Friday, December 28, 2007

Who Read It?

It's Official!

Our blog has now been read by people in every state in the U.S.

And has been read in over 28 countries.

In 2008, lets see if we can take the power of technology to the next level!

Friday, December 21, 2007

One Word - Planning?

Often people come to us and say, but how could I have planned for that.

Sometimes it just takes common sense. Other times it may just be a problem with communication. It could be as simple as, why didn't I think of that.

Planning may be quite simple. For example, one way to look at traffic management during an emergency, might be to look at traffic during the busiest travel day of the year.

However, that might be easier said than done.

This article notifies people of anticipated increased traffic in Virginia.

While this article talks about traffic in Maryland ... Construction during the busiest travel day of the year?

Hopefully, if there was an emergency they would suspend construction work. It is probably included in an emergency plan, or is it? And does it really need to be?

Fairfax County Really Offers That?

Did you know that Fairfax County trains students in Fire and EMS?

The following picture was taken this week at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy, which is currently planning expansion.

FCHS EMT/Fire Class of 2007-08

Learn more about Fairfax County Public Schools Fire and Emergencey Services program.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Helping Those In Need - Donations in a new light through the American Red Cross

During the holidays many people donate canned goods and health supplies to shelters and community organizations.

You often hear about the Red Cross asking for much needed blood donations.

In addition to your current donations, why not try something new this year and consider donating an emergency preparedness kit or supplies.

At the Store, you can find items under $20 to donate. And while you are shopping for that donation, make sure you have your own personal supply kit - for your home, car, and workplace.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I Am Legend with Wil Smith - National Request for Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Volunteers

Many of you have probably seen the trailer to the new movie "I Am Legend".

It is important that all of you act now and signup for your local Medical Reserve Corps so proper medication can be distributed before the movie is released in theaters.

By doing so, we can prevent this incident from happening.

Additional information on this situation can be found at

If Wil Smith had been aware of the Medical Reserve Corps, would this have happened? Should we request that Warner Bros. take immediate action before the release?

While this movie may be fiction and the movie studios call to action is extreme, the anthrax attacks of October 2001 dramatically indicated the need to increase our capacity for dispensing medication to a large number of persons in a short timeframe.

For additional information on the Fairfax County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and volunteer opportunities, please visit

If you are outside this region, please visit

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fairfax County Police Are Looking For You!

The Fairfax County Police Department is looking for applicants to the Auxiliary Police Officer (APO) program.

The Fairfax County Times recently featured an article with additional information about the expanding program.

To learn more about this opportunity and other volunteer opportunities with the Fairfax County Police Department Volunteer Webpage

If you apply for any of the volunteer positions, mention you saw it on the Citizen Corps Council blog.

Fairfax County Police volunteer programs are part of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Time For Your New Years Resolution from Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

This year, make it one of your resolutions (one that you will keep) to prepare for emergencies before they happen.

For more information, visit

Thanks for all that have made it a very successful year for Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council

Are Your Ready For Next Year? Virginia Is!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

FEMA Community Preparedness Newsletter - Multiple Fairfax County References

FEMA Community Preparedness Newsletter - December 2007

Highlights from Around the Country

"Fairfax County, VA, Boy Scouts Participate in Emergency Preparedness Camporee"

Also referenced was the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council blog and
the Fairfax County CERT blog.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Winter Preparedness Week - Emergency Management Website Not To Be Missed from NOAA's NWS

Thank you to Fairfax County, Virginia, and the American Red Cross for these useful resources.

Fairfax County Winter Weather Preparedness Tips

Ready Virginia Winter Weather 2007

American Red Cross Winter Preparedness

And now that we are prepared, perfect timing for our first snow of the season.

The NWS Baltimore/Washington Emergency Manager's Page is a public website that is worth checking out.

The website includes current hazards, hazard outlooks, storm predictions, forecasts, warnings, advisories, and several different map views. Basically, this webpage puts many different weather resources on a single webpage.

If you are not in the National Capital Region, then contact your local NWS Offices and Centers to see if they also have an "Emergency Managers" webpage.

