Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Oct. 20, 2010
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Oct. 20, 2010. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about the wildland fire season in Virginia, winter car maintenance, candle safety and the Office of Emergency Management emergency preparedness newsletter. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
The wildland fire season in Virginia began Friday, Oct. 15, and continues through Nov. 30. More than 95 percent of Virginia’s wildland fires are preventable. Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry remind residents to be careful with outdoor fire any time of year but especially during the fall and spring seasons when the risk of a fire escaping is greatest. In addition to taking safety precautions to prevent a campfire or hot ashes from a woodstove or fireplace from escaping and becoming a wildland fire, motorists also should avoid parking their vehicles in piles of dry leaves.
- Many traditional fall chores also can reduce the risk of fire damaging a home:
- Clear roof and gutters of leaves, pine needles and any branches.
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet from the house.
- Rake dead leaves and clear dead branches from around the house. On flat ground the cleared area should be at least 30 feet in all directions. If you live on a slope more raking will be needed, especially down hill from the house.
- If you have a gas or propane tank, be sure to rake dead leaves, pine needles and small branches away from it.
- Trim all tree branches if they overhang your house and all tree branches from within 20 feet of all chimneys.
- Put a hose – 100 feet or longer– on a rack and attach it to an outside faucet.
More information is available at www.dof.virginia.gov.
Cars and trucks have become so reliable that it's easy to overlook routine maintenance. But with colder weather creeping in, this is a good time to make sure your car is set for the coming winter. The checklist should include antifreeze, windshield wiper blades and tire treads. It's also a good idea to review how to jump-start a car with a dead battery. And putting on a coat of wax will protect the finish from sand and salt. A well-maintained car not only looks and runs better, it can actually prevent accidents. Each year, there are more than 37,000 fatal highway accidents, almost 60 percent of them involving just one vehicle. Experts say poor maintenance contributes to many of these accidents.
These are more facts are online from the U.S. Census Bureau at www.census.gov.
A recent fire was attributed to the use of candles, and with cooler weather upon us, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department offers candle safety tips:
- Place all candles on a protected, heat resistant, dry surface away from anything that can catch fire and out of the reach of children and pets.
- Place candles on a flat, sturdy surface.
- Never leave children unattended in a room with an open flame candle.
- Do not place candles on window ledges or near entryways. An air draft can fan the flame, catching curtains or other materials on fire.
- Keep burning candles within sight at all times. Candles can present fire hazards outdoors on decks and patios as well as inside your home.
- Always extinguish candles before leaving home.
More information is online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.
Finally, the October edition of the emergency preparedness newsletter, produced by the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is now available online. The newsletter is available as both a PDF, as well as a screen reader accessible Word document. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem for the newsletter. Call the Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000 for more details.
That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.