As hurricane season looms, Fairfax County officials want to know how they can improve their communications during times of crisis, and they’re seeking feedback from residents.
After the June 29 derecho that killed four people in Fairfax County and damaged more than 100 homes, officials want to know how they can best interact with residents and business owners during emergencies like severe weather, hurricanes or even terrorist attacks.
“We’re asking for every resident to provide input, as well as business owners,” said David McKernan, coordinator for the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, in a release on the county’s web site. “It’s important for us as emergency planners to learn how this storm affected our residents, businesses and infrastructure so that we can implement corrective measures and plans for a better response for future storms.”
Officials are encouraging residents to take a brief online survey, which is part of the county’s response to the derecho.
The survey collects information on what forms of communication residents and business owners currently use to get their emergency information and how the county’s transmissions could be improved. It also asks residents for their opinions on how the county handled its emergency communications before, during and after the derecho earlier this summer.
With severe power outages across the county, officials want to know if and how residents were able to receive information about the storm.
The survey release comes about a week after the county filed a report with the Federal Communications Commission holding Verizon accountable for widespread 911 failures in the hours following the storm.
According to the report, failures in Verizon’s backup power sources and equipment were responsible for 911 service blackouts when residents across the county were most in need of it.