Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Released just before the start of National Preparedness Month, this new resource educates individuals and families about how using modern-day technology can help them prepare, adapt and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies or disasters.
A recent American Red Cross survey showed that the internet, including online news sites and social media platforms, is the third most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe.
"As technology becomes more a part of our daily lives, people are turning to it during emergencies as well. We need to utilize these tools, to the best of our abilities, to engage and inform the public, because no matter how much federal, state and local officials do, we will only be successful if the public is brought in as part of the team," FEMA Administrator, W. Craig Fugate.
"During Hurricane Irene, we saw people using new technologies in many ways, whether it was thousands of people downloading our new shelter finder App or others using our Safe and Well site and social media to let their friends and family know they are OK, " said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. "People now have more varied resources available at their fingertips that they can use before, during and after emergencies."
Get Tech Ready provides Americans with tips on how to use technological resources before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs. Preparedness tips on the website include:
• Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available;
• Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in the cloud or on a secure and remote area or flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available so they can be accessed from anywhere; and
• Create an Emergency Information Document using the Ready.gov Family Emergency Plan template in Google Docs or by downloading the Ready Family Emergency Plan to record your emergency plans.
"Get Tech Ready is a resource that will truly help people in the US and around the world understand how they can use widely available technology to prepare for potential crises," said Nigel Snoud, Product Manager, Google Crisis Response. "We're thrilled to be working with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the Ad Council on this public service project."
"We are delighted to collaborate with FEMA, Google and the American Red Cross to expand our Ready messages through this new web site to educate more Americans about the vital need to get prepared in advance of an potential emergency," said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of the Ad Council. "The web site will provide access to critical resources to Americans addressing the importance of using technology as part of their individual and family preparedness plans."
Launched in 2003, National Preparedness Month is designed to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies throughout the year. The Ready campaign was also launched in 2003 by FEMA in partnership with the Ad Council. Since its launch, media outlets have donated more than $900 million in advertising time and space for the PSAs. The new PSAs will air in advertising time that will be entirely donated by the media.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
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.
AMERICAN RED CROSS
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org/ or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
The Office of Emergency Management will host a live, call-in program, “OEM Live,” on Fairfax County Government Channel 16 on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m.
“OEM Live” is your opportunity to learn about National Preparedness Month and what you should do to prepare for emergencies. Find out about the county’s emergency plans, what to do in inclement weather and how to put together an emergency supply kit for your car, home or office.
Submit any questions you have about emergency preparedness in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. County residents also can call in to 703-818-1445 or email questions that night.
You may tune into Channel 16, or watch the program live on 16’s streaming video on the county website, www.fairfaxcounty.gov; click on the Channel 16 logo in the left side navigation box, or simply visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cable/channel16/asx/live_stream.asx.
Marcelo Ferreira, AEM
Office of Emergency Management
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Date: August 26, 2011
Virginia Task Force 1 Activated
Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF-1), Fairfax County's urban search and rescue team was activated this morning by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, to assist in the response to the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene. The task force will consist of 76 members and four search canines, and will depart from the Training Academy, 4600 West Ox Road, Fairfax, Virginia, at approximately noon today and stage near Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The self-contained heavy task force will consist of technical search and rescue specialists, structural engineers, physicians, paramedics, search canines, and communications and planning specialists.
Virginia Task Force 1 last deployed to Japan in response to the devastating earthquake in March of 2011.
Additionally, as part of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the team maintains a constant operational readiness, and is a local resource for the residents of Fairfax County.
Note: Federal government pays for most costs and expenses incurred by VATF-1 when activated or when participating in training. All training, equipment, supplies, and personnel are paid for by the federal government on a regular basis. Additionally, when firefighters and members are deployed, there is no loss in emergency service or response to county residents, as minimum staffing continues for all emergency apparatus for all stations within the county.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2011 2:00 PM
To: All Fairfax County
Subject: Hurricane Irene
With the approach of Hurricane Irene, I wanted to update you on what the county is doing to prepare, as well as encourage you to make preparations for you and your family.
The county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is monitoring the National Weather Service forecast and hurricane track, and is in regular communications with NWS staff about Hurricane Irene and potential impacts on the county. OEM held a webinar yesterday with county agencies and is providing regular updates to them on the situation. OEM also plans to staff the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this weekend to coordinate the county’s response to the storm.
