Emergency Preparedness - Archive

FCC Takes Action to Strengthen Wireless Emergency Alerts as a Public Safety Tool

October 11, 2016 in Advocacy & Access, Emergency Preparedness



On September 29, 2016, the FCC adopted rules to update and strengthen Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which are alerts that are sent to wireless phones.  The updated rules are intended to promote the wider use and effectiveness of WEA and to make such messages more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Highlights of the updated rules include: 

  • Increase the maximum length of WEA messages (from 90 to 360 characters) for 4G LTE and future networks;
  • Require participating wireless providers to support inclusion of embedded phone numbers and URLs in all WEA alerts;
  • Require participating wireless providers to deliver the alerts to more specifically targeted geographic areas to avoid “over-alerting”;
  • Create a new class of alerts (“Public Safety Messages”) to convey essential, recommended actions that can save lives or property (e.g. emergency shelter locations or a boil water order);
  • Require participating wireless providers to support transmission of Spanish-language alerts; and
  • Make it easier for state and local authorities to test WEA, train personnel, and raise public awareness about the service.

    The FCC also released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) to invite public comment on:




Fairfax County’s ‘Yellow Dot’ Program Could Save Your Life

September 27, 2016 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Transportation



There’s a “golden hour” after a vehicle crash or emergency.

Medical help may be required, but first responders need to know what medical conditions people might have, especially if they are unconscious or unable to talk.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s new “Yellow Dot Program” could save your life, and enrollment is simple:

  1. Visit your local fire station for a kit.
  2. Fill out the booklet in pencil (so you can make future updates).
  3. Attach a current photo into the booklet.
  4. Place the booklet in your glove compartment.
  5. Place the yellow dot decal in the lower left of your rear windshield to alert first responders to check the glove compartment for vital medical information. Tip: place the sticker no higher than three inches from the bottom.

10-Minute Online Survey on Home Alerting Devices for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

September 22, 2016 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Research


The Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University is conducting a brief online survey to learn about the types of alerting devices deaf and hard of hearing people might prefer to notify them to common sounds around the home (doorbell ringing, videophone call, baby crying, etc.), and emergency alerts (fire alarms, emergency weather alerts, etc.). Your responses to this short survey will help us in the development of better notification options for these common sounds and emergency alerts.

To take this survey you must be 18 years or older.

The Gallaudet Institutional Review Board has approved this study. If you have any questions about the study, please contact Christian Vogler Christian.vogler@gallaudet.edu or Paula Tucker paula.tucker@gallaudet.edu.

Please click http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2997929/Home-alerting-devices-Internet-Version to begin the survey.

The survey will close on October 31, 2016.

Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System Scheduled for Sept. 28

September 15, 2016 in Emergency Preparedness



The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the FCC, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on:
September 28, 2016, at 2:20 PM EDT. 

If rescheduling is necessary, the alternate test date is October 5, 2016.

The EAS test is going to be broadcast through these ways:

•             Radio broadcast stations;
•             Television broadcast stations:
•             Cable systems;
•             Wireline video systems;
•             Direct broadcast satellite service providers; and
•             Digital audio radio service providers.

The EAS test will gauge the reliability, accessibility, and effectiveness of the EAS. The emergency test message will be transmitted in English and Spanish via audio and text, which can be used to create an accessible video crawl to ensure that all members of the public will be able to access this emergency test.

The FCC Public Safety Support Center welcomes feedback on the accessibility of this test.  If you observe any problems about this test, or have feedback about the test, please submit your comments at:   https://www.fcc.gov/general/public-safety-support-center.

School for deaf testing Frederick Co. text to 911 system

July 7, 2016 in Advocacy & Access, Emergency Preparedness



News 4 WTOP
By Kristi King | @KingWTOP

WASHINGTON — Contacting 911 via text is ideal for the hearing impaired, but being deaf can make it more difficult to learn when something new like that is available.

Frederick County Emergency Communications is working with the Maryland School for the Deaf and its emergency management division to introduce its roughly 230 students and staff to the text to 911 system.

“We’re starting with the employees and working with them to be able to test the 911 and for them to be able to see how it works,” said Kristie Dutrow, administrator of Quality Assurance and Training for Frederick County Emergency Communications.

Frederick County’s text to 911 program began in 2013. It expanded to include AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile about a year ago. But Dutrow said the message about its availability wasn’t getting to some of the people most in need of the information.

Read more  . . .  Frederick County Emergency Communications 




6 Ways to Get Ready for the Blizzard – Fairfax County , VA

January 20, 2016 in Emergency Preparedness


There’s quite the winter storm heading our way — the National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch for this weekend.

