Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about the Atlantic hurricane season, outdoor grilling, Fairfax Alerts and the Police Department’s body-worn camera pilot program. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
The Atlantic hurricane season isn’t over, as evidenced by Hurricane Florence. And while the impact of hurricanes here in Fairfax County isn’t what it’s like on the coast, a hurricane still can be felt locally. Most of the impact is rain, which causes localized flooding. Be sure to prepare for the potential of flooding. Remember, the season isn’t over until the end of November. Make sure you have an emergency kit, a communications plan and an evacuation plan for your family in case you have to leave your home due to flooding – and don’t forget your pets, be sure you have a NOAA weather radio and are signed up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts, clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings, and remember that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding but flood insurance does. Get information at www.FloodSmart.gov.
The summer grilling season may be over, but if you’re like me, you still use your grill during the fall. Here’s some safety tips to ensure you have a happy and safe cookout experience no matter what the season:
- Never leave your grill unattended or place combustibles too close to the grill. These are the two leading causes for charcoal grill home fires.
- Use charcoal lighter fluid only before the fire is lit. If you try to make a fire bigger by adding more fluid, the heat from the coals may ignite the stream of fuel and burn back into the can, causing it to explode in your hands.
- Never use gasoline to start a fire – it is much too dangerous to use on grills.
- Try using a U.L.-approved electrical starter 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 against the law.
- Place grills away from structures so they will not tip over or ignite objects above them.
- Keep a garden hose or a portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire gets out of control.
- Never bring a grill into the home. The carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous, even deadly, in an enclosed space.
- Keep children and pets away from fires and grills. Declare a 3-foot safe zone around the grill. It only takes a second for curiosity to cause a serious burn.
- Though coals may appear to be cool, always soak them with water. Coals retain enough heat to reignite for days after the fire.
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- If your bag of charcoal gets wet, leave it in a well-ventilated area away from the house. During the drying process, spontaneous ignition can occur in confined areas.
Get more life safety information from the Fire and Rescue Department online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire-ems.
Fairfax County's free alert system sends you important information during an emergency, helps you navigate your commute and shares community information. You also can customize your Fairfax Alerts to receive the information pertinent to you. Don't miss this important information! Sign up today for Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.
The Police Department's body-worn camera pilot program ended in August. Training for the cameras began in mid-February and full implementation was completed by mid-March. The 90-day pilot was extended to allow all stakeholders the opportunity to better assess the program areas and impact. A research team at American University is gathering and studying the findings from the program, which included 203 body-worn cameras distributed to trained officers at three stations: Mason, Mount Vernon and Reston, and a sampling of Motor Squad officers and Animal Protection officers. The research team is surveying community members and police officers to determine what effect the cameras had on police activity and perceptions of police legitimacy in the community. In addition, they will analyze data regarding the number and nature of complaints against officers from this time period. A full report from American University is expected in early 2019. Get more information on the Police blog at https://fcpdnews.wordpress.com.
Finally, stay informed during emergencies and severe weather events on the emergency information blog at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/blog.
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 www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.