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Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview
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Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview

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On March 16, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' Transportation Committee hosted a Snow Summit to assess both what worked well and what did not at the state — Virginia Department of …

On March 16, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' Transportation Committee hosted a Snow Summit to assess both what worked well and what did not at the state — Virginia Department of Transportation — and county levels. The lessons learned from this summit will be invaluable not only for the next snow storm, but for any emergency.

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  • Cooperation among county agencies included the ability to redeploy resources, for example, the Fairfax County Park Authority.
  • While this snow summit is looking at all the snow storms this winter, for this presentation I will focus primarily on what is called “Snowmageddon” – the back-to-back snow storms we experienced in February of this year. Among the challenges…
  • Police officers and other county staff used chainsaws to clear roadways for residents , as well as for county personnel and vehicles. Because of the record breaking snow totals, travel was challenging , especially in the western areas of Fairfax County including Great Falls. Dominion Virginia Power cited their partnership with VDOT as invaluable allowing the coordination of efforts. Electrical outages The total number of Dominion Virginia Power customers affected in Northern Va. by the first storm beginning Feb 5 was 198,275. The second storm affected 23,300 Northern Va. customers at 350 work locations. Dominion Virginia Power had outages all over Northern Virginia but the hardest hit areas were McLean and Great Falls in Fairfax County.
  • Would like to point out that our public affairs office worked with the state Attorney General’s office and issued a news release about price gouging.
  • Restricting all residential parking during snow removal was not considered practical in 1996 and 2004. Enforcement is the major drawback. Police effort is directed at assisting VDOT with the primary plow routes. Little capability remains for enforcement and towing on residential streets. Another limitation is notification procedure. Signage on Snow Emergency Routes: County Code §82-5-3 requires signs to be placed not more than 5,000 feet apart in either direction. The Police Department Traffic Division is currently evaluating signage and coordinating with VDOT to ensure proper and adequate sign posting. We also are exploring increased, alternate means of notification to residents regarding snow emergency route laws. In 1988, the General Assembly adopted legislation authorizing any county in Northern Virginia planning District 8 to adopt an ordinance requiring property owners to shovel public sidewalks. The County Attorney’s office drafted amendments to the County Code, a draft ordinance and legal item, which were presented to the Board in closed session on Dec. 12, 1988. The ordinance was never adopted. In 1993, the Board asked again about a snow shoveling ordinance. No action has ever been taken. We need to remember that this is also a civic/public responsibility – as is the public’s responsibility to clear sidewalks.
  • These of course are not the only county agencies involved – there were numerous others such as Public Affairs, Information Technology, etc. I would like to note how well all of the agencies came together to work as one team to support the snow clearing efforts.
  • There are 180 county-owned facilities. Equipment and personnel used to provide snow removal at General County and Transportation facilities for the 7-day period starting on Friday, February 5, 2010. The county averaged 78 county employees per 12-hour shift over the duration of the event.   County Contract Personnel 550 29 Large plow truck 17 1 Small plow 19 7 Rubber Tired loaders/Backhoes 18 5 Snow Blower 20 1 Misc. Small Equipment 19 2 The peak of personnel usage was Feb. 10 to Feb. 11 while trying to get the county open on Friday, Feb. 12. EXAMPLES of Complexes Public Safety Center Complex consists of the Jennings Judicial Center, Adult Detention Center, Massey Building, Juvenile Detention Center/Less Secure Shelter, Old Jail, Police Annex, Old Courthouse, Burkholder Building and two parking garages. Government Center Complex consists of the Government Center, Herrity and Pennino buildings – including the parking garages, ponds and fountains – and Fire Station 40. The PSTOC Complex consists of the McConnell PSTOC, Bus Operations Center, Police Forensics Facility, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) facilities and Virginia State Police Division 7 headquarters.
  • During snowfall, DPWES works to have passable travel lanes at all 54 priority 1 sites, handicapped parking at priority 1 sites and to clear critical walkways at priority 1 sites. After the snow has ended, DPWES works for total site cleanup of all sites in priority order along with phase 2 and 3 walkways for all building complexes. * These priority sites have been adopted by the Board of Supervisors .
  • In addition, the Fire & Rescue Department, just for the period February 6-8, 2010, handled a total of 1,482 calls. EMS Suppression Public Service Total Saturday (2/6) 243 210 213 666 Sunday (2/8) 240 110 106 456 Monday (2/9) 208 84 78 370 Total 691 404 397 1482 ** Normal average daily call volume (based on 2008 & 2009 data) for Fire & Rescue: EMS – 180 Suppression – 60 Public Service – 20 February’s numbers were substantially larger than normal.
