Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Mar. 23, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for March 23, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about this month’s emergency preparedness newsletter, tornadoes and tornado preparedness, flooding risks and Virginia Task Force 1 – Fairfax County’s urban search and rescue team. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
The March “Emergency Preparedness” newsletter is now available online and features flooding tips, details of a new business preparedness video and more. Check out the newsletter at the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management Web page, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem. You can also subscribe to have the newsletter e-mailed to you each month.
March is Tornado Preparedness Month in Virginia, and on March 15, many businesses and residents participated in the annual statewide tornado preparedness drill. The last time a tornado touched down in Fairfax County was the evening of March 10. No injuries or structural damage occurred. In 2004, a category F2 tornado struck in Centreville uprooting trees and causing property damage. Before that, there was a category F1 that stuck Newington in 2001, and in 1996 another category F2 struck Centreville. Numerous other tornados have been reported in Fairfax County and the surrounding area throughout the years.
Meanwhile, according to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur due to flooding each year than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. More than half of all flood-related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Remember, flash flooding can take from a few minutes to a few hours to develop. Be prepared to take detours and adjust your route due to road closures if there is standing water. As little as 6 inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Flood water may be much deeper than it appears as the roadbed may be washed out. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. Learn more about seasonal flood risks and what to do to prepare by visiting FEMA’s FloodSmart.gov website, or by calling 1-800-427-2419. And remember when flooding conditions are forecast, important information and lifesaving alerts are available at www.weather.gov.
And finally, thanks to the men and women of Virginia Task Force 1 – Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team – that deployed to Japan to help in the search for victims of the earthquake and tsunami. The team returned home on Sunday, March 20. As the federal sponsoring agency, USAID pays for all costs and expenses incurred by VATF-1 when members are activated or undergo training. All training, equipment, and personnel costs of VATF-1 are paid for by the federal government on a regular basis. More about the search and rescue task force can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/vataskforce1.
That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.