Drones Added to Arsenal of Fairfax County’s Public Safety Agencies

Fairfax County’s public safety agencies will begin using drones — technically called Unmanned Aircraft Systems — by early September.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday (May 21) to approve the program, which the county says will “provide an enhanced level of operational capability, safety and situational awareness.”

The county plans to purchase between six to eight devices, which cost $3,500 each. Costs are expected to be absorbed in the county’s existing budget.

The equipment will be used by the Office of Emergency Management, Fire and Rescue, Police and Sheriff in order to deliver “high-quality imagery, data and customized geospatial solutions,” according to the county.

The program will also be used to complete search and rescue, pre- and post-disaster damage assessment, crash reconstruction, and fire management.

County officials say the program will not be used to conduct random surveillance, target individuals solely based on individual characteristics or for personal business and other unauthorized uses.

The next three months will be spent setting up the program, certifying pilots and completing training. Drones will begin flying between late August and early September.

All pilots in the program must obtain a remote pilot certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Commission. A steering committee will be set up to oversee the program.

The county will also notify the public through Fairfax Alerts about missions and training flights.

The program was approved following the creation of a working group in May 2017 and a task force last year.

More information about the program is available online.

Photo by Jared Brashier

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Verizon Seeks New Lease for Fox Mill Fire Station’s Parking Lot

Verizon Wireless hopes to continue using a portion of Fox Mill Fire Station’s parking lot for a telecommunications facility.

The five-year lease, which could be extended for up to 25 years, would bring $30,000 to the county’s coffers in the lease’s first year. Annual payments would increase by 2.5 percent each year.

County officials do not expect that the company’s use of the parking lot will impact the station’s operations. The parking lot already has a monopole that was built by Cox Cable in the early 1980s.

The company built a fenced compound to store equipment needed to serve cable television subscribers and facilitate a relay station in the first responders’ emergency network.

In 1998, Verizon expanded Cox Cable’s compound by adding an additional 264 square feet. That lease ended last September.

Revenues collected from the lease would go to the county’s general fund.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the matter on Tuesday, May 21.

Map via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Demolition of Reston Fire Station To Begin in the Fall

The demolition of Reston Fire and Rescue Station 25 is set for the fall, bringing an end to the building that was built in the early 1970s.

Construction on the new fire station — Reston Fire and Rescue Station 25 (1820 Wiehle Avenue) — will begin later this year. The new facility is more than double the size of the current department, which officials said has long outlived its use.

Major redevelopment is planned around the fire station, which will have two levels and four drive-through bays with the capacity for adding more units in the future.

The county plans to work with the developer of Isaac Newtown Square, which is behind the fire station, to make sure the redevelopment project does not interfere with work planned at the fire station.

While the new station is under construction, fire and rescue personnel will be relocated to a temporary station at 1800 Cameron Glen Drive near the North County Government Center.

Site work and construction of the temporary facility, which consists of trailers and a large tent, is in progress, a spokesperson for the county’s fire department told Reston Now.

The project is expected to cost $14.8 million.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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Sewer Line Installation Prompts Bus Stop, Lane Closure in Reston

A construction company is installing sanitary sewers lines for the temporary station off of Cameron Glen Drive.

As a result, one lane of Town Center Parkway will be closed periodically starting on Thursday (May 16) for roughly two weeks.

Bus stop #3597 for the Fairfax Connector will be temporarily closed as well.

Riders should use bus stop #3596, which is south of Cameron Glen Drive behind the Reston District Police Station.

Plans for the new Reston Fire and Station 25 are in motion.

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Car Crashes Through Reston Home

A home on the 11300 block of Geddys Court was damaged Sunday night after a car crashed into it.

