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Hurricane Preparedness Archived Discussion Room

Fairfax County, Virginia

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season begins June 1. Join Marcelo Ferreira, community liaison with the Office of Emergency Management, for an online chat about hurricanes, how to prepare for hurricane season, especially during Hurricane Preparedness Week May 22-28, and how to save money while shopping for emergency preparedness supplies during the annual Virginia Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday, May 25-31.

Marcelo Ferreira :

Good Morning,

This is Marcelo Ferreira, Community Liaison with the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management. Welcome to today’s chat about hurricane preparedness. There will also be a Virginia Sales Tax Holiday, May 25 until May 31, for many supplies that are used to protect homes and businesses. I look forward to taking your questions about preparing for hurricanes and how you can save money preparing your family this weekend.

Anonymous User : every year the "experts" predict there will be 7 major and 17 total Hurricanes yet every year they seem to be wrong and there are few if any, yet the next year they make the same wrong pridictions why do they still have any credibility?

Marcelo Ferreira :

Last year, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicted an above-normal hurricane season, much like the outlook for this year. Although there weren’t many hurricanes that made landfall on the east coast, reported that 2010 had 12 hurricanes, which was double the average number. Only two other seasons since 1950 have had a larger number of hurricanes. The east coast was lucky that the winds pushed the storms out to sea, but it’s always better to prepare for the worse than to hope for the best.

Anonymous User : There is a council of citizens that help in disaster - Citizens Council. Beyond outreach and initial training, can you provide some information about how citizens can get involved and stay involved in those programs. Volunteers often leave an emergency response program to go to the next because they completed the training and lack regular participation.

Marcelo Ferreira :

The Citizen Corps Council in Fairfax County allows organizations engaged in emergency preparedness to collaborate harness the power of every individual through education, training and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to threats. By becoming involved and affiliated with some of the groups, residents can learn the skills necessary to assist the community in times of need. Many of the programs have outreach events and exercises that allow volunteers to stay engaged. By becoming affiliated, volunteers will be among the first to learn about volunteering opportunities during a disaster.

Marcelo Ferreira : We received on Facebook about hosting a chat for tornado preparedness. OEM hosted a chat on March 15 regarding that topic. For additional information you can read the transcript at

Dwight : What are some survival tactics when caught in the middle of a hurricane? (both in your home & if you're in your car)

Marcelo Ferreira :

When a hurricane is moving toward the area, be sure to listen to the radio/TV or NOAA weather radio for updated information, secure your home, turn off utilities if instructed to do so, avoid using the phone (except for serious emergencies), and ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes.

As the hurricane is underway, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors, close all interior doors, secure and brace external doors, keep curtains and blinds closed, take shelter in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level and lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.  Do not be fooled if there is a lull, it could be the eye of the storm.

In order to stay informed about local threats, be sure to register for the Community Emergency Alert Network at

Anonymous User : What is the difference between a tornado and hurricane? Can you explain all the weather alerts and warning from the CEAN system? To a normal citizen that can get confusing at times. If we always went to the basement everytime we got a warning or alert, we would just sleep there.

Marcelo Ferreira :

A tornado is formed from thunderstorms and occur with minimal warnings. A hurricane is a storm system that develops over warm water, but often make landfall as they move across the ocean, bringing with them high-winds, storm surge and flooding.

A watch means that conditions are favorable, while a warning means that you should take immediate action.

Marcelo Ferreira :

Thank you for your questions regarding hurricane preparedness. The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management encourages every resident to prepare themselves for all hazards by Making a Kit, Making a Plan, and Staying Informed. For additional information on personal and family preparedness, visit Don’t forget to take advantage of the sales tax holiday (May 25 thru May 31) when putting together your emergency kit ( It’s a great time to prepare and save money!

Once you have prepared yourself, get involved in helping prepare the community by joining a member organization of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council. There are opportunities that can meet everyone’s interests (

If you need further information about this topic, emergency preparedness, or a presentation to your homeowners or civic association, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000 or at