to act out as if they were injured, and may be applied with moulage (application of mock injuries using make-up and latex). Victims will be provided information regarding their ailments, so that the response demanded of the exercise participants can be more realistic.

Exercise Dates:
October 13 & 14, 2010

Participation: Volunteers will be asked to participate as mock victims for a full scale emergency exercise. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in one OR both days of this exercise. Volunteers will be triaged and transported to an area hospital and subsequently transported back to the volunteer staging area. Before the event, you will be given a complete orientation to the incident site, the type of injury or symptoms you should simulate and what actions are expected of you.

Volunteer at

Melissa Kim
CHHS Volunteer Coordinator

National Fire Safety Month - Local Fire station Open Houses

Fellow CERT members,

Here is another up-date on CERT support for our Outreach effort supporting The Fire Station Open Houses.

We have been graciously invited this year to 5 fire stations. Here is the current status of manning for these stations:
Burke - 5 CERT members
Centreville - 1
Vienna - 1
Mclean - 1
Fair Oaks - 0

Are there any CERT members that live in the Fair Oaks area that, could cover this station? this is a great way to get to know your local Firefighters.
If not we will have to drop this station. this is the first time that I know, that they have asked us it.

These Open Houses are from 10 am to 4 pm.

Please, email James or myself to let as know.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Update on Fire Station Open Houses - 9 October-

We have added Fair Oaks VFD. Thats (5)five, fire stations now. So, lets sign up to help at these stations. Please, let me know which is closest to your home. These Open Houses, not only get us great CERT exposure to our neighbors, we educate the Fireman at these stations on who we are and what our scope of training allows. We are not there to replace them but, to be there for our community until they can get to our neighborhood.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall for Fairfax Help and Fire Station Open Houses

Hey CERT members!
I know its short notice, but We are going to have a booth again at Fall for Fairfax and we need help!
This is a Kids Fest!
Fall for Fairfax will be held at the Fairfax Goernment Center on OCTOBER 2, 2010,9 am-6 pm, that's this Saturday!

This is a free event We will have the CERT trailer there and a covered booth.
Please, contact me asap!! if you could give me just a couple of hours. I'd like some company.
Fall for Fairfax is located at the Fairfax Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax

October 9th will be the Open House's at the Fire Stations for Fire Prevention Month.
We have 4 stations hosting us.We could add more stations. Please, sign up to help at a station.We will have a booth at each of the below stations. I will have a display and outreach materials for you.
Burke (14)
Centreville (17)
Vienna (02)
Mclean (24)
Email myself or James if you would like to "man" a booth at the Fire Staions.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Highlights from the Home and Garden Show

After Christopher Stabb from Project Runway, Matt Fax and Shari Miller from HGTV's "Room by Room" presented. Matt tryed to "lure" Ginny Katona and I from the CERT Booth.
Thanks Ginny for Helping to set-up the CERT booth. Ginny was a real trooper. Our booth is in the far left corner of the north hall. The stage is to the right of our booth.

Highlights from Friday's Capital Home and Garden Show CERT outreach

Our booth is right next to the Stage. Here is a photo of Christopher Stabb from "Lifetimes" Project Runway, with his model. She is wearing a dress and purse Christopher designed and made out of Tarp from Home Depot. Wonder what he could do with Duct tape and Sharpies?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CERT operational activity-Capital Shield

An invitation has been extended to Fairfax County CERT to participate in Exercise Capital Shield 11 on October 14 from 0800-1530. Those of you who have participated in the past know this is an awesome activity to be a part of. Capital Shield is a multi-jurisdictional rescue function of area First Responders, Hospitals, Military and Government professionals. It is actually a week long event and we are allowed to participate in rescue operations on one day. We have room for 20 active CERT's. So hurry up and get your name to today.

Actor/Victim Opportunities upcoming

Are you looking to flex your acting abilities? We have some exciting opportunities here for you. The current CERT II classes (47 & 48) are needing victims to make their training more realistic. Also, we have been invited to participate in Exercise Capitol Shield 11. So consider helping out at a couple. These each count towards your annual re-certification.

October 5 & 6--Triage Fire and Rescue Academy, 4600 West Ox Rd, Fairfax,2000-2200hrs

October 13--Exercise Capitol Shield-Lorton Reformatory,Lorton (need 20)0800-1530 hrs

October 26 & 27--Scenarios, Fire and Rescue Academy, 4600 West Ox Rd, Fairfax, 2000-2200hrs

October 30--CERT Final exercise, Lorton Prison, Youth Detention Facility, off Furnace Road, Lorton 0730-1400 (lunch provided)

Contact to sign up and get details.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Help for the Capital Home and Garden Show, Dulles Expo Center.

