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Heat Advisory in Effect Today, July 13, Beginning at Noon

Posted at 9:29 a.m.

Heat Advisory

The National Weather Services has issued a Heat Advisory, in effect from noon today, Thursday, July 13, until 8 p.m. this evening.

Temperatures in the mid to upper 90s are expected with heat index values around 105 degrees. (View the complete forecast.)

A heat advisory means that a period of high temperatures is expected. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. There is a risk of heat-related illness for those without air conditioning or those outdoors for an extended period.

Precautions and Preparedness Actions

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside.

  • When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
  • Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

heat_illness

Hazardous Weather Outlook: High Heat and Possible Thunderstorms in Forecast

Posted at 11:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Fairfax County and other Northern Virginia jurisdictions for today, Tuesday, July 11, through the next several days. The hazardous weather outlook also includes the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, Tidal Potomac River and adjacent counties in central Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia.hazardous weather outlook

The forecast includes a chance of showers and thunderstorms beginning this afternoon and continuing through Friday night.

Beat The Heat This Summer

Heat-ready

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sickness from the heat occurs when your body cannot compensate and properly cool you off. However, heat-related illness and death are preventable.

To stay cool and safe this summer, follow these protective actions:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned location as much as possible; resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses. You can take in a movie, stroll through a shopping center or visit one of the Fairfax County Cooling Centers.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Take several breaks from the heat, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and sunscreen. Remember that you should reapply sunscreen every three to four hours.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on friends or neighbors during extremely hot days and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.

Find more information on extreme heat preparedness online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/extreme-heat.htm and www.ready.gov/heat.

You can also check out an article on the Fire and Rescue blog about knowing the symptoms of heat-related illness.

Fireworks Safety

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

The Fourth of July would not be the same without those breathtaking fireworks. However, those fireworks can turn your holiday into a tragedy within seconds.

Many people are injured each year in Fairfax County due to fireworks. Some are injured seriously and left with permanent damage.

Watch this video featuring our Fire and Rescue Department from a recent fireworks safety demonstration to see the power of fireworks.

Illegal Fireworks

Any firework, which explodes, emits a flame or sparks higher than 12 feet, or performs as a projectile is prohibited by the Fairfax County Fire Prevention Code.

Many fireworks are not available in Northern Virginia because they are illegal. Firecrackers, cherry bombs and skyrockets are just a few examples of fireworks which may be purchased in other areas, but are illegal here. Since even the possession of unapproved fireworks is prohibited in Fairfax County, such fireworks will be confiscated and you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail.

Safety Tips

If you are planning to use permissible fireworks, remember these safety tips.

  • During the use of permissible fireworks, minors should be supervised by a parent or legal guardian. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.Fireworks Safety in Fairfax County
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one fireworks device at a time, then back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • When using permissible fireworks, place the device on a flat surface, clear of any combustible material and clear of all buildings (50 feet).
  • Keep all bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.

Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals

If you would like to enjoy the sights and sounds of fireworks to celebrate tomorrow, leave the fireworks to the professionals and take in McLean’s Annual 4th of July Celebration at  Churchill Road Elementary. The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes free shuttle buses, a DJ and snack vendors. The rain date for fireworks is Wednesday, July 5.

Derecho Storm Five Years Later

Posted at 4:10 p.m.

Five years ago tonight, many of us experienced and then woke up the next day to no power, spotty cellphone service, 9-1-1 problems, downed trees and a host of other complications as the result of a derecho storm.

Overnight June 29, 2012, into the early morning hours of Saturday, June 30, Fairfax County and the National Capital Region learned first-hand what a derecho storm could do to our community.

Not only did the storm cause havoc when it hit, but many suffered through extreme heat without electricity for several days after.

We All Need to Be Prepared

As we reflect on our experiences from that time, it reminds all of us that we need to be prepared for any type of emergency or weather event.

During widespread events such as the derecho, government alone can’t respond immediately across a county that’s 400 square miles. We all need to take time to be prepared.

As we officially enter the summer season, which can bring extreme heat and severe thunderstorms, here’s an initial plan of action to prepare for the next weather event:

  1. Buy flashlights and extra batteries so you’re ready if you lose power. You may also want to consider purchasing a generator in case you lose electricity for extended periods. Do NOT plan to use candles as they pose a fire hazard. Do NOT use a generator inside your house.
  2. Sign up for emergency alerts, including severe weather alerts, that can be delivered to you by email and text.
  3. Become digitally prepared, including thinking about power supply for your smartphones, tips to conserve batteries and more.
  4. Text-to-911 is now available in Fairfax County. Know how and when to use it.
  5. Put together a plan. “Planning” may not seem important or perhaps you think it’s too hard to do. Start with the Ready NOVA Emergency Preparedness Planner, a free, online tool that makes it easy to put together an emergency plan for your family.
  6. Have cash on hand; if power is lost for an extended period of time, then you can only use cash to purchase things like gas for your car.
  7. Have plans to check on neighbors who may need help, such as people who are homebound or elderly.
  8. Get involved and get trained. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program prepares residents to safely help themselves, their families and their communities during major emergencies where first responders are delayed. Learn more about Fairfax County CERT and get ready to help.

Fairfax County Government learned many important lessons since the derecho, and we are more prepared now to provide support to our community in a weather crisis. Our public safety, emergency services and critical county agencies have consistently held exercises and are trained for emergencies like this.

We remember the derecho, but look ahead to ensure we’re all doing our parts to prepare for the next emergency in our community.

Heat Safety for People and Pets in Vehicles

Posted at 1 p.m.

heat safety for people and pets

With the summer months upon us, now is the time to learn about the dangers of heatstroke and being trapped in a hot car. Heatstroke is dangerous and can be deadly.

Never leave children, pets, or older adults unattended in a parked car.

Unfortunately, children mistakenly being left in hot vehicles make up many of the tragedies reported each year.

Use the following life saving tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind yourself and others to check the back seat before walking away from a vehicle.

  • Look Before You Lock. Get into the routine of always checking the back seat of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
  • A Gentle Reminder. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it is empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Alternatively, place your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
  • A Routine Check. If someone else is driving your child, or you alter your daily routine, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
  • A Key to Safety. You know to keep your vehicle locked, but also keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
animation of heat in vehicles

Animation Courtesy of General Motors and San Francisco State University.

On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature in a car on a 93-degree day can soar to 125 degrees in just 20 minutes and approximately 140 degrees in 40 minutes.

Keep Your Pets Safe Too

Rolling down the windows has little effect on the temperature inside a car. High temps can cause organ damage and even death for our furry friends.

If your pet shows any of the following signs contact your veterinarian immediately:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Profuse salivation

Take steps to reduce the animal’s body temperature, apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest; provide water and ice cubes for hydration; and move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning.

If you see a child or pet alone in a parked car on a hot day, call 9-1-1.

Learn more extreme heat preparedness at www.ready.gov/heat.