September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.

All around the nation, people will be taking action to build stronger, more resilient and prepared communities during September, National Emergency Preparedness Month.

This is an opportunity to look around and find ways to prepare yourself and others in your community for disasters. Taking action to prepare for an emergency before it strikes can lead to better outcomes and provide peace of mind.

Fairfax County’s Department of Emergency Management and Security has tools that are designed to aid the community in becoming more prepared for disasters. Take some time to think about ways you can make a difference during this year’s Emergency Preparedness Month.

Here are some tips:

* Prepare yourself and your family: The “Community Emergency Response Guide” (CERG) — available in multiple languages — has information on the types of threats and hazards local to Fairfax County, as well as tools to help you build an emergency plan and kit. It also has information on how to sign up for Fairfax Alerts so that you will receive alerts and warnings in the event of an emergency or disaster.

* Prepare your neighborhood: Once you have prepared yourself for an emergency, don’t stop there. You can be a leader in your neighborhood and organize a group of neighbors to help plan for how your neighborhood will help each other during a disaster. 

The “5 Steps to Neighborhood Preparedness” (an appendix in the CERG) lists easy steps neighborhoods can take to organize themselves to be ready for an emergency or disaster.

* Prepare your business: Whether you own a business or work at a place you think needs an emergency plan, the “Business Disaster Resilience Guide” can help. This guide explains why it is crucial for businesses to have a continuity of operations plan and provides tools to help set the business up for success in the event it is affected by a disaster.

* Make an emergency kit: Emergency kits include basic supplies and are tailored to every person’s need. We recommend every household keep three to five days worth of food, water and supplies in shelter-in-place kits for each member of the household.

* Read and download the Community Emergency Response Guide:

Emergency Pet Preparedness

When potentially disastrous weather is in the forecast, it's best to prepare early! It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and there’s no time like right now to make sure you have everything you – and your pet – need in the event of a weather-related disaster. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare:

1. Make sure your pets’ microchip information is up-to-date, and that your dogs are wearing collars with identification tags. In the event that your pet is separated from you, this safety measure can ensure that whoever finds them will be able to find you, too.

2. Make sure you have the needed supplies and important documents for each of your pets. Check out our Pet Preparedness Disaster Kit Checklist for a handy list.

3. If you are evacuating, make sure the place you’re going allows pets. There are pet-friendly shelters in Fairfax County, but please check to make sure they will be open. Hotels are not required to accept pets, so please plan accordingly.

4. If you absolutely need to shelter your pets while you get to safety, we will accept pets of Fairfax County residents for temporary safekeeping at the shelter and are preparing kennel space just in case. If you do need to bring your pet(s) to our shelter, PLEASE bring vaccination history and any medications they are on, and preferably a bag of whatever food they’re eating as well. If you need assistance getting your pets to safety, please call Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131.