Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fairfax County Crime Solvers Takes a New Byte Out of Crime!

With the recent creation of their new website, Fairfax County Crime Solvers has tapped into the latest technology available for receiving anonymous tips. Tipsters may now give their information via texting or e-mail using state-of-the-art software purchased through Anderson Software. Texting is a popular form of communication for the younger generation and Fairfax County Crime Solvers hopes to open that line of communication with them.

Previously, tipsters were limited to calling a phone number. This new software opens the door for Crime Solver programs and interfaces these newer forms of communication with tip-taking. It enables tipsters to communicate through a secure server that blocks their identity. Thus, tipsters are able to relay vital information from anywhere they can send text or e-mail messages and at any time.

In addition, their new website provides current information on wanted persons, news releases, suspects caught in the act and upcoming events. This site is continually updated. It was designed with the user in mind and provides a means to stay current with the latest efforts of the Crime Solvers Board.

Fairfax County Crime Solvers is the first in the Washington Metropolitan region to implement this new texting and e-mail software. Other programs in the nation that currently use it have seen a sharp increase in the number of tips received.

Fairfax County Crime Solvers is a non-profit 501C3 organization comprised of business leaders and citizens throughout the area. They provide a venue for those with knowledge of a criminal act to report information without the fear of retaliation. Their tip lines are protected under law.

The Fairfax County Crime Solvers’ Board of Directors invites you to visit their new website at
Those who wish to report information may now utilize one of the three methods available:

• By phone – Call 1-866-411-TIPS/8477 and follow the voice prompts to Fairfax County
• By e-mail – visit and click on the secure link to communicate back and forth.
• By texting – Text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637

[Above Reprint of Press Release]

When submitting a tip that includes a picture, you may want to also make sure that the picture does not include any personal information in the "Properties" of the file.

The following "Privacy, Security and Delivery Policy" applies to this service:

Anderson Software makes it`s best effort to provide complete security and anonymity of the information being submitted through this tip submission web application. No identifying information is recorded through this online submission transaction and the process is secure and encrypted using industry standard methods. Although we utilize highly sophisticated encryption and delivery routines... due to the nature of the internet, we cannot guarantee 100% security or timely delivery or reception of the submitted information when it involves issues beyond our control. We also assume no responsibility for how or when your submitted information is acted upon by law enforcement. Anderson Software only provides the process for securely and anonymously making your information available for action to the appropriate authorities who subscribe to this service. These WebTips may not be monitored by law enforcement after hours and over weekends so be mindful of the urgency of the information you are submitting.

Emergency Travel Alert and Local Information

As we train for local emergencies, we might overlook being prepared for travel outside of our country.

For those who travel for business and/or pleasure outside of the United States, you might want to review this website.

While this website is focused on relocation, there are many good resources for short-term travel, such as health issues, safety, etc.

Fairfax County CERT Enters New Training Partnership

(Reprinted from Fairfax County CERT Blog).

Fairfax County CERT has entered into a new training partnership with the City of Alexandria, Virginia to train CERT students located in the south section of Fairfax County. This new training partnership will commence with the upcoming spring 2008 Fairfax County CERT training schedule.

Fairfax County CERT will be teaching three new classes starting March 17th, 2008. Two of the classes will be held at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy. The other will be held at the city of Alexandria Fire Academy with portions of this class being held at the at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy.

This class will be taught by a mix of instructors from Fairfax County fire and rescue and Alexandria city fire department.The new training partnership will introduce interoperability between Fairfax county CERT and Alexandria city CERT where none has existed previously.

The new agreement ensures the best possible training for CERT members in the south Fairfax county area. This also ensures the most efficient use of Citizen Corps program funding.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Virginia Prepared - However Commuters to DC/Maryland/Federal Region Take Note

With several bridge tragedies over the years, there has been an increased focus on bridge inspections.

For those who are trained in volunteer emergency response, there is good news and bad news about our region.

Virginia has only 1 bridge that was not inspected in the past 24 months, out of almost 13,000 bridges, statistically 0%. However, the bad news is if you regularly commute to Washington, DC or use Federal Bridges they rank pretty high on the list.

As we all know, part of being prepared is being able to avoid a situation. Either through routine inspections of our neighborhoods, ensuring that our preparedness kits are well stocked, and that we continue to be aware of our environment.

Additional information on bridge inspections can be found at:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Do All These Countries Have In Common?

