Preparing for Specific Emergencies
For life threatening emergencies, residents should always call 911. Whether it’s a significant snowstorm, flood, hurricane, or pandemic flu outbreak, review specific tips on how to take protective actions and be prepared for any kind of emergency that could occur in the City of Alexandria.
Regardless of the type of emergency, the City could advise residents to either shelter in place or evacuate. Learn what these terms mean and how residents are expected to respond.
Shelter in Place:
Shelter in Place means simply staying indoors. Whether at home, school, or at work you want to stay indoors and stage in a safe place to await further instructions. During extreme circumstances, sheltering in place could also include additional precautions, such as turning off fans, air conditioning, and forced air heating systems, to reduce any potential for air contamination in the event of a chemical or biological release. Shelter in place is the City of Alexandria’s first choice in terms of protective action. Red Cross Shelter in Place Fact Sheet
Staged and Full Evacuation:
A Staged Evacuation is where one area is ordered to evacuate while adjacent areas are ordered to shelter in place until directed to evacuate. Staged evacuation may be used when there is a need to evacuate a building, city block, or a portion of the city. Incidents such as fires, chemical or natural gas release can cause this type of evacuation. A full-scale evacuation of the over 145,000 city residents is not likely to be ordered by senior City of Alexandria government officials.
Preparation Tips for Specific Emergencies:
- Winter Storms (Snow and Ice Control)
- Hurricanes (Hurricane Preparedness Information)
- Floods (Flood Preparedness Information)
- Earthquake (Earthquake Preparedness Information (FEMA))
- Tornado (Tornado Preparedness Information)
- Pandemic Flu Preparedness Information
- Technological Hazards (chemical spills; bombings; chemical, biological, nuclear or radiation events)
No matter what the Technological Hazard is, there are some simple steps to follow that could save your life. In the event that you do not receive information from public officials or first responders you should follow these simple steps.
- Seek shelter Find shelter in a building or home. Try and get to a lowest level of a home or in the center of a building if it is not below ground. Stay away from windows. If possible turn off the ventilation system. Cars, mobile homes and anywhere outside is not appropriate.
- Get Information Get more information about the event before taking any future action.
- TV or radio
- NOAA weather radio
- Fire or Police officials
- City Website
- Be Prepared to Act Depending on the incident or event, you and your family may have to leave your home, work or school quickly. In the event that you have to leave your home, be prepared to move as quickly as possible. Always follow the directions of the government officials. They will have the most current and up to date information.
- eNews Alert Messages
The City's eNews service lets you sign up to receive vital emergency alerts and information on more than 100 topics. Alerts and messages can be sent directly to your e-mail account, PDA, pager, cell phone, or BlackBerry. Don't miss out on important news and emergency alerts. Sign up for eNews today!
- City Weather Emergency Web Page:
For the latest information on a specific weather-related emergency situation, please visit http://alexandriava.gov/Storm.
- Twitter & Facebook
Follow the City of Alexandria on Twitter or become a fan of the City’s Facebook page to get timely information about City events, emergencies, programs, services, and more.
For information about recovery following a natural disaster, you should contact Communications and Public Information at 703.746.4800.
For additional information, please visit:
Learn how you can become a trained volunteer and help respond during an emergency. Volunteers are needed to assist with medical response, public safety, emergency planning, and disaster readiness in the community.
- Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training provide citizens with a mechanism to increase neighborhood disaster readiness and support first responders during emergencies and disasters. Training is provided in how to assess damage after a disaster, extinguish small fires, perform light search and rescue, triage and provide first aid, and provide much needed assistance in times of crisis. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders by providing immediate assistance to victims and organizing spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also participate in non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.
- Alexandria Medical Reserve Corp is a group of volunteers that includes individuals with medical training and experience as well as individuals from a wide range of non-medical backgrounds. The MRC’s local mission is to strengthen the health emergency preparedness and response of the people in Alexandria, and to develop a Corps of medical and non-medical volunteers to respond as needed to such emergencies. MRC volunteer activities range from community preparedness to assisting in a variety of settings if a natural or terrorist-caused health emergency occurs.
- Volunteers in Police Service program allows citizens who wish to donate their time and talents to the Police department to assist with administrative and operations support duties, thus allowing officers to spend more time on law enforcement and crime prevention activities.
- Volunteer Alexandria is for a comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities in Alexandria, and for assistance in fulfilling court-mandated community service requirements
- The Alexandria Neighborhood Watch Program, operated by the Alexandria Police Department, assists any group wishing to organize a Neighborhood Watch Program by attending the initial meetings and explaining how the program works. Pamphlets and handouts are provided explaining the program. When 70% of the area completes the requirements of having a security survey and marking property for identification (see Operation ID), Crime