County agencies are also currently reviewing their continuity of operations and staffing plans in case any response is needed this weekend, as well as checking critical equipment and infrastructure.
While the county is doing all it can to protect our critical infrastructure and our residents, I also encourage you to make sure that you and your family are prepared. If you haven’t yet done so, assemble an emergency preparedness kit – or update your current kit – for your home, office and car. Your kit should include essential items to last at least three days such as a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, food, water, flashlights, a first-aid kit, blankets and medications.
Make a communications plan for your family. Many of us had a hard time making or receiving telephone calls on Tuesday following the earthquake. Consider telling your friends and family you are okay via text, email, Twitter, Facebook and other social media and avoid calling by phone. Also, decide on a meeting place in case you cannot return home and designate an out-of-town friend or relative as a point-of-contact. A great resource to help with your plan is the new Northern Virginia emergency planner at www.readynova.org, a joint effort of the Northern Virginia emergency management agencies.
And finally, stay informed. Monitor local media and the NWS forecasts. Get emergency updates from the county’s new emergency blog at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/blog. And be sure to sign up for Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) alerts. Our OEM office will issue critical life safety and protective action notifications through CEAN, so you’ll want to make sure that you and every member of your family is signed up to receive those alerts, by email, text and pager.
I am sure that through the collaborative efforts of all of us that we will weather this upcoming storm with flying colors. I continue to be impressed by the talent of Fairfax County’s workforce and appreciate your dedication to providing the highest level of service to the residents of Fairfax County.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
This will be the County's primary way to share emergency information that you may have previously found on a fairfaxcounty.gov web page. You can subscribe to blog updates by email, RSS or boommarking their site on your full browser or mobile device. There are other ways to stay informed based on tools you may already use:
The URL for the new Fairfax County Emergency Information Blog is http://fairfaxcountyemergency.wordpress.com/. Please help spread the word!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
RICHMOND, VA Virginians need to prepare now for Hurricane Irene, which is forecasted to be a Category 2 hurricane as it passes near the Virginia coast on Saturday and Sunday. Irene has the potential to bring flooding to the eastern part of the state; winds could reach at least 39 mph west of Interstate 95 and up to 95 mph in the Hampton Roads area.
Irenes path is not certain, and a small change in the track could bring different impacts, 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.
It is important for Virginians, especially those living in the Hampton Roads region, to pay close attention to the storm, find out if they are at risk for storm surge and review their evacuation, shelter and pet plans.
Irene is a large, wide storm, and residents should pay attention to the extent of the storm, not the path or location of the eye.
There are no evacuation orders in effect for any part of Virginia, and there are no plans for a regional evacuation. Localized evacuations could be ordered for low-lying areas.
Local governments will open shelters if they are needed and in areas that are safe for residents. If shelters are opened, local governments will announce their locations.
Residents should listen to their local media and local officials for instructions.
A series of videos are available online to help families understand storm surge (the reason for evacuations). The videos are available at http://www.youtube.com/vaemergency. A list of needed emergency supplies and maps of storm surge areas and evacuation routes can be found at http://www.vaemergency.gov/.
I would like you to email me your experience's from yesterday where your CERT training was able to help you or you were able to help others. I will post them here. If you would like to be anonymous let me know in the email.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
This email went out to all the CERT members about an hour ago-I'm reposting it to ensure that everyone gets it.
Following Hurricane Isabel, Fairfax County experienced a number of difficulties with critical infrastructure, and many families were left less prepared than they needed to be for the loss of water, power, and fuel for several days. Today, Hurricane Irene is a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, but she is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours, and may be classified as a major hurricane tomorrow.
CERT members should begin acting now to prepare themselves and their neighborhoods for the arrival of the storm. While it is far too early to know what, if any, impact Irene may have, the storm is tracking to arrive in the national capital Region by Sunday, August 27th. It's important to start planning now, so that members are not caught off guard because stores may run short of necessary supplies in the period immediately prior to or after the storm's arrival. CERT members can do these things this week:
Tuesday and Wednesday
Make sure you have your issued gear and tools assembled and ready
Find out where the vulnerabilities are in your neighborhood for high water and make a plan for alternate travel routes to safely avoid roads that flood during regular storms, as well as roads that flooded during the storm when Isabel happened, in the event you must evacuate your home.