Dear CERT members,

James, our Outreach coordinator has been Down with pneumonia, He is getting better, but is still weak. Remember, our CERT creed, Help our fellow CERT member when they are down.The Capital Home and Garden Show is one of our big events that is putting people in our classes. We need your help.
I'm asking for a couple of hours, 4 hour shifts would be best if you could do this. I also need at least 3 IC's for this event.
The Capital Home and Garden Show is this week end, Friday the 24th of September to Sunday, the 26th.The benefits are a free ticket to the Home Show and completing one of the requirements for recertification. I'm hoping to have 3 CERT members on each shift so you can take breaks and walk around the Show. This is a fun event to talk up CERT. The static display will be set up along with the outreach table with freebies and handouts. I need a head count very soon so that I can set schedules and get your free tickets.
Please, e-mail me at or call me at 703-655-9170.

Thank you so much,

Judy Howell
Fairfax County CERT, PIO

Friday, September 17, 2010

CDC Hurricane Health and Safety Tip of the week

Tip of the Week: Make sure that you have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio available to receive official instructions and updates from local authorities if the power goes out

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fairfax County OEM September Emergency Preparedness Newsletter

The September Emergency Preparedness newsletter from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is now available online:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Civil Defense info from New Zealand Earthquake

Below is a link to the NZ version of FEMA-lots of interesting info on the site, and regular updates as well.

A little history; the U.S. once had a Civil Defense program. Here is my dad's CD cards. CERT has replaced this program for the most part.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tip of the Week: Hurricane Preparedness

Tip of the Week: As you prepare for Hurricane Earl, remember to take rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles with you when you evacuate. They will protect you from contaminated flood waters when you return after the storm.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Outreach event and actor participation

On September 25, volunteer Fairfax will be running a drill of a reception center.
They are looking for volunteers to show up between 0900 and 1100 to act as off the street walk-ins.
If someone would like to participate, they should email Matthew Lyttle at
Also, Volunteer Fairfax would like to have a CERT display at the site.

Jeffrey F. Katz
Volunteer Liaison
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

Volunteers needed September 25

Volunteer Fairfax is testing their Volunteer Reception Center and is looking for many volunteers to just show up between the hours of 0900 and 1100 on September 25. If you would like to participate, contact Matthew Lyttle at CERT will also have a display there.

FEMA Administrator Fugate Kicks Off National Preparedness Month

As Hurricane Earl Approaches East Coast, Seventh annual National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Release Number: HQ-10-167
WASHINGTON – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today kicked off the seventh annual National Preparedness Month, joining local Washington, D.C. officials and students from Ferebree-Hope Elementary School at the Serve DC Commander Ready event to talk about the importance of family and community emergency preparedness, especially as Hurricane Earl approaches the East Coast of the U.S. and other storms continue to form in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Hurricane Earl is another important reminder to all of us that every member of the community needs to be prepared for hurricanes and other disasters. Engaging with children on the topic of emergency preparedness is an effective way to bring home the preparedness message,” said Fugate. “Local events like this one are happening all over the country throughout September to underscore the importance of getting people of all ages involved in preparing for emergencies.”
National Preparedness Month is led by FEMA's Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, and is a nationwide effort encouraging individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. National Preparedness Month is supported by a coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations that help spread the preparedness message. This year’s record number of coalition members are sharing preparedness information with their members, customers, employee, and communities. Members also spearhead activities that encourage specific steps for individual, neighborhood, and community preparedness.
In addition to the kickoff event, the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps will sponsor activities across the country throughout September. Ready is introducing several new PSA campaigns and Citizen Corps is presenting its National Achievement Awards during September.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Virginians Need to Prepare for Hurricane Earl

FOR RELEASE AT WILL- Aug. 30, 2010

Virginians Need to Prepare for Hurricane Earl
Videos explaining storm surge, hurricane evacuation now online
RICHMOND, VA – Virginians need to prepare now for Hurricane Earl, which is forecasted to be a Category 3 or 4 hurricane as it approaches Virginia’s coast later this week.
The forecasted path for Earl has changed several times so it is important for Virginians, especially those living in the Hampton Roads region, to pay close attention to the storm. Those in Hampton Roads should review their evacuation and shelter plans. Also, people should make sure they have their emergency supplies ready.
"A small change in Earl's forecasted path could bring a major hurricane to Virginia," said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "Virginia state agencies are getting ready for the storm, and so should residents."
The Commonwealth has activated the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operational Response to assess Earl’s potential impact and to take necessary actions. The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is now at Increased Readiness Condition.
VDEM and the Virginia Department of Transportation have created a series of online videos to help families understand storm surge (the reason for large-scale evacuations), and how an evacuation would work. The videos are available at
A list of needed emergency supplies and maps of storm surge areas and evacuation routes can be found at

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Presidential Proclamation--National Preparedness Month, 2010

During National Preparedness Month, we stress the importance of strengthening the security and resiliency of our Nation through systematic preparation for the full range of hazards threatening the United States in the 21st century, including natural disasters, cyber attacks, pandemic disease, and acts of terrorism. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most tragic and destructive disasters in American history. In remembrance of this national tragedy, we must reaffirm our commitment to readiness and the necessity of preparedness.
By empowering Americans with information about the risks we face, we can all take concrete actions to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Ready Campaign provides simple and practical steps every American can take to be better prepared. At the community level, Citizen Corps enables volunteers to contribute to homeland security efforts by educating, training, and coordinating local activities that help make us safer, better prepared, and more responsive during emergencies. I encourage all Americans to visit and for more information and resources on emergency preparedness, including how to prepare a family emergency plan, create an emergency supply kit, and get involved in community preparedness efforts.
My Administration has made emergency and disaster preparedness a top priority, and is dedicated to a comprehensive approach that relies upon the responsiveness and cooperation of government at all levels, the private and nonprofit sectors, and individual citizens. I also encourage Americans to get involved with the thousands of organizations in the National Preparedness Month Coalition, which will share preparedness information and hold preparedness events and activities across the United States. By strengthening citizen preparedness now, we can be ready when disaster strikes.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2010 as National Preparedness Month. I encourage all Americans to recognize the importance of preparedness and observe this month by working together to enhance our national security, resilience, and readiness.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tip of the Week: Hurricane Season

Tip of the Week: Prepare for hurricane season. Make plans in advance to secure your home. Protect your windows by installing storm shutters or board up windows with plywood. For additional tips, fact sheets, and podcasts, see CDC's Hurricane Preparedness web site

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Auxiliary Police Officer Program

Auxiliary Police Officer Program (Volunteer Opportunity with the Fairfax County Police Department)

Interested in assisting law enforcement officers? Do you have what it takes to meet the high standards to become an FCPD Auxiliary Police Officer? Learn more about the duties & rewards of becoming one of these essential volunteer officers.
Please click on the link below if interested in Learning more about the Auxiliary Police Officer Program:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hurricane Preparedness Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Since water may not be safe to use after the storm, make sure that you have bottled water, soap, and/or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for proper sanitation and hygiene etiquette. For additional hurricane readiness information, see CDC's Hurricane Preparedness web site.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Operation Capitol Shield - October 13 & 14---Role playing & Operational (YAY!). Details coming soon!

CERT Train-the-Trainer

Note the close location ... one class is offered in Prince William County.

CERT Train-the-Trainer
This course is designed to prepare participants to institute a CERT program in their communities. Organizational topics to be briefly reviewed include: program planning, funding sources, recruiting, training, supervision, team member retention and legal concerns. Topics to be covered from the CERT course will include: disaster preparedness, fire suppression, first aid, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, teaching the adult learner and terrorism awareness. There will be a variety of hands-on practical exercises for certain topics.

Graduates of the Basic CERT train-the-trainer course are not qualified to teach Campus or Teen CERT classroom curriculum.

All of the following are required to participate in this course:
  • Completion of the Basic CERT 20 hour classroom course
  • IS 317 - Introduction to CERT
  • IS 100.a – Introduction to Incident Command
  • IS 200.a – ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
  • IS 700.a – National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction
  • IS 800.b – National Response Framework, An Introduction

Two (2) letters of recommendation (one MUST come from local/state government or agency with whom the student is affiliated) This letter is not necessary if you have taken a previous CERT train-the-trainer course.

All items must be submitted in advance to:
Dates Location Registration
Sep. 11, 2010 - Sep. 12, 2010
Registration Deadline: Sep. 01, 2010
Manassas Online | EM pdf form

Sep. 24, 2010 - Sep. 25, 2010
Registration Deadline: Sep. 10, 2010
Gloucester County Online | EM pdf form

Oct. 16, 2010 - Oct. 17, 2010
Registration Deadline: Oct. 04, 2010
Richmond Online | EM pdf form

Oct. 22, 2010 - Oct. 23, 2010
Registration Deadline: Oct. 08, 2010

City of Bristol Online | EM pdf form

Friday, August 13, 2010

DHS opens National Dialogue on Preparedness

DHS is hosting a National Dialogue on Preparedness. The viewpoints gathered during the dialogue will supplement the mission and recommendations of the Local, State, Tribal and Federal Preparedness Task Force.

