Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Dec. 15, 2010
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Dec. 29, 2010. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about fireplace safety, resolve to be ready in 2011 and holiday drinking and driving. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
During cold weather, fire incidents involving fireplaces may increase. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reminds you of important safety tips:
- Have your chimney inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary.
- When cleaning the fireplace, store ashes in a non-combustible container with a tight-fitting lid and place the container away from the house.
- Never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Allow ashes to cool before placing in a metal container (sometimes it takes four days for ashes to cool down).
- Dispose of ashes in a metal container.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately when a fire occurs. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself.
For more seasonal fire and life safety information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire.
With the new year comes resolutions. The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to resolve to be ready in 2011 by preparing for all hazards – at home and at work. If you are a parent, or guardian of an elderly individual or person with access and functional need requirements, including children and adults with disabilities, make sure schools and care providers have emergency response plans.
- Ask how they will communicate with families during a crisis.
- Ask if they store adequate food, water and other basic supplies.
- Find out if they are prepared to "shelter-in-place" if need be, and where they plan to go if they must get away.
For your workplace, take a critical look at your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to determine if it is secure or if it could be upgraded to better filter potential contaminants, and be sure you know how to turn it off if you need to. Think about what to do if your employees can't go home and make sure you have appropriate supplies on-hand.
Resolve to be Ready in 2011. Good online sources of information to help you prepare are www.ready.gov, www.makeaplan.org and www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency. You may also call the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management at 571-350-1000 for more details on how you can become better prepared for the new year.
Finally, for many, alcohol will be a part of holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, alcohol also is a part of many of the traffic crashes that occur. In 2009, Fairfax County experienced 951 alcohol-related crashes, killing 20 and injuring over 550, and more than 3,500 drinking drivers were charged with driving under the influence. National statistics say that about three in every 10 people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their life.
What can you do and still enjoy the holiday season?
- If you choose to drink, don’t drive. Plan ahead to have a spouse or friend drive.
- Don’t ride with someone who has been drinking.
- If you need to, use the holiday taxi service available through the Washington Regional Alcohol Program at www.wrap.org.
The Fairfax County Police Department also reminds us that the holiday season is a prime time for underage drinking. If you have teenagers in the family, remind them of the law and the dangers of alcohol consumption, and don’t purchase alcohol for anyone underage.
That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.