Fairfax Connector Offers Metro Alternatives — With Metrorail service limited throughout the rest of the week, Fairfax Connector is reminding commuters that it offers express service to the Pentagon or downtown D.C. from five sites, including the Vienna Metro station on route 698. [Fairfax Connector]
Proposed Redistricting Maps Now Available — “The Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing on Nov. 9 to consider proposed redistricting plans…There were 64 plans submitted in total by the board-appointed committee established to recommend new maps and the public, and these plans may be reviewed through an online dashboard.” [Fairfax County Government]
International Earthquake Drill Coming Tomorrow — “Every year, ShakeOut Day is the largest earthquake drill ever…What we do to prepare now before the next big earthquake will determine how well we can survive and recover. ShakeOut will occur in houses, workplaces, schools and public spaces at 10:21 a.m. local time on Oct. 21.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
County Opens Graham Road “Traffic Garden” — Fairfax County recently introduced a traffic garden near the Graham Road Community Center in West Falls Church to promote traffic safety education. The facility features an intersection with crosswalks and two-way lanes, mimicking real-life street conditions so kids can learn the rules of the road free of hazards. [Fairfax County Health Department]
Wolf Trap Accepting Grant Applications from Local Arts Teachers — “The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is accepting applications for this year’s Grants for High School Performing Arts Teachers Program. The grants are available to teachers across the D.C. area. The grant application deadline is Nov. 15, and grantees will be named in December for the 2021-22 school year.” [Patch]
Flash Flood Watch in Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area through 10 p.m. today (Wednesday). Multiple rounds of heavy showers and thunderstorms could drop up to one to two inches of rain per hour, leading to rapid rises in streams, creeks, and poor drainage areas. [NWS]
Metro to Require Employee Vaccinations — Metro workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing in a new policy that General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld announced in an internal memo yesterday (Tuesday). 45% of the transit agency’s 12,000-person workforce is fully vaccinated, falling short of the 70% goal set by Metro leaders earlier this month. [The Washington Post]
County Seeks Input on Hazard Mitigation Plan — The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management has partnered with other jurisdictions across the region to update the Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan, which aims to reduce or eliminate the dangers posed by flooding, tornadoes, and other disasters. A survey to help the county identify potential risks and prepare for them is open until Sept. 20. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Fire Station Makes Department History — “For the first time in the history of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, the day-to-day operations of a fire station are being run entirely by women. Capts. Felicia Barnes, Katja Lancing and Emily Murphy all work at Kingstowne Fire Station 37 on Telegraph Road.” [WTOP]
People using 911 in Fairfax County can now provide medical details and other information to help first responders know more about a situation before they arrive.
The county rolled out the change on July 1, allowing people to sign up ahead of time with information about a resident who has a special need or needs ranging from anything from Alzheimer’s to autism.
“It could make the difference between someone being saved and not saved,” 911 systems administrator Steve McMurrer told Tysons Reporter.
A person with an iPhone or Android phone can sign up for the free service by clicking on the Emergency Health Profile section on the county’s Department of Public Safety Communications web page. It will direct them to emergencyprofile.org, and that information is also shared with other 911 centers, McMurrer said.
In a person’s emergency profile under a section for additional medical notes or relevant information, people can list if they’re wheelchair-bound, blind, or have any other condition that first responders might need to be aware of.
A person’s emergency contact information, allergies, address, and other details can also be listed for a caller.
“Any first responder prefers to have more information,” McMurrer said.
The county’s new system relies on RapidSOS, which has been servicing the county with improved location for mobile 911 calls. It doesn’t charge emergency providers but instead device and app makers, according to a TechCrunch article.
Tony Bash, who represents Springfield District on the Fairfax Area Commission on Aging, noted it could help a person who is having a heart attack or is deaf, blind, or in a wheelchair. He also said a child with a disability might confront a police officer when they hear a siren, so the information can be vital to help first responders understand and address a situation.
Without the additional information, emergency responses can lead to injuries and deaths of people in need of help.
State officials noted that a lack of training and awareness can escalate situations for people with disabilities. State agencies for criminal justice, disabilities, and behavioral health partnered with Niagara University in 2017 to introduce additional law enforcement training.
“This is quite possibly the biggest revolutionary change in technology that we’ve witnessed in 50 years,” Eddie Reyes, director at the Prince William County Department of Public Safety Communications, said in a promotional video for RapidSOS.
Fairfax County officials have introduced elements of the service previously, but they were scattered across a variety of places:
- The Yellow Dot Program involves putting information on a card that people can take with them in their vehicles to show special medical needs.
- The File of Life, which can be placed on refrigerators, shares similar information.
- A functional needs registry with the Office of Emergency Management’s Fairfax Alerts has a database with information like if a person needs oxygen or an elevator, but the information can be outdated and was unavailable to the 911 center.
“It’s much, much better than what we have now,” Bash said of the new 911 capabilities. He described previous information on file for emergency responders as 20th-century solutions.