Winter Preparedness Week – A Primer on Wind Chill and Dressing Warmly

REPRINTED FROM Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs Newslink - December 4, 2007

Wind chill indicates how cold people feel while outside. According to the National Weather Service, wind chill is not the actual temperature but rather how the wind and cold feels on exposed skin based on the rate of heat loss. If you are going to be outside in cold weather, the American Red Cross encourages you to:

- Dress appropriately. Air temperature does not have to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies such as hypothermia and frostbite.

- Dress in layers to adjust to changing conditions. Avoid overdressing or overexertion, which can lead to heat illness.

- Wear a hat, preferably one covering your ears, because most body heat is lost through your head.

- Wear mittens as they provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.

- Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry, and to help maintain your footing in ice and snow.

- After coming inside, immediately get out of wet clothes and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids such as hot cider or soup. Avoid caffeine or alcohol in cases of hypothermia or frostbite.

For more information, contact or visit

Additional information from the American Red Cross can be found on their Winter Storm webpage.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Winter Preparedness Week – Brrr! Don’t Forget Your Kit!

REPRINTED FROM Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs Newslink - December 3, 2007

This week has been declared Winter Preparedness Week by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. With the beginning of winter and colder weather, Fairfax County encourages residents to take precautions to stay safe. The first step is to assemble an emergency supply kit for home, work and vehicle. Recommended items include:

- At least a three-day supply of food that won’t spoil.
- One gallon of water per person, per day.
- A battery-powered radio (people with hearing impairments should consider signing up for the Community Emergency Alert Network – CEAN – at and obtaining a cell phone with text messaging capacity to receive CEAN messages).
- A flashlight with extra batteries.
- A first-aid kit.
- An extra supply of prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
- A plan for those with special needs who may need to stay in your home because they lost utilities from a storm. Those with special needs could include the elderly, people with disabilities and the medically frail.

For more information, contact or visit

Friday, November 30, 2007

White House to Cut Funds for Homeland Security Grants?

"WASHINGTON - The Bush administration intends to slash counterterrorism funding for police, firefighters and rescue departments across the country by more than half next year, according to budget documents obtained by The Associated Press. ... Some grants criticized as wasteful".

Both sides of this debate are included in the complete article which can be found at:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In The Event Of An Emergency - Emergency Alert Systems

Do you know about XM Channel 214 - Washington? The XM Weather and Traffic Station for the Washington DC area.

Through an agreement between XM and several local counties, Emergency Alerts will also be broadcast on this channel.

XM Channel 247 is also worth checking out as well, as a way to find out about larger scale emergencies and emergency messages from across the country. Additional information on that channel can be found here:

Did you ever wonder what other jurisdictions across the United States are doing? Check out this website:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Takes Home The Award

Congratulations to Andrew Levy, 2007 Citizen Corps Leader of the Year as presented at the 2007 Virginia Public Safety Outreach Conference.

The Citizen Corps Leader of the Year is a "manager, coordinator or council member whether volunteer or career who exemplifies the Citizen Corps mission".

Pictured (from left to right) are:

- Brock Bierman. Director, DHS/FEMA Community Preparedness Division. Small State and Rural Advocate;

- Sharon Woo, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Citizen Corps & CERT Training and Outreach Coordinator;

- Suzanne Simmons, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Volunteer Coordination Program Manager; and

- Andrew Levy, Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chairman receiving the award.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fairfax County Attends Virginia Public Safey Outreach Conference

On November 14-15, Members of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council, including representatives from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) attended the 2007 Virginia Public Safety Outreach Conference: Ready Virginia.

They also attended 2007 Virginia Citizen Corps Tidewater Training Day.

Best practices learned from other Citizen Corps Councils will be shared in the next few weeks on this blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fairfax County in Emergency Management Update - TWICE

Fairfax County CERT trains area Boy Scouts

Members of the Fairfax County Emergency Response Team trained Boy Scouts at the George Mason District BSA "Camporee," Oct. 13-14 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy. The event focused on methods of effective disaster preparedness and mitigation, with a simulated hurricane recovery center that helped scouts earn emergency preparedness merit badges. CERT subject matter experts led scouts through various training and response scenarios and served as command and control staff, moulage technicians and logistical preparation staff.


School emergency preparedness resources

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez released a set of guidelines to help educators and parents interpret federal privacy laws in an initiative prompted by the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. The Department of Education also released three brochures on privacy laws: one for K-12 educators, one for colleges and one for parents. They will be sent to schools, school boards and education associations.

