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Red Flag Warning in Effect Today From 11 a.m. Until 8 p.m.

Red Flag Warning

Posted at 10:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for gusty winds and low relative humidity in effect from 11 a.m. this morning to 8 p.m. this evening for portions of Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

  • Humidity: 20 to 30 percent late this morning through early this afternoon.
  • Winds: Northwest 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.
  • Fuel moisture is less than 8 percent.

Get the latest Fairfax County weather and sign up for weather alerts from the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN).

Two CERT Classes to Begin Soon

Posted at 9:30 a.m.

CERT - Community Emergency Response TeamThis Saturday, April 26, our Fire and Rescue Department is beginning a basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class at the LDS Church in Springfield. There is still plenty of room if you’d like to attend. The class will meet on four Saturdays and run each day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; tentative class dates are April 26, May 3, May 10 and May 24.

Fire and Rescue also has added a new CERT Class at the Fire and Rescue Academy beginning Monday, May 5. This class will meet on every Monday from 7-10:30 p.m. (except for May 26) and will finish on June 23.

To sign up for either class, you first must register as a volunteer at www.fairfaxcert.com to receive registration information on the classes. If you have trouble registering, or have any questions, email fire.cert@fairfaxcounty.gov. Sign up now and get Certified!

CERT helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members also can help with non-emergency projects that help improve the preparedness and safety of the community.

For more information on CERT, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.

Before You Fry That Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey FryerPosted at 7 a.m.

Deep-frying turkeys has become an increasingly popular cooking method when preparing holiday feasts. While fried turkey may be a tasty addition to your meal, cooking with deep-fat turkey fryers can be a recipe for disaster.

They have a high risk of tipping over, overheating or spilling hot oil — which can lead to fires, burns and other injuries. So, before you try your hand at deep-frying that turkey, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following safety guidelines including:

  • Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
  • Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
  • Completely thaw and dry the turkey before cooking.
  • Never use a turkey fryer in, on or under a garage, breezeway, porch or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Raise and lower food slowly to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • Cover bare skin when adding or removing food.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn off gas supply.
  • If a fire occurs, call 9-1-1. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.

For a safer alternative to deep-frying your bird, consider using an outdoor turkey cooking appliance that does not require oil.

Reprinted from the Individual and Community Preparedness e-Brief, Nov. 27 edition, from FEMA

Video: Turkey Fryer Fire Demonstration

This Week is Fire Prevention Week

Posted at 10 a.m.

Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, 2013

This week, Oct. 6-12, is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), two out of every five home fires start in the kitchen. NFPA also reports that U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853  million in direct damage.

During Fire Prevention Week — and all year — remember to “get cookin’ with fire safety.” Here’s some additional statistics to emphasize why staying safe in the kitchen is so important:

  • Unattended cooking was a factor in 34 percent of reported home cooking fires.
  • Ranges accounted for the 58 percent of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16 percent.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.
  • Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires. Nearly half (44 percent) of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2011 were scald burns.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1 percent of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 16 percent of the cooking fire deaths.

Fire Station Open Houses

In an effort to prevent home fires before they start, our Fire and Rescue Department will host Fire Prevention Week Open House this Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at all stations throughout the county.

Firefighters and paramedics will have displays and activities emphasizing fire safety, including preventing fires and fire injuries, especially in the home. You are encouraged to visit a nearby fire and rescue station to participate in the activities and learn more about fire safety.

About Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 fire that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on Oct. 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9, 1871. Learn more about Fire Prevention Week.

Fire and Rescue Begins “Safety In Our Community” Campaign This Weekend

Posted at 12 p.m.

 

Our Fire and Rescue Department, under the leadership of new Fire Chief Richard Bowers, will launch a new countywide community outreach initiative  — “Safety In Our Community” (SIOC) — this weekend, supporting the overarching goal of preventing the 9-1-1 call.

Be sure to install smoke alarms on every

Be sure to install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.

