Board Candidates Debate, Find Agreement — Updated at 12:30 p.m. — The four candidates for Arlington County Board participated in a candidates forum organized by the Arlington Forest Civic Association last night. The candidates found agreement on two notable issue: affordable housing shouldn’t be built on parkland — or, at least, certain parkland — and county property taxes shouldn’t be raised at this time. [Washington Post]
JPod Meeting on the Pike — The man behind a proposal to bring a monorail-like pod transportation system to Columbia Pike made his case to residents and to County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada at the Walter Reed Community Center last night. There are still several potential deal-breaking questions about the feasibility of the proposal. [InsideNova]
Teachers Training on Digital Devices — Arlington Public Schools continues to train teachers and educate parents about the use of digital devices like iPads and MacBooks in schools. APS is continuing its rollout of “personalized” devices, with the goal of each student having their own device. [Arlington Public Schools]
Exercise Helped Real-World Response at VHC — Arlington County says that an emergency response exercise at Virginia Hospital Center two years ago greatly helped the real-world response to a fire at the hospital last week. Evacuations of patients went smoothly and no one was hurt. [Arlington County]
GOP Presidential Candidate in Arlington Today — Long-shot Republican presidential candidate and former New York governor George Pataki will be speaking at George Mason University’s Arlington campus this afternoon. The speech on domestic and foreign policy is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at GMU’s Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive).
Another South Arlington School Site Identified — A county working group is continuing its effort to identify a preferred site for a new elementary school in South Arlington, to be built by 2019, but in the meantime the group has identified a potential future school site. The South Arlington Working Group says a school could be built by 2024 on parcels of land that currently include the Aurora Hills Community Center, Virginia Highlands Park and a portion of the RiverHouse apartment complex. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
From 8:30 a.m. until around noon, the simulation will test the airport’s emergency response teams. Airport and airline staff, hospital staff and other emergency personnel will receive hands-on training during the aircraft accident simulation.
Emergency personnel will perform the exercise in the secured airfield operations section of the airport, so normal passenger flights will not be affected.
Staff will respond as if the simulation is a real emergency, including using sirens and firefighting equipment. To add realism to the simulation, a training aircraft will be ignited, boats will deploy, helicopters will respond and nearly 150 volunteers will play patients who need to be rescued from a U.S. Airways aircraft and transported to the hospital.
Some parts of the exercise might be seen or heard from areas near the airport, such as Route 1, George Washington Memorial Parkway, I-395 and along the Potomac River.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training instructs attendees on how to respond when an emergency occurs. The skills learned can be used in a variety of situations that could occur at home — including fires and medical emergencies — as well as community situations — such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes and tornadoes.
More than 600 Arlington residents have completed the training, and they are sometimes called upon by the county to assist when emergencies occur — like during last summer’s derecho storm.
Two fall sessions will be available, one beginning on September 12 and another on September 17. Each session includes eight classes. There is limited space and advanced registration is required by sending an email to [email protected]
The classes are open to Arlington residents and those who work in the county but reside elsewhere. Participants must be at least 18 years of age, or 16 if accompanied by a parent. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and Office of Emergency Management staff, along with CERT members.
Street Lighting Complaints Continue — At its meeting on Saturday, the County Board addressed the complaints it continues to receive over the new LED streetlights being installed throughout the county. The Board has heard a number of types of complaints, including the lights casting a harsh glow and being too bright. County Manager Barbara Donnellan acknowledged the complaints but didn’t have any immediate solutions. She said the new lights save a lot of money. [Sun Gazette]
Red Truck Bakery Profile — Earlier this month, web magazine Slate — a division of the Washington Post Company — profiled Arlington resident Brian Noyes, the founder of Red Truck Bakery. Noyes restored a Cherrydale farmhouse and began his bakery business there while still working for Smithsonian magazine. He began in 2009 by selling goods out of the back of a 1954 Ford pickup truck and eventually found a brick and mortar location to work in Warrenton. Noyes, who has baked treats for the likes of President Obama, plans to open a new location in The Plains soon. [Slate]
NORAD Exercise Tonight — Arlington residents may hear unusual noises tonight as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducts training exercises. The training flights are designed to hone NORAD operations and to test its systems and personnel. The flights are scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. and run through 5:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday). [U.S. Department of Defense]
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder
From fires to health scares to severe storms, emergencies can occur at any time and being prepared is key. Arlington County is offering free classes to train residents how to help themselves and others if an emergency occurs.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training began 10 years ago in Arlington and 575 residents have completed the program in that time. The hands-on training covers topics such as disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, fire suppression and terrorism.
