Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: June 2, 2009
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for June 2, 2009. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn boating and swimming safety tips, hear how to prepare your pets for emergencies, and important information from the CDC on staying healthy from influenza. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
Sun, water and wind can make for a great day to go for a favorite summer pastime – boating. To keep it safe, as well as fun, learn and follow the fundamental rules of boating. Dan Schmidt with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Public Affairs and Life Safety Education encourages boaters to remember this most important boating safety tip:
“One of the most important things to do when boating is to wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device, in other words a life jacket or a PFD. The PFD is the best protection against drowning. Now that’s just so important, it can’t be stressed enough.”
Schmidt also recommends that boaters NOT drink and drive on the waterways.
“Drinking and driving a boat do not mix. Driving a boat while intoxicated is just as dangerous as drinking and driving in a vehicle. The designated driver system doesn’t work in boating. Everyone is a risk because the boat is in motion. And that, coupled with alcohol, increases the chances of losing balance and falling overboard."
And remember… Don't exceed your boat's capacity. Have visual distress devices approved by the Coast Guard on board. Use the "one-third rule" in fuel management –use one-third of the fuel to go, one-third to get back, and keep one-third in reserve. And always tell someone where you will be boating, when you will be back, what your boat looks like and other identifying information. More information is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reminds residents to take the following steps to make your swimming pool safe:
- Place barriers completely around the pool.
- Closely supervise young children.
- Be prepared in case of an emergency.
In addition, always have an adult watch children while in the pool. Obey pool rules. Swim with a buddy. Walk slowly in the pool area. Swim at a depth that is safe for you – if you're just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end. And don't push or jump on other swimmers.
Don’t forget that the Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1. Prepare for the season by making a plan, creating an emergency supply kit and staying informed. The Virginia State Animal Response Team also reminds residents to make plans for your pets. Prepare a pet emergency kit ahead of time to include a few days worth of medication, your pet’s medical and vaccination records, a leash, collar, identification, water, food, toys, a picture of you and your pet, and bedding. Make sure that your animals have some form of permanent identification such as a microchip, brand or tattoo. Purchase a pet carrier and label it with emergency contact information.
Store water and feed for emergencies. And create a contingency plan for animals including horses and livestock that addresses transportation, water and feed resources and areas for confinement if needed. More details are online at www.vaemergency.com.
And finally, here’s a message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services. While aimed at kids, it’s a good reminder for all of us on how to stay safe from the flu.
“… Wash your hands with soap and water long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice OR use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or use your elbow or shoulder; NOT your hands. Stay away from sick people so they don′t give you their germs and make you sick. If you don′t feel well, tell an adult right away. You might have to stay home for a while so you don′t make others sick.”
More information about influenza is available on the county’s Health Department Web page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd.
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.