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Ready Arlington: A New Chapter in Emergency Management

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This biweekly column is written and sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

Less than 24 hours into his temporary assignment as the Emergency Management Coordinator, Captain Mark Penn watched one, then two planes fly into the World Trade Center.

Still unsure of his new role, he headed to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) planning to keep County Leadership informed of events. As he drove up Columbia Pike, he looked up to see Flight 77 pass overhead on its collision course into the Pentagon.

Pentagon on 9/11 (photo via Arlington OEM)A New Chapter in Emergency Management

Little did he know it as he opened the EOC that day, but Penn was starting a new chapter in emergency management for Arlington County. In 2001, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) hadn’t been formed. This wouldn’t be done until 2004, after extensive research by County Leadership. The Emergency Communication Center (9-1-1) was still part of the Police Department; it wouldn’t come under OEM management until 2004.

In 2001, emergency management was still one position in the fire department, primarily focused on preparing responders.

Emergency Management: Coordinating the Response Behind the Scenes

Pentagon on 9/11 (photo via Arlington OEM)While Public Safety personnel coordinated operations at the Pentagon, Penn’s initial hours, and next 21 days, were consumed in the EOC, supporting the responders.

Over 3,000 responders were working at the Pentagon, each requiring security clearance to do their job, as well as food, housing and communication with family members. Resources had to be requested and moved immediately cross-country, all while airspace was closed. A local emergency had to be declared.  The EOC worked behind-the-scenes to make sure the response went smoothly.

You Can’t See Us, But We’re Still Here!

Following 9/11, Penn’s “temporary” assignment was extended until 2004 as the Office of Emergency Management was developed. Today, OEM has grown from 1-84, including Emergency Management and Emergency Communication Center (9-1-1) staff.

And much of our work remains the same: behind-the-scenes support during a response.  During this winter’s “Snowzilla” our office opened the Emergency Operation Center and coordinated with public safety, health, transportation, finance and communication partners, as well as County Leadership and state and regional partners.

Moving Forward: A New Approach

Today, our focus on emergency preparedness includes all of Arlington County: both our response partners and residents. We continually plan and train with our partners to prepare for potential emergencies. Resident engagement and preparedness has also become a priority. The Active Shooter Awareness and Preparedness training program is an example of this.

Challenges still remain. As time fades from events like the 9/11 attacks, people become complacent.

However, September is National Preparedness Month, and the perfect time to get prepared! Complete item from below during September (or, be a Preparedness Champion and tackle one per month through December!).

  1. Register for ArlingtonAlert.com.
  2. Have at least 3 days of emergency supplies for your family at home.
  3. Develop a Family Communication Plan – try using ReadyNOVA.org‘s tool.
  4. Make a go-bag with essential items – for your home, car and work.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

Spend the first Sunday of March tasting a great wine selection at Arrowine’s Super Sunday Tasting!

Workers lowered signage today (Friday) from the now-former Giant supermarket in the Lyon Village Shopping Center. Several passersby watched with interest as the team unscrewed the letters G-I-A-N-T from the…

New properties just listed in Arlington include a 3 BD/3 BA home with an expanded kitchen, fireplace and two lower levels.

March General Membership Meeting

NAACP Arlington Branch is celebrating Women’s History Month with a virtual public safety and Virginia legislative update. Our speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Delegate Adele McClure.

Guest Speakers

Adele McClure
Virginia House of Delegates, 2nd District in Arlington

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Early Years Preschool is a small non-profit preschool and parents day out program that has served local families since 1992. Early Years Preschool is located in the Cherrydale neighborhood at 3701 Lorcom Lane.

Early Years Preschool offers part-time programs for young children between 12 months – 5 years old. Early Years also offers a 6 week summer program! The school day is 9:30-2:30, with the option of morning extended day offered at 9am. Families have the flexibility of registering for 1-3 days/week in their parent’s day out program (12 months- 2 year olds) and 2-5 days/week for their preschool program (3-5 year olds).

Early Years’ teachers provide a nurturing environment that promotes the development of a child’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical skills. Creative and stimulating theme-based activities allow each child to develop and learn at his or her own pace through exploration and play.

Learn more about Early Years Preschool by contacting the admissions team at [email protected] or by visiting their website at http://www.earlyyearspreschool.org

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Renegade Mode

Having worked with the likes of Gary Numan, DJ Neidermeyer lends authenticity a go-go. Enough to satisfy even the purists.

The Renegade boasts all of the virtues of Arlington’s premier music venues while providing bar bites that rival most restaurants

Self-led Decision Making – An IFS Approach

Whenever we feel indecisive, it’s usually because different parts of ourselves see things differently and are motivated by different priorities and concerns. In fact, it’s usually the friction between these different “camps” that makes us feel stuck.

We can mediate

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