Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Preparedness Message Isn’t Reaching the Public

Here is an article by Jim Mckay that is worth reading. I would love to hear some feed back.
And thanks Sean Jones/CERT 57, for finding this article.
The other articles in this newsletter are also worth reading.


November's FFX OEM Emergency Preparedness Newsletter

Hope your Thanksgiving was great. Hoping there were no unfortunate turkey frying incidents.
Now that we are full on into the Holiday season with all the parties, winter weather, travel and shopping, here is the link to the FFX OEM Emergency Preparedness Newsletter.


Here are some highlights:

Cyber security
check your 72-hour kits and have one for your vehicle. (remember snowmagadon!)
winter weather forecast

When the snow does arrive, remember to clear three feet around and to the street, the fire hydrants in your neighborhood. This might be a good blurb in your community's newsletter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Near Normal Forecast for Snow and Cold Temperatures

New post on Fairfax County Emergency Information


Posted at 12:22 p.m.
According to the Capital Weather Gang blog, this coming winter will be both colder and snowier than last year, however, they do recognize that last winter brought us record seasonal warm temperatures and low snowfall. "We do not expect this to be an epic snowy winter," they added.
Generally we can expect 6-7 accumulating (more than a trace) snow events this winter with around 4 events of an inch or more. The outlying suburbs to the north and west may experience a couple additional events.
The most we can say is that we favor the highest impact events to occur in our chilliest months, January and February, especially the latter. We’re calling for February to be our coldest month with respect to normal and also our coldest outright. December and January should be on the warm side of normal.
The Capital Weather Gang reports that the odds are not high for a massive, crippling “Snowmageddon”-like storm, "but a 6-10 inch (or modestly higher) storm is certainly not out of the question."
So whether we have lots of snow at once, i.e. a big storm, or lots of little snowfall events, we should expect the white stuff this winter. Be sure you and your family are ready.
Over the past couple of weeks we've highlighted several steps you should take -- and more tips will follow for the next several weeks. If you haven't done so yet, subscribe to our blog by email (sign-up at right) and be sure to register for free emergency alerts from the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN). You can get general emergency alerts, but with winter on the way, you'll want to make sure you specifically sign-up for weather alerts.
fairfaxcounty | November 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Tags: Capital Weather Gang, snow, winter weather | Categories: Prepare, Winter | URL: http://wp.me/p1N5S6-Ex

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mike's LEGEN.....wait for it......DARY , "be careful when frying a turkey" post!

Fry me to the moon

I apologize for posting this so late this year, I hope this short blog post does not ruin your menu planning for this year’s feast, but I have to get this message out one more time.  This is it, the (in)famous,  "be careful when frying a turkey" post! I want to make sure if you are planning to fry a turkey, you do so safely. Turkey Fryer fires are extremely dangerous and I want to see everyone enjoy their holiday, no have it end in tears, or worse.




Have you thought about how you might be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey? What the heck does this have to do with CERT, safety or anything other than a cooking class or something on the Food Network? Has Mike gone completely crazy? Has cooking with Emeril Lagasse gone to his head? Good questions all! Over the past few years there has been a growing trend of people frying their turkeys. I have to say, fried turkey sure do taste good, this is a fact. Unfortunately, if you are novice, or even have experience frying a turkey, it is a serious and dangerous prospect.



There are many reasons a deep fryer can be dangerous. Since using the typical pedestal type turkey fryer SHOULD NEVER BE DONE INDOORS (this includes a garage or barn, even if is not entirely closed in), making sure you have the space and equipment to do this outdoors is important. Also bear in mind, the weather; if it is windy, raining or snowing, this could affect your fryer. In order to fry your turkey you will need to get the oil in the fryer up to at least 350 degrees ...350 degrees, which, if you did not know, IS REALLY HOT!



Working with an unstable product such as blazing hot oil over an open flame is dangerous, even if you know what you are doing. Other safety issues include:


* If the burner is not on level ground, the units can easily tip over, spilling hot oil (3-5 gallons of hot oil at 350 degrees!!!) onto the burner and creating a LARGE, FAST fire.


* If the pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill over when the turkey is lowered into the pot. Oil will hit the flames on the burner and engulf the burner with fire. There are ways to measure out the right amount of oil, which is imperative to ensure you do not have the pot overfilled.


* Water and hot oil do not go together. Partially frozen turkeys contain water of course, so if you lower a partially frozen turkey into a fryer, expect an extensive fire. Heaven help you if you place a frozen turkey in the fryer; to help defrost it....this will cause an explosion as the water expands in the hot (350 degrees ) oil. DON'T do it.


