All posts by bderamus

May is Older Americans Month

The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. With May being “Older Americans Month,” this is a good opportunity for the NOVA Community to make sure the Seniors in our families are prepared.

There are commonsense measures Seniors can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen. If you or someone in your family is older, be sure to include special items in your supply kit in addition to the basic supplies. Below are a few important first steps to make to ensure our Senior family members are prepared for any type of emergency that could impact our Northern Virginia region.

  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers to aid the Seniors in an emergency. Discuss the Seniors’ needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment.
  • If the Seniors takes medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure they have what they need on hand to make it on their own for at least a week. They should also keep a copy of their prescriptions as well as dosage or treatment information. If it is not possible to have a week-long supply of medicines and supplies, keep as much as possible on hand and talk to their pharmacist or doctor about what else they should do to prepare.
  • Seniors should keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, hearing aid batteries, food for service animals, and any other items they might need. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices they require. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration.
  • Have copies of medical insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid cards readily available.
  • If the Seniors undergoes routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, or if they receive regular services such as home health care, treatment, or transportation, talk to the service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within the area and the areas you might evacuate to. If the Seniors use medical equipment in their home that requires electricity to operate, talk to their health care provider about what can be done to prepare for its use during a power outage.

For additional steps you can take to ensure the Seniors in our families are prepared for emergencies, please visit the following sites for more detailed information: and

April 30th is National PrepareAthon! Day

PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience. It is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to prepare for specific hazards that may impact their community. This is also a great opportunity to prepare yourself at NOVA too! The goal of this campaign is to increase the number of individuals who:

  • Understand which disasters could happen in your community and at NOVA
  • Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage
  • Take action to increase your preparedness – reading NOVA’s Emergency Action Plan is a good first place to start
  • Participate in community and NOVA resilience planning and drills

Throughout this month, NOVA’s Office of Emergency Management and Safety challenges you to participate in this year’s PrepareAthon! by not only preparing here at NOVA, but also at your home and within your community. Please visit to learn about activities within each of the ten topics below. You can also visit for specific NOVA plans and procedures.

Statewide Tornado Drill March 22nd at 9:45 AM

The annual Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for 9:45am on Tuesday, March 22nd.  NOVA’s faculty, staff, and students who are on campuses or in one of the College’s off-campus locations will participate in this mandatory Statewide Drill.

Severe Weather Shelter Sign

The annual Drill is an opportunity to practice tornado safety by going to Severe Weather Shelter Areas found throughout NOVA facilities.  This Drill encourages the NOVA Community to review emergency procedures and ensure everyone is ready to act FAST if a Tornado Warning is issued.

In the event that there is severe weather and a Tornado Warning has been issued – SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!

    • The nearest Severe Weather Shelter Area (as seen in the example on the right) OR
    • An appropriate area capable of providing protection from the event:
      • Hardened structure
      • Interior hallway or room free of windows or other glass structures
      • At the lowest level possible in the building – use stairs, do NOT use elevators
    • Use your arms to protect your head and neck.  Protect your body from flying debris with any available furniture or sturdy equipment.
    • Do NOT open windows.
    • Take account of your co-workers and/or students and attempt to locate missing persons if safety permits.


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.

Tornados can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning.  Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives.  For more information visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website .

Preparing for This Weekend’s Winter Weather

It looks like we are finally in for our first major snow storm of the winter this weekend.  There are many things you can do in advance to prepare besides digging your snow shovel and snow brush out of the back corner of your basement.  Please take a few minutes and read through FEMA’s guide on How to Prepare For a Winter Storm.  Also, make sure you are signed up with NOVA Alert so you get a text message if the College closes or has a delayed opening/early closing.  Finally, take a look through OEM’s Closing Information web page for a refresher on the College’s closing procedures as well as the media outlets that will broadcast our closing/delay status.

Severe Weather Readiness for January 22-23

The College is monitoring the potential impact from the predicated severe weather for this Friday and Saturday.  There is the possibility for heavy snowfall creating treacherous driving conditions, as well as power outages.

If the College’s normal operating status changes, a text alert will be sent to cell phones registered with NOVA Alert, a notice will be posted on the home page of the College’s website, and major local media outlets will broadcast closing or delay information.

For more details on the College’s inclement weather procedures as well as a listing of the media outlets that will carry the College’s closing and delay information, please go to the Office of Emergency Management’s website:    As a reminder, we ask that you do not contact Police Dispatch for closing updates.

The College urges you to consider the following ways to prepare for the potential impact of this severe weather: