Category Archives: Emergency

Be Prepared in the Heat! Know Heat-Related Illnesses

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the NOVA service area today.  This advisory means that heat indexes will be at-or above 100 degrees for two hours or more.  People can be affected by this type of heat and it is important to know heat-related symptoms before it’s too late.

The National Weather Service has great information on their website to help keep you prepared in this hot weather –

Fire Prevention Month

Most home fires occur in the kitchen while cooking and are the leading cause of injuries from fire. Common causes of fires at night are carelessly discarded cigarettes, sparks from fireplaces without spark screens or glass doors, and heating appliances left too close to furniture or other combustibles. These fires can be particularly dangerous because they may smolder for a long period before being discovered by sleeping residents.

Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy. More information can be found at



·     Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·     Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

·     Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

·     Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.

·     Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.



·     If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.

·     Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.

·     Check for cigarette butts. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don’t put ashtrays on them. Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.

·     Be alert – don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

·     Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

·     Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·     If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

·     Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.

·     Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Portable Space Heaters

·     Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.

·     Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·     Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.

·     Check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community.

·     Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.


Fireplaces and Woodstoves

·     Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.

·     Never burn trash, paper, or green wood.

·     Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.

·     Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

·     Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.



·     Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.

·     Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.

·     Teach children not to pick up matches or lighters they may find. Instead, they should tell an adult immediately.

·     Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.

·     Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.

Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 25-31

It is smart to start preparing early for hurricane and flash flooding season which arrives June 1st.  It is even smarter to save money while getting prepared.

You can do both by shopping for such products as batteries, food storage containers, generators, first aid kits, bottled water, radios, and more between May 25th and 31st during Virginia’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.  When you do, you will not pay sales tax on many useful products that cost up to $60 or on generators costing $1,000 or less.  See the chart below for more information. 

Hurricane Preparedness

New for 2015! Gas-powered chainsaws that cost $350 or less and chainsaw accessories that cost $60 or less are tax free.  A complete list of exempt items is available at


Purchasing supplies is important, but it is critical to make a family emergency plan. Protect your family now by visiting

Emergency Preparedness at Home – Do 1 Thing – Water (February)

Last month, NOVA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) introduced you to Do 1 Thing – a web-based, 12-month preparedness program that makes preparing easier by helping people take small steps each month toward becoming better prepared for emergencies or disasters. January’s topic was Make a Plan and it challenged you to think ahead of what you and your family would do during a disaster.

February’s topic is one that can easily be overlooked, but is one you can’t survive long without – Water.

THE GOAL: Have enough water on-hand for your family to last 3 days (72 hours). This should be about 3 gallons per person.
Choose one of these things to do to be ready for an emergency:
1. Buy 3 days of water at the store.
2. Bottle a 3 day supply of water at home.
3. Learn how to provide a safe supply of drinking water for your household in a disaster.

Each month on this blog, OEM will post Do 1 Thing’s monthly topic and we encourage you to follow the program at

Emergency Preparaedness at Home – Do 1 Thing – Make a Plan (January)

NOVA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) wants you to be better prepared for emergencies and disasters. Emergency preparedness at home is a big job, and many people never get started because they don’t know where to begin.

To help get you started, OEM challenges you to follow ‘Do 1 Thing’ ( each month in 2015. Do 1 Thing is a web-based, 12-month preparedness program that makes preparing easier by helping people take small steps each month toward becoming better prepared for emergencies or disasters.

It’s as easy as this:

  1. Click on the current month’s topic.
  2. Select one of the easy “things to do.”
  3. Do that one thing!

If you follow along for an entire year, you will be better prepared to handle most disasters and emergencies. You can jump in anytime and you don’t have to do things in any order (all 12 things are in the little yellow box on the left). You can choose whatever topic you like.

Each month on this blog, OEM will post Do 1 Thing’s monthly topic and we encourage you to follow the program. January’s topic is: Make a Plan.

If you would like additional information about how to make a plan, you can also visit: