Posted at 12:35 p.m.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires, and the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.
- Use battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
- If you do use lit candles, put them in stable holders and place them where they can’t be knocked over.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns. Never leave a burning candle alone.
Christmas Tree Fires
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
- Water your Christmas trees every day. A dry tree can easily catch on fire.
- Keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents. Don’t let them block your exits.
- Inspect your holiday lights each year before you put them up. Throw away strands with frayed or pinched wires. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
- Turn off all holiday lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
- One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
- A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.
Posted at 11:30 a.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory until 4 p.m. this afternoon, Wednesday, Nov. 28. A Wind Advisory means that winds of 45 to 55 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.
The weather service reports westerly winds from 25-35 mph with gusts of 50-55 mph possible. These strong winds may blow down tree limbs, trees and power lines; scattered power outages are expected.
If you experience either downed trees or power lines, NewsCenter has details about who to contact. The Fire and Rescue blog has some great tips about downed power lines, what you should know and what you should do in case you encounter any downed electrical lines.
And please remember, if your power goes out this evening, please use battery powered lighting and not candles.
Posted at 11:30 a.m.
According to a new report from the U.S. Fire Administration, residential building fire incidence was collectively higher in the winter months of January, February and March, peaking in January at 11 percent. While winter residential building fires accounted for only 8 percent of the total number of fires in the U.S., they resulted in 30 percent of all fire deaths and 23 percent of all fire injuries.
Each year during the 2014-2016 period, an estimated 108,200 winter residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States. These fires caused an estimated 980 deaths, 3,575 injuries and $1.9 billion in property loss.
According to the report.
- At 43 percent, cooking was the leading cause of winter residential building fires. Small, confined fires accounted for 90 percent of these cooking fires.
- Winter residential building fires occurred most frequently in the early evening, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 8 p.m., when cooking fire incidence is high.
- Nonconfined winter residential building fires most often started in cooking areas and kitchens (20 percent). The leading specific factor contributing to ignition in nonconfined winter residential building fires was a heat source too close to combustibles (16 percent).
- In 51 percent of nonconfined winter residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires were unintentional or careless actions (19 percent), electrical malfunctions (14 percent), open flames (12 percent) and heating (9 percent).
- Smoke alarms were not present in 22 percent of nonconfined winter fires in occupied residential buildings. Additionally, automatic extinguishing systems were present in only 4 percent of nonconfined winter fires in occupied residential buildings.
Posted at 3:45 p.m.
On this edition of the “Health and Safety Podcast,” learn about food preparation in case of a power outage, a national addiction helpline, health and fire risks of the cold winter weather, digital preparedness and a new Faith-Based and Community Toolkit to help raise awareness of human trafficking.
Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
To listen to other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts.
Posted at 8:50 a.m.
Updated at 9:33 a.m.
A Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service remains in effect until 1 p.m. this afternoon (Thursday, Nov. 15). A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Expect slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.
Fairfax County Police are reporting numerous county roadways are impacted by the weather (9 a.m. update). Public safety officials encourage you to use caution and follow police direction.
The National Weather Service (forecast) reports mixed precipitation is expected, with total sleet and snow accumulation of up to one inch, and ice glaze accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch expected. Plan on slippery road and sidewalk conditions in some areas.
County Government Programs Affected
Fairfax County Government is open, however Fairfax County Public Schools are now closed, following an earlier announcement of a two-hour delay. This school closure affects some county programs/services, so please check before you drive to any location to ensure that it is open and operating.
At this time, Fastran has announced that they will transport dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation trips only. All other scheduled route services are canceled, including senior centers, adult day health care, Women’s Recovery Center, senior residence trips and charter services. For general information about Human Services Transportation, call 703-222-9764, TTY 711.
If additional closures or delays are announced by Fairfax County programs, we will announce them via social media and here on the emergency information blog.