The county had previously looked at using Smart911, but its estimated cost in 2015 was $125,000 per year and $300,000 annually in 2019.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is coming up with more ways to help local residents receive CPR in the event of an emergency.
On Jan. 18, the department announced the official launch of PulsePoint, a mobile phone app that connects to 9-1-1 and alerts CPR-trained residents if someone in a nearby, public location is experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
The rate of survival from SCA decreases by 7-10% for every minute that passes before help arrives, according to the department. The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or on Google Play. Potential resident responders are also alerted to the exact location of a defibrillator.
Fire Chief John Butler is encouraging residents to download the app.
“In working with PulsePoint, our goal is to get every resident with access to early intervention in order to save as many lives as possible,” Butler said.
Butler pushed for the institution of the app in Howard County, Md., where he served as fire chief before becoming the head of Fairfax County’s department in 2018.
Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) created new guidelines urging fire departments to have the capability to alert willing bystanders to the need for CPR.
“The AHA recommendation was considered and played a significant role in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Departments’ implementation of PulsePoint,“ Battalion Chief George Robbins, Fairfax County’s community risk reduction program manager, said.
He noted that CPR-related calls are fairly common in Fairfax County. In 2019 and 2020, the department responded to 645 and 663 patients where EMS crews attempted resuscitation respectively, Robbins told Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s sister site.
An email is required to set up an account once the app is downloaded.
Photo via PulsePoint Foundation/Facebook
Sitting several feet apart, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted today (Tuesday) to declare a local state of emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The declaration activates the county’s emergency plan and allows the county to expeditiously mobilize its resources. A number of local jurisdictions have adopted similar declarations, including Arlington County.
At the emergency meeting, board members sat roughly six feet apart in order to practice safe social distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chairman Jeff McKay noted that the spread of coronavirus poses a “public health threat,” but that the county is well-positioned to manage concerns.
“This is not something this is going to be resolved tomorrow,” McKay said, giving a nod to county staff that is working their “tails off” in this “unprecedented” public health crisis.
The declaration allows the county to pursue “coordinated local government to prevent or alleviate damage, loss hardship, or suffering” caused by the respiratory disease, according to the declaration.
Like similar declarations for snow emergency response, the motion also allows the county to apply for federal and state disaster planning funds and increased flexibility in operations.
The county executive will now have the authority to act on behalf of the board, but won’t be able to do anything inconsistent with state orders, McKay said.
“We don’t have as much authority as people think we do,” Vice Chair Penny Gross said, noting that D.C.’s mayor imposed new restrictions on businesses in the city.
“We’re also at the mercy of the governor,” Gross said.
Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency last Thursday. So far, the Fairfax Health District has 10 presumptive cases of coronavirus.
“We will make it through this,” McKay said. “We will have battle scars without a doubt.”
This story also appeared on our sister site Reston Now
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider plans to declare a state of local emergency tomorrow (Tuesday) due to the spread of the coronavirus.
In a statement, Jeff McKay, the board’s chairman, said the board is expected to hold an emergency session tomorrow at 10 a.m as part of its next phase of emergency response.
Declaring a local emergency would activate the county’s Emergency Operations Plan and allow the county to quickly mobilize county resources. The board must vote to pass the declaration.
So far, all county agencies have been directed to shift to core functions. Residents are strongly encouraged to conduct any needed business online. All county parks, libraries and school buildings are closed for two weeks beginning today.
The meeting will be broadcast on Fairfax County Government Channel 16 and streamed online.
As of Sunday, March 15, the Virginia Department of Health says there are 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Fairfax County.
This story was also published on our sister site Reston Now.
Following a similar announcement in Arlington, the City of Falls Church declared a state of emergency after Monday’s flooding.
This means that through the City Emergency Operations Plan, affected residents could qualify for aid and assistance as directed by state law and city code.
Specified assistance includes fee waivers for bulk-waste pickup on Wednesday, July 17, and rebuilding permits for damaged property, according to the City of Falls Church press release.
The emergency declaration will remain in effect until otherwise noted. More information can be found online.
The full press release is below.
Acting City Manager Cindy Mester declared a local emergency for the City of Falls Church, effective 8:30 a.m. on July 8, 2019, in response to the flash flood emergency. This declaration activates the City Emergency Operations Plan and authorizes the provision of aid and assistance as prescribed by State law and City Code and the ordinances, resolutions and approved plans of the City of Falls Church, in order to mitigate the effects of the weather event. The emergency state remains in effect until rescinded.
To help in the aftermath of the flooding, the City is waiving fees for solid waste bulk collection for the Wednesday, July 17 pick-up and for permits.
Residents must call 703-248-5160 (TTY 711), Option 1 to request special collection by noon on Tuesday, July 16. Bulk items left curbside will not be picked up unless a resident calls to schedule a special collection. This offer is only for current residential curbside customers. Contractor-related work is not eligible for curbside special collection pickup. Brush collection fees are not waived. Visit www.fallschurchva.gov/Special for complete details. Items that are eligible for special bulk collection with waived fees include:
- Household Appliances
- Other items too large or heavy to fit into a trash container.
