Health and Safety Podcast Transcript:October 17, 2012

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for October 17, 2012. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about alternative heat source safety, wildfires and Halloween safety. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

Fall – and soon winter – are upon us. The cooler temperatures cause many to seek out alternative sources to heat homes and keep warm. These are a major contributing factor in residential fires. The following safety tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will help you keep a safe home.

  • Keep at least 3 feet of clearance between your heat source and anything combustible.

  • Do not keep or store combustible materials in closed areas or near a heat source.

  • Never leave a heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep and never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources.

  • If you use an electric heater, be careful not to overload the electrical circuit.

  • Avoid using electrical heaters in bathrooms as they may come in contact with water.

  • Do not use a range or oven as an alternate heating source. This is a safety hazard and may be a source of toxic fumes.

  • Do not use fuel-burning appliances without the proper room ventilation.

  • Never fill a kerosene heater while it is in operation or hot and avoid overfilling.

Learn more at


Halloween is coming up. Some tips from the Fairfax County Health Department can help you have a safe and healthy Halloween this year:

  • Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped and to resist eating any candy until an adult has time to inspect the treats.

  • Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

  • Give kids a light meal before they head out trick-or-treating, so they are less likely to eat the candy before you have a chance to inspect it. Also, you’ll avoid belly aches on Halloween night!

  • If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys from their goodie bag.

Visit and search for “Halloween” to find out more about keeping your kids’ treats safe this year. 


Make sure any outdoor Halloween decorations you use are marked for outdoor use and plug lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters. Be sure to turn out all lights and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.


For trick-or-treating, younger children should go with an adult or an older, responsible youth. Older children should provide their route and when they expect to return. If possible, provide a cellphone for trick-or-treaters.

  • The Fairfax County Police Department encourages trick-or-treats to only visit homes that have porch lights on; do not talk to strangers; do not go into homes or cars of strangers; and do not approach animals that are not familiar.

  • Make sure trick-or-treaters can be seen by wearing something reflective or carrying a flashlight or glow stick.

  • Ensure that children can see from their costumes — widen eye holes in masks; use face paint or makeup instead of masks; make sure scarves, hats or wigs don’t obstruct vision.

  • Walk on sidewalks; never dart into the street or between parked cars to cross. Cross at corners, stop at the curbs; use crosswalks and obey traffic signals.

  • Remove masks before crossing a street – and look left, right, left before crossing.

  • Have children wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips and falls.

  • Make sure your child’s costume is fire retardant; if making it, check that the materials are fire retardant. Costumes should be short enough so they don’t interfere with walking.

  • If a child carries an accessory, such as a fake sword, make sure it’s made from a flexible material such as rubber, so it cannot injure the child or others.

  • Drivers are reminded to be particularly alert, drive slowly and cautiously and use full headlights to spot children more easily and to be seen. Trick-or-treating is most popular between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.

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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