Daylight Saving Time Starts This Weekend — A Good Time to Check Smoke Alarms and Emergency Supply Kits
Posted at 4:30 p.m.
This weekend — specifically at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13 — Daylight Saving Time begins. That means getting up to change the time on our clocks and watches, or if you’re like most folks, just change the time before you go to bed tonight.
Daylight Saving Time is often confusing. Just remember the old saying, “Spring forward, Fall back,” which means we lose an hour of sleep tonight as we move our clocks forward (spring) one hour.
It shouldn’t take too long to change the time — unless you’re a horologist with a huge collection of clocks — so we’d like to ask you to take a couple of preparedness steps along with changing your clocks.
For years, fire officials have encouraged us to change the batteries in our smoke alarms every six months, and what better reminder than Daylight Saving Time. And since it only takes a couple of minutes to change your batteries, go ahead and take a few more minutes and check your emergency supplies.
So before you go to bed tonight, here’s a checklist to make sure you’re prepared for any possible emergency — as well as not oversleeping:
- Change the batteries in your smoke alarms.
- Check your emergency supply kits (both in the home and vehicles) to make sure they’re fully stocked. If not, make a quick list of what you’ll need to do to get them ready — and then buy those supplies tomorrow or next week.
- Turn your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed.
For more information on smoke alarms, visit our fire and rescue department online. And for more on emergency supply kits and being prepared for all hazards, visit our emergency information page or our emergency management office.
Posted at 12:30 p.m.
Fire Prevention Week Open Houses on Saturday
This is Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 5-11). This year’s theme is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives. Test Yours Every Month!”
In an effort to prevent home fires before they start, our Fire and Rescue Department is hosting Fire Prevention Week Open Houses on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at all stations throughout the county.
Firefighters and paramedics will have displays and activities emphasizing fire and life safety, including preventing fires and fire injuries, especially in the home, and hands-only CPR demonstrations. You are encouraged to visit a nearby fire and rescue station and join in the activities and learn more about fire safety.
Fire Prevention Week Message from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
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.
Posted at 9:30 a.m.
This 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Posted 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
Posted at 10 a.m.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Our 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.