Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: May 15, 2013

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for May 15, 2013. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn how to get prepared and save money with Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, grilling safety tips, security tips for your smartphone, how to get emergency alerts and blog posts, and the upcoming Fire and EMS Memorial Week. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


Get ready to save money!  Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 25-31. Before the storms hit, stock up on these emergency supplies:  batteries and flashlights; bottled water and coolers; tarps, plastic sheeting and duct tape; smoke detectors and fire extinguishers; portable radios; cellphone chargers; first-aid kits; portable generators; and more. For more on the hurricane sales tax holiday, go to


As warmer weather approaches – and outdoor grilling becomes more popular – here are some good safety tips:

  • First, grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building or combustibles to ensure adequate air circulation.

  • Keep charcoal dry. Wet charcoal can spontaneously ignite. Spare propane bottles should be stored outside, away from the home.

  • Keep children and pets away from the grill. Remember, grills continue to give off heat long after cooking has stopped.

  • Neverplace hot ashes in paper or plastic bags or containers. Only use metal containers.

  • Use approved electrical starters instead of lighter fluid.

  • Finally, remember never to use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.

For more life safety tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, visit


If you have a smartphone, you might not realize that you are now carrying a fully functional computer in your pocket or purse. That’s a tremendous amount of information at your fingertips. What are some simple steps to protect your smartphone?

  • Update the operating system.

  • Password protect your device.

  • Be cautious with public Wi-Fi.

  • Enable encryption.

Additional tips and more information are online in the Cyber Tips newsletter from the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center at

Did you know that you can get Fairfax County emergency alerts by email, as well as by text or pager? Sign up at Businesses also can register up to five people in their organizations – such as security officers – who can receive alerts and then share that information with their workforce. And while you’re signing up for emergency alerts, be sure to register for email updates from the Fairfax County Emergency Information Blog. Check it out at


Finally, Gov. Bob McDonnell recently issued a proclamation designating the week of June 2-8 as Virginia’s first ever Fire and EMS Memorial Week. The memorial week will serve to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the commonwealth as Fire or EMS personnel. Official events for the week will begin with the annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters Memorial on June 1 at the Richmond International Raceway’s Main Exhibition Hall.

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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