Category Archives: Uncategorized

Be Cautious Of Improper Disposal of Smoking Materials

Back in early May 2018, you probably remember several large fires in our region:

  • Centreville fire damaged 13 townhouses and displaced 36 people
  • Centreville fire in a senior living community evacuated 75 apartment units and displaced several residents
  • A Fairfax bank fire that spread through and collapsed the roof

These three devastating fires have one thing in common—all were started by improper disposal of smoking materials. In fact, nearly half of all structure fires in Fairfax County this year were caused by improper disposal of smoking materials!

If you smoke, whether you are on a NOVA campus or at home, please keep in mind the below safety tips to properly dispose of your smoking materials:

  • Do not throw cigarettes into bushes, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, or mulch. Hot weather dries these areas out, causing them to become highly flammable.
  • NOVA provides safe smoking areas away from hazards and fireproof cigarette disposal containers across campus to safely dispose of cigarettes.
  • At home, completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away, as they can smolder and cause a fire.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach.

These fires are 100% preventable! Following these safety steps helps keep you, your neighbors, and local community free from accidental improper disposal of smoking material fires. For more information, visit the United States Fire Administration or your local county emergency resources.

Inclement Weather Procedures

Despite the fact that this December has been mild, the Office of Emergency Management would like to remind faculty, staff, and students of the College’s inclement weather procedures. If the College is going to be closed, 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 the closing information.  If the College closes early due to inclement weather, an email will be sent out to all faculty, staff, and students with the closing time.

In the Fall of 2013, the College adopted a new closing procedure for faculty and staff.  If the College closes early due to inclement weather, faculty, staff, and students will be provided with specific times they can leave.  This will help to ensure a safe and orderly departure from building and campuses.  An example of a message you may see is as follows:

NOVA classes and activities will end for students at X:XX p.m. due to inclement weather. Faculty and administrative offices will close at X:XX p.m.

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 or the Office of Emergency Management for closing updates.

National Preparedness Month – Make a Plan

Emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime and anywhere—even on NOVA campuses. They can happen quickly and without warning, and they can force you to evacuate your classroom, office, neighborhood, or require you to stay in your home.

It is vital that you understand what a disaster could mean for you and your family. Each person’s needs and abilities are different, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and to put plans in place. Get ready now by visiting the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM) Make a Plan page or visit the following VDEM links for specific individual planning considerations.

Family Emergency Plan

For Older Virginians

For People with Disabilities

For Pets

Sample Emergency Plan Components:


Emergency Preparedness at Home – Do 1 Thing – Be Informed (September)

Do 1 ThingGetting correct information during an emergency is the key to taking safe action. Someone in your household may not be able to receive, understand, or act on emergency information. Think about what special needs your household may have. Take action now to make sure everyone in your family will be safe in an emergency.

THE GOAL: Make sure everyone in your household can receive, understand, and act on information received in an emergency.

Choose one (or all) of these things to do this month:

  • Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do when they hear emergency warnings.
  • Get a NOAA Emergency Alert Radio.
  • Make sure everyone in your household can communicate 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

Be Prepared as You Start a New Year!

The Office of Emergency Management would like to welcome you to NOVA or welcome you back if you are a returning student!  We want you to be safe and prepared for any emergency that may happen while here at NOVA.  We encourage you to take a few minutes during your first weeks on campus to look around for the nearest exits to your classrooms in case of a fire or other emergency evacuation.  Also, look for the nearest Severe Weather Shelter location to your classroom in case there is a tornado or an especially severe storm.  These locations are marked by a green sign with a picture of a tornado.  Each classroom also has an Emergency Procedures poster.  Take a look at this as well as it describes what to do in just about any emergency situation you may encounter while on campus.

For more information on emergency preparedness at NOVA, please visit our website.