It seems that nearly everything about the Boston Marathon bombings, and subsequent search for the perpetrators, was captured on security cameras, in hand-held videos, or on network television. Innocent bystanders were deeply affected, whether on the racecourse or in their homes when Boston and surrounding communities were shut down for the search. The incidents occurred a few hundred miles away, but many are asking “Could it happen here?” In the aftermath, officials in the National Capital Region encourage residents to take three simple steps: 1) stay informed; 2) be vigilant; and 3) prepare.
It’s not difficult. The information already exists; it just takes planning and preparation to ensure safety. Register for emergency alerts from your local jurisdiction at www.Capitalert.gov; if you live in one place and work in another, register for alerts from both localities, which you can get as email or text messages. Add apps to your smartphone, and follow social media sites for your local government. Make sure your mobile phone is charged, and make sure you also have handy an electric charger, inverter, or solar charger, depending on where you will be. Save important phone numbers to your phone, but also prepare a family contact sheet that includes at least one out-of-town contact who can reach family members during an emergency.
At home, in the car, or at work, be sure you have a plan, and supplies for at least a short time to shelter in place. In a weather disaster, emergency personnel may not be able to respond quickly, so it is recommended that you have enough supplies to shelter in place for 72 hours. Log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency for lots of smart to use suggestions and information, and then make your kit. Knowing what to do in an emergency is important, but having what you need can be life-saving.
Mason District Police Officer Long Dinh is recovering from a horrific head-on collision on Little River Turnpike in late February. On Sunday, members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77 hosted an all-day fundraiser for Officer Dinh at Hard Times Café in Fairfax City. The turnout was remarkable, as was the outpouring of support for Officer Dinh, who spent long weeks in the hospital, but is now home to continue his recovery. Funds raised by FOP Lodge 77 will support structural accommodations to help Officer Dinh fully recover at home. Best wishes to Officer Dinh, and to FOP Lodge 77 members who recognized a need and stepped up to help.
The Farmer’s Market at Mason District Park in Annandale begins today, and will continue until early November, every Thursday from 8 a.m. – 12 noon. Next Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Fairfax County residents can dispose of household hazardous waste at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Paper shredding will be available on May 18; more about that next week. Let’s keep our homes and neighborhoods clean by taking advantage of these free opportunities, courtesy of Fairfax County Division of Solid Waste.