- United States
- Canada
- Mexico
- Iran
- France
- Australia
- United Kingdom
- Brazil
- Germany
- India
- Belguim
- Netherlands
- Thailand
- Spain
- Denmark
- Chile
- United Arab Emirates
- Singapore
- Norway
- Togo
- Hong Kong
- Bangladesh
- Argentina
- Egypt
- Ireland
- Hungary
- Russia

They are all readers of the Citizen Corps Council blog.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

National Response Framework (NRF) Finalized and Released

As many of you know, the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council provided comment to the draft National Response Framework (NRF). It appears that our comments were taken into consideration.

The framework can be viewed at

The press release follows:

National Response Framework Released
Release Date: January 22, 2008
Office of the Press Secretary
(202) 282-8010

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released the National Response Framework (NRF), successor to the National Response Plan. The NRF, which focuses on response and short-term recovery, articulates the doctrine, principles and architecture by which our nation prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and all sectors of communities. The NRF is responsive to repeated federal, state, local and private sector requests for a streamlined document that is less bureaucratic and more user-friendly. The NRF also focuses on preparedness and encourages a higher level of readiness across all jurisdictions.

The NRF is being released following an extensive process of outreach and coordination between DHS and key stakeholders representing federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental agencies and associations, and the private sector. The latest public comment period for the base document of the NRF closed on Oct. 22, 2007 and the comment period for the support annexes closed on Nov.10, 2007. The final documents reflect the nearly 5,700 comments received from participants of the process.

“The National Response Framework is an essential tool for emergency managers at all levels,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “It helps define the roles, responsibilities, and relationships critical to effective emergency planning, preparedness and response to any emergency or disaster. Today’s release reflects the culmination of many months of hard work and collaboration within the nation’s emergency management community.”

The NRF is intended for senior elected and appointed leaders, such as federal department and agency heads, state governors, mayors, tribal leaders, city managers and the private sector. Simultaneously, it informs emergency management practitioners by explaining the operating structures and tools routinely used by first responders and emergency managers at all levels of government.

The NRF is designed to:
be scalable, flexible and adaptable;
always be in effect; and
articulate clear roles and responsibilities among local, state and federal officials.

In addition to releasing the NRF base document, the Emergency Support Function Annexes and Support Annexes will be released and posted at the NRF Resource Center (, an online repository of the entire component parts of the NRF. The annexes are a total of 23 individual documents designed to provide concept of operations, procedures and structures for achieving response directives for all partners in fulfilling their roles under the NRF.

Upon finalization and publication of the NRF base document and the annexes, a large focus will be to initiate an intensive nationwide training and exercise program to embed the NRF into the nation’s preparedness and response cycle. Implementation of the NRF training and exercise strategy will include awareness training, position-specific training, exercises (tabletop and functional), and sustainment training.

To make the NRF a living system that can be revised and updated in a more nimble, transparent fashion, the NRF Resource Center was developed. The Resource Center will allow for ongoing revisions as necessary to reflect real-world events and lessons learned.

The NRF and the annexes will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Fairfax County Residents Make A Difference At Fort Belvoir Military Base

Thank You To Francis Houts and all the Red Cross Volunteers at Fort Belvoir.

Friday, January 18, 2008
Belvoir bids farewell to beloved volunteer
By Paul Bello
Staff Writer

By the time this is read, the final chapter in one man’s book about dedication will have been written.

Francis Houts, volunteer coordinator of Fort Belvoir’s American Red Cross, has retired after 12 years of service to the community. His resume speaks for itself. After moving to Mount Vernon in 1973, the retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army Signal Corps started volunteering at DeWitt Hospital-the same facility where he and his wife, Yasuko, were receiving their healthcare. Because the hospital needed volunteers, Houts signed up and eagerly embraced the road ahead.

All total, he’s clocked in more than 86,000 hours as a volunteer and has helped save DeWitt Hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars in manpower. And he did it without batting an eyelash.
“It was my way of keeping busy. Neither my wife nor I wanted me to be home 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Houts said while smiling. “The hospital only accepts volunteers through the American Red Cross. So, I saw this as an opportunity to give back to Fort Belvoir. It was always good to me and my wife.”

As coordinator, Houts was responsible for organizing other volunteers at DeWitt. For many years, he would usually work three mornings, which later became two when his wife became ill. She passed away in 2005. Despite the setback in life, Houts continued to immerse himself at the hospital and, before he knew it, was back to volunteering three mornings a week at an average of four hours a day.

“The best part about being at a military hospital is that you get to meet people from all over the world. That’s always been fascinating to me,” Houts said. “I went through a tough time when my wife died, but learned just how appreciative people can be for the help you give them. I discovered that when I was thanking everyone for their support during that time in my life. It really does make a difference.”

