Top Five Emergency Preparedness Tips

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

Dec. 15, 2006

The Top Five Things You Can Do to Be Better
Prepared for an Emergency This Holiday Season

The holidays are here and winter weather will be arriving soon. There are holiday presents to buy, balancing child-care because of the school holidays and the advance of colder temperatures and the possibility of that dreaded four letter word – snow – arriving in the forecast.

If you’re like most Fairfax County residents, during the next several weeks you’ll juggle your normal work and personal life while still managing to squeeze in some shopping and a holiday party or two, and hopefully still have some time to relax and visit with friends and family.

But will you take time to ensure that you and your family are prepared in case of an emergency during the holiday season? Probably not! However, there are some simple things you can do to ensure that you and your family are prepared in case an emergency happens during the holidays, or at anytime.

Fairfax County offers five steps to help you become better prepared for an emergency:

1.) Put together an emergency supply kit for your home. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but should include the basics for three days. It should include non-perishable food items that don’t require refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. Include one gallon of water per person per day, tools and utensils, cash, flashlights, battery-powered radio or TV (remember spare batteries), as well as any medications and non-prescription drugs, personal hygiene and sanitation items, a first-aid kit, and other necessities you need. And don’t forget a manual can opener.

2.) Pack an emergency supply kit for each vehicle. Some forecasters are predicting a colder than normal winter with more snowfall than usual, so a small emergency supply kit in your car could make a big difference. Include items such as a blanket, extra pair of gloves, matches, flashlight and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, several tools or a small tool kit, a rain poncho or heavy jacket, a bag of sand and small shovel in case you get stuck in snow, and other seasonal items. Don’t forget some bottled water and non-perishable food items as well.

3.) While you’ve got the family all together, take time to create a family emergency plan. Decide escape routes for everyone and know where you will meet in case of a fire or other emergency. Choose a friend or loved one who everyone will call. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. Have a plan for family members with special medical needs or disabilities. Learn where your utility shutoff valves are, don’t forget any insurance and vital records you might need to grab on your way out, and be sure to include your pets in your planning.

4.) Be informed. Learn about potential threats and the most likely natural disasters. Know possible shelter locations, evacuation routes and emergency plans at your workplace and your children’s school.

5.) Finally, register to receive emergency alerts through the Fairfax County Community Emergency Alert Network, or CEAN. The CEAN is a way you can receive emergency alerts, severe traffic alerts, severe weather information, and county closings and delays by e-mail, pager and text messaging on your cell phone. Learn more about the CEAN and register for alerts at

By taking these five simple steps, you’ll be much better prepared should an emergency happen. And think of the peace of mind you’ll have to enjoy the holiday season.

For more information on assembling an emergency supply kit and preparing your family, visit the Fairfax County emergency information Web page at

During times of emergency, Fairfax County will provide information and updates to county residents via Fairfax County Cable Channel 16, which also can be viewed through video-streaming on Channel 16 Live on the county Web site. Residents also may call the county’s Emergency Information Line at 703-817-7771, TTY 711 for updated county closings and emergency information. The county’s Web site,, will feature emergency announcements and information also is provided to local media.


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To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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