Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Nov. 17, 2009

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Nov. 17, 2009. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about fireplace safety, flooding and a HIV/AIDS video. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


As outdoor temperatures drop and people take measures to keep warm, fire incidents involving fireplaces may increase. These safety tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department can keep you safe:

  • Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as necessary.
  • Never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
  • Make sure a fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them in a non-combustible container with a tight fitting lid. Place the container away from the house. Sometimes it can take up to four days for ashes to cool down.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if a fire occurs. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself.

For more seasonal fire and life safety information, visit


The recent rains highlight the importance of properly cleaning flooded property. If there has been a backflow of sewage into the house, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management offers the following measures:

  • Walls, hard-surface floors and many other household surfaces must be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of one cup of bleach to five gallons of water.
  • Thoroughly disinfect surfaces that come in contact with food and children’s play areas.
  • Wash all linens and clothing in hot water or dry-clean.
  • Items that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned, such as mattresses and upholstered furniture, must be air dried in the sun and sprayed thoroughly with a disinfectant.
  • Steam-clean all carpeting.
  • Fiberboard, fibrous insulation and disposable filters that have contacted floodwater or sewage should be replaced in heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup.
  • As you clean up your home, be careful about mixing household cleaners and disinfectants; combining certain types of products can produce toxic fumes and result in injury or death.
  • It can be difficult to throw away items, particularly those with sentimental value. However, keeping items soaked by sewage or floodwaters may be unhealthy. In general, materials that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours should be discarded.


The Fairfax County Health Department recently completed an educational video, "Break the Silence," to help combat HIV/AIDS in the African American community, which is disproportionately impacted by HIV.  The video and an accompanying tool kit were produced to help community partners, particularly faith leaders, develop HIV/AIDS ministries  assist the Health Department reach more people with important public health messages. "Break the Silence" illustrates the gravity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African American community; addresses some of the issues—such as denial and stigma—that have allowed the disease to spread; and highlights how more and more faith leaders are embracing the role of HIV/AIDS educator. This video will air on Channel 16 and is also viewable online. More details can be found at

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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