Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Jan. 8, 2014


Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about Fairfax County’s warming centers and cold weather resources, as well as how to dress for cold weather and stay safe if you have to be outside during extreme winter weather. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

Winter is here with its cold temperatures. During extremely cold days, the best thing you can do to keep warm is to stay indoors. If you lose heat and need to find a place to get warm for a bit, you can take in a movie, stroll through a shopping center or visit one of the Fairfax County warming centers:

  • Libraries.

  • Community Centers.

  • Fairfax County Government Center.

Be sure to check the operating hours on to see if the facility is open before arriving. Residents who know individuals needing special attention are encouraged to take a few minutes to check in on them to ensure their well-being. If you need immediate, lifesaving help, call 9-1-1. For other safety help, call the public safety non-emergency phone number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711. If you need immediate help with utility bills or other urgent human services assistance, call the county’s Coordinated Services Planning staff at 703-222-0880, TTY 711. County staff can connect residents with a network of services provided by public, private and community-based organizations, as well as appropriate county government resources. For more information for staying safe as the temperatures plummet, visit and click on the “winter storm” icon.


Speaking of cold weather… if you have to be outside in the cold, the Fairfax County Risk Management Division says that it is critical to plan ahead. Protective clothing is the most important way to be prepared. The type of fabric makes a difference. Cotton loses its insulation value when it becomes wet. Wool, silk and most synthetics, on the other hand, retain their insulation even when wet. Some additional recommendations include:

  • Wear at least three layers of clothing. An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to wick moisture away from the body. A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet. Also wear an outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.

  • Wear a hat or hood. Up to 40 percent of body heat can be lost when the head is left exposed.

  • Wear insulated boots or other warm footwear.

  • Keep a change of dry clothing available in case work clothes become wet.

  • With the exception of the wicking layer do not wear tight clothing. Loose clothing allows better ventilation of heat away from the body.

In addition to being dressed correctly, you should drink plenty of liquids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. It is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. And if possible, heavy work should be scheduled during the warmer parts of the day. Also, try to work in pairs to keep an eye on each other and watch for signs of cold stress. Avoid fatigue since energy is needed to keep muscles warm. Take frequent breaks and consume warm, high calorie food such as pasta to maintain energy reserves. Visit Fairfax County's winter storm preparedness page at and click on the “winter storm” icon for additional cold weather tips, including what to do if you must drive in winter weather, the signs of frostbite and winter storm terms.


Finally, be sure to subscribe by RSS or email to the emergency information blog at to get preparedness information and news and instructions during emergencies. And don’t forget Fairfax County Government Radio at to listen live for news and information from Fairfax County, including updated weather forecasts and more. That’s

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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