One example of what CERT members do was evident last June during the derecho. Members assisted the community in various capacities immediately following the storm, often as points of contact when calls weren’t getting through to 911.
“We had people strategically posted at fire stations to dispatch the right help to where it was needed,” said Arlington County Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown. “The community response teams, CERT, they really stepped up to the plate.”
There are two training sessions scheduled for next month, one beginning on March 7 and the other on March 12. Each session includes eight classes which will meet on six weeknights and two Saturdays. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and Office of Emergency Management staff, as well as active duty CERT members.
Advance registration is required to participate in the classes, and there are still some spots left for the March training. Those interested should email the program’s volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at [email protected] Participants must be Arlington residents who are at least 18 years old.
The exercise is expected to involve officers using paintball guns and flash grenades. Residents in the area should expect some loud noises and the presence of numerous police vehicles.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s (ACPD) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team will be conducting a training exercise at 3963 N. 26th Street on Tuesday, October 23rd between 6:00 am – 3:00pm. The purpose of the training is to simulate real life situation and a coordinated response in your neighborhood.
There will be no live ammunition used in this exercise. However, realistic looking training weapons that shoot paint projectiles will be utilized. Noise flash diversionary devices may also be utilized during this exercise. These devices will make considerable noise but do not dispense any munitions. The noise may be upsetting to small children, pets or those with sensitive hearing. If someone in your household falls into one of those categories we ask you take precautions you believe are appropriate.
Numerous Police vehicles will be parked in the area. These vehicles will not block any driveways or the right of way on the road. Should a vehicle need to be relocated because it is blocking your access, please contact one of the on-scene control officers for assistance. The control officers can be identified by the bright yellow traffic control vests they will be wearing.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Realistic training is critical to enhancing our capabilities to serve and protect you to the best of our ability. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A couple of training exercises will be taking place in Arlington today and tomorrow.
An Arlington County Police Department training exercise has been ongoing since 6:00 a.m. in the 3900 block of N. 26th Street. Explosive Ordnance Disposal units will join the SWAT team for the joint training exercise. It will continue until about 3:00 p.m. today and isn’t expected to cause much disruption to residents.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), neighbors around Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH) might hear some noise during a “force protection” exercise from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. There will be real and simulated training responses for personnel there, including lockdowns and gate closures. There may also be sirens, blank cannon fire and simulated emergency announcements on the outdoor speaker system.
A number of first responder units, including police and firefighters, will be on base for the training. Residents should not be alarmed at seeing this large emergency presence, or any of the personnel who may be wearing makeup to simulate wounds.
The FBI is conducting a training exercise on the 4400 block of 16th Street N., in Waverly Hills, until about 4:00 p.m., according to an Arlington Alert.
The exercise inadvertently drew a large police response to the area when a 911 caller reported seeing a man dressed in camouflage with an assault rifle strapped to his back near Glebe Elementary School. Police searched the area and eventually discovered the training exercise, according to scanner traffic.
Military training exercises will be taking place at the National Guard center throughout the day. As part of the drill, residents — especially those in the Barcroft and Alcova Heights neighborhoods — may notice a helicopter landing and taking off in the field at Arlington Hall West Park around 11:00 a.m. and again at 3:25 p.m. Park visitors are advised to avoid the area around these times.
Police officers and firefighters will be in the area to provide assistance as necessary. There are no traffic disruptions or noises expected during the training exercise, other than the helicopter, we’re told.
The Arlington County Fire Department and numerous other local fire departments are participating in a month-and-a-half-long study in Crystal City that could help save lives.
The “Fire Fighter Safety and Deployment Study,” organized and funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), is putting real-world firefighters in realistic firefighting simulations in a vacant Crystal City high rise. The goal of the study is to determine how firefighters can be most safely and effectively deployed in the event of a fire in a high rise building.
Among the fire departments participating in the study are Arlington, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Howard County, the District of Columbia, Fairfax County, Fairfax city, Prince William County, Manassas, Manassas Park, Stafford County, and Baltimore city. Representatives from fire departments in Detroit, Chicago and New York City are also on hand.
On days when the study is being conducted (most weekdays between now and July 13), workers and residents can see the various agencies represented in the long line of fire trucks parked along 23rd Street. Between 25 and 30 Arlington fire personnel participate on study days, according to Capt. Chuck Kramaric, ACFD’s liaison to the study. ACFD is providing firefighters and logistical support to the study.
