Category Archives: Natural Disasters

Turn Around Don’t Drown

There has been some heavy rain storms this past weekend and the Northern Virginia region remains under flash flood watch. This is an important time to remember: “Turn Around Don’t Drown®!”

Each year, flooding causes more deaths than any other weather hazard. Most of these drownings could be prevented—if people better understood the force and power of rushing floodwater. Whether driving or walking, save your life, and the lives of your children and other family members or traveling companions. When you see flood waters ahead: Turn Around Don’t Drown®.

More than half of all flood-related drownings occur when vehicles are swept away because their drivers attempted to travel through flood water. Many drive around flood barriers because they mistakenly believe their 3,000 pound or more vehicle is so heavy it will stay in contact with the road surface.

Keep these facts in mind:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.

The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths occurs when people try to walk through or walk too close to flood waters. It may be hard to believe, but it’s true that as little as six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult.

If you come to an area that is covered with flood water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded area, Turn Around Don’t Drown®.

For more information go to ready.gov/floods and tadd.weather.gov.

Earthquake Drill October 15th at 10:15

October 15th at 10:15 AM, NOVA will participate in The Great SouthEast ShakeOut Regional Earthquake Drill.

What do I do?

An announcement will be made at 10:15 AM using the intercom telephone system to start the Earthquake Drill.  Once the announcement is made, you should DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!  

The Timeline will be as follows:

10:15   An announcement will be made that the Drill is starting. “This is the start of the Regional Earthquake Drill, please drop, cover, and hold on!”  At this time, you should drop to the ground, take cover under a table or sturdy desk, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

10:20   An announcement will be made that the Earthquake Drill is over.  “The Earthquake Drill is over, please evacuate your building.”  At this time, evacuate the building and report to your assembly point.  *Persons with disabilities should seek assistance in evacuations.      

10:35   No announcement will be made, but the Drill has officially concluded.  You should re-enter your building and go back to your office or continue class as scheduled.

Note* Mobility challenged individuals are encouraged to do the following:

  • If you are in a wheelchair: Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops and always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, book, or whatever may be available.
  • Practice your individual emergency evacuation plan during the evacuation phase of this Drill.
  • Relocate to an Area of Assistance (if you are on a floor that does not exit directly outdoors) and wait there until the Drill is complete.
  • Please refer to the Emergency Action Plan for more information.

Family Earthquake Drill

Many Virginians remember where they were and how they reacted on August 23, 2011, when an historic 5.8 earthquake centered in Louisa County.  Although we do not experience earthquakes often in Virginia, that day is a reminder that we need to be prepared and know what to do.  October is Earthquake Preparedness Month.  If the ground starts shaking, what do you do?  Drop, Cover and Hold On!  Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl.  DROP to the ground.  Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

It is important to know where you should go for protection when your home starts to shake.  By planning and practicing what to do before an earthquake occurs, you can condition yourself and your family to react correctly and spontaneously when the first jolt or shaking is felt.  An earthquake drill can teach your family what to do in an earthquake.

  • Each family member should know safe spots in each room.
  • Safe spots: The best places to be are under heavy pieces of furniture, such as a desk or sturdy table; under supported archways; and against inside walls.
  • Danger spots: Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors, fireplaces, and tall unsecured pieces of furniture.
  • Reinforce this knowledge by physically placing yourself in the safe locations. This is especially important for children.
  • In the days or weeks after this exercise, hold surprise drills.
  • Be prepared to deal with what you may experience after an earthquake — both physically and emotionally.

For more information about earthquake emergency procedures at NOVA, please visit www.nvcc.edu/emergency. For additional earthquake preparedness tips, visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/earthquakes or www.ready.gov/earthquakes.

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 http://www.tax.virginia.gov/content/hurricane-preparedness-equipment-holiday.

 

Purchasing supplies is important, but it is critical to make a family emergency plan. Protect your family now by visiting http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/makeaplan.

Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill March 17th at 9:45 am

The annual Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for 9:45am on Tuesday, March 17th.  NOVA’s faculty, satff, and students who are on campuses or in one of the College’s off-campus locations will once again be participating in this mandatory Statewide Drill. 

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