The car went through the garage, part of the home and into the backyard at around 6:23 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Crews assembled a vertical shore to stabilize the wall. No injuries were reported.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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Monday Morning Notes

“Babes in the Woods” — Parents can bring their toddlers up to 35 months of age for craft time and sing-alongs at the Walker Nature Center. Tickets cost $7 for Restonians and $9 for non-residents. [WebTrac]

Target increases paychecks — “Target workers in Reston are about to see their paychecks go up. The retail giant announced Thursday that all of its workers will make at least $13 an hour beginning in June as part of its commitment to have a $15 minimum hourly wage by 2020.” [Reston Patch]

Screen safety PSA — The fire department wants residents to remember that screens keep bugs out but won’t keep the kids in. “Screens DO NOT prevent children from falling out. Windows must operate easily for emergency exits in case of fire, but should be made ‘childproof'” — which the fire department has tips about. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Auditing action — “Some places in America are significantly more likely to get audited by the IRS than others. Unfortunately, Reston is one of them. That’s according to a new interactive map created by the folks at Pro Publica… According to the map, an estimated 7.9 per 1,000 filings in Fairfax County were audited.” [Reston Patch]

Restonian tried to get gun past TSA — “Federal security officers spotted an unloaded 9 mm handgun in a [Reston] man’s carry-on bag at a Baltimore Washington International Airport security checkpoint April 5… The gun owned by a Reston man was not loaded and was spotted in the checkpoint X-ray machine. Maryland Transportation Authority Police confiscated the gun and arrested him on a state weapons charge.” [Reston Patch]

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National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning

The National Weather Service has issued a warning indicating critical fire weather conditions for Fairfax County and the D.C.-area today (April 3).

The Red Flag Warning is in effect from noon-8 p.m.

More from NWS:

…RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES FOR NORTHERN VIRGINIA… EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA AND NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MARYLAND…

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a Red Flag Warning for strong winds and low humidities, which is in effect from noon today to 8 PM EDT this evening.

* WINDS…West 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.

* IMPACTS…Gusty winds and very dry air will create conditions that may promote the rapid spread of wildfires. Prescribed burns may get out of control. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

* HUMIDITY…20 to 25 percent.

* FUEL MOISTURE… Less than 8 percent.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Reston is expected to hit a high of 65 degrees today with sunny weather and winds around 17 miles per hour, forecasters say.

A combination of strong winds (15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph), low relative humidity and warm temperatures may help fires spread rapidly, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wrote in a post. The fire department is using the Red Flag Warning as an opportunity to remind residents that improperly discard cigarettes are a fire hazard.

File photo 

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Monday Morning Notes

Car crash update — On Friday (March 20), “units responded to a car crash on Lawyers Road and Pegasus Lane in Reston area. Crews arrived to find two people trapped. Units were able to quickly work to free them. Both transported to area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Yoga among the books — From 5:30-6:30 p.m., adults can do yoga at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. [Fairfax County]

Parks and Rec meeting — The Reston Association’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will meet from 6:30-8:30 at RA headquarters. [WebTrac]

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Fire Now Out at Home Near Fox Mill Elementary School

(Updated at 12:35 p.m. on April 1) Firefighters are “hitting hot spots” at a now-out fire in a home by the Fox Mill Elementary School.

The fire in the garage extended to the attic, according to tweets from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. The fire broke out at a two-story single family home in the 12700 block of Bradwell Road around 4:30 p.m.

A neighbor alerted the three people inside the home to the fire within the attached garage, the fire department said. “Working smoke alarms were present, however, it is unknown if they activated due to the location of the fire,” a post from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said. The three people were taken to a nearby hospital for a check-up according to the fire department.

The three people accepted the Red Cross’s assistance.

Fire investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire, which caused $107,500 worth of damages.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter, map via Google Maps 

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston fire earlier today — Updated at 2:15 p.m. — Firefighters were on the scene of house fire in 2500 block of Freetown Drive around 2 a.m. The fire is now out. “Two occupants were home at [the] time. Fire in wall, quickly extinguished. Fire accidental. Cause: electrical event within [the] main electrical panel in [the] basement. No civilian or firefighter injuries. Damages: $5,000.” [Fairfax Fire and Rescue]

Development finds financing — “Rooney Properties secured $29.1M in preferred equity from Parse Capital for the 407-unit Faraday Park development… The project, branded as Faraday, will consist of two seven-story multifamily buildings with 10K SF of ground-floor retail at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive in Reston.” [Bisnow]

Playdate Cafe — The Great Falls Library is hosting a playdate from 10 a.m.-noon for kids under the age of 5 accompanied by an adult. [Fairfax County]

Photo courtesy Adam Smith

 

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After Firefighters Help with Delivery, Baby’s First Birthday Party Held at Fire Station

Happy birthday to 1-year-old Lauryn, who local firefighters and paramedics in Reston helped deliver last year.

