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

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Provides Comments to National Response Framework

The National Response Framework (NRF) was open for public comment.

Summary of Comments Provided:

The framework includes awareness and training for Citizen Corps Council programs. There is also a section on managing spontaneous volunteers. However, there is limited guidance on how the trained emergency response volunteers (CERT, MRC, VIPS, etc.) will deploy, how they will work with affiliate programs (such as the Red Cross or Volunteer organizations), how they will coordinate with government entities, etc.

From: FEMA-NRF []
Subject: RE: National Response Framework Comment

Thank you for your comment submission regarding the National Response Framework and/or its supporting documents. DHS/FEMA appreciates your input toward improving the nation's emergency management response capabilities.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pictured above, members of the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) participated in Alexandria CERT's first annual full scale exercise.

Also participating in the exercise were members of the Arlington CERT program, volunteers from the Red Cross, and students in Fairfax County Public School's Fire and Emergency Medical Sciences program.

The exercise was held to test the emergency response of Alexandria Community Emergency Response Teams 203, 205, and 207, in conjunction with the Alexandria Office of Emergency Management.

It provided a chance for multiple teams in the National Capital Region (NCR) to be victims in a simulated mass casualty environment and an opportunity to meet and work with local CERT members.

For additional information, visit the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team blog.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Citizens Participate in Military Exercise

Members of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) participated in an emergency response exercise at Fort Belvoir.

"The installation tested its response to a terrorist incident involving chemical biological nuclear and high- yield explosives."

The Citizen Corps Council was featured on the front page of the Belvoir Eagle.

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Receives Ready Campaign Thank You

Dear Coalition Members,

The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign would like to thank you for your support and efforts during National Preparedness Month 2007. The impact on the American public is evident by the record number of 1,800 organizations and the more than 1,000 events and activities that took place educating citizens on emergency preparedness in their communities and businesses. To learn more about some of the events that took place across the nation, please visit the NPM Journal.

The Ready Campaign values our relationship with your organization and we hope you will continue your efforts year round. Throughout the coming year, the Ready Campaign will be sharing with you upcoming events and activities. In the coming weeks, Ready will launch a new feature on our Web site called “Share Your Story.” This will allow us to capture Americans stories on personal preparedness. We look forward to sharing this with you.

We wish you great success in the coming year and look forward to working with you again in September 2008!


The Ready Campaign

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thunderstorm Safety Tips

Fairfax County might not see a lot of snow, but thunderstorms are prevalent.

Some tips can help you stay safe during the next thunderstorm. Use the 30/30 lightning safety rule.

If you see lightning and you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder, go indoors and stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. Avoid showering or bathing during a thunderstorm; plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity. If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible, but do not lie flat on the ground.

Listen to (NOAA) Weather Radio for information: a thunderstorm watch means there is a possibility of a thunderstorm in your area; a thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon.

If you are advised to take shelter, do so immediately. For more information, visit Fairfax County Emergency Information.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Attends National First Responders Conference

Members of the Fairfax County Volunteers in Police Service/APO, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) attended the National First Responders Conference.

A major focus of several sessions was on "Recognizing and Responding to Terrorism".

Information about the conference can be found on the conference website.

There was no cost to attend this conference.

How to Prepare for Pets

Emergency preparedness is not just for humans.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends the following: get a rescue alert sticker to let people know that pets are inside your home; arrange a safe haven by contacting veterinarians, local boarding facilities, hotels/motels and friends. Create an emergency supply kit containing food, water, litter, disinfectant, bowls, leash and harness, photocopies of medical records, carrier, toys, flashlight, blanket and recent photos of your pets; if you are evacuating, take your pet. Make sure s/he is wearing a collar with up to date identification and consider microchipping your pet.

For more information, visit the ASPCA Disaster Preparedness Web page.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fall for Fairfax

Members of Fairfax County CERT and MRC participated in Fall for Fairfax.

MRC had an excellent location with a lot of traffic inside the Government Center. CERT had a tent outside next to the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management.

The CERT team took their public awareness to the next level, by providing live demonstrations.