On Tuesday, Arlington’s latest fire recruit class was among the participants. Firefighters were asked to strap on portable heart rate monitors and all their firefighting gear, and — in crews of 3, 4, 5 or 6 — climb the stairs to the tenth floor of the vacant building. There, study organizers had set up makeshift plywood cubicles, placed a 130 pound victim dummy in one of the cubicles, filled the floor with dark theatrical smoke, and set up fire simulation displays in different parts of the floor.
Acting on instructions given by organizers during a briefing that morning, firefighters lugged a heavy, sand-filled hose (meant to simulate the weight of a hose filled with water) through the smoke-filled floor, “extinguished” the simulated fires, and located the simulated victim. The entire exercise was monitored and timed by NIST personnel.
In the end, study organizers hope to use the data collected to make suggestions to local fire chiefs and policy makers regarding the optimal number of firefighters needed to tackle high rise fires. Even though modern high rise buildings are, by law, equipped with sprinklers and other fire suppression systems, Kramaric said the recommendations from the study could be especially helpful for fires in older buildings.
“There are so many old mid-rise buildings without the modern systems in them… that’s where this is going to be beneficial,” he said. “This is a pretty big deal for the fire fighting community.”
Kramaric also noted that fires can still get out of hand in modern high rises in certain situations, like during construction, renovation and demolition. In August 2007, two New York City firefighters died during a fire in the Deutsche Bank building, which had been damaged during 9/11.
The exercise will be held from 4:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, and will “assess the response of Arlington County’s public safety agencies in a simulated active shooter emergency incident.”
“The public should be advised that there could potentially be some temporary traffic delays as emergency equipment is positioned,” the police department said in a press release. “There will be a large number of public safety vehicles in the area of The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and several parking lots along Army Navy Drive in close proximity to the mall. The exercise participants will not be activating their emergency lights or sirens at any time during the training.”
The mall will be opening for normal shopping hours after the exercise.
Residents in Virginia Square and Ashton Heights may see more police presence in the neighborhood tomorrow. The Arlington County Police Department advises residents not to be concerned, because it’s only a training exercise.
Law enforcement officers will be performing the training exercise in Oakland Park, which is located at the corner of Wilson Blvd and Oakland St. It’s slated to run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Residents who park in the area are advised to pay extra attention to signs on parking meters during that time. Many meters around the park will be designated for use only by those participating in the training.
Several readers contacted ARLnow.com this morning about activity in the Waverly Hills neighborhood. A number of people dressed in FBI gear were spotted at a house near N. 16th St and Glebe Rd.
There’s no need to worry, though. Neighbors report it appears the FBI was using the private residence for a training exercise.
Photo courtesy of Lucy Brookover
Don’t be surprised if you hear what sounds like gunshots near the Pentagon this weekend. The Pentagon’s police agency is planning to conduct a “live fire calibration test” between 6:00 a.m. and noon on Sunday.
From a Pentagon Force Protection Agency press release:
On Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, a live fire calibration test will be conducted by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency between 6 a.m. and noon. If severe weather is predicted, the test will be conducted during the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 10.
Pedestrians near the area during the testing may hear firearm discharges and see testing facilitators with yellow safety vests. All activities have been coordinated with the Pentagon building safety office, security personnel, and neighboring jurisdictions. Safety during the test is a priority, and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency will be restricting vehicle and pedestrian access to certain locations around the South Parking Lot during this time.
If any individual or activity looks suspicious, please call 703-697-5555 immediately.
It may be a long night if you’re a light sleeper. Two separate training exercises are threatening to make some noise in the Arlington area during the wee hours of the morning.
First, a “series of training flights” is planned between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m.
In a series of training flights held in coordination with the FAA, an exercise will take place between 3 and 5 a.m. Wednesday morning in the National Capital Region. Depending on flight patterns some Arlington residents may be affected.
Then, the Presidential Salute Battery will once again be conducting cannon firing drills in Arlington National Cemetery, starting at 6:30 a.m.
The Presidential Salute Battery will be conducting firing drills in Arlington National Cemetery June 15 from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. The training is being conducted before the cemetery opens to not interfere with ongoing memorial services. This training ensures the unit maintains the highest level of ceremonial proficiency necessary to render proper honors to our nation’s fallen servicemembers and veterans.