Last year, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue members from Station 39 B-Shift in North Point received a call to help deliver a baby girl at a local home shortly before 11 p.m.

After the birth, the mother and baby were transported to an area hospital, and the paramedics and firefighters continued working for the rest of the night.

Fast forward one year later and the family of baby Lauryn reached out to the members from Station 39 to join in the birthday celebration.

The birthday bash included a “Happy First Birthday Lauryn” sign outside the fire station, two cakes with one of them shaped like a miniature fire truck, balloons and a photo shoot with Lauryn and mom by a fire truck.

“Cake, balloons and Lauryn’s big sister, who was a big help during the delivery, were all part of the celebration,” the fire department posted.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue 

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Fire Department Touts Benefits of Sprinklers After Herndon Fire Doused

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wants to remind locals that fire sprinklers can help save lives and decrease damage when a fire breaks out.

The fire department has been highlighting how firefighters recently responded to a call and found a dryer fire in a Herndon apartment doused by sprinklers.

The fire broke out on Sunday (March 10) in a four-story apartment building in the 2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle in Herndon. The one person who was home at the time of the fire was not injured, the fire department said.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said the fire caused about $500 in damages.

The fire department has been sharing the story of how the sprinklers calmed the fire, along with a U.S. Fire Administration video that details the multiple benefits of sprinkles.

The video says sprinklers:

  • reduce fire damage by 97 percent
  • increase the chance of survival by 82 percent
  • give people more time to escape
  • help keep firefighters safe

The video also includes an example of how sprinkles manage fires and highlights that insurance discounts may also be available.

Image via Google Maps

 

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Check your smoke alarm — When you move your clocks forward by one hour on Sunday, the fire department wants you to also check to make sure that your smoke alarm is working with these tips and tricks. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Spring Flea Market — Missed the flea market? This recap shares locals’ reactions and experiences at the event last weekend. [Connection Newspapers]

Herndon, Fairfax companies join — “On the heels of a promising earnings report, ManTech International Corp. announced an agreement Friday to acquire Kforce Government Solutions Inc. for $115 million — expanding its federal civilian services portfolio… The acquisition adds more than 500 KGS employees, who are mostly based in Greater Washington and Austin, Texas, to ManTech’s 7,800-person team.” [Washington Business Journal]

Grow with Google — Attend free workshops and one-on-one coaching focused on digital skills, job searching and small business growth and marketing tools today at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. The all-day event is in partnership with Google. [Fairfax County]

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Wednesday Morning Notes

It’s snow joke — Heavy snow can be a health risk. The fire department has safety tips for shoveling snow. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Blockchain investment — “Fairfax County Retirement Systems has released details about its investment in a blockchain fund, seemingly to quell fears about the Virginia municipality’s two pension funds taking on exposure to cryptocurrency.” [CoinDesk]

Profile of a Restonian — “A Reston native and 2008 McLean High School graduate is serving at the U.S. Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific (NSTCP) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.” The Fairfax County Times profiled Lt. Michael Hughes, who is a Navy submarine officer within the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. [Fairfax County Times]

County chair contender — Alicia Plerhoples announced on Friday that she suspended her Fairfax County School Board campaign to run for the Board of Supervisors’ chair instead. [Mailchimp]

Clarabridge nears revenue goal — “In the two years since the veteran software executive took over as the third CEO of the Reston company, [CEO Mark Bishof] has reorganized the workforce, reached profitability and topped $80 million in revenue on the way to $100 million — buoyed by what he said is the recent strength in the customer experience industry.” [Washington Business Journal]

Theatre nabs nominations — Herndon’s NextStop Theatre Company received two Helen Hayes nominations — the James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Jacob Yeh in “East of Eden” and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for Mary Myers in “45 Plays for 45 Presidents.” [Washington Theatre Guide]

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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