  • At this point, the county has identified over $10 million in costs, including costs for the Fairfax County Public Schools, for the three major snow storms – December 2009 and the two in February 2010. Costs include personnel, materials and equipment, and contracts such as contract snow removal for School properties. Fairfax County is eligible to submit costs to the FEMA Public Assistance Program for the December storm; still waiting, however, for a Presidential declaration to authorize expenses for February . Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has requested federal disaster assistance to reimburse state and local governments for costs associated with the severe winter storms that occurred Feb. 5-6 and Feb. 9-10. The Governor has requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse state agencies and 26 localities for damage to public infrastructure, debris removal, related emergency services and snow removal costs. These above costs do NOT include any damages to county facilities, such as volunteer Fire Station #10. Estimated county government damages (from FMD) from February snow include: $60,000 – gutters $75,000 – fencing $18,000 – miscellaneous roof damage
  • When we look at planning, two items need mentioning – that agencies conducted their own agency-specific planning sessions and in addition, the county held an all-agencies pre-event meeting that included a briefing from the National Weather Service, an update on emergency management operations, communications and other countywide planning considerations for the upcoming storm.
  • County communications – internal & external – while mentioned earlier was also noted by many county agencies as a planning success. Other keys that worked well was the flexibility of agency snow plans and the early declaration of a local emergency – and a state emergency – which allowed resources to be allocated.
  • WebEOC is the incident management software system used by the county and the region.
  • Logistics includes service and support, supplies, equipment, personnel and other resources needed in the response to the snow storms.
  • The use of “single point resourcing” – something that occurs through the use of ICS in the Emergency Operations Center – will also help in the future with events of this nature.
  • The availability of skilled equipment operator staff from DPWES to operate plows, and an expandable labor staff from multiple agencies – Wastewater, Solid Waste, Stormwater, Facilities Management, the Sheriff’s Community Labor Force and the availability of contract resources – was key in the county’s efforts to clear walkways.
  • Agencies provided staff to the EOC who worked well together to provide coordination of county resources. An example would be the damage assessment teams . What worked with this effort was the teaming of building inspectors with Fire Marshall staff and pre-positioning them at fire stations to respond quickly to structural damage calls. Structural evaluations were quickly conducted at Fire Station 10 and other fire stations as a result of the damages experienced at those facilities.  And staff was also available to assess possible shelter locations in advance of their opening. Volunteer Fairfax also staffed the volunteer position and coordinated 4 wheel drive vehicles for patients, medical staff and shelter staff. The EOC conducted 16 operational periods (12-hours each) – this is a record for Fairfax County. Real-time unification of staff resources at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC) was beneficial as staff were able to collaborate and respond.
  • Re: the need for shelters or warming centers… historically, shelters have been underutilized. Staff need to consider all options in the future to identify possible locations for shelter and what those types of facilities will be, whether they provide a place to get out of the elements or provide a greater level of service, such as food and bedding, to our residents.
  • Cooperation among county agencies included the ability to redeploy resources, for example, the Fairfax County Park Authority.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Snow Summit March 16, 2010  3:30 p.m. Fairfax County Board Auditorium
    • 2. Snow Summit
      • Key Lessons Learned
      • Pre-planning was essential.
      • Cooperation among county agencies proved invaluable.
      • Pre-positioning county vehicles/assets.
      • Need continued training – operationally at agency level and in ICS and the EOC.
      • Multiple partners involved in snow response. (county, state, non-profit, private sector, volunteer partners)
    • 3. Snow Summit
      • Challenges
      • Sheer volume of snowfall.
      • Record snowfall this winter.
    • 4. Snow Summit
      • Challenges
      • Roads impassable because of downed trees.
    • 5. Snow Summit
      • Challenges
      • Towing contracts – alleged price gouging during the storm.
    • 6. Snow Summit
      • Challenges
      • Vehicles parked in snow emergency routes.
      • Inadequate signage on snow routes.
      • Uncleared sidewalks.