The SIOC initiative will begin tomorrow, Saturday, June 8, from 2 to 4 p.m., when firefighters will be in the community checking and installing working smoke alarms. They also will provide seasonal fire and life safety tips. If you are not home, firefighters will leave behind a door hanger with important smoke alarm and fire and life safety information

The SIOC initiative will continue every Saturday afternoon throughout the summer, fall and spring, with accompanying seasonal safety messages.

To request the installation of a smoke alarm, or a visual smoke alarm for deaf and hard of hearing persons — at no cost — call 703-246-3801, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.

Red Flag Warning in Effect This Afternoon

Posted at 10:40 a.m.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect from noon until 8 p.m. today for Fairfax County as well as most of the National Capital Region.

Red Flag Watch/WarningA Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and dry fuels will create explosive fire growth potential.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for relative humidity of 20-25 percent; Northwest winds 15-20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph; and fuel moisture between 5-8 percent. The combination of gusty winds and dry fuels will promote the rapid spread of any uncontrolled fires.

And as a reminder, the statewide 4 p.m. Burning Law, which went into effect Feb. 15, prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day (Feb. 15 – April 30) if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

Red Flag Warning

Red Flag Warnings are issued by National Weather Service fire weather forecasters to alert forecast users to an ongoing or imminent critical fire weather pattern. The warning product alerts land management agencies to the potential for widespread new ignitions or control problems with existing fires, both of which could pose a threat to life and property. It is issued when it is an on-going event or the fire weather forecaster has a high degree of confidence that Red Flag criteria will occur within 48 hours of issuance.

Red Flag criteria is based on local area vegetation characteristics, local climatology, select weather criteria and/or any combination of critical weather and fuel moisture forecasts. In some states, dry lightning and unstable air are criteria.

Learn about wildfires from Ready.gov.

Statewide Burning Law Now in Effect

Posted at 1:22 p.m.

The Commonwealth’s 4 p.m. Burning Law went into effect Feb. 15 – the start of spring fire season in Virginia.

This law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day (Feb. 15 – April 30) if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

A violation of this law is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage caused to others’ property.

Burning of leaves, yard waste or trash continues to be the major cause of wildfires in Virginia. These debris fires can easily escape unless proper precaution is taken.

Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in Virginia

Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in Virginia

Check out the Department of Forestry’s FAQ page for more information, along with fire safety tips.

Christmas Tree Safety

Posted at 12:07 p.m.

Many families use the Thanksgiving holiday to find the perfect holiday tree and put it up in the home.

Fire Safety and Your Tree - Fairfax County Fire and Rescue DepartmentOur Fire and Rescue Department crews distributed Christmas tree safety tags to holiday tree lot vendors before Thanksgiving. The green and white 5 x 8 inch tags provide valuable fire safety tips to remember when purchasing a tree. Vendors will provide the “Fire Safety and Your Tree” tags with every tree purchase while they last.

Here are the Christmas tree fire safety tips that are on the tag:

  • Keep tree base immersed in water.
  • Do not permit smoking near the tree.
  • Use only lights that are Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) approved.
  • Use flame retardant decorations and paper.
  • Inspect lights for frayed or cracked wiring, broken plugs, and defective sockets.
  • Unplug lights at night and when leaving the home.
  • Remove the tree soon after the holidays–before the needles dry out.

You can print a copy of the tag here.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Posted at 11:12 a.m.

Thanksgiving means many things to different people — perhaps a day off from work, the start of the holiday shopping season or a time to gather the family and friends and enjoy each others’ company, along with some good home cooking.

Our Fire and Rescue Department reports that Thanksgiving Day is the busiest day for the fire service. More property damage and lives are lost in residential structure fires on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year due to cooking fires.

For many, Thanksgiving means cooking a turkey. A poplular way to prepare the turkey is to deep fry it. But deep frying does present several safety concerns.

When placing the turkey into the oven or turkey fryer, be extremely careful.

  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.

Check out this video to see what can happen if your cooker is overfilled, and for additional safety tips for deep frying to keep your holiday safe.

If having a fried turkey is a must for Thanksgiving, consider purchasing a fried, cooked turkey from a commercial source. Many supermarkets and restaurants accept orders for fried turkeys during the holiday season.

