Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Jan. 26, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for Jan. 12, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about making a family emergency plan, staying safe this winter and tips for using halogen lamps. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
As we begin the new year, resolve to be ready for any emergency. Your first step is to make a family emergency plan. Here are some questions to consider:
- Who is your emergency point of contact? Choose an out-of-town friend or relative. During emergencies, it’s often easier to make long-distance calls to an out-of-town person who can help communicate among separated family members.
- Where are your meeting places? In case you can’t return home, choose a place to meet in your neighborhood and another place outside your neighborhood if you can’t get there. Your neighborhood meeting place may be a friend’s house on the next street. A meeting place outside your neighborhood may be a nearby church, store or another friend’s home.
- Do your schools have emergency plans? If you are a parent, ask your schools and day care providers about their emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during a crisis. Ask if they are prepared to stay in school if necessary and where they plan to go if they must leave.
Get a free family emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Now what about being prepared for winter emergencies and staying safe during the extreme cold:
- If power goes out and you have no heat, you’ll need blankets or sleeping bags for warmth in as few as four hours after power is out, depending on your home’s insulation. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and wear a hat and mittens.
- If you use kerosene or propane heaters,they should be used with caution. The room must be ventilated by opening a window. Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable objects such as curtains, blankets and furniture. Place heaters on a hard surface, not on carpet, and refuel them outdoors after they have cooled.
- If the power is out and you need information, be sure you have a battery-powered radio with extra batteries. Get one with a weather radio band so you can hear reports from the National Weather Service and your local radio stations. Find these at electronics and sporting goods stores, department stores, from catalogs and online.
- If you can’t get out, you’ll need supplies. Stock at least a three-day supply of food that doesn’t need refrigeration or electricity to prepare. You will also need water – three gallons per person will last three days. Be sure to have flashlights and extra batteries on hand. Don’t use candles during power outages.
- If you must drive during a winter storm, remember that most traffic crashes happen within two hours after a storm starts. Try to stay off the road to give snowplows time and space to work. Wait until daylight to drive so sunlight can warm the roads. Get road conditions by calling 5-1-1 or go to www.511Virginia.org. Buckle up every time you drive.
And finally, here are some halogen lamp safety tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department:
- Always buy a certified lamp as they provide standards to ensure safety.
- Keep combustible materials at least 3 feet from halogen lamps and consider not using them in areas where they might be tipped or overturned.
- Never place lamps near windows, beds or an area where fabric may hang near the top of the lamp.
- Before using the light, ensure you are using the recommended bulb; the wrong bulb can cause the lamp to shatter.
- Shut off the lamp when you leave the room or area.
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.