Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Nov. 27, 2013


Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about staying safe in parking lots while out doing your holiday shopping, fire safety with your holiday trees and winter driving safety tips. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


The holiday shopping season has begun, and the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch offers suggestions to stay safe in area parking lots while out conducting your holiday shopping:

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight through your car windows.

  • Park in busy, well-lit areas.

  • Lock all vehicle doors.

  • Set an alarm or anti-theft device on your vehicle, if you have one.  If you sense danger, use your remote key access “panic” button to sound the alarm.

  • Request a security escort if necessary.

  • Always have car keys in hand to ensure easy access to the vehicle.

For more advice or holiday shopping information, contact the Consumer Affairs Branch at 703-222-8435, weekdays from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., or email


Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department crews distributed Christmas tree safety tags to holiday tree lot vendors before Thanksgiving. The green and white 5 x 8 inch tags provide valuable fire safety tips when taking home a live tree. The “Fire Safety and Your Tree” tags are available with every tree purchase while they last. In case you don’t get a tag, be sure to follow these Christmas tree fire safety tips:

  • Keep tree base immersed in water.

  • Do not permit smoking near the tree.

  • Use only lights that are Underwriters Laboratories approved.

  • Use flame retardant decorations and paper.

  • Inspect lights for frayed or cracked wiring, broken plugs and defective sockets.

  • Unplug lights at night and when leaving.

  • Remove the tree soon after the holidays – before the needles dry out.

If you would like a printable copy of the “Fire Safety and Your Tree” tag, visit and search for “Christmas Tree Safety Tag.”


With the season also comes cold temperatures and winter weather. And that means keeping safe on area roads in case of snow, sleet or freezing rain. The Virginia Department of Transportation offers inclement weather driving safety tips:

  • Be sure to clear the snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof, hood and trunk and especially from the windows, mirrors and lights.

  • Always wear your seat belt.

  • Leave a few minutes early.

  • Start out slowly in the lowest gear recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

  • Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.

  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles as well as trucks that are plowing the road.

  • Don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Treat these as you would emergency response vehicles.

  • And don’t get on the road without a winter travel survival kit.

  • If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far off the road as possible. Your greatest personal danger at this point is being hit by passing cars. Stay in the car if visibility is poor. You may become disoriented and lost while wandering in a snowstorm, making it more difficult for rescuers to find you. If you have a cellphone, call for help.


Finally, be sure to subscribe by email to the emergency information blog at

That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Va., 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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