Here are more cooking safety tips:

  • Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying or grilling food. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire–potholders, towels, or curtains away from the stovetop.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove.
  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when cooking.

You also can visit the Fire and Rescue Department online for more fire and seasonal life safety tips.

Visit an Open House Tomorrow at Your Local Fire Station

Posted at 1:12 p.m.

Join the Fire and Rescue Department tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 13, for Fire Prevention Week Open Houses at all stations throughout the county, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Firefighters and paramedics will have displays and activities emphasizing fire safety, including preventing fires and fire injuries, especially in the home. We encourage you to visit a nearby fire and rescue station to participate in the activities and learn more about fire safety.

Fire Prevention Week 2012

Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13)

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), nearly 3,000 people die in home fires each year. About two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working alarms. In 23 percent of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound. Bedrooms (55 percent) are the leading location where fire fatalities occur in residential buildings. Seventy percent of fire victims in residential buildings were escaping or sleeping at the time of their deaths. Smoking was the leading cause of fatal fatalities in residential buildings.

The theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week, “Have Two Ways Out!,” focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice. USFA encourages us to prepare and practice our fire escape plan twice a year with everyone in our household, including children and people with disabilities. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres.

To learn more, visit http://www.firepreventionweek.org/ or the U.S. Fire Administration. For fire safety information, visit the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Two Ways Out: Fairfax Prepares Day 23

Posted 9:02 p.m.

day 23 iconAs another weekend comes to a close, perhaps family or friends visited your home, you visited them, or you attended a sporting event or the latest movie opening.

In any of these examples or for other places you may have visited, did you know two ways out of the building/home? If there’s a fire or other unexpected need to evacuate, are you prepared?

When developing your family escape plan, our fire and rescue department recommends that your plan includes two exits from each room, an outside meeting place and alternatives for any family members needing extra assistance.

Additionally, practice your plan with all members of the household regularly.

Practice this at home, but also always keep in mind two ways to exit whatever building you may be in at the time of an incident if you must leave.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: At a minimum this week, design two ways out of your home/apartment.

Exclamation point icon BONUS ASK: Mark your calendars to attend! On Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., all 37 fire and rescue stations will be host community open houses, spotlighting fire prevention. The theme for 2012 is “Have Two Ways Out!” It serves to remind us all of the simple actions we can take to stay safe from fire year round. Every firehouse will host activities, provide tours and have available fire prevention educational materials.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

30 Ways in 30 Days logo

Increased Chance for Wildfires Today; Take Caution Igniting Flames

The National Weather Service has issued an enhanced threat for wildfires late this afternoon and early evening.

This is especially important to keep in mind because on Friday, a fire at a home in Centreville was started when an unidentified passerby improperly discarded smoking materials into the mulch near the structure. Damage is estimated at $160,000.

Northwest winds will gust around 20 to 25 mph today behind a cold front across most of Maryland, northern and central Virginia. The relative humidity will drop to around 30 percent and fuel moisture remains low due to little rainfall over the last several days. The combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity and low fuel moisture will enhance the threat for the spread of wildfires during this time.

Open burning of any type is considered very hazardous this time of year. Accidental escaped debris burns are the No. 1 cause of wildfires. Please be careful igniting any flames (grills, etc.), discarding cigarettes and handling other flammable materials that may lead to brush and wildfires.

Elevated Fire Weather Threat Today

Posted 12:19 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a special statement today about the continued increase chance of fires in our area.

Today’s weather includes northwest winds around 15 mph, gusting to 25 mph coupled with relative humidity drops between 25 and 35 percent. These factors combined with low fuel moisture will create an enhanced threat for the spread of wildfires across much of northern and central Virginia, in addition to Maryland and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

Winds will diminish and relative humidity will increase toward sunset.

Open burning of any type is considered very hazardous this time of year. Accidental escaped debris burns are the No. 1 cause of wildfires. Please be careful igniting any flames, discarding cigarettes and handling other flammable materials that may lead to brush and wildfires.

Red Flag Fire Warning Until 8 p.m.

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