At the direction of Congress, the Task Force was formed in April to assess the state of disaster preparedness and make recommendations for improvement throughout the nation. DHS is now opening the discussion to include individuals from the private sector, non-governmental and volunteer organizations, additional governmental partners and the general public. The goal is to identify similarities and differences for how various organizations view preparedness issues. The Dialogue will be open through Aug. 31, and will allow individuals to propose ideas, vote on popular recommendations and tag discussion topics at

Drawing upon their experience and expertise, as well as input from the Dialogue, the Task Force will produce a report of findings and recommendations for Congress in September 2010. More information on the Task Force is available at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fall CERT Basic classes announced

On September 25, CERT (1) Basic classes will be offered at the Mt. Vernon Governmental Center, 2511 Parker Lane, Alexandria. All county residents are encouraged to take advantage of this exciting and informative course. The 6 classes are held from 7pm-930pm starting on September 13 and ending October 25. A full scale exercise at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Academy is optional, but highly encouraged, is on October 30. Topics discussed in the class are Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Medical, Search & Rescue, Terrorism, Disaster Psychology and Fire Suppression. This class instruction is low on physical impact, but we do some drills. CERT (1) Basic classes are available free to all citizens and is mobile. If you or your civic group is interested in learning more about this exciting class, contact Dana Powers at

CERT Animal Response I &II

Hello CERT trainers, coordinators, members and advocates,

The CERT National Program Office is pleased to announce the release of two new supplemental training modules, CERT Animal Response I and CERT Animal Response II. The new Animal Response modules are the first in a series of supplemental training modules building on the disaster response training that program participants receive in the CERT Basic Training course. The supplemental modules are designed to expand the skills of CERT members and teams, and to increase CERT’s ability to support emergency response professionals. The Animal Response modules, as well as other CERT supplemental training to be released in the future, are intended for those who have completed the basic training.

The Animal Response modules generally address pets, service animals, “for-profit” livestock, wildlife, exotic animals and non-commercial livestock such as horses. CERT Animal Response I (three hours) will teach CERT members emergency preparedness for animal owners, animal-related functions in emergency management and how to recognize specific animal behaviors.

CERT Animal Response II (four hours) will teach members their role in responding to animal issues and the skills needed when they encounter animals while performing their broader CERT response functions. As in all CERT training, these new supplemental modules also feature CERT responder safety.

The training materials for each module include an Instructor Guide, Participant Manual and PowerPoint file. CERT instructors may download the materials from the National CERT website. Please go to Training Materials on the CERT home page and then select CERT Supplemental Training,

We hope you enjoy the new CERT supplemental modules and that you find these additional training resources useful.

If you know of others who would be interested in receiving CERT updates, please have them subscribe at the following website:

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to community resilience and to CERT!


CERT National Program Office
Individual & Community Preparedness Division
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CERT Refresher classes

Wednesday August 11, 2010 – Community events primer, Lifting / Cribbing, Command Post refresher
Thursday August 12, 2010 – Community events primer, Disaster First Aid, Lifts and Carries refresher
Wednesday August 18, 2010 – Community events primer, Scenario based drill
Thursday August 19, 2010 – Community events primer, Scenario based drill
Wednesday August 25, 2010 – Community events primer, Disaster First Aid, Lifts and Carries refresher
Thursday August 26, 2010 – Community events primer, Lifting / Cribbing, Command Post refresher

Remember that you only need to make one of these classes to stay current

Fall CERT 2 classes

We are offering two CERT 2 courses beginning in mid-September. I have
included the schedule for each class in this email. You must sign up
for one course either the Tuesday or Wednesday classes. However, if you
cannot attend one of the classes, you may make it up on the alternate
day. There is no charge for this training and there are no prerequisites
for these courses; they are open to all citizens who either live or work
in Fairfax County.

If you would like to sign up for one of these courses, please send me an
email and specify which class you would like to attend. Also, please
fill out the attached information spreadsheet and return to me in the
email. All classes will be held at the Fire and Rescue Academy located
at 4600 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA. Classes begin at 7:00 pm and run until
about 10:30 pm .

