Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: May 24, 2017


Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about summertime safety in and around the pool, Fairfax Alerts and Scott’s Run Nature Preserve. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

Summertime means swimming time and the Fairfax County Health Department wants people to have a safe and fun time enjoying water-related activities. Although swimming is a physical activity that offers lots of health benefits, pools and other recreational water venues are also places where germs can be spread and injuries can happen. The Health Department issues permits to all public pool facilities and routinely inspects them to ensure they are being operated in a safe and healthy manner, in accordance with Fairfax County Code. But it’s also important that swimmers take the following precautions to maximize the benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of injury or illness to themselves and others.

  • Look: Make sure you can see the drain at the bottom of the pool. Cloudiness and increases the likelihood of drowning for young swimmers!
  • Smell: Make sure there are no strong chemical smells, which is not a sign of proper chlorination, but rather a sign of contamination.
  • Check: Ask to see the water quality results posted at every public pool and check if there is a lifeguard on duty or signs posted “No Lifeguard on Duty.” If no lifeguard is on duty, is there safety equipment such as rescue ring or pole available?

Also, remember that diarrhea and swimming don’t mix! Don’t swim or let your kids swim when sick with diarrhea. Everyone should shower before entering the pool and cover any open wounds with water-proof bandages. Do not swallow the water you swim in. A mouthful of water with germs could make you sick. And be sure to keep an eye on children at all times. Drowning is a leading cause of death among Virginia’s children 1 to 4 years old. Always supervise children when they are around water and only allow them to use flotation devices that are Coast Guard approved. For more information on pool safety, visit or and search “healthy swimming.”


Are you signed up to receive emergency alerts – and non-emergency communications – from Fairfax Alerts? This notification system is used by the county to communicate to residents via text and email. And it’s free to sign up – normal text messaging rates apply. Learn more and sign up at


Scott’s Run Nature Preserve sits along the Potomac River, just upstream from the American Legion Memorial Bridge. Recently the preserve, operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority, has had numerous safety issues and trash problems, and this has led to the need for increased law enforcement are the site. Over the past several years Scott’s Run has drawn large, unruly, often underage crowds that refuse to obey site rules, damage natural resources, refuse to follow staff direction, produce piles of trash and endanger themselves and others. Despite educational efforts and limited enforcement to date, the problems persist and are getting worse.

  • Underage drinking is prevalent.
  • Large piles of trash, including glass and coolers are being left behind.
  • Wildflower poachers have dug up the fragile flowers.
  • And rowdy park visitors intimidate park hikers, families and have even threatened Park staff.

Sara Baldwin is with the Park Authority.

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Please note that swimming is against the law at Scott’s Run and also is extremely dangerous. Swimming in the creek is also a health hazard because many sources of pollution make the waters potentially hazardous to human health. Storm runoff in the Tyson’s area washes human and animal waste into the creek. Please help us keep Scott’s Run Nature Preserve the beautiful place that it is and help keep it clean. And if you see anyone littering or drinking on the preserve, call the county’s non-emergency phone number, 703-691-2131.


Finally, learn how to make a family emergency plan – as well as emergency plans for your business and house of worship – online 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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