Friday, August 26, 2011

A letter from our county executive about Hurricane Irene

From: Griffin, Anthony H.
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.

Tony Griffin