CERT 47 - Tuesdays

9/14 Intro
9/21 ICS
9/28 Safety
10/5 Triage
10/12 Disaster Medical
10/19 S&R
10/26 Scenarios

CERT 48 - Wednesdays

9/15 Intro
9/22 ICS
9/29 Safety
10/6 Triage
10/13 Disaster Medical
10/20 S&R
10/27 Scenarios

Final Exercise 10/30

Jeffrey F. Katz
Volunteer Liaison
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

VDEM Training survey assesses needs

VDEM’s Office of Training and Exercises is conducting a survey to determine long-term training needs and to make improvements to the program. The short survey is open to the emergency management community and the general public from July 14 to Aug. 14. If you are interested in participating, please visit

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tip of the Week: Prepare for hurricane season.

Learn in advance how to shut off the main water valve in case authorities recommend turning off the water for safety reasons.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It's ReCERTification time!!! Many of our fellow CERT's will be attending actual training in August, and you can still help and get credit for this years certification by attending as an actor/victim. We need some folks on August 4th, 5th 18th and 19th. All classes are at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Academy, report about 1930 hrs. You know what to wear, but we won't moulage. This is an easy way to recertify, you may even pick up a few new techniques. Email for details.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Metropolitan Washington Council of Government exercise

Fairfax County resident volunteers are needed on Saturday, September 25, 2010, to role play during the set up and activation of a Volunteer Recruitment Center within the central Fairfax County area. The exercise will last between 0900 to 1100. This is a Metropolitan Washington Council of Government exercise to test the effectiveness of processing and assigning spontaneous volunteers to staff some 128 inoculation sites. No prior training is needed. If you are interested, please send you name, and email address to the Fairfax County Faith Communities in Action Interfaith Emergency Planning Steering Committee at or ERexercise The event will be at the Fairfax County Govenment Center. The exercise will be coordinated by Volunteer Fairfax in partnership with the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management and the Health Department. Learn how Fairfax County keeps you safe in an emergency!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hurricane Perparedness Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Prepare for hurricane season by crafting an inventory of personal belongings with videotape, photos, or a written list in case you need to file an insurance claim.
I'd like to add: have two copies of which ever form you use and send one away to an out of town family member or trusted friend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Use SmartPhone to apply for FEMA assistance

Use Smartphone To Apply For FEMA Assistance Wed, 21 Jul 2010 08:29:09 -0500
BEAVER, W. Va. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a new feature to the mobile platform to make it easier for disaster survivors to apply for help.
Update Your E-mail Address Change Delivery Preference Update State and Zip Code Unsubscribe
Subscribe to receive alerts during disasters in your state.
If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please contact:
This service is provided to you at no charge by FEMA.
Privacy Policy GovDelivery is providing this information on behalf of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and may not use the information for any other purposes.
FEMA · U.S. Department of Homeland Security · Washington, DC 20472

Sunday, July 18, 2010

National Night Out - Standby for details

Fairfax County Police are again interested in CERT participation in the National Night Out (NNO)Program, Tuesday, August 3rd. As in the past this involves two CERTs per district that will ride-along with the McGruff the Crime Dog entourage (space and vehicles permitting) to visit selected community NNO events (e.g., block party, ice cream social, pool party). CERT is included in NNO as another community asset that can play a roll in emergency preparedness and community activities in conjunction with Neighborhood Watch and other civic and homeowner association functions. This will be a meet-and-greet the local community leadership function, to provide them a brief description of CERT - we will have a handout package for each venue. We have garnered a lot of community interest in CERT from our past participation in NNO.

Dress will be casual (comfortable for you, appropriate for the task); CERT vest and helmet (without mask, goggles). Do not bring your backpack or other gear due to limited space in the police vehicles. You will start and return to the designated Police District station.

The coordination for this years event is slowly developing, since many Police Districts have only one Community Liaison officer. I am awaiting more information regarding which District's will be active for NNO and whether CERT will be invited to participate with them.

If you are interested in this specialized Outreach event, contact me as soon as possible - identify your availablity from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm, August 3rd, and which Police District you are interested in supporting.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hurricane Season Preparedness Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Prepare for hurricane season. Conduct a home hazard inspection to minimize the risk of electrical hazards such as covering exposed outlets, removing cords running underneath rugs, etc.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Earthquake tips

With this mornings ground rumbler this would be a good time to refresh some quick survival skills on earthquakes.

During an earthquake if you are:

o Take cover under a desk, table, or bench. If none is available, use an inside
wall or doorway.
o Stay away from windows, outside doors, walls, and anything that could shatter
or fall on you.
o If you’re sleeping, stay in bed and cover your head with a pillow. If your bed
is under a heavy light fixture or you have a large mirror or painting over your
headboard, move to the nearest safe place.
o Stay inside until the shaking stops. Most injuries during an earthquake occur
when people enter or exit a structure.

o Stay there and move away from buildings, streetlights, and overhead utility
Always be aware of leaking gas lines.

