Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Dec. 26, 2012

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for December 26, 2012. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about holiday kitchen and winter fire safety as well as winter weather terms. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

With the holidays and families spending more time at home – and in the kitchen – here’s some safety tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department:

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.

  • Keep things that can catch fire such as dish towels, curtains, or paper, at least three feet away from the stove.

  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

  • Turn pot handles inward, facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.

  • Pot holders or oven mitts prevent burns when handling hot dishes.

  • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.

  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.

  • If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.

For more, visit fire and rescue online at


Meanwhile, with colder weather, alternate heating sources are often used. If you heat with a fireplace or wood stove, have a professional check it, especially if it has been a long time since the last cleaning.  Residue can build up and cause fires. Remember to use space heaters safely. Never plug them into extension cords; plug into wall outlets. Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects, and turn off before going to bed. And don’t use candles during power outages -- many home fires in winter are caused by candles. Flashlights are much safer. Be sure to have plenty of extra batteries.


The National Weather Service (NWS) uses specific winter weather terms to ensure that we know what to expect during a winter storm. Here’s what NWS means when you hear the terms winter storm watch or winter storm warning. A Winter Storm Watch means that severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area, but its occurrence, location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued to provide 12 to 36 hours notice of the possibility of severe winter weather. A winter storm watch is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set plans in motion can do so. A watch is upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning when 4 or more inches of snow or sleet is expected in the next 12 hours, or 6 or more inches in 24 hours, or 1/4 inch or more of ice accretion is expected. Learn more on the emergency blog at and search for “winter weather.”

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 And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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