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September is National Preparedness Month

Fairfax County promotes new campaign to encourage residents to prepare for emergencies.

September is National Preparedness Month, a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies.

This month, Fairfax County is promoting its “Fairfax Prepares: 30 Ways in 30 Days” campaign as part of National Preparedness Month. Fairfax County will focus on one topic each day pertaining to safety and preparing for emergencies, said Merni Fitzgerald, director of public affairs for Fairfax County Government.

“It’s always important that the whole community is prepared,” said Greg Licamele, spokesperson with the Office of Public Affairs for Fairfax County Government. “Preparedness is seen as an overwhelming topic, so we’re trying to get people engaged by taking small steps each day.”

People can follow and get involved in the campaign in three ways:

  1. The county’s emergency website featuring all of the tips; people can subscribe by email.
  2. A special Facebook page for this campaign:
  3. By following the hashtag #fairfaxprepares on Twitter

According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, since April 2011, almost every Virginia resident has experienced a tornado, historic mineral earthquake, hurricane or tropical storm or a wind storm. Because of these occurrences, everyone is responsible for having a plan and preparing for predicted and unexpected emergencies.

“In any large emergency, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees or power lines are down,” said State Coordinator of Emergency Management Michael Cline in a recent news release. “The most important thing you can do to help your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and your family. The more of us who are prepared, the quicker our community will recover.”

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management suggests families and individuals prepare as though they have to go three days without electricity, water services, access to a supermarket or other local services. The department suggests taking these four steps in preparing for emergencies:

  1. Stay informed. Get free information about what to do before, during and after emergencies at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.ListoVirginia.gov. Be aware of changes in weather by watching local media reports. Purchase a battery-powered radio with a weather band so you can follow updates on the weather if you lose power.
  2. Make a plan. Discuss and agree on an emergency plan for those in your care.
  3. Build a kit. Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and your family members. Your kit should include non-perishable food and water, first aid, prescriptions, flashlights and batteries and any other supplies needed specifically for children and pets.
  4. Get involved. Before a disaster, the entire community can get involved in programs and activities to make families, homes and businesses safe from risk and threats.

For more information on preparing for emergencies and using supplies such as generators during a power outage, Licamele suggests visiting the FEMA or American Red Cross websites.

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