VATF-1 Members Train Haitian First Responders

Three members of Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF-1) under the direction of the U.S. Agency for International Development, (USAID) deployed to Cap Haitien, Haiti, to train 25 first responders for local disaster response, July 12, 2010. They anticipate to return Monday, July 19, 2010.

The training will build the skills needed to locate and extricate trapped victims, focusing on the proper use of urban search and rescue equipment donated to the Haitian Volunteer Firefighters Association, following VATF-1's departure from Haiti in February, 2010. The equipment valued at $500,000, was used by several USAR teams in the rescue of 47 Haitians trapped in rubble following the earthquake in Haiti, January 12, 2010.

Training highlights include: safety, engineering, resource management, rescue operations, lifting and moving portions of collapsed structures, shoring operations, and construction and use of rope rescue systems.

Several members from the Los Angeles USAR team are also participating.

Maryland State Exercise for Emergency Preparedness

Any one interested!!

State Exercise for Emergency Preparedness
Volunteer to help with an emergency operations exercise for Hurricane Season
August 11, 2010
½ Day commitment required
(Approximately 5 hours)
Water and snacks will be provided.
Volunteers needed in the Baltimore & Ocean City Regions

For more details please contact:
Angela Bernstein
Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dog Praised for Saving Couple/ Home from Fire

SPRINGFIELD, Va. - Fairfax County (web | news) neighbors say a "hero dog" helped save their lives by warning them about a fire.

Charred wood is what remains of Bill and Monique Brooks' back patio in Springfield, but they aren't complaining. They're thankful to have survived.

"There were two propane tanks under here, the house could have really gone up," said Bill Brooks. ABC 7 Talkback:
Click Here to Comment on this Story

Their hero was a cunning canine named Lucy. The four-year-old Central Asian Shepherd's barking next door used to be a nuisance, but in the early morning hours of July 5 it was a lifesaving alarm.

"I told her to shut up and she would not shut up. So I got up and went around the back of the house and there it was - a big fire," said David Hull.

Lucy's owner Dave grabbed this garden hose and went to work knocking down flames for his neighbors. Within minutes Fairfax County firefighters arrived.

Firefighters say Lucy demonstrated valor last weekend and welcomed her to fire station Friday for praise and pictures.

"She did a good thing," said one firefighter.

As for the Brooks, they're not complaining about barking anymore.

"I think she has a big mouth but lucky she has a big mouth," stated Monique Brooks.
"If it hadn't been for the dogs barking - our house would definitely be burned down, quite sure," stated Bill Brooks.

Firefighters say a lot of dogs will try to hide from fire, which makes lucy all the more brave. She's a guardian breed and clearly, she takes that job pretty seriously.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

National Pet Fire Safety Day is July 15

National Pet Fire Safety Day is July 15

Promote pet fire safety in your community
An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, and a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association shows that nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is joining ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club® (AKC) for the third annual National Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15 to spread awareness about how to prevent pets from starting home fires and keep pets safe in the event of an emergency.
“Not many pet owners realize that their pet can actually be the cause of a devastating fire,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Simple preventative measures, such as flameless candles and removing stove knobs when leaving the house, can mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends.”
Chris and Kay Wardlow of Oklahoma know that all too well. Their curious dog Lucy was home alone and spied a cake on the stove top. As Lucy tried to get a taste, her paw accidentally hit the stove knob and turned on the gas burner that was under the cake pan. Within minutes, the house was filled with smoke, triggering the Wardlow’s ADT monitored smoke detector. Firefighters were called to the scene and Lucy was rescued.
“Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible dog ownership,” Peterson said.
Fire departments across the country are encouraged to utilize Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15 to spread pet fire safety messages in your community. The following tips can be used to help educate pet owners on how to prevent their beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep their pets safe.
Prevent your pet from starting fires
Extinguish open flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
Remove stove knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house – a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck. The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.
Pet proof the home - Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as loose wires and other potential hazards.
Keep your pets safe

Keep pets near entrances when away from home – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
Secure young pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home, such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Practice escape routes with pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
Consider using monitored smoke detection services – As an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms, smoke detectors connected to a monitoring center help save pets who can’t escape when left home alone.
Affix a pet alert window cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.
The NVFC has a listing of fire departments across the nation where pet owners can obtain a free pet alert window cling as part of National Pet Fire Safety Day. Visit to find a location near you. The clings are also free online at and will be available this September at your local AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day. This year’s flagship event will be held in Raleigh on September 24. Visit for more information on an event near you.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at
ADT Security Services, a Tyco International company, is the world’s largest electronic security company. In North America, ADT helps provide peace of mind protection to over six million residential, commercial and government customers. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, ADT employs 24,000 people at over 240 locations in the U.S. and Canada. More information is available at
The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its nearly 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. For more information, visit

Summer weather and heat injuries relating to Firefighters

As CERTs we need to be mindful of this as well when we may have a situation that we are working.

http://Summer weather increases the risk of heat injuries.


