Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: July 24, 2013

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for July 24, 2013. Coming up, learn about keeping your pets safe this summer, the Great Southeast ShakeOut, heat stroke, thunderstorms and lightning safety. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


The Fairfax County Animal Shelter reminds us to keep pets safe this summer. Do not leave your pets in vehicles, with or without the windows down. On a 78 degree day, the temperature inside your car can quickly reach 120 degrees. If your pets are outdoors on a hot day, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of water. Exercise pets in the morning and evening, not during the heat of the day. Following a few simple safety precautions can help keep your pets safe and happy. Learn more about the Animal Shelter at


This fall, we have the opportunity to participate again in the Great Southeast ShakeOut, an event designed to practice earthquake safety steps. Several states across the Southeast U.S. will participate on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m. to “drop, cover, and hold on,” the catch phrase for staying safe through an earthquake. Last year’s drill was the first extensive campaign in Virginia to promote earthquake safety awareness, spurred by the 2011 earthquake in Mineral, Va. For more information, go to To “drop, cover, and hold on,” “drop” to the ground where you are without attempting to run down stairs or go outside. “Cover” under a sturdy table or desk to protect your head and neck, the body’s most vulnerable areas during an earthquake. After dropping and taking cover, “hold on” until the shaking has stopped before safely evacuating.


Extreme heat can be very dangerous and lead to heat stroke and even death. Heat stroke occurs when your temperature rises quickly and your body cannot cool down. This condition is life-threatening, but it is preventable.

  • Stay in air-conditioned spaces if possible. If your home is not air conditioned, go to a public library, heat-relief shelter or other cool location.

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.

  • Cut back on exercise. 

  • Closely watch those who are at high risk of heat-related illness, including older adults, young children and individuals with physical and/or mental illnesses.

  • NEVER leave anyone in an enclosed, parked vehicle.

If you believe that you or someone else may be suffering from heat stroke or another heat-related illness, get help right away by calling 9-1-1 immediately.


Thunderstorms are dangerous due to lightning. Although lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months in the afternoon and evening. Be smart this summer to help reduce your risks:

  • Postpone outdoor activities when a storm is forecast.

  • Unplug electronic equipment before the storms begins.

  • Avoid contact with any metal – such as motorcycles, bicycles and golf clubs.

  • And avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower or wash dishes and do not laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

For more tips and helpful information, visit


Finally, be sure to subscribe by RSS or email to the emergency information blog at

That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Va., Government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

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