Fairfax County Prepares for Hurricane Isabel
Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
Sept. 16, 2003
Fairfax County Prepares for Hurricane Isabel
Fairfax County is busy preparing for Hurricane Isabel and some of the
heavy rains and flooding that may accompany her arrival. According to the
National Weather Service, floods cause more damage and loss of life
nationwide than any other natural disaster. If you live in a flood-prone
area, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from the
consequences of hurricanes and flooding.
Fairfax County personnel are monitoring the storm’s progress and making preparations to respond. They are also working with the Fairfax County Public Schools to ensure the safety of all students while they are at school. Any changes to regular school hours and/or transportation will be announced through local media and may also be found on the FCPS Web site at www.fcps.edu and on Cox cable channel 21. Parents may also subscribe to e-mail emergency notices at the school Web site.
As Hurricane Isabel continues to move closer to Virginia, Governor Mark R. Warner has declared a State of Emergency. Fairfax County officials remind residents that this is a good time to review your family disaster plan and be prepared to implement it. The following advice may help protect lives and reduce damage before, during and after hurricanes and flooding.
BEFORE THE STORM
- Monitor your local news and the NOAA Weather Radio for weather-related information. Battery powered weather radios are available at most stores that sell electronic equipment.
- Review your family emergency plan. Decide on a meeting place away from home where you and your family will gather if you need to leave your home and family members become separated.
- Check your family emergency kit to be sure it is stocked with essential supplies to last a minimum of three days. Include items like flashlights and batteries, battery-operated radio, weather radio, water, canned food and manual can opener, first aid supplies and medications.
- Update your family communication plan. Select an out-of-state friend or family member to be the single point of contact for your family. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.
- Make an emergency kit with supplies for your pet. Most shelters do not allow pets so make plans to move your pet to a safe location before the storm. Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask friends, relatives or others outside your area whether they could shelter your pet in an emergency. Prepare a list of animal shelters, boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency.
- Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to a safe area away from the high winds or flooding. If there is a flood, you may only have minutes to get to safety. Keep your vehicle fueled and have an updated local map in your car.
- Test your smoke detector and replace batteries if necessary.
- Secure garbage cans, lawn furniture or anything that could fly around and cause damage.
- Ensure gutters are clear so water will drain.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
- Make an itemized list of all your personal property for insurance verification purposes.
DURING THE STORM
- Keep your battery-operated radio tuned to a local station, and follow all instructions. If you are told to evacuate, move out of the house or building to safe, high ground before access is cut off by floodwater.
- Know how to get emergency information for your area. Fairfax County government provides emergency information on their Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov, on Government Cable Channel 16 and via the county hotline at 703-817-7771, TTY 711.
- Be aware that floods are deceptive. Avoid already-flooded areas. Floodwaters that are above your knees are dangerous. Turn around and go back to higher ground.
- If you find floodwaters on the road while driving, turn around and find an alternate route. The road could be washed out and rapidly rising water could lift your car and carry it away.
- If you use a generator for emergency power make sure it is outdoors in a dry, ventilated area away from attached garages or air intakes to the house.
- Use flashlights instead of candles for light. If you do have to use candles, place them away from things that will burn. Never leave candles burning unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.
AFTER THE STORM
- When it is safe to return to your home, be sure that the structure is not visibly damaged and in danger of collapsing before entering.
- Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Do not turn on damaged electrical appliances because of the hazards of electric shock or fire.
- Watch for live electrical wires. Be sure the electrical current is turned off and do not attempt to turn on any electrically-operated light or appliance until an electrician has checked your system.
- Begin cleanup as soon as possible. Throw out perishable foods; they may be contaminated.
- Never allow children to swim or play in or near floodwaters or detention ponds.
Watch out for rodents and snakes.
For more information on hurricane and flood
preparedness, visit the Fairfax County Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov or call the Fairfax County Emergency
Information line at 703-817-7771, TTY 711.