Over the years, Houts has seen the number of volunteers at DeWitt drop off, going from an average of 100 down to its present group of 65. Though much can be attributed to families having both spouses working long hours due to a changing economy, Houts said he is pleased to see so many retired service-members, such as himself, getting involved.

A majority of DeWitt’s volunteers hail from Green Spring Village and The Fairfax, both retirement communities near Fort Belvoir. According to Houts, approximately $2 million in labor costs has been saved since he began working with the American Red Cross, which will only get bigger.

Having been through five different commanders at the hospital, Houts laughs at the idea of retiring for the third time in life. He first retired from the Army in 1988, which was followed in 1996 when he left the private sector after spending nearly 10 years with Computer Sciences Corp. Originally from south Texas, Houts is moving to a retirement community in Wilmington, N.C. Though he has friends in the area, he’s mindful of what he’s leaving behind. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make and I’ll regret not being able to volunteer at the new hospital. But, most of all, I’ll miss the people. Everyone here has been fantastic,” Houts said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone and being able to look at all the new babies when they’re born. That’s always a thrill for me. When I think about it, I guess I’ll miss everything about volunteering.”

Posted on 01/18 at 04:43 PM

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do You Live or Work in Loudoun County Virgnia?

County of Loudoun News Release
January 11, 2008
Loudoun Health Department Promotes Pandemic Flu Preparedness

On Saturday, January 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Loudoun County Health Department and Wal-Mart will team up with joint tabletop displays in the Wal-Mart store at 45415 Dulles Crossing Plaza in Sterling to help Loudoun residents prepare for the next influenza pandemic.

The Health Department will be providing information about pandemic and avian flu and Wal-Mart will display products available for purchase from its store which can be used to assemble a home pandemic emergency preparedness kit.

Loudoun residents and businesses can learn more about pandemic flu preparedness by visiting or by calling Stephen Hood, a Health Educator with the Health Department, at 571-233-4755.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fairfax County Citizen Corps at Mount Vernon Town Hall Meeting

Members of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Neighborhood Watch, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and other programs will be participating in the 21st annual Mount Vernon district town hall meeting.

Volunteers will be setting up an informative displays with an emphasis on emergency preparedness in the south Fairfax county community.

In addition, a multitude of handouts and information regarding personal, family and community preparedness will be available to the many citizens that participate in this event.

Saturday, February 2, 2008
7:45 AM-1:00 PM
Mount Vernon High School "Little Theatre"
8515 Old Mount Vernon Road
Alexandria, VA. 22309

New Project Launch: Citizen Involvement in School Safety

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is happy to announce the launch of its Citizen Involvement in School Safety Project.

Building upon the large body of work generated through the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has provided funding to the IACP to learn about and develop products to demonstrate how law enforcement agencies are enlisting volunteer support in school and campus safety initiatives.

The first phase of the project is to gather information about existing school/campus safety programs and partnerships that incorporate volunteers.

If your agency is interested in participating in this project, please contact us at

The project's activities will be closely coordinated with the VIPS Program and its resources will be made available through the VIPS Web site

Friday, January 11, 2008

Starting Off the New Year Right!

First, I want to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. To start off the new year strong, I wanted to take the time to recognize some of our volunteers.

We know what makes the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and the associated programs successful is our dedicated volunteers and the time YOU provide for these programs. From training to public awareness to community outreach to public safety to student programs to ...

The 16th Annual Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2008. I would like to personally nominate EVERY one of your volunteers (Citizen Corps core organizations AND affiliates) who qualify for the Benchmark Award.

The Benchmark Award is a noncompetitive category and all nominees receive a complimentary invitation and recognition at the event.

Youth who have completed at least 100 hours of volunteer service will be honored at the event. Adult nominees should be an individual who has given at least 250 or 500 hours of service to a particular agency in calendar year 2007.

Additional information about the awards can be found at ->

Included on the website is a Benchmark nomination form. If you can please provide the basic information, I can work with the individual to ensure that I have all the other necessary information.

This is a simple way to recognize our volunteers who put in quite a few hours in 2007. While several of your organizations already have recognition programs, I strongly suggest that you also consider participating in this program as ANOTHER way to recognize your volunteers.

PLEASE GET ME THE INFORMATION of those that reached the minimum number of hours by JANUARY 31, so I have time to complete the nomination packet. For those that plan to submit nominations in other categories, please let me know.

In addition your organization may be interested in submitting nominations for the 2008 Virginia Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards. The deadline for submission is January 31 and additional information can be found at If you do submit a nomination, please let me know.

I look forward to working with you and an excited 2008!

Stay Safe!

