Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: November 16, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for
November 16, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information
officer. Coming up, learn about winter fire safety, smoke alarms and
Thanksgiving Day fires. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be
found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
With many cooks in the kitchen preparing holiday meals, the National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA) cautions that the number of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day
was three times the national average of fires per day in 2009. Remember
to keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils,
food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop. Always stay in
the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave
the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. And when
simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain
in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you
As outdoor temperatures drop, fire incidents involving fireplaces may increase. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department offers these safety tips:
- Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as necessary.
- When cleaning the fireplace, store ashes in a non-combustible container with a tight-fitting lid and place the container away from the house.
- Never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Allow ashes to cool before disposing of in a metal container (sometimes it takes four days for ashes to cool down).
- Call 9-1-1 immediately when a fire occurs. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself.
For more seasonal fire and life safety information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.
Speaking of fires… properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive early warnings of a potentially deadly fire. They could reduce the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half. A smoke alarm stands guard around the clock and when it first senses smoke, sounds a shrill alarm. This often allows a family the precious but limited time it takes to escape. Here are some key reminders for placing and maintaining the smoke alarms in your residence:
- Replace smoke alarms no later than 10 years after their installation.
- You should have smoke alarms inside and outside of bedrooms, on every level in your home, and interconnected so that when one smoke alarm sounds they will all sound.
- Test your smoke alarms every month.
You’ll also want to review and practice your fire escape plan regularly. When making a fire escape plan, it’s important to:
- Discuss the plan with everyone in your household, especially family members who cannot escape unassisted.
- Plan two ways out of every room.
- Designate an outside meeting place, away from your home, but where the firefighters can see that you are out and safe.
- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year with everyone in your home. Practice at night and during the daytime.
In case a fire does occur, remember to:
- Leave your home.
- Call the fire department from outside using a cellphone or a neighbor’s phone.
- Get out and stay out! Never return to a burning building!
Following these two steps – maintaining smoke alarms around your home and reviewing and practicing your fire escape plan – will go a long way to prevent the loss of life and property from fire.
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.