    • 7. Snow Summit
      • Primary Fairfax County Agencies
      • Emergency Management
      • Fire and Rescue Department
      • Police Department
      • Sheriff’s Office
      • Public Works & Environmental Services
      • Public Safety Communications (9-1-1 Center)
      • Department of Transportation
      • Park Authority
      • Facilities Management Department
    • 8. Snow Summit
      • The Numbers
      • County snow removal from:
        • 118 county building complexes (Public Safety Center, Govt. Center, PSTOC)
        • 81 neighborhood roadways.
    • 9. Snow Summit
      • The Numbers
      • 54 “Priority 1” county sites*:
        • 13 Police Stations/Government Centers
        • 24 Fire Stations
        • 11 Mass Transit Facilities
        • Public Safety Center
        • McConnell PSTOC / West Ox Complex
        • Solid Waste and Wastewater Facilities
      • * as adopted by the Board of Supervisors
    • 10. Snow Summit
      • The Numbers
      • 28 “Priority 2” county sites:
        • 14 Health Centers/24-Hour Shelters
        • 14 Other Essential Facilities
      • 36 “Priority 3” county sites:
        • 20 Libraries
        • 16 Community Centers
    • 11. Snow Summit
      • The Numbers
      • 81 neighborhoods/roadways:
        • 43 county roads
        • 36 developer defaults
        • 2 other sites
    • 12. Snow Summit
      • Fairfax County Costs
      • December 2009 - $2.5 million (has been submitted to FEMA for reimbursement)
      • February 2010 - $8 million (waiting on Presidential declaration)
    • 13. Snow Summit
      • Fairfax County’s Response
      • Planning
      • Countywide pre-planning meeting.
      • Additional pre-storm agency planning.
    • 14. Snow Summit
      • Planning – What Worked
      • County communications.
      • Flexibility of snow plans (expandable).
      • Early declaration of an emergency by the county and the state allowed additional resources to be available.
    • 15. Snow Summit
      • Planning – Improvement Areas
      • Establish standing EOC teams with ongoing training, exercise the positions and the teams on a regular basis.
      • WebEOC.
    • 16. Snow Summit
      • Fairfax County’s Response
      • Logistics
      • The procurement, maintenance, distribution and replacement of personnel and material.
    • 17. Snow Summit
      • Logistics – What Worked
      • Agencies provided staff to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) who worked well together to provide coordination of county resources.
      • Effective partnerships among agencies led to efficient resource sharing.
    • 18. Snow Summit
      • Logistics – What Worked
      • Strategic deployment and staging of personnel to ensure sufficient staffing levels.
      • Specialty resources were diverted or acquired, such as National Guard vehicles/personnel.
    • 19. Snow Summit
      • Logistics – Improvement Areas
      • Site specific resources – approx. 1 plow for every 7 complexes.
      • Equipment’s ability to push extraordinary snow depths.
      • Staffed and equipped for typical 4” to 8” snow storm, not a 24”-plus blizzard.
    • 20. Snow Summit
      • Logistics – Improvement Areas
      • Staging and chemical storage.
      • Transporting essential personnel to county facilities.
      • Traveling to/from county facilities.
      • Age of equipment caused problems with machinery breaking and getting replacement parts.
    • 21. Snow Summit
      • Fairfax County’s Response
      • Operations
    • 22. Snow Summit
      • Operations – What Worked
      • County plowing operations.
      • Durability of equipment and vehicles.
      • Availability of staff from multiple agencies and contract resources.
    • 23. Snow Summit
      • Operations – What Worked
      • Timing of event – weekend snow with county closings.
      • Employee commitment, resiliency and morale.
    • 24. Snow Summit
      • Operations – What Worked
      • Good situational awareness with utility companies and great cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS).
      • Incident Command System (ICS) worked very well in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
      • MPSTOC unification / collaboration.
    • 25. Snow Summit
      • Operations – What Worked
      • Support from non-profit, private sector and volunteer partners.
      • Even with the county closed, essential services continued.
    • 26. Snow Summit
      • Operations – Improvement Areas
      • Signage for snow emergency routes.
      • Excessive vehicles parked in snow routes.
      • Identifying shelters and building code definitions.
      • Shelters or warming centers?
    • 27. Snow Summit
      • Key Lessons Learned
      • Pre-planning was essential.
      • Cooperation among county agencies proved invaluable.
      • Pre-positioning county vehicles/assets.
      • Need continued training – operationally at agency level and in ICS and the EOC.
      • Multiple partners involved in snow response. (county, state, non-profit, private sector, volunteer partners)
    • 28. Questions? Snow Summit, March 16, 2010

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