A press conference for the initiative "Creating a Culture of Preparedness Among Schools" took place at Mt. Vernon High School in Alexandria, Va., with student representatives from the Fairfax County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Science program and the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council.

A complete DHS list of emergency preparedness resources for schools is available at

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Supporter of Citizen Corps Re-elected.

Congratulations to Gerry Connolly for being re-elected as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. We look forward to your continued support and help to secure funding to maintain our programs.


Public Safety

Gerry Connolly knows that the first step in fighting crime is to prevent it. Last year, the crime rate in Fairfax County hit a 32-year low and, among the 50 largest jurisdictions, was the lowest in the nation. Our violent crime rate is half that of our neighboring jurisdictions.

- Put more police officers on the street and a police resource officer at every school
- Fought gangs by involving police, schools and the community in an anti-gang initiative that has reduced gang membership by half in our schools
- Initiated the Park Watch program
- Started the Safe Teen Driving initiative
- Strengthened Neighborhood Watch and Citizen Corps programs
- Chairs the Emergency Preparedness Committee for metropolitan Washington

Costly Conferences? Or Free Training

Have you seen a conference you would like to attend, but it is too costly?

You might consider volunteering at the conference. Often they offer their volunteers free registration and it also provides a good networking opportunity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Community Colleges Another Source for Low Cost Training

While we focused on free training this week, we should not forget about training programs at relatively low cost through local community colleges.

Explore a Second Career at NOVA’s
Medical Education Campus in Springfield

NOVA’s Springfield-based Medical Education Campus (MEC) is adding three newly formatted courses to its winter schedule: Medical Office Specialist, Medical Transcription, and Comprehensive Medical Billing and Coding. According to Harriet Zimmerman, RN, Director of Workforce Development and Continuing Education, the classes represent a “track” for students planning to work in the medical field but not directly with patients.

"We’re using several of our most popular courses to construct a Medical Office track that can be taken separately or in succession,” Zimmerman explains. “This series may be of particular interest to career-switchers—it allows successful students to enter a job field where there is high demand for these skills.”

The five-week Medical Office Specialist training program provides the knowledge and skills necessary to function as an administrative professional in a medical office. Students will learn how to effectively run the MediSoft office suite (used in a majority of medical offices in the D.C. metro area); following successful completion of the course, students can seek employment continue their education.

Comprehensive Medical Billing and Coding is a 12-week course that allows students to apply theoretical and practical billing and coding knowledge to real-life situations. (This class is also offered at NOVA’s Arlington Center, located near the Ballston subway station.)

Basic Medical Transcription is designed specifically for those looking for a second career; graduates are well-prepared to work in a doctor's office, hospital, clinic, or to be self-employed. The six-week course includes medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, completion of medical reports and medical digital editing.

The winter session of Workforce Development and Continuing Education classes gets underway mid-January. To register or to learn more about these classes, call 703-822-6532 or visit

New Citizen Corps Information Website Integrated with Office of Emergency Management

For those who have been waiting for our website to be updated, it is now complete.

Visit: or

Thank you to Ellen Kamilakis for making this happen.

What about the Red Cross?

Do you think of the Red Cross only for CPR and First Aid training?

They offer a wide variety of Disaster Related training at no charge. Information can be found at

In the near future, this blog will focus on some of the other disaster related services offered by the Red Cross, a Citizen Corps Council affiliate.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What about free training for your family?

You spent the time going through training yourself, but what about some
training and awareness for your friends/family.

The following FEMA website provides some suggestions:

Did someone say free disaster life support training?

The American Medical Association (AMA) Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response(CPHPDR) invites all interested members of the Medical Reserve Corps. to take the newly released electronic Core Disaster Life Support(tm)(eCDLS(tm)) course.

The 4-hour course was developed with funding from the Department of Homeland Security and is offered at no charge.

To access the eCDLS course, visit the following website:

Thank you to Terry Akins for passing on this information.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Long Way To A Thank You

The question came up this week, is it Citizen Corps or Citizens Corps? In response to that question, the comment was made, "We represent all citizens, not just one".

From the printed material, it becomes clear that the answer is Citizen Corps, just look at

If we look at remarks from President Bush, in a press release from the Office of the Press Secretary, we do see "Remarks by the President on Citizens Corps". Are we saying that someone in the President's office made a mistake? No!

