We recognized 9-11 this morning as we always do at Courthouse Plaza with a simple ceremony by our public safety officers. The flags were lowered to half staff for the day. On this 17th anniversary, we were joined by members of our General Assembly delegation, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Congressman Don Beyer. We all will never forget where we were that day and remember the bravery of the first responders and of so many common people who showed uncommon courage that day.
I am sure everyone is aware that Hurricane Florence will likely affect us quite a bit. Governor Northam and Mayor Bowser have declared states of emergency. While it appears that we will not have to worry about storm surges and hurricane force winds, we still need to be prepared. The sodden soil means that many trees will be easily blown down and may take down power wires. Our storm sewer systems are strained already and we are looking at the possibility of many inches more rain in a few days.
This is an excellent time to make sure you and loved ones are prepared to shelter, possibly without power, for a few days. There are many online sites with suggestions for how to prepare, including Arlington Alert. I would suggest at least a few basic precautions:
1. Make sure you are informed:
• Sign up for Arlington Alert if you have not.
• Tune into WERA 96.7 FM (Arlington Independent Media) for updates. The key to this is to have your devices charged up and a battery operated radio AND good batteries on hand.
2. Have water on hand
There is bottled water, but when I was a child living with hurricanes at times, we always prepared by filling pots on the stove with water for drinking and filled the tub with water for washing.
3. Have food on hand
You can go a long time without food, but it’s nicer to have some. Remember you may not be able to heat it, and electric can openers might not work.
4. Maybe make some blocks of ice in your freezer now so you have ice for the refrigerator if the power is out for a while. It’s easy and, if you need it, handy.
5. Have some light sources
Flashlights (and the batteries), candles (be careful of fire though), etc.
6. Fill up your car with gas, as pumps may not work without power and deliveries could be delayed for several days.
I hope this information is helpful. Below is the information sent out today by Arlington Alert.
This is an important message from ARLINGTON ALERT
How You Can Prepare for Hurricane Florence
As the Hurricane Florence gets closer, there is an increasing risk of direct impacts to our region. The major concerns with this storm are rainfall amounts and wind speeds. Excessive rain may cause flooding and as the ground becomes more saturated, it will be easier for winds to knock over trees and take down power lines. Be prepared for power outages. Do not report power outages to 9-1-1, unless there is a life-threatening emergency. To report trees or wires down or flooded roadways, you can contact the non-emergency number at 703-558-2222. Remember: do not travel through flooded roadways. Turn around, don’t drown.
The Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management is encouraging all residents to prepare now for Hurricane Florence. Do not wait until the day before. Here are some tips to get you and your family ready:
- Be Informed: Stay aware of things going on by having multiple ways to get information and keep an eye on the forecast.
- Plan Ahead: Make an emergency plan, and discuss it with each family member.
- Plan for possible evacuation.
- Fill your gas tank in your car.
- Have cash on hand. During power outages, ATMs and credit card machine will not work.
- Use text and social media when able to get in touch with family members and plan for what to do if there is no phone service or internet.
- Have names and phone numbers of family members, utilities, doctors/pharmacists, etc written down.
- Prepare your home:
- Clear gutters and downspouts of debris.
- Trim trees and shrubbery.
- Secure or bring inside any outdoor furniture or loose items.
- If you have a generator remember to only run it outdoors.
- Place a thermometer in your fridge and freezer in case of power outages. Any food that has reached 40 degrees or higher should be thrown out. If doors are kept closed, food in the fridge will be kept cold for about 4 hours, and the freezer for about 48 hours.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances. If the power goes out, a momentary power surge can cause damage.
- Move items in your basement off the floor in case of flooding.
- Review your insurance policy.
- Plan for possible evacuation.
- Build a Kit: Get supplies together that you may need for your family for at least 3 days. Make sure to include the needs of pets.
- Have food that is nonperishable that does not require power to make.
- Ensure you have flashlights and check batteries. Do not use candles as they can be a fire hazard.
- Keep cell phones charged. Consider an external charger.
- Refill medication/first aid kits.
For more detailed preparedness information visit ReadyArlington.com.