Posted on January 20, 2016

Weather , Emergency related Links

(click four links below)snow
All NewsEmergencyTo KnowWeather

In its statement, the National Weather Service says:
“Potential life-threatening conditions expected Friday night into Saturday night.
Travel is expected to be severely limited if not impossible during the height of the storm Friday night and Saturday.”

It’s time to prepare if you haven’t already begun.
This storm has the potential to be extremely disruptive to the whole region and the forecasts show it’s not our typical snow storm event.

Stay connected here a link to Fairfax County > SNOW RELATED Hub of Information

Everyone needs to prepare and take this storm seriously. When talking about feet of snow rather than inches, major impacts are guaranteed.
Here’s what Fairfax County Government recommend you consider as the storm approaches:

Read  ALL 1- 6 – recommendations CLICK HERE 

1.) Vulnerable Neighbors
2.) Fire Hydrants
3.) Get Supplies
4.) Road Snow Removal
5.) Neighborhood Snow Removal
6.) Stay Informed

ARLINGTON VA, Text-to-911 – Coming Soon

January 19, 2016 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Technology



In an emergency, we always want you to call 9-1-1, but for those instances when you’re unable to call, Arlington County will soon offer a text-to-911 capability. You’ll be able to send a text message to our Emergency Communications Center if you can’t call 9-1-1.

When is texting helpful?

The new service allows people who are unable to speak to reach 9-1-1 and request emergency services. This might include those who are:

  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • unable to speak
  • in a situation where it’s unsafe to speak

When is this available?

We’re working now on implementing this capability in Arlington; our target timeframe is early 2016.

GA – Deaf woman texts local 911 – gets response

January 7, 2016 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness


Channel 11, Atlanta,GA
By Jon Shirek, WXIA
January 7, 2016

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — A text for help – from a deaf woman who spotted two small children in a car – highlights a local 911 center that is among the first utilizing a popular technology.

On Wednesday night, she shared her story – through the same technology – with 11Alive News.

Her name is Lisa Collis, and she texted that it was at about 4:30 pm on New Year’s Eve, in a parking lot in the North Point area of Alpharetta, when she saw two, small children alone in a parked car.

Luckily for all, since Collis is deaf and this is Alpharetta, she was able to report what she saw by texting 911.

Read more . . . See captioned video – 911 Story



Notice from AT&T: TTY Emergency Calls via Wireless IP (Internet) is Not Recommended

December 8, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Emergency Preparedness



TDI website
Dec 07, 2015

From the time Robert H. Weitbrecht made text-telephonys (TTY) possible up to the present, there has always been challenges to making our world all the more accessible. AT&T, one of the most ardent supporters for accessibility, has run into one of those such challenges.

When you call 911 through a regular telephone land line, using a telephone or TTY, your call is automatically connected to your 9-1-1 emergency services center – the 9-1-1 center that serves your location. Your address and phone number are automatically displayed on the computer screen of the 9-1-1 operator, even if you don’t type or say anything. The 9-1-1 operator can send emergency services to your location immediately, and call you back if your call is disconnected.

Learn more  …  TTY Emergency Calls

JOB OPENING – Management and Program Analyst – expert in disability integration

December 8, 2015 in Emergency Preparedness, Employment


Job Title:  Management and Program Analyst
Department:  Department Of Homeland Security
Agency:  Federal Emergency Management Agency

Job Announcement Number:  FEMA-16-MBB-71494-CORE


SALARY RANGE: $90,823.00 to $118,069.00 / Per Year
OPEN PERIOD: Friday, December 4, 2015 to Friday, December 18, 2015
SERIES & GRADE: GS-0343-13
POSITION INFORMATION: Full Time – Temporary – Not to Exceed 2 Years
DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy – Washington DC, DC

WHO MAY APPLY: All U.S. citizens

This announcement will close on Friday, December 18, 2015 OR the date the 200th application is received, whichever comes first.

Read Full posting on USAJOBS

Shake Out, the World’s Largest Earthquake Drill-October 15th, 10:15am

October 9, 2015 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness



Next Thursday October 15th at 10:15am is the Shake Out, the World’s Largest Earthquake Drill.

Attached is the flyer and a helpful document of what to do should you experience an earthquake. As earthquakes seem to be more common here in Virginia, I think it is wise to know what to do to maximize safety. I pulled some of the more relevant info from the document and pasted it below. I will send out an email next Thursday at 10:15 to signal the earthquake. Please take the time to participate.

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • COVER your head and neck with your arms and seek shelter by getting under a sturdy desk or table if nearby; and
  • HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

If you are unable to Drop, Cover, and Hold On: If you have difficulty getting safely to the floor on your own, get as low as possible, protect your head and neck, and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you.

In a wheelchair: Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.