If we look at the definitions ( for citizen, we see "A person...", "A resident...", "A civilian..." and for corps, we see "a group of people...", "a team...".

But does it matter? If we look at Citizen Corps, we are individuals who are a part of a group or team, such as a Neighborhood Watch Team, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Team.

People often get bogged down in administrative activities and forget the core values of an organization - an organization based on individual volunteers who make up the Citizen Corps. While this might seem like an off the wall discussion, try having it and see what discussion comes out of it.

In Fairfax County, this was a very successful America's Safe Schools Week. We would like to thank each individual "citizen" - students, teachers, administrators, instructors, volunteers who are part of our "corps" - team and helping keep our schools safe.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Recent Drill Included in VA Emergency Management Update

Fairfax County Students Participate in Many Emergency Response Exercises and Activities

During many of the exercises, students in Fairfax County participate in emergency response exercises, along side of members of the Fairfax County CERT.

The following picture of Fire and Emergency Sciences students was taken during a Virginia Task Force One, International Urban Search and Rescue team exercise in Lorton, Virginia.

See for additional information on Task Force One. More recently, several students from this program also participated in an exercise, which included multiple CERT teams across the National Capital Region.

Fairfax County is proud to offer these and other programs and outreach open to all students in the region.

To those that coordinate the Fire and Emergency Medical Sciences, Law Enforcement Explorers, Boy Scout Emergency Preparedness programs, and other programs and outreach, we thank you.

For additional information, or to have someone speak to you or your organization, on any of our student programs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lights Camera Action from Cabinet Secretary Press Conference

The following link includes interviews with the students that were present at the cabinet level briefing earlier this week.

It was distributed by Medill.

While Lauren Kovacic, our Citizen Corps Council student representative, was not speaking in the video, we did want to highlight an article about her from last year:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fairfax County Law Enforcement Explorers

The Fairfax County Law Enforcement Explorer Post is open to Fairfax County young adults ages 14-20. The program is sponsored by the Police Department as a service to the residents of Fairfax County. Members receive law enforcement training and citizenship and character education while gaining experience in leadership roles.

Exploring is a youth led program with Police Officers serving as advisors and facilitators for the program. The Post routinely provides community service by assisting police officers with crime prevention activities, fingerprinting and photographing of children, police open houses and community events, as well as distributing public information and wanted fliers.

Exploring is a great way for youth to prepare for their chosen career field or help them decide if their interest is strong enough to lead them into a law enforcement career.

Many active Fairfax County Police Officers were once Explorer Scouts, and just as many former Explorers have gone on to varied career fields building upon the skills gained through the Explorer program.

Every two years, the Post participates in the national Explorer conference, regularly bringing home top honors in various law enforcement competitions.

Boy Scout CERT Emergency Preparedness

Boy Scouts in Fairfax County regularly participate in camporees that focus on emergency preparedness.

Members of the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) showed off their CERT skills and trained Boy Scouts at the George Mason District BSA camporee on October 13th and 14th, 2007. This camporee was held at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy.

The purpose of the camporee was to teach the scout participants the ideas and some of the methods of effective disaster preparedness and mitigation.

The camporee simulated the functions and activities of a recovery center after "hurricane George" destroys the fire academy and surrounding areas. Each scout came to the academy with their own personal disaster preparedness kit, and this is what they utilized throughout the weekend. The scouts were challenged and educated in a variety of disaster related skills and scenarios.

The scout troops were operating as patrols for this event, under the leadership of a CERT "subject matter expert", who lead and taught the scouts under their tutelage through the various training and reaction scenarios.
Each scout was given a 16 page instructional guide which explains how to make a personal disaster kit, and how to prepare for various disasters.

Scouter (and CERT 12 member) Charles Monts was the Scout lead for this event. This event fulfilled several of the primary requirements of the Emergency preparedness merit badge for the scouts. In addition to CERT team members as subject matter experts; additional CERT's were utilized as command and control staff, moulage technicians and logistical preparation staff.

This event served to promote the concept of the Community Emergency Response Team to a receptive audience and helps the Fairfax County CERT team participate in a truly unique community outreach event! This is just one example of the many scout events that have been conducted in Fairfax County.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Participates in America's Safe Schools Week Press Conference

Members of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council participated in a press conference on "Creating a Culture of Preparedness Among Schools" at Mt. Vernon High School.

