Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: June 1, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for June 1, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer.Coming up, learn about staying safe swimming, fishing or boating this summer, as well as safety reminders when using a chain saw. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
According to a new national survey by the American Red Cross, nearly 8 in 10 households (78 percent) are planning at least one water-related recreational activity this summer such as swimming, boating and fishing. However, 21 percent described their swimming skills as fair, poor or nonexistent – including 3 percent unable to swim at all. Many of the drownings that occur each year could have been prevented:
One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe
that having a small child wear a flotation device is safer than
providing arm’s-reach supervision.
One in five (18 percent) of adults are unsure what to do if they are
caught in a strong current.
- Nearly two in five (38 percent) recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help.
The Red Cross recommends designating at least one adult to solely be responsible for watching those in and around the water – even if a lifeguard is present. Adults should be in the water with inexperienced swimmers and remain within arm’s reach of them. More water safety tips and information can be found on redcross.org.
Nationwide, more than 700 people die every year in boating and paddling accidents according to the Coast Guard. Approximately two-thirds drown and more than 90 percent of these were not wearing a life jacket. Here are some tips to help boaters have a safe and pleasant summer on the water:
Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan
states where you are going and how many people are aboard your vessel.
It also gives a vessel description, details your destination and what
time you expect to arrive there. If you are delayed for some reason,
make sure you let someone know.
Make certain to check the local weather prior to departing the dock.
Weather can change very rapidly, and you should keep a watchful eye on
the forecasted conditions.
Have nautical charts of the area you are boating in, a global
positioning device and a reliable means of communication on board your
vessel. VHF-radio is the best method of communication while on the
water. Although cellphones are a good backup, they can be unreliable
due to gaps in coverage area and the inevitable dead battery.
- Wear your life jacket. In an emergency there might not be enough time to put one on, so wearing one at all times may save your life.
For more, visit the Coast Guard Boating Safety Web page at www.uscgboating.org/.
Finally, if it’s been awhile since you used your chain saw, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reminds you to use caution:
Keep both hands solidly on the chain saw handles and your eye on what
you are cutting.
Keep the saw only on the right side of your body and below the height
of your head.
Cut with the lower edge of the saw blade. Cutting with the tip of the
saw is asking for a mouthful of moving chain.
Limbs and branches that are piled up and bent may snap back at
Let the chain do the work. Don't try to force the saw.
- Don't wear yourself out using your saw. Exhaustion makes you lose your concentration.
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.