MYTH – Head for the Doorway: An enduring earthquake image of California is a collapsed adobe home with the doorframe as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. We now understand that doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house, and do not provide protection from falling or flying objects. You are safer under a table.

DOWNLOAD – ShakeOut_Recommended_Earthquake_Safety_Actions

DOWNLOAD -ShakeOut_Global_2015_Poster_Join-Us

Fairfax County Job Opportunity – Access & Functional Needs

October 6, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Emergency Preparedness


Access and Functional Needs Specialist
(Emergency Management Specialist II)

The Access and Functional Needs Specialist will coordinate the agencies’ emergency preparedness efforts for persons with access and functional needs and disabilities. Access and functional needs emergency planning initiatives include, but is not limited to, emergency transportation, emergency sheltering, outreach projects, medical needs registry and developing liaisons with access and function needs support groups.

Read entire Job Posting – Fairfax County

Fairfax County – Public launch of Text to 911 – on Tuesday Sept. 22

September 22, 2015 in Emergency Preparedness, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology


September 22, 2015

Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) now accepts text messages to 9-1-1 for reporting police/fire/medical emergencies.

See TEXT-TO-911_Post Card

Was publicly announced at the Board of Supervisors meeting. – September 22

(The following is the text from the DPSC Post Card)

Fairfax County Emergency 9-1-1


Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in 3 Emergency Scenarios:

  1. For individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
  2. For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
  3. Medical emergency the renders the person incapable of speaking.
Only Text 9-1-1 In An Emergency (English Only)


How do I text to 9-1-1?

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “TO” or “RECIPIENT” field.
  • The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include location of the emergency, ask for police, fire or ambulance.
  • Push the “SEND” button
  • Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text in simple words. NO abbreviations or Slang.
  • Keep text messages short.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Text to 9-1-1 is not available if you are in a roaming situation.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1. Standard text messaging rates apply.
  • Photos and Videos CANNOT be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Text to 9-1-1 CANNOT include more than one person. Do not copy your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others of your situation.
  • Prank-texters can be identified and possibly prosecuted according to local laws/regulations.
  • Text to 9-1-1 is available in Fairfax County beginning Tuesday September 22, 2015

More information can be found at: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911/text-to-911.htm

(END of the DPSC Post Card Text)

Guidelines for  TEXTING  to 9-1-1

  • Stay calm – dispatchers can’t help you if they can’t understand you. Take a deep breath and think before you text. TEXT slowly and clearly. The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include location of the emergency, ask for police, fire or ambulance.
  • Know your location and text the dispatcher the exact address (apartment/suite number, intersection, interstate mile markers) where the help is needed.
  • Answer all questions. The call taker will have questions for you and may even ask you to do something to help. It is important that you answer the questions as best as you can. DO NOT STOP TEXTING  unless you are in danger or the dispatcher tells you to do so.
  • TEXT the nature of the emergency. Stay on the line to answer further questions the dispatcher may have.
  • Send someone to meet the emergency equipment if at all possible. It’s hard to find an address on a dimly lit street in the middle of the night.
  • If you Text  9-1-1 even by mistake, do not hang up the phone.  If you call by accident, stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that there is no emergency, so the call taker doesn’t have to waste time sending police trying locate you.
  • Prevent prank Text to 9-1-1.  Prank-Texters  not only waste time; they are illegal in most states and endanger public safety.  If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need.  Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 9-1-1 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.


TEXT to 911 – Coverage Map as of September 22,2015 


Fairfax County 911 to TEXT starts – Sept. 22, 2015 for police/fire/medical emergencies

September 4, 2015 in Emergency Preparedness



On Sept. 22, 2015, Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) will begin to accept text messages to 9-1-1 for reporting police/fire/medical emergencies.

DOWNLOAD TEXT_to_911_flyer

Attend presentation about – 911 to text for Fairfax County – RSVP Deadline Sept. 10th

September 4, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community Events, Emergency Preparedness


RSVP Deadline EXTENDED to Sept. 10th

UPDATE  – These presentations are specifically for Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents
ASL Interpreters will be present for both presentation dates

To learn about texting to 9-1-1, the department, call processing and dispatching, you are cordially invited to attend a special presentation by DPSC staff:

Monday, Sept 14, 6-8 p.m.
Thursday, Sept 17, 6-8 p.m.

McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center
4890 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Limited space – only 50 people may attend each session. You must RSVP to John Korman at john.korman@fairfaxcounty.gov by Sept. 7, 2015. Include: names of everyone in your party, email address, if anyone has their own personal hearing device, and if so, the type of device so equipment is properly configured for the meeting to meet attendee needs.

Sign Interpreters will be present for both dates

To request reasonable ADA accommodations, contact John Korman at 571-350-1765, TTY 711


A Fairfax County, Va., publication