Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. I’m your host Jim Person. Coming up, learn about swimming pool and outdoor grilling safety, a new podcast from FEMA, hurricanes and keeping your pets safe from coyotes. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
We’ve entered swimming season. Our Fire and Rescue Department has several tips and reminders for you and your family this summer around the pool, lake or ocean.
- Actively supervise kids whenever around the water – even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach – designate a responsible adult to supervise. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings. Also, do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
- Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
- If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
- Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
- Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
Remember these safety tips to have fun around the water while ensuring a safe summer at the beach, lake or community pool.
If you plan to barbecue or grill out this summer, keep yourself, children, pets and property safe. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has some recommendations for preventing burns and controlling the flames while you grill outside:
- Only use your grill outside. Keep it away from siding and deck rails.
- Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking on the grill.
- Open your gas grill before lighting.
- Use long-handled barbecue tools.
- Keep a 3-foot safe zone around grills, fire pits and campfires. This will help keep kids and pets safe.
- Never leave your grill, fire pit or patio torches unattended.
- Clean your grill after each use. This will remove grease that can start a fire.
- Place the coals on your grill in a metal can with a lid once they have cooled.
For more information on first aid for burns or fire prevention during the summer months, visit the USFA Summer Fire Safety page at www.usfa.fema.gov and search “summer fire safety.”
Since you’re listening to this “Health and Safety” podcast, you might be interested to learn about the new weekly FEMA podcast. This audio program series is available to anyone interested in learning more about the Federal Emergency Management Agency, innovations in the field of emergency management and hearing stories about communities and individuals recovering after disasters. The FEMA podcast is available on Apple iTunes. Learn more and also listen on the FEMA podcast page at www.fema.gov/podcast.
Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. On average, 12 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year. Over a typical two-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of three hurricanes, one of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater). By knowing what actions to take before a hurricane begins, when a hurricane approaches and when the storm is in your area, as well as what to do after a hurricane leaves your area, you can increase your chance of survival. To learn more, visit www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane.
Animal protection police officers and the Fairfax County wildlife management specialist are monitoring coyote activity after a small dog was recently attacked and killed in the forested area of the Parklawn community. Unprovoked conflicts between humans and coyotes are extremely rare. Coyotes are an established part of the local wildlife community in Fairfax County and their presence should not alarm you. Conflicts between dogs and coyotes can happen year-round but are more likely during coyote mating season – January through March – and when coyotes are caring for their young (March-August). To help prevent conflicts and the likelihood of a confrontation with a coyote:
- Never feed a coyote.
- Securely cover your trash bins and compost piles.
- Do not feed pets outside or store pet food outside.
- Do not leave your pet unattended, even in a fenced yard.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Pick up ripe, fallen fruit and do not let it accumulate on the ground.
- Keep dogs on short leashes (less than 6 feet) while walking outside.
- Install motion sensor lights or a motion activated sprinkler around your home.
Reports of aggressive, sick or injured animals should be made to the Fairfax County animal protection police at 703-691-2131. More information on coyotes and what to do if you see one can be found at: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/wildlife/coyote.
Finally, learn how to make a family emergency plan – as well as emergency plans for your business and house of worship – online at www.ReadyNOVA.org.
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.