Posted 12:30 p.m.
The record-breaking heat wave will continue into the weekend, with temperatures on Saturday in the triple digits and a forecasted heat index of about 115⁰ F.
The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. The Fairfax County Health Department encourages residents to take these steps to stay safe and comfortable during these hot summer days.
Reduce/Alter Outdoor Activities
- Children, the elderly and individuals with heart or respiratory ailments, emphysema, asthma or chronic bronchitis should reduce outdoor activities.
- Healthy individuals should limit strenuous outdoor work or exercise and should limit their outdoor activities.
- To reduce risk during outdoor work, schedule frequent rest breaksin shaded or air conditioned environments.
- Reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
- Approximately 300 homes in Fairfax County remain without power. Consider visiting a friend or a public place such as a mall or library to keep cool. Most county RECenters are open so you can beat the heat, shower and recharge your cellphones, medical devices and other electronic devices.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour if you are in a hot environment. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Do not drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages because they dehydrate the body.
- More heat safety tips.
Preserve Air Quality
The past week has been filled with Code Orange air quality days when pollution levels are harmful to children and anyone with breathing or heart conditions. More air quality alert days may be on the way.
- Limit driving and when possible, combine trips, telework, carpool or use mass transit, including Fairfax Connector.
- Refuel vehicles after dusk and limit idling.
- Avoid mowing lawns with gasoline-powered motors.
- Don’t use chemicals on your lawn and gardens.
- Put off painting until air quality improves.
Learn more about air quality and check daily and three-day forecasts.
The high temperatures are likely to stress utility systems this weekend. Help everyone out by conserving power:
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
- Keep air conditioning no lower than 78 degrees.
- More energy saving information.
Extra Care for Children
Even when the temperatures are at their hottest, kids rarely slow down. Be sure to plan ahead and alter activities to keep children safe and comfortable.
- Never leave children in a car – not even for a few minutes.
- Plan activities to keep kids active and occupied indoors.
- Keep your children hydrated.
- Dress your child appropriately, in light-weight, light-colored clothing.
- Apply sunscreen when your child will be outdoors.
Keep Pets Safe
- Never leave pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact police.
- Shade and water are vital to pets.
- Limit exercise on hot days. Take care to adjust intensity and duration of exercise. Watch for shortness of breath.
- Remember that asphalt gets very hot and can burn paws; walk your dog on the grass if possible.
- Signs that your pet may need further attention.
The weekend may see additional thunderstorms, so be prepared in case your power goes out again.
- Develop an emergency plan based on our local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter.
- Create or refresh an emergency kit for needed food, supplies and medication.
- Learn what you can do to strengthen your home or business against severe weather.
- Understand the weather warning system.
- More tips on preparedness.
Posted: 4:15 p.m.
People in the areas affected by the recent severe weather will continue to face a number of hazards associated with cleanup activities. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) offers the following safety tips:
Wear Protective Gear
- For most cleanup work, wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank).
- Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
Reduce Risk of Heat Exhaustion
While cleaning up after a severe storm during excessive heat, you are at risk for developing health problems. To reduce heat-related risks:
- Drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Work during the cooler hours of the day.
Prevent Muscle and Bone Injury
Special attention is needed to avoid back injuries associated with manual lifting and handling of debris and building materials. To help prevent muscle and bone injury:
- Use teams of two or more to move bulky objects.
- Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds.
- Use proper automated-assist lifting devices.
- Use caution or seek professional assistance when removing fallen trees, cleaning up debris or using equipment, such as chain saws.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is poisonous to breathe. During storm cleanup, operate gasoline-powered generators and outdoors. Never bring them indoors.
Prevent Fatigue-Related Injuries
Continued long hours of work combined with exhaustion can create a highly stressful situation during cleanup. People working on storm cleanup can reduce their risk of injury and illness in several ways:
- Set priorities for cleanup tasks and pace the work.
- Avoid physical exhaustion.
- Resume a normal sleep schedule as quickly as possible.
- Be alert to emotional exhaustion or strain.
- Consult family members, friends or professionals for emotional support.
Mosquito-borne Disease Prevention
- Protect against mosquito bites by wearing long, loose and light-colored clothing.
- Use insect repellant with the smallest percentage of DEET necessary for the length of time you are exposed to mosquitoes, but no more than 50 percent for adults and 30 percent for children under 12.
- Turn over or remove containers in your yard where water collects, such as toys, plant trays and buckets.
Additional cleanup safety tips: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/recover/cleanup.htm
Dominion Virginia Power has announced all power restoration in Northern Virginia will be completed by tomorrow.
If you have lost power, keep these important tips in mind:
- Dispose perishable foods that have been without refrigeration for more than two hours. Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products, and leftovers are especially high risk. When in doubt, throw it out.
- When power returns, inspect the food in your freezer. If there are still ice crystals in the package it is probably safe to refreeze. Use a thermometer to check the temperature and if your freezer remained under 40 F, the food is probably safe to refreeze. Otherwise, it is probably not safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
- If you have medication that requires refrigeration but you lost power, check with the pharmacy on the label. A pharmacist can advise you if it can still be used.
Thousands of homes in Fairfax County are without power this morning. View important utility phone numbers and links to outage maps.
- Please check in on neighbors, especially older adults or people with medical needs.
- Traffic signals may be out in some intersections. Please observe the rules of a four-way stop.
- Food safety tips.