Preparing for an emergency

At our January 2017 event we shared ideas for preparing for an emergency. What led to this was a friend who had to go to the hospital unexpectedly immediately following a doctor’s appointment and needed to arrange for his neighbor to take care of his cat. He didn’t have the neighbor’s contact info on him and it took him a while to remember his name, because as you can imagine, when we’re under stress it’s harder to remember things. That is why it’s so important to put the effort into planning.

Our discussion covered two kinds of emergencies – unexpected medical emergencies, and adverse weather conditions that can lead to loss of power and difficulties getting out and about.

We felt it was always important to carry contact information with us. It should include our own, as well as information for the people we would need to help us. It’s also important that these other people are aware that they are your emergency contact in the event they are called upon. Along with contact information, we should also carry a list of our prescription medications.

MedicAlert jewelry is a good way to alert first responders to your health and personal information. There are different types of jewelry available, not just the bracelets you may be familiar with, and you can update your information online, anytime.

How do you keep track of all your passwords, usernames and security questions for websites? Do you keep this information in a safe place? As a backup, and in the event you are unable to manage your online accounts, have you shared this information with someone you trust?

Some people in the group recommended MemoryBanc as a means of getting important paperwork organized.

We shared information packets from the Fairfax county Office of Emergency Management who recommend that you sign up for Fairfax Alerts, for alerts related to weather, traffic and public safety.

I hope you find this information helpful, and we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.

Update:

Here are some useful resources in Virginia courtesy of Congresswoman Barbara Comstock:

  • Call 911 in a true emergency
  • For current road conditions: call 511 or visit 511Virginia.org
  • See here for updates from VDOT and helpful resources in our area
  • Report road problems: 1-800-FOR-ROADS (367-7623)
  • 211 Virginia is serving as the public inquiry number for Virginia residents
  • #77 on a cell to report a traffic crash or traffic emergency
  • Fairfax County Sheriff non-emergency number: 703-691-2131
  • Loudoun County Sheriff non-emergency number: 703-777-1021
  • Prince William County Sheriff non-emergency number: 703-792-6500
  • Clarke County Sheriff non-emergency number: 540-955-1234
  • Frederick County Sheriff non-emergency number: 540-662-6162
  • Winchester City Sheriff non-emergency number: 540-662-4131
  • Manassas City Police non-emergency: 703-257-8000
  • Manassas Park City Police non-emergency: 703-361-1136
  • Loudoun Water: 571-291-7878
  • Washington Gas: 703-750-1400
  • Follow VDOT and VDOTNOVA on Twitter
  • Town of Leesburg Snow Removal: www.leesburgva.gov/snow#hotline
  • Loudoun County Road Maintenance Information and Map of Road Maintenance
  • Snow Plow Tracking: novasnowplowing.virginia.gov/
  • Please consider adopting a fire hydrant in Purcellville here. This initiative is sponsored by the Town of Purcellville and helps support our hardworking emergency responders and keep citizens safe.

Report Power Outages:

  • Dominion Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (366-4357)
  • NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500
  • PEPCO: 1-877-PEPCO-62 (737-2662)
  • Shenandoah Valley Electric Co-op: 1-800-234-7832
  • Rappahannock Electric Coop: 1-800-552-3904

Safety Tips:

  • Visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia.
  • Use flashlights for emergency lighting instead of candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • Practice proper generator and surface heater safety.
  • Leave one light turned on so you know when power is restored.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.  If you come upon a non-working traffic signal, treat each traffic light as a four-way stop, with the driver on the right having the right-of-way. Proceed with caution only when traffic permits and enter intersections only when it is safe to do so, using your turn signals to let other motorists know your intentions.
  • If traffic signals are on flash, treat a flashing red as a stop (treat like a stop sign). For flashing yellow, proceed with caution.