Present were Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Greeting the Secretaries were Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Acting Director Roy Shrout, Fairfax County OEM Public Information Officer and Volunteer Liaison Ellen Kamilakis, and Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chairman, Andrew Levy.

Students from the Fairfax County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Science program were also represented by student Lauren Kovacic, Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Student Representative, and Julia von Baumgarten and Ben Ray. After the press conference, the students were interviewed by the press.

When the students greeted Secretary Gutierrez, they were presented a coin from the Department of Commerce.

During the press conference, Secretary Chertoff gave a commendation to the Citizen Corps Council for all its efforts.

A copy of the DHS press release, which references Citizen Corps Council, can be found at:

and for the Department of Education at:

The Washington Post article can be found at:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Students In Emergency Preparedness Programs Not A New Concept For Fairfax County

After being elected Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chairman, Andrew Levy, added a volunteer student position to the council with a representative from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). "It is important to remember that students are a vital part of our population and their participation in emergency response in Fairfax County is nothing new".

Throughout this week, this blog will focus on several students programs, including Fire and Emergency Medical Sciences, Law Enforcement Explorers, and Boy Scout Emergency Preparedness. As well as the many emergency preparedness exercises and outreach programs our students in Fairfax County participate in.

Fire and Emergency Medical Sciences

Working with FCPS sponsor, Penny Kelly, Lauren Kovacic was selected as the Citizen Corps Council representative and Ashley Smith as alternate. Both of these students are part of the Fire and Emergency Sciences is offered at Falls Church High School.

While many areas are developing Teen CERT programs. This course has been in place for several years. It is a full year course taken in both the fall and spring semesters. Fire and Emergency Medical Sciences prepares the student to enter the workforce or pursue further education in the field of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Science.

The principles and practices of emergency response and fire fighting are explored under the direct supervision of a certified EMT-B instructor.

The curriculum consists of planned learning experiences in the classroom, laboratory, and faculty supervised clinical settings. Students will have the opportunity to observe and interact with a variety of patients experiencing varying degrees of injury or disease that are carefully selected to provide appropriate clinical learning experiences. As preparation, students are provided with ample lab practice to fully prepare them for the clinical experience and minimize risks.

During the course of study, students have the opportunity to earn the following certifications: American Heart Association Healthcare Provider Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B), Hazardous Materials Response, Bloodborne Pathogens, and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Offsite clinical lab opportunities at Northern Virginia Community College, Medical Education Center (NVCC MEC) and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy are available to the students. Students must purchase uniforms and liability insurance to participate in clinical experiences.

For additional information on this program, please visit

Friday, October 26, 2007

Capital Shield Details

The following website provides additional information on the Capital Shield exercise members of the Fairfax County CERT participated in:

After you read through the article and look at the pictures, it becomes clear Fairfax County Citizen Corps volunteers are helping the best of the best train.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Makes Fairfax County CERT Different?

"We just don't train... WE TRAIN!"

Members of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), do not just train to be prepared to help others in a disaster, they also play a vital role in helping our nation's military and emergency response agencies prepare for a major disaster.

Fairfax CERT regularly serve as victims as part of these exercises, such as Capital Shield (October 2007), as pictured below.

Exercises are conducted to help ensure that government agencies at every level are prepared to take coordinated action to protect the public in the event of an actual emergency across the National Capital Region.

Pictured above are rescuers, including LT Branson of the 911th Engineer Company, along with members of the Fairfax County CERT - Terry and Sharon Akins, Jack and Susy Ledgerwood, Patty Greek, Kevin Mullins, John Curl, and Andrew Levy (Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chairman).

A special thanks to LT Branson and the 911th Engineer Company for getting us involved with these exercises. The 911th is best know for its response to the attack on the Pentagon. These guys are some of the best of the best!

