Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Apr. 30, 2014


Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about grilling safety tips, hurricane preparedness and the upcoming sales tax holiday, 811 and staying informed with news and information. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

Warmer weather means picnics and backyard barbecues. Here are some grilling safety tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

  • 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. Spare propane bottles should be stored outside away from the home. A backyard shed is a good place.

  • 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 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. It is unsafe and also against the law.

Learn more from the Fire and Rescue Department at


The North Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. Before the season arrives, you can get ready and save money too during Virginia’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, May 25-31. During this time you won’t pay sales tax on many supplies for protecting your home and business. Many useful items qualify. Shop for items that have a price of $60 or less, such as artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs or reusable ice; batteries, excluding car or boat batteries; portable self-powered light sources, including flashlights and lanterns and glow sticks; first-aid kits; and cellphone chargers. You also can shop for items that have a sales price of $1,000 or less, such as portable generators and generator power cords, inverters and inverter power cables. You can find more details about the tax holiday online at and


And just in time for hurricane and flooding season, FEMA and the American Red Cross teamed up to develop a new book, “Repairing Your Flooded Home,” that gives step-by-step advice to help get started on the road to recovery. Copies are available at your local Red Cross or by sending a written request to FEMA, P.O. Box 2012, Jessup, Md. 20794-2012.


The Virginia Utility Protection Service, commonly called Miss Utility of Virginia, is the not-for-profit organization created by Virginia’s utilities to protect their underground facilities. Virginia 811 is the free “one call” number for excavators, contractors, property owners and those planning any kind of excavation, digging or demolition. April was National Safe Digging Month – but remembering to call before you dig is something you should do every day of the year. It’s a simple step, but one that can make your construction, planting or home improvement project safer while preventing utility outages that can be inconvenient or even dangerous for your neighbors. In addition, calling 811 before you dig is the law. To learn more visit


Finally, the Fairfax County NewsWire is your comprehensive county news source, offering the news that's important to you and your community. NewsWire is available in multiple formats, such as Twitter, email and RSS, for your convenience. Learn more and subscribe at You’ll also want to subscribe to the emergency information blog at Both by RSS and email is available. And be sure to bookmark so that you can tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio, 24/7, for the latest news and information from Fairfax County.

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
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