Isabel Has Come and Gone…Now What Do I Do?

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. 19, 2003


Isabel Has Come and Gone…Now What Do I Do?

Hurricane Isabel, which forced residents to evacuate their homes, downed numerous trees and caused thousands of power outages, has now left the region. Fairfax county officials have begun to assess the damage the storm left in her wake. Residents are also facing many different situations today following a night of high winds and heavy rains. Below are resources for Fairfax County residents should they face difficulties caused by Hurricane Isabel.

Four shelters remain open in Fairfax County for residents needing shelter. The shelters are located in the following Fairfax County public schools:

Chantilly High School, 4201 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly
Edison High School, 5801 Franconia Road, Alexandria
Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church
Whitman Middle School, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria


Reporting Problems
Residents are encouraged to report downed power lines, trees in roads and other situations to the appropriate authorities. Below are the appropriate numbers to call.

  • To report a sewer back-up to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, call 703-323-1211 or 703-250-2003, TTY 703-239-8489.
  • To report flooded roads, blocked roads or malfunctioning traffic signals call the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) at 703-383-VDOT (8368), TTY 711.
  • To report rising water in your home that threatens your safety, please call 9-1-1. If you have damp walls or floors, contact a water removal or restoration company. You should also call the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services at 703-934-2800, TTY 711, to report any house flooding or blocked storm drains.
  • To report problems with water service, call the Fairfax County Water Authority at 703-698-5800, TTY 703-698-7025. After hours, call 703-698-5613.
  • To report flooded roads, blocked roads or malfunctioning traffic signals, call the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) at 703-383-VDOT (8368), TTY 711.
  • To report a gas leak, call Washington Gas at 703-750-1400, TTY 703-750-1403, or Columbia Gas at 1-800-544-5606, TTY 1-800-231-3238.
  • To report a power outage, depending on your electric company, you need to contact either Dominion Virginia Power at 1-888-667-3000, TTY 711 or the Northern Virginia Electric Coop at 1-888-335-0500, TTY 711.
  • To report a problem with land line telephone service, call Verizon at 1-800-275-2355,
    TTY 1-800-564-0999.

Additional Information About County Services

  • Fairfax County Government offices, facilities and buildings are closed on Friday, Sept. 19 and employees are granted administrative leave, however, emergency service personnel should still report as scheduled. Since Fairfax County schools are also closed, all programs and services in schools are canceled. For Park Authority and Community and Recreation Services rental programs or programs offered at private locations, please contact the location directly.
  • All Fairfax County Courts are closed Friday, Sept. 19. Court employees have been granted administrative leave.
  • Fairfax County curbside trash and recyclables collection has been cancelled for Friday, Sept. 19 and is expected to resume on your next regularly scheduled collection day. If you have questions about trash collection, call 703-802-3322, TTY 711.
  • FAIRFAX CONNECTOR bus service will run on a modified Sunday schedule beginning at 1 p.m. on Routes 101, 105, 110, 425, 504, 505, 605, 950 and RIBS 1, 2, 3 and 4. It is hoped service on Route 401 will be restored later in the day. For information call 703-339-7200, TTY 703-339-1608 or visit the Web site at

Property Damage

  • Check for structural damage BEFORE entering a building.
  • Check for exposed or live wires before turning main power switch back on.
  • Cover broken windows.
  • Call your insurance agent immediately if your home, apartment or business has suffered flood damage.
  • Drain and clean flooded basements as soon as possible.
  • If you are without power, do not use candles as a light source. Instead, use battery-powered lanterns or flash lights.
  • If you encounter floodwaters do not try to drive or walk through them. Turn around and go another way.
  • The county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) has trained inspectors that are on duty throughout the county to begin monitoring property that has been damaged by Hurricane Isabel. DPWES has a three-level color code system—green, yellow and red.
  • If you have a green sticker on your home, it is safe to re-renter.
  • If you have a yellow sticker on your home, there is some damage but the home is okay to re-enter and in livable condition.
  • If you have a red sticker on your home, you are not allowed to re-enter. The property has been deemed uninhabitable and no one is allowed to enter the premises.
    Should you have a red sticker on your home, please call the DPWES Operations Center at 703-324-8355, TTY 711, for additional information.

Health and Food Safety

  • If you have lost your power, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food can be kept cold for a day or two if the doors are kept closed. Try to consume perishable food first. Discard any foods which you are not sure have stayed at a safe temperature or which do not look or smell as they should. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • All food service establishments served by the Fairfax County Water Authority should cease operations immediately. Once the Water Authority’s system is functional, follow the procedures outlined under the boil water notice provided by the Health Department. This procedure must be in effect until further notice. For more information or to get a copy of the notice, please call the Health Department at 703-246-3798, TTY 711.

General Safety

  • If you have lost water service, the power (electric or gas) to the hot water heater should be shut off. Please refer to the service manual for relighting instructions once water service is restored, or call a qualified service representative.
  • 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.
  • Candles are not recommended for lighting because of fire hazards. Use flashlights or battery- operated lanterns.
  • 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. Never fuel or run a portable generator in the home or garage, as gas-powered generators pose a serious fire and carbon monoxide threat.
  • 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. Follow the normal guidelines provided by your trash hauler and prepare any tree limbs and debris according to their standards for collection.
  • Never allow children to swim or play in or near floodwaters or detention ponds.
  • Watch out for rodents and snakes.
  • Check on relatives and neighbors, especially senior citizens and persons with disabilities, to ensure they are safe.

For the latest information, call the Fairfax County Government Emergency Information Line at 703-817-7771, TTY 711 or visit the Fairfax County Web site at


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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