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Friday, July 1, 2011

SAFETY FIRST for the Weekend: Hot Weather-Grilling-Swimming-Fireworks and Pets

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department wishes everyone a festive and happy Fourth of July celebration over this long holiday weekend.  We also look forward to not meeting you over the weekend for unfortunate reasons.  The combined career and volunteer men and women of the Fire/EMS Department want you to enjoy a safe Independence Day and remind everyone to keep "Safety First" to ensure everyone goes home and offer you a few safety tips to keep in mind.

Stay Healthy

This weekend's weather forecast is calling for high temperatures and humidity.  Drink plenty of water throughout the course of each day, wear light colored clothing and take frequents breaks in an air conditioned environment.  If someone becomes is sweating profusely with a pale skin color and is ill with any or all of the following symptoms; cramps, light headiness, dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea; remove them to a shady or air conditioned area, provide them with water and cool wet compresses to help reduce their body temperature.  These symptoms could indicate that the person is possibly suffering from heat exhaustion.  If their condition does not improve within a matter of a couple minutes; call 911.

If a person is experiencing similar symptoms and goes unconscious, does not display signs of sweating and skin color is red; call 911 immediately as this person may be experiencing heat stroke; a life threatening condition.  Relocate this person to a shady or air conditioned area, provide cold compresses and loosen clothing in order to reduce this person's body temperature.  Do not provide any fluids to an unconscious person.

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbeque's will be in use over the course of this long holiday weekend.  We ask that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning up your BBQ grill.  Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!
  • NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies
  • By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.
  • When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!!
  • In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments
  • Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill
  • Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire
  • Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. this inspection includes all connections on your gas grilles are tight and not leaking.
Swim Safely

A hot Independence Day long weekend with a food cooking on the grill, plans to attend a municipal fireworks display and let us not forget Swimming Pool Safety.  Thousands of residents will be swimming this weekend and keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.

For parents:
  • Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.
  • Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning.  You must supervise at all times.
  • Have a phone nearby.
  • Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"
  • If a child is missing - check the pool first.
  • Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.
  • Learn CPR.  Visit http://www.redcrossnca.org/ for additional information.
For pool owners and managers:
  • Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.
  • Use self closing latches and gates.
  • Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.
  • Have life saving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles.
Stay Safe with Fireworks

In Prince George's County all consumer purchased fireworks are illegal.  Our Laws are there to protect you and others from the hazards associated with fireworks, please review the Law and our offer of Amnesty to surrender unused fireworks by clicking here.  We highly encourage our citizens and residents attend one of the many municipal and public fireworks displays located throughout Prince George's County this weekend.  For a list of approved fireworks displays this weekend, please click here.  There may be admission charges to some of the listed venues.  Firefighters and Paramedics recommend that you leave the pyrotechnics to the experts, attend a professionally conducted municipal and public fireworks display and adhere to directions from event organizers to stay as safe as possible.

Our friends in College Park, specifically, the community of College Park Woods, wanted us to remind everyone to keep your pets in mind during celebrations over the Fourth of July weekend.  These College Park residents live within a mile of the fireworks display at the University of Maryland and know first hand how the percussion sounds can affect your pets. 

The men and women close out this Independence Day Safety First Tips for the weekend with a press release from the Humane Society of the United States with tips for a safe Fourth of July for your pets.

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2011) — The nation’s largest animal protection organization, The Humane Society of the United States, reminds Americans that our beloved pets can become distressed by the additional noise and commotion involved with the Independence Day holiday.

In fact, animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving "July 4th" dogs—dogs who run off during fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control officers or good Samaritans who take them to the safety of a local shelter.

"Pets are family members, and it's understandable that people want to include them in their holiday plans," said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk program for The HSUS. "However, most pets will be more comfortable staying at home. Spare our furry friends the stress of fireworks, crowds and fanfare on the Fourth of July, and for everyone, we wish you a safe and fun Independence Day."

Fortunately, you can prevent pet problems on Independence Day simply by planning ahead and taking some basic precautions:

• Leave them at home

There are many family and group activities that are perfect for pets, but a public fireworks display or a picnic, cookout or any other type of gathering where fireworks will be set off isn’t one of them – please resist the urge to take your pets to such an event.

• Don't leave your pet in the car

With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects—even death—in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

• Give them shelter

Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.

• Keep it quiet

If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays. The HSUS has calming products for sale at its online store, Humane Domain.

• Pay attention

Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

• Tag ‘Em

Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

On behalf of all the men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department we wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!!!