Hey Folks

Check out this link:

You might even recognize a couple of friendly faces!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

A little long, but worth the read...

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.
The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experience aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in there own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are n the water:
Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
Eyes closed
Hair over forehead or eyes
Not using legs – Vertical
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
Trying to roll over on the back
Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.

So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fairfax County Virtual Fairfax 3-D map application released

The Fairfax County GIS Office in the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has released a new Internet map application called Virtual Fairfax. This new map application provides a twist to viewing county data as you can explore portions of the county from a 3-D perspective. In addition to viewing the map data and imagery, you can also easily link to other Fairfax County data like detailed neighborhood reports in My Neighborhood. Tax Administration assessment information from the real estate tax assessment information site, and land development information in LSDNet.

Currently the full 3-D imagery is only available to certain areas of the county - Tysons Cornet Mall area, Reston Town Center area, Massey-Public Safety Complex, etc. The 3-D perspective is especially impressive when viewing areas with high-rise buildings. Be sure to take a look at the support page to get started to make full use of the special features such as fly, pan, tilt,zoom, etc. Obviously, this application will run better on newer PCs with more memory and stranger video cards.

Suggestions or comments regarding this application should be directed to the GIS Office in the County's DIT at

Virtual Fairfax- http;//

Explore and enjoy!
Thanks Jeffrey

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guns n' Hoses Chili Cookoff in Reston VA, June 19th

GUNS n' HOSES CHILI COOK-OFF at Taste of Reston!

It’s the Police Department versus the Fire Department – the ultimate battle of the heroes is coming to Taste of Reston with brute force. The Guns n’ Hoses Chili Cook-off is sure to get the crowd screaming as your vote determines the “People’s Choice” award and the judges determine the winner of the “Overall Best Chili” award. Don’t miss a beat and make your way down to Library Street on Saturday, June 19 from Noon-4:30pm.

For more information:

From what I understand, there are three teams from the local police participating as well as two teams from the local Fire & Rescue. Come out and support your favorite team!


Monday, June 7, 2010

AAR - CERT Outreach – MRC’s Get Ready Fairfax – Springfield Mall, June 5

This was a Medical Reserve Corps and Fairfax County Health Department event – which we were asked to participate in as another Fairfax County sponsored community service.

CERT Outreach events are some of the greatest opportunities we have to make the public aware of the Fairfax County CERT program. Remember the axiom the “greatest good for the greatest number” also applies when it comes to our public relations. Talking about CERT to the public is not for everyone, but showing what CERT is and what it can do for the community is just as important as being a “victim” and supporting other operational roles. Remember that most of those that have taken the CERT training were introduced to the program through Outreach events.

I would like to start an e-mail distribution list that can reach those that don’t often read the Blog or want a more formal information and situational awareness mechanism. Please contact me directly by e-mail ( or if you would like to be made aware of future CERT Outreach opportunities.(Put "CERT Contact List" as the subject line).

AAR - Fair Oaks Station 21 Ambulance Chase, May 29

Second annual opportunity to support an operational role for CERT –course setup and runner safety – at the request of the Fair Oaks Volunteer Fire Department.
The “slime green” CERT vests were quite appropriate for the important SAFETY role we performed. However we could have used more than 3 CERT members to support this event, that lasted less than 3 hours.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Herndon Festival

The festival ran for 4 days and CERT members assisted Fairfax County Fire and Rescue volunteers in the First Aid tent for 3 of those days.
Friday night was slow with only a few visits requiring attention for cuts and scrapes. Saturday had almost 50 people requiring attention from situations like scrapes, dehydration and overindulgences from food and/or rides. One person required a trip to the hospital. After the fireworks, there were approximately 7 lost children that were brought to the tent. Sunday brought the most excitement when the tent had to be evacuated during a severe thunderstorm. Even then, CERT assisted with the evacuation and reconnecting a lost child with a parent. Upon returning to the tent, one person was waiting there who needed assistance with a minor head wound due to the strong winds. Also during the day, there were 2 calls that required the patients to be transported to a hospital.

