Posted at 2:45 p.m.
Remember: Grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building or combustibles to ensure adequate air circulation. For those of you who live in condos or apartments, never use a gas or charcoal fueled grill on your balconies; doing so is not only unsafe, but it’s also against the law.
(Posted 4:09 p.m.)
You can lose power at any time for a variety of reasons.
Add in heavy rains + saturated ground + high wind gusts + potentially wobbly trees, and that’s a recipe for possible power outages.
- Keep your digital devices charged!
- Back up critical files on your computer.
- Unplug electrical equipment. Spikes and surges could occur as power is restored, damaging equipment.
- Make sure that your emergency supply kit can be found easily if the lights go out.
- If you use well water, pre-plan by filling a bathtub with water for use with sanitation, etc.
If Your Power Goes Out
- Report your outage! Never assume a neighbor has reported it.
- Use a flashlight or battery-powered lantern for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
- Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
- If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call or text 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.
Food safety is a big concern if you lose power for a long time. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. More tips:
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 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.
Local nonprofits and shelters have been busy supplying residents in need with food, water and and other supplies that may have been lost during the June 29 derecho storm (and the resulting extended power loss) and recent heat wave. Loss of power at the shelters and increased demand for assistance has depleted many of the shelters’ reserves, and these food pantries are now turning to the community for help.
Fairfax County partner food pantries and nonprofits are accepting food and cash donations to help restock and supply our most vulnerable families with healthy meals. Those interested in donating should contact a local food pantry directly for more information on how to contribute.