Permits for flood-related rebuilding are still required, but the fee is waived. This includes electrical repair, gas appliance replacement, and more. More information can be found through the City’s Building Safety Division and Permits Counter: 703-248-5080 (TTY 711); www.fallschurchva.gov/Permit.Residents and businesses can take the following steps to help in the aftermath of the flooding:
- Call your insurance company, if you have not already done so, to report damage.
- If any gas appliances were exposed to floodwaters, do not attempt to either relight or disconnect them by yourself. Contact Washington Gas: 1-844-WASH-GAS (1-844-927-4427), Option 1
- The Virginia State Bureau of Insurance has staff specifically trained to handle disaster insurance questions and problems. Their website also has free consumer guides on what to do after an insured commercial or home property loss. Virginia State Bureau of Insurance: 1-877-310-6560.
— Joey Wilhelm (@mrbeersnob) July 8, 2019
Update 1 p.m. — The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the region until midnight with Flash Flood Watch remaining in effect.
Hope you brought a rain jacket, Tysons, because the region is expected to get soaked this afternoon (Friday) through tomorrow morning.
A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for the region, including Fairfax County, with 1.5-2 inches of rain expected but even more possible. More from the National Weather Service:
…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON EDT TODAY THROUGH LATE TONIGHT… SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WITH HEAVY RAIN ARE EXPECTED TO OVERSPREAD THE REGION BY THIS AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE THROUGH THIS EVENING BEFORE DEPARTING LATE TONIGHT. REPETITIVE STORMS AND MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF HEAVY RAIN MAY RESULT IN RAINFALL AMOUNTS WHICH COULD EXCEED 3 INCHES LOCALLY. FLASH FLOODING IS POSSIBLE, PARTICULARLY IN URBAN AREAS AND IN AREAS OF STEEP TERRAIN. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&
The flooding potential is of particular concern to parts of the Tysons, McLean and Vienna area that are flood prone.
The potential for severe weather has also prompted some airlines to waive change fees for travel Friday. Forecasters say damaging storms are possible later today.
Severe thunderstorms with considerable potential for producing DAMAGING WIND gusts and a few tornadoes are LIKELY across much of the southern through mid Atlantic Coast region, particularly across the Carolinas into southern/central Virginia, THIS AFTERNOON and EVENING. @NWSSPC pic.twitter.com/3GItR4Z0Rg
— National Weather Service (@NWS) April 19, 2019
With storms in the forecast, several airlines, including @united & @Delta, are offering change fee waivers for travel today. Contact the airline directly if travel plans are impacted by weather & be sure to double check the status of your flight before coming to the airport. pic.twitter.com/HaFHwIWP50
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) April 19, 2019
The Citizens Fire & Rescue Academy (CFRA) is now accepting applications for Fairfax residents who want to learn more about what it’s like to be a local firefighter. The CFRA is open to persons 18 and older who live in Fairfax County
According to the Fire and Rescue website:
Each session will cover different aspects of the organization, providing an in-depth overview of the department and its uniformed and civilian workforce. Program topics include: fire suppression, emergency medical services, training, recruitment, special operations, and other interesting topics.
Applications will be accepted until March 8, with classes beginning on March 21 and ending May 9. The class is scheduled to meet for eight consecutive Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Each class is scheduled to be approximately three hours long.
There is no charge to attend. The department also emphasizes that the class will not teach you how to become a firefighter.
Photo via Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department
Fairfax County is putting together a comprehensive plan for public safety in the county’s use of unmanned aircraft and is looking for public feedback.
The Fairfax County Unmanned Aircraft Systems program is a proposal to incorporate drones into government operations, with a particular focus on public safety. The draft says examples of drone usage includes:
- Search and rescue
- Flooding assessments
- Pre- and post-disaster damage assessments
- Crash reconstruction
- Fire incident/scene management and investigations
- Hazardous materials responses
- Wildlife estimation
The draft also says the drones would not be used to conduct random surveillance activities or to harass individuals.
Six public meetings are scheduled to discuss the issue with representatives of the Office of Emergency Management, county attorney’s office, police and fire and rescue department. Presentations at each of the meetings are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
- Jan. 14, 2019 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Mason District Governmental Center (Community Room)
6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale
- Jan. 16, 2019 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
South County Governmental Center (Room 221C)
8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria
- Jan. 23, 2019 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
McLean District Governmental Center
1437 Balls Hill Road, McLean
- Jan. 24, 2019 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Sully District Governmental Center
4900 Stonecroft Blvd, Chantilly
- Jan. 28, 2019 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Reston Community Center – Hunter Woods
2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston
- Jan. 30, 2019 (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)
Braddock Hall – Kings Park Library
9002 Burke Lake Road, Burke
Public comments can also be submitted to [email protected] before close-of-business on Feb. 8 to be included in the written record.
Photo via Flickr/Joe Loong