Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Nov. 17, 2010
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Nov. 17, 2010. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about carbon monoxide poisoning, Thanksgiving Day fire safety and winter weather preparedness. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels. It causes about 300 accidental fatalities in homes each year; thousands more are treated in hospitals for CO poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and confused thinking. Without treatment, the victim will lose consciousness and possibly their life. Common carbon monoxide causes include:
- Faulty gas or oil furnaces and water heaters.
- Using a generator inside or outside too close to windows.
- Cracked chimney flues.
- Indoor use of charcoal grills.
- Use of a gas oven or range to warm a room.
- Running a car in an enclosed area.
- Closing the fireplace damper before the fire is completely out.
Carbon monoxide accidents are preventable. To protect your family:
- Have a qualified technician inspect your gas furnace and appliances.
- Never allow your car to run in an enclosed area, especially one attached to your house.
- Make sure your fireplace is in good repair and do not close the damper before the fire is out.
- Install CO alarms to give your family a warning if CO is building up in your house.
Carbon monoxide alarms should be located on every floor of your home and mounted according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the alarm goes off, everyone should get out immediately and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house. Do not open doors and windows so when first responders arrive, they can obtain CO readings in different areas to determine the source of the leak.
The United States Fire Administration recently issued “Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings.” The report estimates that each year there are 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings in the U.S. that result in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property loss. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is, by far, cooking, and these fires occur most frequently from noon to 4 p.m. Finally, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of the nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings. More information is available from the United States Fire Administration website at www.usfa.fema.gov. Additional fire safety tips are at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.
Finally, Winter Preparedness Week is Dec. 5-11. Now is a great time to get ready for possible bad weather. All it takes is one heavy snow that sticks around for several days or an ice storm that knocks out power to remind us that being prepared ahead of time just makes sense. Remember these three steps:
- Make a plan.
- Get a kit.
- Stay informed.
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.