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Get Prepared for Any Emergency During National Preparedness Month Archived Discussion Room

Fairfax County, Virginia

Get Prepared for Any Emergency During National Preparedness Month

Fairfax County has experienced a variety of emergencies during the past few years – earthquake, hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, snow storms and even a derecho. September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time to prepare yourself, your family and your workplace for whatever weather related emergency or other disaster that may affect our community. Emergency management specialists from the county’s Office of Emergency Management will be available to share tips and best practices on how you can prepare yourself and answer questions about recent emergencies on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. Submit a question in advance or visit online Sept. 7 to participate.

Sulayman Brown : Good morning, my name is Sulayman Brown of the Office of Emergency Management.  I'm the Assistant Coordinator of Emergency Management and its my pleasure to join you today to talk about National Preparedness Month and how you can stay informed and prepare your family for all emergencies.

Susan Z : During power outages, are there priorities in restoring electric power? Hospitals? Nursing homes? People dependent on medical devices that require electricity such as nebulizers, oxygen, hospital beds, etc? Based on prior outages, including the Derecho storm outage, it appeared that Dominion Power did not consider these issues in their priorities to restore power. Does the County have input to Dominion Power about priorities?

Sulayman Brown : Good morning, utility companies determine the priority for service on power outages however; Fairfax County assist them in determining locations that would/could be life threatening.  As you mention, during the Derecho, some of these locations were deemed essential and they were prioritized. 

Anonymous User : I'm very concerned about all of the lone wolf and ISIS inspired attacks happening in the world right now. Since we are so close to DC how much at risk are we? What can we do prevent and/or respond if something happens in our area?

Sulayman Brown : Very good question.  As with all emergencies, we ask you and your family to prepare by staying informed, having a plan and access to an emergency kit.  The county law-enforcement and F&R departments are always vigilant in identifying potential dangers to you and your family.

Anonymous User : I understand the need to be prepared but its so overwhelming all the stuff I think I have to do. I guess I don't know where to start. Is their one tip to prepare or one thing I can do to begin with?

Sulayman Brown : It can be overwhelming at first when your getting started but we recommend that you start out by looking and purchasing items one at a time.  Such as water one month, food, supplies etc. over an extended amount of time.  This will lessen the fiscal cost to you and your family.  There are a couple sites which can assist you in developing your kit.  One is as well as  

Anonymous User : How can I get notified of emergencies in my area?

Sulayman Brown : The official notification system of Fairfax County Government is "Fairfax Alerts."  You can receive information on traffic, emergencies, Govt closing, etc. by registering at In addition, you can go to  You can sign up to receive emails from the blog whenever a new update or article has been published.

Phil Kukielski : When storm or other event knocks power out, people seek out someplace nearby that has lights and heat or AC. When a dangerous storm is approaching does the county have any plan for announcing the location of public buildings that are equipped with generators that might be opened as emergency shelters if the conditions warrant? Waiting until the lights go out to share this info is too late. What's the use in maintaining all these publicly owned generators if they're never used in emergencies?

Sulayman Brown : Considering that this is "National Preparedness Month," Fairfax County strives to educate and inform our residents of how to personally prepare themselves for emergencies such as weather or events that might disable power in Fairfax County.  Having a practiced plan and go-kits for home or vehicle easily accessible is a great start for you and your family.  Items such as portable generators, food, water, blankets, etc. will provide you with the materials necessary to "Shelter in place" during the event. 

In reference to Fairfax County, we have identified warming and cooling centers.  You can find their locations at

We also have shelters pre-identified with resources but weather has the tendency to change where are locations may be located.   Fairfax County does monitor all events that have a potential to impact county residents or property and pre-plan and stage some assets at multiple shelters so that we can open and provide assistance to our residents in a timely manner.  In addition, Fairfax County recommends that our residents stay informed by registering for Fairfax Alerts at

Anonymous User : What is the county doing about zika?

Sulayman Brown : Numerous county agencies have been involved in planning for the Zika virus led by our Health Department.  You can find resources and information at

Sulayman Brown : We've received a question from Sherry on Facebook live and thought we would share it here.

Sherry asked about how to find helpful lists of items needed at home to build a kit. 

Sherry and any of our residents can visit or for those lists and additional emergency preparedness information.

Sulayman Brown : Those are all the questions we have for today.  If you would like to contact us at OEM, please 571-350-1000, TTY 711 or or email at

I want to thank you for participating in our "Ask Fairfax" online chat and learning what we all need to do to remain prepared for any emergency.