Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Dec. 29, 2009

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Dec. 29, 2009. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about safe use of alternative heat sources, electrical safety in our homes, preparedness gift ideas for the new year, and how to find emergency information from Fairfax County. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


Winter and cold weather is here. This causes many of us to seek alternative sources to heat our home, however, alternate heating sources are a major contributing factor in residential fire. The following safety tips will help you keep you safe at home.

  • Keep at least three feet of clearance between your alternate heat source and anything combustible.
  • Do not keep or store combustible materials in closed areas or near a heat source.
  • Never leave a heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep, and never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources.
  • If you use an electric heater, be careful not to overload the electrical circuit.
  • Avoid using electrical heaters in bathrooms as they may come in contact with water.
  • Only use heaters that have been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features, such as automatic shut-offs. It is important to install and use heaters according to manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • Do not use a range or oven as an alternate heating source.  This is a safety hazard and may be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Do not use fuel burning appliances without proper room ventilation.
  • And never fill a kerosene heater while it is in operation or hot.  Avoid overfilling.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department also reminds us to:

  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • When possible, avoid the use of "cube taps" and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.


During inclement weather, stay up-to-date on what’s happening with Fairfax County. Emergency information is available on the county Web site at, the Fairfax County emergency information hotline at 703-817-7771, cable Channel 16, or by following Fairfax County on Twitter at and Facebook at


Give the Gift of Preparedness for the New Year. A weather radio, CPR lessons or emergency kits for your family, pets and car make great gifts to help that someone special with their New Year’s resolution to be better prepared. For more preparedness information and gift giving ideas, visit or


And finally, many resident’s don’t realize that the Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for removing snow and ice from the thousands of miles of public roads in Fairfax County. Clearing is done on a priority basis, with interstates and high volume roads cleared first. Contact VDOT at 703-383-8368 for scheduling and timeframes for neighborhood plowing.


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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