* The outdoor fryers have no thermostat controls, so they can overheat quickly and cause the oil to boil over the sides of the pot before you can react.


* The pot and handles get EXTREMELY hot (remember, 350 degrees of boiling oil), posing severe burn hazards.



I am sure there is someone out there saying to themselves, "I won't let Mike yuck my yum, I am going to fry a turkey anyway". It won't be the first time someone did not listen to what I said. You still want to fry that turkey? Ok, fine. Please, remember these things as you go about frying. These are not guaranteed to stop a fire or keep you from getting burned, but they may help in mitigating a larger disaster (such as burning your house down):


* Never use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck or inside a garage, home, or within any structure.


* Place the fryer a safe distance away from any building ( if you place it in the grass, the grass should not be overly dry, nor overly wet. Also count on the grass dying and never growing back).


* Fryers should be used on a firm, flat surface to prevent them from tipping over. Try the middle of a parking lot....not the sloping driveway in front of your house next to your car.


* Once the pot is filled with the recommended amount of oil (probably peanut oil) and the burner is ignited, you should NEVER leave the fryer unattended. This also means do not cook if you are under the influence. Please, don't drink and fry.


* Keep pets inside and keep children at a safe distance. A safe distance being somewhere where they will never see the fryer, because once they do, they will want to get close.


* Use well-insulated gloves or oven mitts and wear safety glasses (I think I know where you might have a pair laying around) to guard against oil splatters.


* Do not wear loose clothing as these may ignite if you get too close to the flame or the oil, or both. If your clothes do catch on fire, remember, Stop, Drop and Roll!


*Turkeys must be thoroughly thawed. While very tasty, be very careful of injecting marinades into your turkey. The extra liquid in the bird may cause the oil to spill over.


*Keep a portable dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby. Never use a water type extinguisher to extinguish a grease or oil fire. Do not deploy the garden hose to assist with your turkey fryer fire, this will do MUCH, MUCH more harm than good.


* If your fryer does catch fire call 9-1-1 immediately!



Finally, remember the oil inside the pot will remain hot for hours after your turkey has been removed. DO NOT bring it indoors and again, keep children and pets away from the pot. For more information on some of the hazards of cooking fires (not just the turkey fryer fires), please visit the United States Fire Administration's website for a copy of: Behavioral Mitigation of Cooking Fires by going here: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/research/other/cooking-mitigation.shtm



For a short demo on a fryer fire, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQYTMFCLy5E



Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!







Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to Spot a Dangerous Tree and What to Do

You may have read this when it was first out, but it's just as timely because of Hurricane Sandy.
Please, be safe out there. Who is the most important person??? I AM!! Remember your buddy system whenever doing anything remotely dangerous. And size-up first.

How to Spot a Dangerous Tree and What to Do

July 18, 2012

News Highlights
*          Private property owners are responsible for maintaining their trees, and they should have a certified arborist inspect their trees regularly.
*          There are signs that a tree may be in danger of toppling, but it's not always obvious when a tree is in poor health. This is why it's important to have a certified tree care professional inspect your trees.
*          County officials ask residents to report potentially dangerous trees on public properties.

Following the severe thunderstorms that struck our area more than two weeks ago, Fairfax County residents should have a certified arborist examine their trees to see if they present a danger. The derecho storm may have weakened trees that are already in poor health, putting them in greater danger of toppling.

While it may not always be obvious when a tree could pose a hazard, these are signs that may indicate that a tree may be in danger of falling:

*       Dead branches in the tree or on the ground near the tree

*       Mushrooms near the base of the tree

*       Excessive leaf loss or dead leaves at the top of the tree

*       Cavities, cracks or seams in the tree or areas of rotten wood

*       Nearby trees are dead or have significant damage

*       A change in how the tree leans

*       Ground is heaving or cracked near the base of the tree

*       The surrounding ground is damaged from construction, erosion or storms

Residents who are concerned about a hazardous tree should take these steps:

*       If a tree presents an immediate life-threatening hazard, including falling onto electric wires, or it is blocking a public road, call 9-1-1.

*       If a tree falls onto utility lines, call your power company: Dominion Power at 1-888-667-3000, TTY 711, or NOVEC at 703-335-0500, TTY 711. Never approach or touch trees or limbs that contact power lines, as may be energized, and extremely dangerous!