EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN KINGS PARK
Not IF, but WHEN…..
Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning. You may be at work while your family is at home or school. You may have to remain in your home while basic services – power, water, gas, telephones – are cut off, or you may have to evacuate your home or even your neighborhood in case of peril. Fire, police, health, and other local agencies will not be able to reach everyone right away. Your health and safety, and that of your family – even your pets – will be up to you to protect. In Kings Park, the Kings Park Civic Association will try to advise and assist you to prepare in advance for emergencies and disasters, and provide you with information and links for emergency preparedness.
Playing Around the Big One
A thoughtful note regarding emergency preparedness, from the blog MostlyCajun.com.
Lots of driving time, a fact of life in my job, equates to a lot of thinking time. So I was listening to the news about Haiti and the stories coming out of there and it triggered memories of my own experiences right here on our shores.
Earthquakes aren’t preceded by a week of NOAA predictions, but there are parallels, mostly having to do with things we take for granted. Our ability to handle tragedy is generally spread out. Getting the h**l out of Dodge. Or Lake Charles. Or Houston. On a normal day, driving north or east or west from home to some arbitrary goal a few hundred miles in any direction is not a hassle at all. That’s because not everybody is doing it on the same day. When I decided to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Rita, a trip that normally took forty-five minutes took four hours. I-45 north out of Houston became the world’s biggest and longest parking lot ahead of an announced evacuation. On a normal day, getting out of Houston isn’t that big a deal. But when they tell the whole city to go… Well, on a normal day you won’t find gas stations running out of gas. Ever. But put the whole city of Houston on the road… You can walk into any grocery store right now and buy a week’s worth of bottled water and canned goods for your family. Try that when a hurricane is a hundred and fifty miles from the coast. Make your list for anything you need to get by. Tent? Camp stove and fuel? Flashlight and batteries? You can buy it today. There’s plenty. Let the clouds start building on the horizon. Too late!
Haiti found out the real story about hospitals. Sure, we’re not Haiti. Our hospitals are the most advanced in the world. If you get to a hospital with a pulse in recent memory, truly miraculous things can happen. That’s ONE person. Roll a school bus over, though, and a regional hospital’s miracles get spread thin very quick. Make the problem something a bit whacky, like, say, bad burns, and while one or two or a few bad burn cases can be handled, the really top-of-the-line facilities fill up quick. Police? They’re half an hour away under the best of conditions from my front door. Drop a few trees on the roads, throw a couple of rescue incidents, and you’ll quickly find that the entire working shift of your local law enforcement is tied up across town. Same thing for the fire department.
So what am I saying here? Have a plan. If you’re staying in place, make sure you have the stuff on hand to take care of yourself and your family for at least a week. It was five days before the first food distributions were taking place here after Hurricane Rita. Fortunately we had our own non-government resources in place, but that was possible because driving eighty miles in either direction got you out of the hurricane footprint.
Make sure you can take care of yourself and those for whom you are responsible. It’s what you’re supposed to do.
WHAT TO DO?
1. Inform yourself about the kinds of hazards and potential emergencies that might affect you, your family, or your neighborhood. Learn about community response plans, evacuation plans at work, school, and elsewhere. Find out about warning systems and how information may be provided.
2. Make a plan with your family, including contact points, where to meet, family communications, and safe places. Make sure everyone knows escape routes from your home in case of fire or other emergency. Plan for those with special needs, and for pets. Know how to turn off utilities, and how to use fire extinguishers. Install and check smoke alarms. Learn first aid. Be sure you have adequate insurance coverage, and an inventory of your possessions. Keep important documents in a safe location. AND: Practice using your plan.
3. Assemble a basic kit of disaster supplies in a portable container. Consider keeping emergency supplies in your vehicle, and where you work. We will post lists of suggested items for kits on this website for your consideration, but only you know what you, and your family needs, may be.
Take a Minute - Emergency Capabilities Survey
Please take a moment to complete and return this survey.
The Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus) Programs
Fairfax County and many other jurisdictions are gearing up for the potential impacts of the Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus). It is important for you to be prepared and to take the necessary precautions - the first being to be fully informed. The following links should be informative:
Another way to be prepared is to be alert and fore warned - enroll in the County Emergency Alert Network.
The Fairfax County's Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) delivers important emergency alerts, notifications, and updates
during major crises or emergencys, in addition to day-to-day notices about weather and traffic. Messages will be delivered
to all devices you register:
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program
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. People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes or workplace. If a disaster happens that overwhelms local response capability, CERT members can apply the training learned in the classroom and during exercises to give critical support to their family, loved ones, neighbors or associates in their immediate area until help arrives. When help does arrive, CERTs provide useful information to responders and support their efforts, as directed, at the disaster site. CERT members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community. CERTs have been used to distribute and/or install smoke alarms, replace smoke alarm batteries in the home of elderly, distribute disaster education material, provide services at special events, such as parades, sporting events, concerts and more.
CERT basic is an ideal, low impact way to learn about the need to prepare. The curriculum is the same as the CERT 2 class uses minus lifts, patient carries and cribbing. CERT basic class is designed to be taught using another unique CERT resource—a well trained and highly motivated cadre of volunteer instructors. This class is designed to be mobile— it can be taken to any community or group within the county that requests it. CERT basic takes approximately 12 ˝ - 15 hours over five or six classes, plus a final exercise. For those CERT basic students who wish to move forward to CERT 2 level, a “bridge” course is offered. The optional “bridge” course to move from CERT basic to Level 2 will require 17.5 hours over five classes. Students may also start at CERT Level 2 if they choose.
The CERT 2 class is far more "hands on". Fairfax County CERT is famous for combining a well taught curriculum along with practical, realistic , very challenging yet safely conducted training scenarios. In CERT, the most important person is "me"— personal CERT safety first. When taking CERT 2 classes, there is a disaster every night to which students must respond.
In CERT basic and CERT 2 class, students learn to triage large numbers of injured people. In one recent exercise there were 168 "victims" to extricate, triage, treat and keep alive. Students also learn how to conduct light search and rescue operations. CERT 2 adds training such as moving a 9,000 pound piece of a roadway bridge using materials at hand to get to trapped victims. Students learn radio techniques, disaster psychology, proper use of fire extinguishers and how to administer lifesaving first aid. The CERT 2 class is 28 hours in length, plus the final exercise. CERT 2 classes are held at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy on West Ox Road.
For more information see http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem/citizencorps/cert.htm
Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps Needs Volunteers
Are you willing to help your community during a public health emergency? Here is an opportunity!
The Fairfax County Health Department, in cooperation with the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council, is recruiting volunteers for the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). To date, approximately 3,600 medical and non-medical volunteers have signed up and are receiving training on emergency preparedness and response.
Read More. >
Fact Sheets on food safety in emergencies.http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Emergency_Preparedness_Fact_Sheets/index.asp
The following sites have information that can help you prepare and respond to an emergency.https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean/
http://www.flu.gov/plan/individual/index.html - Important information about the flu
Please help the Kings Park Civic Association, and your neighbors, to plan and prepare for emergencies. Please send your ideas, tips, and suggestions to the KPCA Emergency Preparedness Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a phone message at (703) 503-0277.
Also, please consider lending a hand with this committee, especially if you have experience or knowledge with emergency preparedness or disaster management. We need all the help we can get, before we need all the help we can get!