Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Dec. 1, 2009

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Dec. 1, 2009. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about carbon monoxide poisining and winter preparedness. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at 


Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless and tasteless toxic gas that causes about 300 accidental fatalities in homes each year; thousands more are treated in hospitals for CO poisoning.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning exposure include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and confused thinking. Without treatment, the victim can lose consciousness and their life.

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels in faulty gas or oil furnaces and water heaters; cracked chimney flues. It also can be produced by using a gas oven or range to warm a room; indoor use of charcoal grills; running a car in an enclosed area; and closing the fireplace damper before the fire is completely out.

Carbon monoxide accidents are preventable.

  • Have a qualified technician inspect your gas furnace and appliances.
  • Never allow your car to run in an enclosed area, especially one attached to your house.
  • Make sure your fireplace is in good repair and do not close the damper before the fire is out.
  • Install CO alarms to give your family a warning if CO is building up in your house.

Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased at many local hardware stores. Ensure the alarm has an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label. Carbon monoxide alarms should be located on every floor and mounted according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the alarm goes off, everyone should get out of the house at once and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house. Do not ventilate your house by opening doors and windows. When first responders arrive they will obtain CO readings in different areas of your home to determine the source of the leak.


Gov. Tim Kaine has declared Winter Preparedness Week – the week of Nov. 29 through Dec. 5 – to highlight the importance of getting ready for possible bad weather and protecting your family’s health and safety.

Simple steps to getting winter ready include setting aside emergency supplies, making a family emergency plan and staying informed about local conditions. Also this winter:

  • Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects and never leave unattended.
  • Make sure outdoor pets have adequate shelter, unfrozen water and food.
  • Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom and one on every level of your home.
  • Keep alert if the road is wet and temperatures are at or under 32° F, patches of ice are possible, especially on bridges and curves.

More winter-specific safety information and related links are avilable online at,, and NOAA/ the National Weather Service in Sterling 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
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