Arlington County Government Braces for Hurricane Irene, Urges Residents to Prepare

Post date: Aug 26, 2011 1:10:39 PM

August 25, 2011

* County calling in additional staff, securing equipment, buildings

* Residents should prepare personal response plan

* Sign up for Arlington Alert

ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington County government today urged residents to be prepared for Hurricane Irene, which is expected to pass through or nearby the region this weekend. County workers are securing equipment, buildings and infrastructure across Arlington as County officials track the storm's path.

“As we just learned this week, when an earthquake struck Virginia, it pays to be prepared,” said Acting County Manager Marsha Allgeier. “Residents need to have a plan and need to stay informed so that they can protect themselves, their families and their property.”

What you need to do

* Make a plan, build a kit External link

* Sign up for Arlington Alerts External link

* Who to call after the storm External link

What the County is doing

The County’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department has been moving picnic tables, play equipment and other equipment from low-lying areas, cleaning drains in parks, trimming tree branches, laying in supplies and taking other precautions to minimize damage to County parks, trees and recreation facilities. Programs have been cancelled in the multi-use Gunston bubble in Gunston Park. External link

Helping those who have no home

Parks workers are seeking out persons without homes who are sleeping in the open and informing them that the County Detention Facility (jail) lobby will be open from 5 p.m. Saturday evening until noon on Sunday, serving as a shelter of last resort for persons who are homeless. The jail has food and cots for 40.

Staff from the Arlington Street Peoples Assistance Network (ASPAN) External link will assist Arlington County Sheriff’s deputies. ASPAN, too, as part of their homeless bagged meal program, will reach out to persons living on the street. During their Saturday 5 p.m. meal, ASPAN will transport persons who are far from the detention facility.

Arlington County, Arlington Public Schools and American Red Cross are standing by and will be on call all weekend to provide additional shelter to residents, if needed.

DES preparing water-sewer-streets

The Department of Environmental Services is fueling, servicing and testing critical standby generators, used to support the water distribution and wastewater collection systems in case of loss of power or flooding. County workers also are preparing contingency plans to address possible storm impact on regular daily services, such as garbage and recycling collection. Workers are cleaning out culverts and taking other precautions to minimize flooding risk on County streets.

Traffic crews have prepared supplies to repair signs and signals after the storm. If you must drive during or immediately after the storm, do so with extreme caution. Roadways will be littered with debris, some signals may be out and signs missing. Repair and cleanup crews will be working in and around the roadway -- give them a brake!

Arlington County public safety departments are calling in additional personnel and senior County staffers are holding planning meetings with the County Manager.

Emergency Operations Center

If the storm hits Arlington hard, the County will open its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate its response and keep the public informed through an array of channels, including Arlington Alert, social media, including Facebook External link and Twitter, External link the County’s website External link, AVN, External link the County’s cable channel; 1700 AM Radio External link, and regular media updates

“This is a community effort,” said Jack Brown, director of the County’s Office of Emergency Management. “Yes, government has responsibilities, and we are fulfilling those responsibilities. But families, individuals and businesses need to be prepared – prepared with enough food, water and medical supplies to survive for three days, if necessary, and prepared to help their neighbors.”

Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.