Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Feb. 9, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Feb. 9, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about National Burn Awareness Week and fire safety, small appliance fires and how to stay safe around frozen lakes and ponds. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
Each year on average, more than 18,000 Americans are injured, and more than 3,500 die in fires, with children age 14 and under making up 10-15 percent of all fire deaths. National Burn Awareness Week, traditionally observed the first full week in February, is a good time to focus on preventing fires and protecting children. Top tips to avoid fire and keep kids safe around the house include:
- Keep children at least 3 feet from hot stoves and cooking appliances. When cooking, use back burners with pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
- Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Store ashes in fire-resistant containers; cover the container with a lid, and dispose of ashes carefully.
- Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level – do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials and place them out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Always tuck cords from appliances where children cannot reach them.
- Install smoke alarms on every level in your home, and inside and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms each month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
Excellent online resources for fire prevention education materials and protecting children from fire and burns include www.usfa.dhs.gov/kids/; www.safekids.org; www.redcross.org; www.fema.gov; and www.Ready.gov. In addition, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has life safety information at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire.
Speaking of fires, the county’s Fire and Rescue Department offers the following small appliance fire safety tips:
- Immediately fix appliances or lamps that sputter or spark.
- Keep appliances away from wet areas, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, basement and garage.
- Keep appliances away from combustibles.
- Use extension cords wisely and don’t overload them; make sure the plastic is not worn away or coming apart.
- Never use an extension cord as permanent wiring.
And finally, remember that ice formed on moving water – ponds, lakes and rivers – is never safe. Daily changes in temperature affect the strength and thickness of the ice. Because of these factors, no one can declare the ice to be absolutely safe.
- If someone falls through the ice, act quickly and call 9-1-1.
- Do not go out on the ice. Many times would-be rescuers become victims themselves.
- Obey posted warning signs. If they say “keep off,” there’s a good reason.
- If you see an animal on the ice, that doesn’t mean the ice is safe for you to walk on. Cats and dogs are generally much lighter than people.
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.