Pool Safety Tips

Summer is in full swing in Northern Virginia and now that kids are out of school, people are heading to the pools to cool off.   We want you to have fun and be safe at the same time when you head to the pool.  Please take a couple of minutes to read the information below on how you can “Pool Safely”.

Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives

 Swimming pools and spas are great places for families to spend time together and have fun. Yet it’s important to ensure everyone stays safe in and around pools and spas.

 To improve pool and spa safety, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives, a national public education campaign to reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries and entrapments. The campaign is a call-to-action for consumers and industry to adopt proven water safety steps and join a national conversation about pool and spa safety by sharing best practices and other life-saving information.

 To pool safely means adopting critical water safety steps to assure that a great afternoon at the pool doesn’t turn into a tragic one. Whether at a residential or public pool or spa, everyone can always take additional steps to be safe while having fun.

 Saying Close, Being Alert and Watching Children in and Around the Pool

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water.
  • Is there a lifeguard at the pool or spa to watch children and adults?
  • Teach children basic water safety tips.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Are there water safety rules posted in a visible area for adults and children to review?
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.

 Learning and Practicing Water Safety Skills

  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.

 Having the Appropriate Equipment

  • Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
  • Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
  • Ensure any pool or spa use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider or pool community manager if you do not know.
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.

 For more information, visit the Pool Safely website.

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Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday May 25 – 31

Even though Hurricane Season is not here yet, you can start to prepare for it by stocking up, tax-free, on hurricane-preparedness supplies for you and your family.  From May 25 – May 31, there will be no sales tax on a variety of preparedness items such as:  ice packs, flashlights, batteries, certain portable radios, fire extinguishers, bottled water, and first aid kits.  There are many more items that will be tax-free as well.  You can find a complete list of tax-free items here.

For more information on Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday as well as additional information on how to prepare for a hurricane, you can go to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website.

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New training opportunities available now online and in the classroom!

OEMP currently has new training opportunities open to faculty and staff.  First, there is an “All-Hazard” online training available in the NOVA Academy.  By using an “All-Hazard” approach for what to do when an emergency happens at NOVA, this presentation covers everything from power failures to bomb threats.  All employees are encouraged to take this training.    If you would like to register for the All-Hazard training, please do so by going to the NOVA Academy.  Once there, enter your Login ID and Password, click the “Learning Center” tab at the top of the page, click the “course catalog” link, type in OEMP in the Search box, click on Search, and select NOVA – OEMP: All-Hazard Emergency Response (online) on page two.  Next, click on “Access Item” and you will be enrolled in the training.

OEMP will also be offering another C-CERT (Campus Community Emergency Response Team) course this July.  If you are you interested in learning more about emergency preparedness, want to do more to help others on campus or in your community during an emergency, and/or would like to be involved with a team helping evacuate a building on campus during a drill and/or an actual fire alarm or assisting others during a Shelter-in-Place event then training is for you!   

C-CERT classes will be held from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM on the following three Fridays:  July 11th, July 18th, and July 25th.  All classes will be held at the Annandale Campus in Room CA 318.  If you are interested in signing up to become a C-CERT volunteer, you must first get your supervisor’s permission.  Also, you must commit to attend all three sessions. 

Below is the C-CERT job description.  Please contact oemp@nvcc.edu if you would like more information or register online by going to the NOVA Academy.  Once there, enter your Login ID and Password, click the “Learning Center” tab at the top of the page, click the “course catalog” link, type in OEMP in the Search box, click on Search, and select NOVA – OEMP: C-CERT.  Next, click on the NOVA – OEMP: C-CERT near the bottom of the page and then click on enroll on the following page.  If you can make it through the enrollment process, you can make it as a C-CERT member!

Job Description

Job Title: Campus Community and Emergency Response Team (C-C.E.R.T.) Member
Service Area: NOVA Campuses, Centers, and Off-Site Locations
Goal or Purpose of the C-CERT Team Member:
  • Learn about and assist in the five phases of emergency management; prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Assist with special needs issues as related with the five phases of emergency management
  • Assist building and floor wardens with general evacuation and shelter-in-place processes
  • Provide assistance at State Shelter and State Transfer Point activations, drills, and planning
  • Assist with community relations/ distribution of emergency information to the visitors, faculty, staff, and students
  • Participate in drills and exercises
  • Participate in training and preparedness activities
  • Support for emergency management at College planned and unplanned events like presidential visits, Shred It, and Annandale 5k  
  • Emergency preparedness

Time Commitment: One year (minimum) after completion of a three session training series.

  • Excellent listening skills
  • Reliable individual with the ability to remain calm during a crisis
  • Successful completion of mandatory training
  • Successful demonstration in use of assigned equipment

Training and/or Preparation Required: All other training that is not marked mandatory will be offered to volunteers when available.

  • C-C.E.R.T. Volunteer Training Curriculum – mandatory

 Benefits to Volunteer:

  • Gain emergency management skills/experience
  • Achieve a great sense of personal accomplishment
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Make sure to sign up for the new NovaAlert system

NovaAlert is the College’s system used to contact you with urgent information about emergencies, weather related closings, delays, and other critical information.  All student, faculty, and staff college email addresses have been added to the new NovaAlert system.  However, all cell phone users were deleted from the old system and, in order to get text alerts on your cell phone from the new system, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Login to https://alert.nvcc.edu
  2. Go to the USER LOGIN on the left side of the page
  3. Enter your college email address (FOR STUDENTS use the one ending in @email.vccs.edu; FOR FACULTY/STAFF use the one ending in @nvcc.edu)
  4. Your PASSWORD is your emplid


  1. Click Log in
  2. If, for some reason, the system does not recognize you; go ahead and register as a new user
  3. You can add a cell phone number or other email addresses under the DEVICES tab

Since this is a new system, you must enter your cell phone number to get text alerts, even if you had been receiving text alerts in the past.

If you have a problem, you can contact the NOVA IT Help Desk between 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday-Friday by calling 703-426-4141 or by email at ithelpdesk@nvcc.edu.

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Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill on March 11th

The annual Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for 9:45am on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.  NOVA will once again be participating in this mandatory Statewide Drill.  While we realize that March 11th falls during spring break and many of you will away from the campuses, those who remain on campus will be required to participate. 

Tornados can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives.  Below is some information from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website on the difference between a tornado watch and warning as well as signs of an impending tornado. 

Watches and Warnings
Learn the terms that are used to identify a tornado. 

  • Tornado Watch:   a tornado is possible in your area.  You should monitor weather-alert radios and local radio and TV stations for information. 
  • Tornado Warning:  a tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately

Know the Signs

  • Strong, persistent rotation in the base of a cloud
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base – tornadoes sometimes have no visible funnel
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes, especially in Virginia, are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  • Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder does
  • If it’s night, look for small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds).  These lights are power lines being snapped by very strong wind, perhaps a tornado.
  • Persistent lowering of the cloud base  


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