Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: May 18, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for May 18, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about grilling safety and fraudulent activity related to relief operations and funding for victims of the Southern tornadoes and flooding. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
As the grilling – or barbeque season – arrives, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reminds residents that grill fires cause an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss each year nationwide. Almost half of grill fires on residential properties occur from 5 to 8 p.m.; 32 percent of all grill fires occur in May, June, July and August. Grills, hibachis and barbeques on residential properties continue to be a high fire risk and, on average, result in more injuries and slightly higher dollar losses when compared to all other fires. It is crucial that each person diligently practice fire safety when cooking or grilling outside. The Fire and Rescue Department offers these safety tips:
Grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building or
combustibles to ensure adequate air circulation.
Charcoal must be kept dry. Wet charcoal can spontaneously ignite. Spare
propane bottles should be stored outside away from the home. A backyard
shed is a good place.
Keep children and pets away from the grill. Grills continue to give off
heat long after cooking has stopped.
Never place hot ashes in paper or plastic bags or containers.
Only use metal containers for hot ashes.
Use Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved electrical starters in
place of lighter fluid.
- Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.
More information is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.
In response to the recent tornadoes that affected several Southern
states causing loss of life and flooding, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and National Center for Disaster Fraud remind residents to
be aware of and report any instances of alleged fraudulent activity
related to relief operations and funding for victims. Unfortunately,
criminals can exploit these tragedies for their own gain by sending
fraudulent emails and creating phony websites designed to solicit
Before making a donation of any kind, remember these guidelines:
Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including
clicking links contained within those messages, because they may
contain computer viruses.
Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of
charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via email or
social networking sites.
Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly
the same as those of reputable charities.
Rather than follow a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy
of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based
resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its
Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do
not use such tactics.
Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check
directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to
- Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charities’ websites end in .org rather than .com.
If you suspect a fraudulent scheme, report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721. The line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, emails can be sent to email@example.com. You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov. More info is also available from the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/education.
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.