WASHINGTON, DC – On the one year anniversary of the snow and ice storm that triggered widespread, many hours-long traffic gridlock during the evening commute, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is reminding D.C. area residents to be prepared for emergencies and sign up for alerts from local governments and transportation agencies. To do this, COG recommends visiting the recently launched CapitalRegionUpdates.gov web site, a “one-stop shop” with guidance and information during emergencies.
At Capital Region Updates, residents can sign up to get emergency text alerts and view real-time news from their local governments through a regional news feed as well as traffic and transit information. During a regional emergency, the site will feature incident updates and regional officials’ recommendations on what to do. The site also has localized weather from the National Weather Service and tips on how to prepare for emergencies.
Capital Region Updates, which was established by Fairfax County for the entire region, is one of several improvements made by regional officials since the 2011 storm.
- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has updated its employee release policies.
- The region is creating a program with highly trained, regionally focused staff to ensure that area officials better coordinate decisions before and during major incidents. The D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency is hosting this program on an interim basis at its 24/7 Emergency Operations Center.
- In advance of this 2011-2012 winter season, local governments have been sharing with their residents the common message to “Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.”
In the wake of the January 2011 storm, COG created a Steering Committee on Incident Management and Response. The Committee’s final report, released in November 2011, made several recommendations to improve the region’s response to future emergencies.