Posted at 11:43 a.m.
- Stay Informed.
- Be Sun Smart.
- Follow Pool Safety Rules.
- Be Prepared for Boating.
- Watch Where You Walk and Climb Ladders With Caution.
- Know Your Heat Safety Basics.
- Stay Safe When a Thunderstorm Threatens.
The eighth safety step you can take is to share this important information with friends, family and neighbors. Enjoy your safe, injury-free summer!
Posted at 4:20 p.m.
In the U.S., an average of 54 people are killed each year by lightning, and hundreds more are severely injured, according to the National Weather Service. Summer is the peak season for lightning, so remember “When thunder roars, go indoors!”
Stay Safe When a Thunderstorm Threatens
- At the first clap of thunder, go indoors or into an enclosed vehicle. Remain inside until 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
- A thunderstorm watch means there is a possibility of a thunderstorm in your area.
- A thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon. If you are advised to take shelter then do so immediately.
- If you can hear thunder, seek shelter. Even if it is not raining, lightning can strike within 10 miles of an area that is experiencing rain.
- Stop all outdoor activities at the first clap of thunder to give yourself time to move indoors. Leaders of outdoor events should have a plan for moving participants inside.
- If you cannot go indoors, squat low to the ground to make yourself the smallest target possible. Go to a low-lying area and stay away from trees, poles and metal objects.
- Avoid electrical equipment, plumbing, windows and concrete floors and walls when indoors during a thunderstorm.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone has been struck by lightning. People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge.
Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
- Never lie flat on the ground.
- Never shelter under an isolated tree.
- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.).
Indoor Lightning Safety
- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
Posted at 3:30 p.m.
During the summer, many of us spend time on the water in all types of boats. However, we all need to be prepared before heading out on the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), operator error, lack of training and alcohol use contribute to the risk of drowning in a boating incident. And, nearly 85 percent of those who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket.
As part of our series of National Safety Month messages, Fairfax County’s Risk Management Division and Office of Emergency Management encourage you to take steps today to stay healthy and injury-free while out on the water.
Be Prepared for Boating
- Learn to swim. Take lessons from a qualified aquatics instructor at a Park Authority ReCenter.
- Know the local weather conditions and forecast before boating.
- Before boating, take a U.S. Coast Guard approved boater safety course. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers boater safety classes.
- Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFD’s) when boating, regardless of distance to be traveled, size of boat, or swimming ability of boaters.
- Make sure the life jacket is the right size, especially for children. Children under 13 must wear life jackets at all times while boating.
- One wearable PFD is required per person while boating. There also may be requirements for “throwables” (ring buoys/seat cushions).
- Avoid drinking alcohol before or during any boating activity and never drink alcohol while supervising children.
- When near or on the water, always bring a cell phone and know how to contact emergency services. If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.
Posted at 3:15 p.m.
Whether you are playing or working outside this summer, you need to take precautions to stay safe in the sun. As part of our National Safety Month series, Fairfax County’s Risk Management Division and Office of Emergency Management offer these tips.
Be Sun Smart
- Cover up: Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brim hat, and wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Ideal sunglasses block 99-100 percent of the UV rays (both UVA and UVB).
- Use Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher: The number of the SPF represents the level of sunburn protection provided. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Put on sunscreen before you go outside even on cloudy or cool days. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you are active and sweating or swimming. Old sunscreens should be thrown away because they lose their potency after one to two years.
- Limit direct exposure: UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Limit time outdoors during these hours and seek shade whenever possible.
- Drink fluids: Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your activity level. Water or sports beverages are recommended. Stay away from beverages that contain caffeine, alcohol or large quantities of sugar.
- Stay indoors: Stay in air conditioning in places like your home, or a local shopping center or library. A few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler before you go back into the heat.
- Check family and friends: Keep an eye on family members, friends and neighbors. Pay close attention and check regularly on young children and those 65 or older. Here are additional sun safety tips for babies and children.
More information on summer and heat safety is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You also may want to watch this video from the National Institutes of Health – Protecting Yourself From Skin Cancer. Get a heat safety fact sheet (pictured above) from OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Spanish verion); more tips on OSHA’s heat safety Web page.
Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. June is National Safety Month and a good time to review how you can avoid slips, trips and falls all year long.
Watch Where You Walk and Climb Ladders with Caution
- Ensure adequate lighting at your home both indoors and outdoors.
- Remove debris from exterior walkways.
- Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately.
- Arrange furniture to provide open walking pathways.
- Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas.
- Always keep at least three points of contact with a ladder (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand).
- A straight or extension ladder should be placed 1 foot away from the surface it rests against for every 4 feet of ladder height.
- Place the base of the ladder on a firm, solid surface.
- Do not use ladders outdoors in windy or inclement weather.