December 2018 update

Cafe Fairfax
This month we were visited by Courtney Arroyo, Access and Functional Needs Integration Liaison with Fairfax County’s Office of Emergency Management. Courtney is in charge of outreach to people with disabilities and other vulnerable communities so she knew what was relevant to us. As you can imagine, she had lots of helpful information. Here are a few of the main points with links for you to find more details on the Fairfax County website.

Office of Emergency Management – Click here for their website.

emergency go bagEmergency Kits
Courtney spoke about emergency kits and having more than one. You might want to have one at home for each member of your family as well as your pets, and also one in the car. Some things that could go in a kit were spare medications and an up-to-date list of your prescriptions, copies of important documents, and cash.
Click here for the Ready Fairfax page. You’ll learn How to Prepare for Emergencies – Make a Kit, Make a Plan, Stay Informed. You’ll also find profiles for various hazards you may have to deal with like winter storms and fire, and how to stay safe.

Save money on your emergency supplies
You may have heard about the sales tax holiday in Virginia every August for buying school supplies tax-free, but did you know that during this time you can also purchase supplies for your emergency preparedness supplies? Click here for a link to the 2018 sales tax holiday – it will give you an idea of items that qualify.

Fairfax Alerts
This is Fairfax County’s FREE public alerting system where you can receive emergency, traffic, and weather alerts via email, cell phone or text. This is also where you would subscribe to the Access and Functional Needs Registry. Click here for more information.

Project Lifesaver
This program is for children and adults that may wander and get lost. Please contact your local Sheriff’s Department.

Visit your local fire station for these
– File of Life: This is a form where you can provide critical medical and emergency contact information if you are unable to provide the information yourself. Emergency personnel know to look on your fridge for it.
– Yellow Dot: This program helps first responders to provide lifesaving medical attention after a vehicle crash or 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.

Emergency/Non-emergency Phone Numbers

  • 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

Info for Snowstorms

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.
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