This October marks the 33rd annual Breast Cancer Awareness month. In an effort to heighten awareness in the fight against breast cancer, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) employees have been authorized to wear FRD issued pink t-shirts while on duty from October 9 through October 23.
The shirts are worn as a symbol of support and recognition for all those who have been touched by breast cancer.
Fire Prevention Week is this week and runs through Saturday, October 14. This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
Check out the video from Sparky the Fire Dog below.
Please also take the time to develop a home fire escape plan. Below are links to two documents that will provide a template and all of the information you need!
Escape Planning – Activity Fun Sheet for Adults and Children
Home Escape Planning
It is National Chimney Safety Week! While it has probably not been cold enough to start a fire in your fire place or wood stove, that time is coming soon.
If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace, make sure your chimney is clean and in good working order by having a licensed chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney. This should be done at least once a year or possibly more if you use your fireplace or wood-burning stove frequently.
A dirty flue in your chimney can eventually result in a chimney fire that can spread to your home and cause significant damage. Please also make sure you use your fireplace or wood-burning stove safely and follow the recommended safety tips below.
- Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a covered metal container outside and well away from the house.
- If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace, have a licensed chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney at least once a year.
- Place a glass or metal spark screen in front of the fireplace and install caps on chimneys.
- Never use a flammable liquid (gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, etc.) to start a fire or rekindle a small one.
- Keep paper, clothing, trash, and other combustibles at least three feet away from your furnace, hot water heater, or wood-burning device.
Our area has not had much rain at all over the last three weeks. As a result, the brush, mulch, grass and vegetation are very dry.
Courtesy of NFPA
Due to the beautiful weather, many residents are still entertaining, cooking and eating outdoors as well as enjoying an outside fire place or fire pit. Did you know that outside fireplaces or fire pits caused nearly 3,700 grass and brush fires in one year?
With all of this in mind, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would like to remind all residents to practice fire safety while outdoors. If you smoke outside, please especially remember to extinguish smoking materials in an approved container. Below, please find some helpful safety tips from our friends at the National Fire Protection Association:
- Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily.
- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray when discarding cigarettes. Place it away from anything that can burn.
- Before you throw away butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
- REMOVE dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house.
- REMOVE flammable materials (wood piles, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
- KEEP your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
- Have an adult present at all times when a portable fireplace is burning.
- Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily.
- Keep anything that can burn, as well as children and pets, at least three feet away from open flames.
- Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio (tiki) torches in place of an open flame. Flameless candles come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and many are scented. Flameless candles look and feel like the real ones, and add a beautiful soft glow to any outdoor event.
Fire Prevention Week starts this Sunday, October 8 and runs through Saturday, October 14. This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
If there was a fire in your home, would you know what to do? Your smoke alarm is sounding – now what?
In a fire, every second counts! It is important that everyone plans, and practices, a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room. Being prepared and knowing what to do will increase your chances of getting out safely should your home experience a fire.
Please take the time to develop a home fire escape plan. Below are links to two documents that will provide a template and all of the information you need!
Escape Planning – Activity Fun Sheet for Adults and Children
Home Escape Planning
If you want some feedback on your plan, consider going to one of our fire stations for Open House on Saturday, October 14, and asking the firefighters for feedback. More information here: All Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations To Host Open House
On Monday, September 18, at approximately 11:49 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 4100 block of Ivanhoe Lane in the Rose Hill section of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on scene with smoke showing from the front of a one-story, single family home. Firefighters quickly found and extinguished a fire in the garage.
Five occupants were home at the time of the fire. One of the occupants was alerted by the sound of the garage door opening. Upon investigating the noise, he discovered a fire in the garage and used a fire extinguisher to extinguish part of the fire. Another occupant used a garden hose to assist with containing the fire.
There was one smoke alarm in the house and that did not activate. Firefighters installed three smoke alarms in the home prior to leaving.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the garage. The cause of the fire was an overloaded electrical outlet.
There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined.
Damages as a result of the fire are estimated to be $12,000.
On Sunday, September 10, at approximately 2:13 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported fire in a townhome in the 6000 block of Ticonderoga Court in the Burke section of Fairfax County.
Units arrived on scene to find a two-story, middle of the row townhouse with smoke showing from the roof. Firefighters located a fire in the basement of the home and quickly brought it under control. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported. Unfortunately, one canine was found deceased in the home.
A smoke alarm woke up an occupant of the home who then discovered the fire. That occupant alerted the other occupants of the home. All occupants evacuated prior to fire department arrival.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the laundry/utility room in the basement. The fire was caused when lint inside a dryer vent ignited due to restricted air flow.
A total of five occupants were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted.
Damages are estimated to be approximately $62,500.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would also like to remind all residents about clothes dryer safety:
- Clean the lint filter before or after each use. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can be trapped. Remove accumulated lint around the drum.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter.
- The interior of the dryer and venting system should be cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel. If you notice the drying time is longer, clean the vent system thoroughly to ensure proper airflow.
- Replace plastic, vinyl, and aluminum foil venting with rigid or flexible metal venting.
- Ensure the air exhaust bent pipe is unrestricted and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer operates.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and the machine is connected properly.
- Do not leave a dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
- Do not dry clothing/fabric on or near anything flammable (alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc.). Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
- Keep the dryer area clear of things that can burn, such as boxes or clothing.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to ensure the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.