Andrew S. Levy, Volunteer
Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council, Chairman

Industry Solutions

As mentioned at the NOD Conference, there are several IBM resources available to address "Human Ability and Accessibility"

US Department of Justice (DOJ) Emergency Resources

As mentioned at the NOD Conference, the US Department of Justice also provides several emergency management resources for making community emergency preparedness and response programs accessible for people with disabilities.

It can be accessed on the following website:

What is 711?

If you look at the Fairfax County Emergency Phone Numbers, you will see tty 711 located near many of the listings.

Did you ever wonder about 711???

"If you have a speech disability or need to call someone with a speech disability, you can dial 711 and ask for Speech-to-Speech. Give the operator the name and number of the person you are calling and remind this specially trained operator to repate everything your caller says. This free government service is available 24/7 nationwide."

Additional information can be found at

National Organization on Disability's Interactive Map of Disability and Emergency Preparedness Resources

Looking for emergency management resources in your state for Special Needs or Disabilities. This NOD website provides an extensive resource list by State:

FCC Consumer Advisory - DTV - Digital Television Transition And Your Emergency Preparedness Kit - Digital Emergency

Do you include a small portable television in your emergency kit? If so, will you also need to have a digital-to-analog converter box starting in February 2009...

What about radios that transmit television frequencies... will they still work?

This is something you might want to look into, for your specific model, if you include television as part of your emergency kit.

Additional information can be found at

Many of the handhelds are now starting to provide the following alert:

This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission's digital television website at:

Grant Funding Questions - Something To Think About

If organizations develop an emergency management solution or provide a service and receive 100 percent of the grant money...

but the solution does not address special needs (which represents a significant portion of the population)...

should that organizatoin be receiving 100 percent of the funds when their offering does not address 100 percent of the population...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You Have Seen One Emergency Preparedness Video You Have Seen Them All - RIGHT??? ... CEPIN Does It Again.

There is another video from CEPIN that is worth checking out.

This Emergency Preparedness Video not only helps you understand what tools others might use when they cannot hear, but also some tools you may have left out and things you may have not included in your own preparedness kits.

And a challenge to CEPIN, while you reference Illinois State Police Communication Book and provide a one page example.

The impact of including an editable document that could be customized for a local jurisdiction would go a long way and be an extremely valuable asset for any Citizen Corps member response kit.

Required Training for Emergency Responders - Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind People

The following training should be required in all Citizen Corps and First Responder programs.

Please take some time and view the following How to Respond to Emergencies with Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind People.

Why wait... view this short video NOW.

For additional information, contact the Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Are Special Needs Included In Your Citizen Corps Programs (CERT, MRC, VIPS, ...

The Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chairman was a speaker at the National Organization on Disability's Emergency Preparedness Initiative

Disability and Specials Needs Technical Assistance Conference
(Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery)

January 8-9, 2008
Capital Hilton, Washington, DC

For those looking to discuss this conference further, please contact us

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fairfax County Social Needs Registry in VDEM Update

To help those with special needs prepare for emergencies, Fairfax County has created the Fairfax County Social Needs Registry. The registry has two categories:

Medical Needs Registry

Individuals with medical needs are those who (a) have a high-risk health condition that is either temporary or chronic and who cannot manage for themselves in a shelter or evacuation center; (b) will require assistance in performing the activities of daily living; and/or (c) will require care for and monitoring of a health condition. The names and addresses of those with medical needs will be used by Fairfax County officials for communicating with people with medical needs, pre-event emergency planning, and for evacuating and sheltering during actual emergencies.

The registry may be used for any emergency requiring evacuation, such as flooding, hurricanes or hazardous material spills and gas leaks. This information will be available to emergency planners and will facilitate the county's planning, response and recovery efforts.

Social Needs Registry

Fairfax County seeks to partner with community organizations that have an on-going relationship with social needs residents. Those with social needs are vulnerable, at-risk or hard to reach in the event of an emergency, but who do not meet the definition of medical needs. This includes people with disabilities, limited language proficiency, public transportation dependent or household pets. These people may require targeted communication, transportation support or sheltering in the event of an emergency.

Fairfax County will provide emergency planning, response and recovery information to community organizations that register with the social needs registry. Registered organizations are encouraged to then relay this information to their organization's members.

Registration is available online at or by phone at (703) 324-9000 or TTY (703) 324-9001.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Starting Off The Year With A Thank You

This past year, several Citizen Corps Council members and core organizations had the opportunity to work side by side with the military during their training exercises.

These were experiences that could not be compared to any training we have been through before.

Here is another simple way we can thank our military, who are often also first responders in a disaster.