Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: May 4, 2011
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for May 4, 2011. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer.Coming up, learn about Arson Awareness Week, pertussis or whooping cough and window safety. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
May 1-7 is Arson Awareness Week, a time to focus on the collaborative effort with law enforcement, fire and emergency service departments, and the community to battle serial arsonists. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports that from 2009-2010, there were 88 reported serial arson incidents nationally with a total monetary loss of $4.8 million. Arson in residential dwellings accounted for 49 percent. Intentionally set fires account for 13 percent of fires responded to by fire departments across the nation, resulting in an average of 375 deaths, 1,300 injuries and more than $1 billion in property loss each year. For more information about 2011 Arson Awareness Week, go to www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw.
The Fairfax County Department of Health urges residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of pertussis, also known as whooping cough as there has been a significant increase in Virginia and most of the United States. From 2009 to 2010, there were 72 percent more reported cases in Virginia. Pertussis is highly contagious and most severe in children less than one, who can suffer lung infections, seizures and in rare instances, death. Infants often catch the illness from family members and other caregivers. To protect infants and those with underlying medical conditions, everyone should make sure they are up to date with recommended pertussis vaccines. Pertussis symptoms may include a cough lasting more than two weeks that increases in severity or that occurs in fits or spasms; coughing fits accompanied by difficulty breathing, gagging or vomiting; or a cough followed by a whooping noise. Symptoms in older children and adults may be a milder than those in children. Anyone with pertussis symptoms should seek medical evaluation and avoid public or group settings. If a person is exposed to pertussis or develops symptoms, antibiotic treatment may help prevent the disease or shorten the length of time the illness can be spread. For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Health or contact the Fairfax County Health Department at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd.
Falls from windows result in an average of eight deaths yearly to children age 5 or younger; an estimated 3,300 children age 5 and younger are treated each year in U.S. hospital emergency departments. On average, one of every three children who fall from a window required hospitalization. Deaths and injuries frequently occur when kids push themselves against window screens or climb onto furniture next to an open window. These incidents increase dramatically during the spring and summer months. To help prevent injuries and tragedies, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following safety tips:
- Safeguard your children by installing window guards or window stops.
- Install window stops so that windows open no more than 4 inches.
- Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
- Whenever possible, open windows from the top – instead of the bottom.
- Keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near windows.
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.