Whew! What a satisfying and educational weekend! I can't wait to attend next year!

A special Thanks to Susy L. for helping out with this event!


On Saturday June 5, 2010 over 100 victim actors came out at 7am to brave the heat, bugs and dust to Lorton Juvenile Detention Center for a CERT exercise. This is the first time CERT did a drill like this outside the 'comfort' of the F & R Training Academy. As always, a lot of acting skills surfaced and some great role playing was observed. Special kudo's to the Boy Scouts who, as always, provided the refreshments and food for everyone. The Academy staff did a great job making sure everything we needed was there (can you say port-a-johns?). Thank you for the 53(!!!!) CERTs who participated. Without our Actors we could not have pulled this off. Thank you all!

Look for a complete picture album on the Fairfax County CERT Facebook page!.

Friday, June 4, 2010

FCC & FEMA announce workshop on 21st century emergency alerting

The Federal Communications Commission and FEMA will hold a workshop, “21st Century Emergency Alerting: Leveraging Multiple Technologies to Bring Alerts and Warnings to the Public,” June 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The workshop will address the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, including the Next Generation Emergency Alert System and the Commercial Mobile Alert System and provide federal partners an opportunity to gather feedback on outstanding issues related to these systems.

The workshop will be open to the public, but seating is limited. Register online by June 8 at The workshop will also be available in a free web cast

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Safety comes in all shapes and forms, not just when we're wearing our green helmet!

NFPA Study: Nearly All Structure Fire Deaths Happen in Home Fires

May 26, 2010
According to a new study, Home Structure Fires, from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires account for 92 percent of fire deaths that occur in structures. These fires cause an average of 2,840 civilian deaths each year.

“This study strongly underscores the need to aggressively work to reduce the number of home fires in this country in order to save lives from fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications.

During the period of 2003-2007, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 380,000 home fires a year. These fires not only caused a large number of civilian deaths, they also caused an average of 13,160 reported civilian fire injuries and $6.4 billion in direct property damage.

From 2003-2007, smoking materials caused the largest number of fire deaths. Heating equipment was the second leading cause of home fires and home fire deaths.

The leading cause of home structure fires, civilian fire injuries, and unreported fires continues to be cooking equipment. Forty-one percent of home fires started in the kitchen area and caused 15 percent of the home fire deaths and 36 percent of the reported fire injuries.

Other key findings include:

· Reported home fires peaked around dinner hours of 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

· Only 20 percent of the reported home fires occurred between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., however 52 percent of home fire deaths resulted from fires reported during these hours.

· Thirty percent of reported home structure fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occurred in the quarter including December, January, and February.

· Reported apartment fires were more likely to start in the kitchen than fires in one- and two-family homes.

· The two leading items first ignited in home fire deaths are upholstered furniture in 21 percent of home fire deaths, followed by mattress and bedding in 13 percent of the deaths.

Properly installed and maintained fire protection can prevent most fire deaths. Forty percent of fatal home fire injuries occurred in properties where no smoke alarms were present. Home fire sprinklers can also help, as the death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was 83 percent lower when wet pipe sprinkler systems were present, compared to reported home fires without automatic extinguishing equipment.

“Smoke alarms have been a key factor in significantly reducing the fire death problem since their widespread use beginning in the ‘70s. The move to require home fire sprinklers in new homes will be the next step forward in fire protection,” said Carli.

The NFPA offers these safety tips to prevent home structure fires from occurring:

· Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

· Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop.

· Keep anything that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around stoves, open fires and space heaters.

· Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

· If you smoke, smoke outside using a deep, sturdy ashtray. Remember to make sure butts and ashes are out, and dousing water or sand on them is the best way to do that.

· Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

· Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms to provide a minimum level of protection.

· For best protection, install combination ionization/photoelectric smoke alarms or both photoelectric and ionization alarms. Photoelectric alarms are more responsive to smoldering flames and ionization alarms are more responsive to flaming fires.

· Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries are designed to remain effective for 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.

· Test smoke alarms at least once a month by pushing the test button.

· Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use ten year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are ten years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

· Smoke alarm accessories are available for people who are hard of hearing. These accessories activate from the sound of traditional smoke alarms and produce a complex low frequency alarm signal, more effective at waking those with mild to severe hearing loss.

· Smoke alarms and accessories are available for people who are deaf. Smoke alarms and accessories that use high intensity strobe lights and accessories that produce a tactile (vibration) signal are now required for those with profound hearing loss.

· If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing home fire sprinklers.

For more safety tips, please visit

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit NFPA’s Web site at