Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: May 2, 2012

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for May 2, 2012. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn some grill safety tips, find out about the Hurricane Center’s new Twitter account, pet evacuations in addition to Lyme disease in Fairfax County. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

As the barbeque season arrives, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reminds residents that according to the U.S. Fire Administration, grill fires cause numerous deaths and injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year nationwide. Almost half (49 percent) of grill fires on residential properties occur from 5 to 8 p.m. Thirty-two percent of all grill fires occur in May, June, July and August, and the leading category of equipment power source is “gas fuels,” (79 percent). 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. Please remember these grilling 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.

  • 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. Not only is it unsafe; it is and against the law.

For more life safety information, visit the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department online at

The National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic Twitter account, @NHC_Atlantic – which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea – will tweet whenever the hurricane center issues:

  • A public advisory regarding a tropical cyclone.

  • A tropical cyclone update.

  • A position estimate.

  • A tropical weather outlook.

To learn more, visit the National Hurricane Center

The number one reason people refuse to evacuate their homes during an emergency is because they don’t want to leave a pet behind.  The Virginia State Animal Response Team works to address the needs of animals during natural or man-made disasters.  Check out their new website,

In Fairfax County, 146 new cases of Lyme disease were reported in 2011, and we know more cases go undiagnosed and/or unreported. The Fairfax County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that Lyme disease, which is transmitted to people through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed May 2012 as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Fairfax County. Take steps to protect yourself by dressing properly, wearing repellent and doing tick-checks after spending time outdoors so you don’t get sick from the bite of a tick. Learn more at

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
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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