Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: January 25, 2012

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Jan. 25, 2012. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn how to participate in the upcoming statewide tornado drill, fireplace safety, traveling during winter storms and how to schedule an emergency preparedness presentation. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


Fairfax County residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in the statewide tornado drill scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Register to participate at The drill is an opportunity for schools, businesses and individuals to practice important tornado safety steps. 

During the drill, NOAA Weather Radio will sound a tornado warning tone alert to start the drill, and participants will practice a quick evacuation to designated safe areas in their buildings. If there is widespread bad weather March 20, then the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 21. For more information or assistance, contact the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000.


Now that winter weather is here, remember these fireplace safety tips:

  • Ensure that your chimney is cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional once a year.
  • A spark arrestor across the top of a chimney will prevent sparks from igniting your roof.
  • Use the proper fuel (seasoned hardwood, pellets and gas or propane) for your type of system. Never use gasoline, kerosene or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen across the front to prevent embers from flying or logs from rolling out.
  • When clearing ashes from the fireplace, be sure to put them into a metal container with a lid—never into a cardboard box or paper bag.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Many “non-masonry” fireplace/chimney units have limitations on the amount of heat they can safely withstand.

For more life safety information, visit the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department online at Meanwhile, the Regulation and Licensing Branch has put together a firewood information packet that has the Code of Virginia on firewood, units of measure and an example of a firewood sale transaction. Contact the Regulation and Licensing Branch of the Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services at 703-324-5966 with questions or visit for more details.


Also during winter storms:

  • Curtail “elective” travel and avoid unnecessary travel. If it is not a life safety issue, stay off the roads.
  • The safest place during a winter storm is indoors. About 70 percent of deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
  • Stay at the office an extra hour, or leave early, to avoid traveling during a winter storm.
  • If you stay off the roads during a storm, transportation workers and public safety officials can clear roadways and respond quicker.


Finally, the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is available to deliver emergency preparedness presentations to community organizations and homeowners associations. If interested, contact OEM at 571-350-1000.

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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