Consider taking photos of your home and vehicles this week to use in documenting property losses should they occur. Charge your digital camera, and buy batteries if you have a standard camera, for use following the storm's departure
Stock up on dry goods, bottled water, and essential medications for your family members and your pets. Assemble extra dry, clean clothing so that they are readily available to take with you if you must evacuate, or to have on hand if access to regular services is lost
Check all of your vehicles for proper operating condition and top off your fuel in all of them. If power is lost, gas stations cannot dispense any product, and that could be critical if you need to travel.
All chain saws should be checked and run, and necessary oil/fuel mixes prepared before Saturday to assure they are available when needed. If necessary, chains should be sharpened before the weekend, too.
Develop a family emergency plan that provides for the safety and protection of family members and pets who may be with or without their CERT volunteer once the storm arrives. The website www.ready.gov offers good guidance.
CERT members should consider alternate locations away from the region where they could send their families if needed for better shelter or as a rendezvous point should volunteers become separated from their families.
This may seem like a lot of activity for something we aren't sure will happen, but consider this: A weekend storm landing means some of the infrastructure resources you might need may not be available, or may not open after the storm arrives to be of help; but remember, we still have 3 full months of hurricane season beyond August to prepare for and it's likely that even if this storm misses us, others will not. We can use this as a live exercise.
John S. "Pete" Kirby
Assistant Fire Chief
Centreville Volunteer Fire Department/Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
Friday, August 19, 2011
Basically everyone will arrive before 9am and a CERT member will be assigned to each scout patrol (8 boys accompanied by 2 adult scout leaders). The boys will be 15 years old or better and have completed their requirement for the First Aid merit badge.
CERT member will assume his team showed up after the disaster and asked how they could help. CERT member will train the volunteer scouts at each station (search and rrescue, logistics, medical, etc.)before the scouts perform the exercise at the stations.
Each scout will earn the Emergency Perparedness merit badge and granduate as a Teen CERT.
The scouts will be staying the night at the Fire Academy, you will not.
A pre Camporee CERT briefing/refresher will be held prior to the camporee. Date and time to be announced.
Please, contact Charles Monts at email@example.com. Please, CC Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also, have the Fire house open houses that same weekend, so please be aware will may need more people for that as well.
If you haven't completed a refresher or other outreach events to satisfy you as current, this would be the events to do that..
September (National Prepredness Month) and October have tons of outreach and events like Capital Shield to support.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This was sent out in an email to all the Fairfax County CERT members this morning. There have been some email issues; so we will repost the email here to make sure everyone gets it.
You can contact Dana if interested at email@example.com
Dear CERT Member:
How would you like to become a member of one of the Volunteer Fire
Departments in Fairfax County under Fire Corps? Fire Corps is one of
the sister organizations of CERT and falls under the Citizen Corps
Council. The requirements are far less demanding than becoming an
Administrative Member but you could still perform important functions.
The Greater Springfield and Vienna VFDs are looking for trained CERT
members to help with Bingo and other fundraising activities and also
assist with standby events. One of the biggest impacts you could make
would be to become qualified to drive and operate one of their canteens.
They will train you to function as a canteen operator and you could be
dispatched to fire scenes or events to provide food and drinks to
firefighters as they perform their duties. The canteens are dispatched
on two-alarm or greater fires, or incidents that are complex and of
The requirements are that you need to live within a 20 minute drive of
the fire station and will need to complete a background investigation.
You will also need a valid driver's license and a good driving record to
operate as a canteen driver.
If you are looking for ways to become more involved and are interested
in exploring this option, please send me an email to that effect. I
will compile a list of interested CERT members to forward on to the
volunteer chiefs from each station. I have listed the address of the
two stations below so that you can see if you meet the criteria.
400 Center Street,
Vienna, VA 22315
Greater Springfield VFD
South 7011 Backlick Road
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Management Analyst II
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
Office of the Volunteer Liaison
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The Indiana State Fair Incident
August 15, 2011
This past Saturday night, an outdoor stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair, killing five and injuring approximately 50 spectators. The stage had been setup for a Sugarland concert and there had been severe weather passing through the area with very strong winds that subsequently resulted in a catastrophic failure of the stage and canopy. Even though this incident is still being investigated, there are several important lessons learned that emergency management professionals can immediately recognize and apply.