The following are some of local, State and federal agencies who participated in Capital Shield exercises:

Department of Defense
Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region
U. S. Army Military
District of Washington Naval District Washington
Air Force-National Capital Region
Marine Corps
NCR Command National Guard (DC, MD, VA, WVa)
Pentagon Force Protection Agency

District of Columbia
DC Emergency Management Agency
DC Metropolitan Police Department
DC Fire / Emergency Medical Service
DC Housing Authority
DC Department of Health
DC Department of Transportation

VA Department of Emergency Management
Arlington County Office of Emergency Management
Arlington County Fire Department
Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management
Fairfax Fire Department
Prince William County Fire Department
Arlington Fire Department

Maryland Emergency Management Agency
Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management
Montgomery County Fire Department

Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard
Federal Protective Service
U.S. Park Police
Federal Emergency Management Agency Region III
U. S. Capital Police
Department of Health and Human Servicse
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms

Monday, October 22, 2007

Citizen Corps Focus: What is CERT?

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Additional information on Fairfax County CERT is available on the Fairfax County Citizen Corps - CERT website.

Want to learn more about CERT, take some time to watch this CERT video.

Also visit the Fairfax County CERT blog.

Fairfax County Citizen Corps and Office of Emergency Management Continue to Spread Awareness To Business Community

The week of October 15, 2007, representatives from the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and member organizations participated in multiple business preparedness sessions at FannieMae and Freddie Mac in Northern Virginia.

The Citizen Corps is a regular partner with Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management.

This is an example of the many business awareness sessions that have been conducted in the National Captial Region.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Free Service To Notify Your Families (And Team Members) In An Emergency

We are pleased to announce the launch of Stargazer in the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council.

In Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, we ask a simply question who is the most important person in a disaster. All of the students are trained to say “ME!”

The order of importance that we train is as follows:

Emergency Response Team

In the event of a disaster where members of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council (not just CERT) are called to service, how can we keep in touch with our families and let them know we are okay.

Let's say there is a situation in your community and you need to notify all members of your Neighborhood Watch team, how would you do it? Do you have an easy way to do it directly from your cellphone, computer, and other devices?

If we look at one of the lessons learned from the Virginia Tech tragedy, we see that communication was key. While voice systems were down, it is the digital systems that are usually first to return.

While Fairfax County has the CEAN network and other systems that provide emergency update messages, there did not appear to be a system that can help you notify family, team members, neighbors, or even co-workers.

Yesterday, at the CIO Forum & Executive IT Summit, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel with the President of Stargazer. He spoke on using technology to help improve communications among our team members that expands well beyond the bounds of our blogs.

There are some nice features, including the ability to be able to instant message members of your team, share forms, pictures, etc. The ability to let people know you are okay! This system is not limited to emergency response/notification.

As Chairman of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps council, I recommend that each of you to go to Stargazer at and sign up yourself and your family. Once you have done so, please email me at and we can work together to have you added to the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Team.

Also setup your own individual teams (like a Herndon Reston CERT Team, Mount Vernon Neighborhood Watch Team, Chantilly High School Medical Reserve Corps Team, Volunteer Mobilization Leadership Team, National Capital Region Roleplayer/Actor Team, etc.) and let us know.

Keep in mind, if we do not know that our families are okay, we cannot be at our best to serve our community. If we do not know our teammates are okay, we cannot best serve our community and we end up putting others at risk. And on top of that, all of your family out of town that cannot reach you as well?

In recent meetings, we discussed needing to come up with ways to be better prepared with limited funding. This is one no cost tool that helps provide a mechanism to help us be better prepared to respond and be prepared.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Volunteers from Fairfax County Complete CERT Train-the-Trainer

Congratulations to the following Fairfax County Citizen Corps volunteers:

Susy Ledgerwood, Jack Ledgerwood, Terry Akens, and Andrew Levy

For completing the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Emergency Management Community Emergency Response Team Train the Trainer (CERT TTT) Course.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council New Website Launched

We are pleased to announce the NEW Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council website.

It can be accessed from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management Website or directly at

A special thanks to Ellen Kamilakis and the Office of Emergency Management.

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Presents at Fairfax Federation Meeting

At the 20 September 2007 membership meeting, Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chairman was the featured speaker.

He spoke on Emergency Preparedness - "Pass It On?"

Emergency Preparedness is more than having a preparedness kit. Resources including and, Citizen Corps Council, volunteer opportunities/lessons learned, and Pass It On.

The "Pass It On?" concept is multi-fold, not to pass on the responsibility to others and to pass on the message.

Additional information on Fairfax Federation is available on their website.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007