Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: June 16, 2009
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for June 16, 2009. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn how to stay safe at the outdoor grill, tips on preventing yourself from being scammed and info from the Health Department on how to reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
The summer barbecue season is here. Cookouts, however, can lead to tragedy if they are not properly planned. Dan Schmidt with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Public Affairs and Life Safety Education encourages residents to remember these important grilling safety tips:
“Never use gasoline to start a fire. Use charcoal lighter fluid safely and prudently. Adding more fluid on hot coals may ignite the stream of fuel and burn back into the can, causing it to explode. Place grills away from structures and combustibles a minimum of 15 feet so they will not tip over or ignite objects above them. One of the biggest dangers with grills is trying to use them on an apartment or condominium balcony. This practice is not safe and it’s against the law. And finally, never bring a grill into the home. The carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal is dangerous and deadly.”
Schmidt adds that it’s a good idea to keep a garden hose or portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire inside the grill gets out of control. If so, call 9-1-1 immediately. More grilling safety information is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire.
The Fairfax County Police Department is warning older adults to beware of strangers calling them on the phone and asking for money. There have been several attempts by scammers pretending to be a grandchild saying that they have been involved in an accident or arrested for driving while under the influence. Lucy Caldwell with the Police Department’s public information office says this scam preys on the fact that many times older adults will do most anything to help a family member in need. Caldwell says there are steps to take to avoid this scam:
“If you get a call from anyone asking for money immediately you need to verify who the caller is by asking personal questions. You need to be cautious. Remember, don’t give personal information. You need to call other family members before sending any money. Sometimes the callers apparently are claiming to be a relative, so just ensure that they aren’t. Call the location where the family member is being held or treated. With some of these scams, apparently they’re saying that they’re in the hospital and they need money fast, or they’re in jail and need money, so we want to make sure that they aren't.”
And finally, the recent heavy, persistent rains have provided breeding places for mosquitoes. This year the county’s surveillance system is collecting an unusually high number of floodwater mosquitoes. The Health Department recommends the following tips for residents to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:
- When spending time outdoors, use insect repellents containing the active ingredient DEET (up to 30 percent), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR-3535. Always use mosquito repellents according to label instructions.
- Wear long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
- Turn over or remove containers in your yard where water collects, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
- Fill in root-ball holes from downed trees or any depression that holds water for more than a week.
- Eliminate standing water on tarps, such as those that may be used to cover wood piles.
- Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.
- Clean roof gutters and black corrugated drain pipes.
Residents may call the Health Department’s Disease Carrying Insect Program at 703-246-2300, for more information, or log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fightthebite.
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 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.