Simply stated -- this incident highlights the very fine line that we, as a society, walk between normal days and normal accidents. Charles Perrow describes “normal accidents” as the unexpected interaction between component failures in a system. In this incident, the interaction between the environment (severe weather) and technology lead to a very unexpected event -- a Black Swan Event, if you will.
As I watched and listened the events unfold via social media and public safety radio communications, there were several lessons learned that were readily apparent but here are the three most important for us to remember:
•The first responders were civilian bystanders and they did an amazing job. These people took immediate action, helped the injured, rendered first aid, and reported valuable information into “the cloud”. Each and every one of them should be commended for their selfless actions in a dangerous and chaotic scene. As emergency planners, we must recognize the importance of civilian responders in large scale disasters -- support them!•Social media played an unbelievable role sharing information. From across the country and sitting behind my computer screen, I had pictures and videos of the incident before the news media reported anything. I knew what collapsed and where, I had approximate numbers of people killed and injured, and where they were transported. I knew approximately many patients went to each hospital, which hospitals were on divert, and which hospitals were still accepting patients -- all via social media! If you have not embraced social media for emergency management use, you are only hurting yourself. Social media is an amazing resource when used appropriately and provides near real-time information on dynamic incidents -- use it!
•We cannot become complacent and fatigued when it comes to the planning process. I am not saying, however, that this occurred here but this incident should act as a reminder that we must be prepared for worst-case scenarios through exercising, collaborative planning processes, dynamic, bi-directional information sharing (both vertically and horizontally), and excellent preparedness capabilities. Like it or not, as emergency services we are all on the same team -- act like it.
Unfortunately, incidents like this happen and will continue to happen despite our best efforts to limit their occurrence and consequences. Bottom line -- thank civilian responders but give them the training and resources they need to stay prepared, embrace social media as the resource we know it is and use it, and stay open-minded when planning for the consequences of vulnerabilities and risks.
Then check this link out:
Sunday, August 14, 2011
The last of 4 refresher classes was completed August 10 at the Fire & Rescue Academy. The four classes were 2 disaster scenarios, infection control and traffic/crowd control. The turnout for the Wednesday traffic/crowd control class was well attended with over 40 students.
Did you miss out on your annual refreshers? You can still qualify this year by helping out at our outreach events, the new upcoming classes or the final exercise.
Contact our outreach coordinator to see how you can help out.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital needs volunteers for" Day in the Life exercises", Thursday August 18th.
If you have the time, this could be a fun and interesting exercise to participate in.
by Fort Belvoir Community Hospital
Be a part of history in the making!
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is looking for 50 more volunteers to be fake patients during an exercise.
The goal of the Day in the Life exercises is to test patient safety, evaluate processes and indentify any issues requiring resolution before day one.
FBCH needs volunteers ages 20 to 90. Individuals can be active duty, retirees, civilians, friends and family.
Day in the Life exercises will occur Thursday Aug. 18.
Volunteers may go home after their scenario is complete. Each scenario will end intermittently throughout the day. The mock scenarios will test systems at the new hospital and involve most departments at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
No clinical procedures will be performed on volunteers.
Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase.
If interested in volunteering please provide your first name, last name, email address, age, sex and dates in which you are able to volunteer to Debra Spivey at Debra.firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
The training time for each group will be 6pm to 830pm. Meet in the Lobby, of the Jackson Graham Building.
FAIRFAX: September 8, 15, and 22, 2011.
You must be CERT trained and a regular rider of Metro and will need to attend all three sessions of this course. It is also advantageous to have taken the NIMS/ICS 100, 200, and 700 training. Please send me an email with your name, date of birth, and SSN if you would like to sign up for this course. If you are uncomfortable sending this information in an email, please feel free to call me.
Also, all METRO CERT members are invited to a final voluntary METRO CERT exercise. The annual training exercise will be held on, Saturday, October 29, 2011, at 3500 Pennsy Drive, Landover, Maryland 20785. The training time, 9am to 12 pm.
Management Analyst II
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
Office of the Volunteer Liaison
Click here for more information on the webinar.
The webinar library has several topics available for on-demand listening.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
At the last minute we added Blake Lee community to our outreach effort. Thanks Jim Miller!!
Any pictures of the events from last night out there?? Send them to us and we will post them. ICs from the events last night, please email me with an after action report, would like to thank the CERT members that came out to support this Outreach event.