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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Office of Emergency Management
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Page updated Dec 23, 2014 8:19 PM

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Emergency Preparedness

In a life-threatening emergency, call 911  

Build a Kit, Make a Plan, and Stay Informed

These are the three most important steps you can take to prepare you and your family members for any emergency:   

Building a Kit 

Making a Plan  

Staying Informed 

    • eNews Alert Messages
      The City's eNews service lets you sign up to receive vital emergency alerts and information on more than 100 topics. Alerts and messages can be sent directly to your email account, cell phone, or pager. Don't miss out on important news and emergency alerts. Sign up for eNews today! 
    • City Weather Emergency Web Page:
      For the latest information on a specific weather-related emergency situation, please visit
    • Twitter & Facebook
      Follow the City of Alexandria on Twitter or become a fan of the City's Facebook page to get timely information about City events, emergencies, programs, services, and more.
    • National Capital Region Updates  
    • Alexandria Weather  
    • Wireless Emergency Alerts
      Find out what they are and when you might receive them. 

Podcast: Emergency Preparedness: Find Out What You Need to Know [Kim Purcell from the City's Office of Emergency Management discusses how you and your family can be prepared for a variety of emergencies, from a natural disaster to pandemic flu.] 

Protective Actions

Depending on the type of emergency affecting the City of Alexandria, emergency officials could advise people to either evacuate or shelter in place. 

  • Evacuation - Certain emergencies, such as fires, chemical spills, or natural gas leaks could require public safety officials to evacuate a building, a city block, or a portion of the city.  A full scale evacuation of the entire city is not likely.   
  • Shelter in Place - The best protective action for many hazard scenarios is to shelter in place.  This means to take immediate shelter where you are - at home, work, school, or in between.  In a scenario involving chemical or radiological contaminants, emergency officials may further instruct you to take steps to prevent outside air from coming in.

It is important to listen to radio or television (or on-scene emergency officials) to understand whether the authorities wish you to evacuate, shelter in place, or take additional steps to protect yourself and your family.    

Disaster Assistance

When a major disaster strikes there are a number of Federal Disaster Assistance Programs that might be available to you.  For information about these program visit

Hazard Specific Information

 Get Involved

Learn how you can become a trained volunteer and help respond during an emergency. Volunteers are needed to assist with medical response, public safety, emergency planning, and disaster readiness in the community.

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training provide citizens with a mechanism to increase neighborhood disaster readiness and support first responders during emergencies and disasters. Training is provided in how to assess damage after a disaster, extinguish small fires, perform light search and rescue, triage and provide first aid, and provide much needed assistance in times of crisis. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders by providing immediate assistance to victims and organizing spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also participate in non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.
  • Alexandria Medical Reserve Corp is a group of volunteers that includes individuals with medical training and experience as well as individuals from a wide range of non-medical backgrounds. The MRC's local mission is to strengthen the health emergency preparedness and response of the people in Alexandria, and to develop a Corps of medical and non-medical volunteers to respond as needed to such emergencies. MRC volunteer activities range from community preparedness to assisting in a variety of settings if a natural or terrorist-caused health emergency occurs.
  • Volunteers in Police Service program allows citizens who wish to donate their time and talents to the Police department to assist with administrative and operations support duties, thus allowing officers to spend more time on law enforcement and crime prevention activities.
  • Volunteer Alexandria  is for a comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities in Alexandria, and for assistance in fulfilling court-mandated community service requirements.
  • The Alexandria Neighborhood Watch Program, operated by the Alexandria Police Department, assists any group wishing to organize a Neighborhood Watch Program.

Local and Regional Plans