Halloween is a fun and spooky time of year. Whether you are participating in Halloween parties or preparing your kids to go out trick or treating, keep in mind the following safety tips to ensure you have a spooky – but safe – Halloween.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. Same with decorative spider webs and other decorations. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
- When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
- Remember to keep pathways and exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks exit routes.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
For more information, you can visit the National Fire Protection Association.
Don’t forget that tomorrow, October 18th at 10:18 AM, NOVA will participate in The Great SouthEast ShakeOut Regional Earthquake Drill.
What do I do?
An announcement will be made on October 18th at 10:18 AM to kickoff this drill. Once the announcement is made, you should DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!
The Timeline will be as follows:
10:18 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 down onto your hands and knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock you down.
- COVER your head and neck with your arms to protect yourself from falling debris.
- If you are in danger from falling objects, and you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table.
- If there is low furniture or an interior wall or corner nearby, and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover.
- HOLD ON to any sturdy covering so you can move with it until the shaking stops. Stay where you are until the shaking stops.
- If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside comer of the building.
- If getting safely to the floor to take cover won’t be possible: identify an inside comer of the room away from windows and objects that could fall on you.
- The Earthquake Alliance advises getting as low as possible to the floor. People who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices should lock their wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.
10:24 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.
10:40 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 Personal 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.
In the final daily September Preparedness Month blog post, we conclude with a video message from Virginia Ralph Northam.
Every year, the Northern Virginia region experiences a varying degree of heavy rains and strong winds from storms, tropical storms, and even hurricanes. The storm’s high winds may even spawn tornadoes—like we saw when the remanence of Hurricane Florence traveled through Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. We still have a long way to go until this year’s hurricane season is over!
Please review the Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Guide as well as additional resources on the website including: how to build an emergency kit, and tornado and flood preparedness. It is important to prepare your family, home, and office before a storm arrives.
Who thought we would talk about earthquake preparedness on the east coast?The 2011 Louisa Quake in Virginia was felt across more than a dozen states and by more people than any other earthquake in U.S. history. An estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population felt the quake, and damage was reported as far away as Brooklyn, New York!
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management provides an Earthquake Preparedness Guide that provides great tips for before, during, and after an earthquake. Take a few minutes to download the guide and be prepared!
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and this is especially true for us in Northern Virginia. Take the time to prepare now:
- Know your area’s type of flood risk. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov/portal for information.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- If flash flooding is a risk in your location, monitor potential signs such as heavy rain.
- Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
- Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
- Obtain flood insurance. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Move valued items to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
For more information about flood preparedness, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/Floods and https://www.ready.gov/floods.