Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First an earthquake and now a hurricane?

While there is only a distant chance that Northern Virginia will get hit with Hurricane Irene later this week, it is still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the College's emergency procedures located at:

Also, take a moment to look at FEMA's hurricane preparedness information by going to:

If Hurricane Irene does take a turn and heads our way, be sure to check the College's homepage for emergency updates or closing information:

A Friendly Reminder on How to Evacuate

Many people forget what to do or become panicked in the midst of an emergency. However, if you familiarize yourself with the proper steps, you are more likely to remember where to go and what to do. Below are the evacuation procedures from the Office of Emergency Management & Planning's website:

Become familiar with posted evacuation routes. Established alternate routes can be used in the event the primary route is blocked or unsafe.

During evacuation:

  • Evacuate quickly.

  • Follow instructions from emergency personnel and follow the directions provided for safe routes of evacuation.

  • Check doors for heat before opening. (Do not open door if hot).

  • Close the door as you exit your room or office.

  • Dress appropriately for the weather.

  • Take personal belongings.

  • Turn off unnecessary equipment, computers and appliances.

  • Walk, do not run. Do not push or crowd.

  • Keep noise to a minimum so you can hear emergency instructions. Use handrails in stairwells; stay to the right.

  • Assist people with disabilities to the Areas of Rescue Assistance.

  • Listen to a radio, if available, to monitor emergency status.

    • Do not use your personal vehicle for evacuation unless specifically instructed to do so. If cars are used to evacuate, protect against hazardous materials by keeping windows closed and outside air conditioning systems turned off.

      Relocating outside the building to the pre-arranged gathering point:

    • Move quickly away from the building.

    • Watch for falling glass and other debris.

    • Try to stay with your fellow employees so all can be accounted for.

    • If you have relocated away from the building, DO NOT return until notified that it is safe to do so.

    • An Earthquake in Northern VA? Really?

      Who would have ever thought that Northern Virginia would experience an earthquake as strong as we had yesterday? The Office of Emergency Management & Planning would like to provide you with some useful information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on how you can be prepared for this type of incident. We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to familiarize yourself with the College's emergency procedures located at

      What to Do During an Earthquake

      Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

      If indoors:

      • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.

      • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

      • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.

      • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load bearing doorway.

      • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.

      • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

      • DO NOT use the elevators.
      If outdoors:

      • Stay there.

      • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.

      • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

      For additional Earthquake Preparedness follow this link -

      Thursday, April 28, 2011

      Severe Weather Reminders

      Severe weather hit many parts of Virginia last night and this morning. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management posted the following reminders concerning tornado watches and warnings.

      RICHMOND, VA -- Severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes struck many parts of Virginia last night and this morning, and the weather is expected to continue through much of the day. Residents should take precautions now.

      “Everyone needs to stay tuned to local weather reports for thunderstorm and tornado warnings and take these seriously,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “Those who live in mobile homes should be ready to leave their homes if a tornado warning is issued for their area and know where they would go.”

      When a tornado warning is issued, follow these steps:

      • Go immediately to the lowest level of your building to an interior room or hallway. Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.

      • Stay away from windows and doorways.

      • Do not stay in a trailer or mobile home.

      • Go immediately to a building with a strong foundation.

      • If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under a bridge or overpass.

      • Plan to stay in your shelter location until the danger has passed.

      Good sources for information about possible severe weather include local television and radio broadcasts as well as NOAA Weather Radio, which broadcasts thunderstorm and tornado warnings directly from the National Weather Service. NOAA Weather Radios can be purchased in discount stores, boating and marine stores, and sporting goods stores and online. Public schools in Virginia all have NOAA Weather Radios.

      After a tornado, remain out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines. Help injured or trapped people. Check on those who may require special assistance, such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

      For information on preparing for tornadoes, go to

      Wednesday, March 9, 2011

      FEMA Says Spring Ahead to Prepare for Disasters

      The NOVA Office of Emergency Management and Planning would like to share a message from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

      Daylight Savings Time in the United States starts on the second Sunday in March of each year and the Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages all Americans to use the change to daylight savings time to update emergency preparedness plans. For years, firefighters and safety professionals have asked the public to change smoke alarm batteries throughout their homes, as they move their clocks ahead. According to FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy, the March ritual of making homes safer from fire is also a great opportunity to review disaster preparedness plans and restock disaster kits.

      "You know, FEMA is not the nation’s emergency management team. True, we are an important part, but still—just a part of the team – a team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, faith-based and non-profit organizations, and especially the public," said Murphy. "Let’s all take full advantage of this year’s switch to Daylight Savings Time and resolve to be better prepared in 2011: build or restock your disaster kit, make or update your disaster plan, and stay informed of the hazards in your area."

      FEMA’s Resolve to be Ready in 2011 campaign promotes Whole Community involvement in disaster preparedness. "The key to successful disaster response, regardless of the nature of the event, is personal preparedness," continued Murphy. "And no matter how busy or hectic our daily routine, we all need to take the time to take positive action to prepare ourselves, our loved ones and our communities in the event of severe weather, earthquake—or any other major disaster."

      Resolve to be Ready in 2011 is led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council. For more information on the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, visit FEMA , or Citizen Corps.

      Monday, February 21, 2011

      NOVA to Participate in Tornado Drill-March 15, 2011

      All campuses and educational centers of Northern Virginia Community College will participate in the annual Statewide Torndao Drill.

      Tornadoes in Virginia have struck in every month of the year and in every part of the state. It’s critical that college employeesm students and their families know what to do and where to go in case of a tornado warning.

      This year, Tornado Preparedness Day in Virginia is Tuesday, March 15. At 9:45 a.m., the Statewide Tornado Drill will be held so that college can practice it's tornado emergency plans. Learn about your campus tornado plan and encourage your fellow employees to participate in the drill.

      Also, please be sure that your family knows what to do and where to go at home during a tornado. Every family needs an emergency plan (for more, see Ready Virginia or on the college's emergency webpage NOVA Emergency
      The statewide tornado drill is an annual effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

      Tuesday, January 25, 2011

      Are you prepared?

      Being prepared at home is just as important as being prepared at NOVA. In a major disaster, it might be several days before vital services are restored. Tornados, fires, severe storms, power outages, and acts of terrorism are just some of the potential emergencies we may encounter. Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service. Imagine that all the businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. Because in this area of the country we are exposed to a wide variety of hazards, both natural and man made, there are some excellent guides available on what you can do to prepare yourself and your family (including pets) for an emergency. Remember, in many cases you may not have much warning so you need to prepare now to be ready.

      To assist in developing your own plans the NOVA Office of Emergency Management & Planning recommends the following web sites:

      For additional information about being prepared at NOVA please visit: .