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Week in Loudoun

Safety-Seat Clinic

<bt>The Loudoun County Department of Fire and Rescue Services will be conducting a child safety-seat inspection clinic Friday, April 6, from 1-3 p.m., in the parking lot of the Babies R Us, 21300 Signal Hill Plaza, in Sterling. This clinic, which is sponsored by Babies R Us, is a free clinic open to anyone wishing to have their child's safety seat inspected to see that it is properly installed. No appointments are necessary. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all children 12 and under should ride in the rear seat and should always be buckled up or in properly installed car seat.

Effective July 1, the age that children must be properly secured in a child restraint device increases from 5 years to 8 years. Additionally, any rear-facing child restraint devices shall be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a back seat, the rear-facing child restraint device may be placed in the front-passenger seat only if the vehicle is either not equipped with a passenger side airbag or the passenger side airbag has been deactivated.

For additional information, contact Joy Dotson, public education manager, Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management at 703-777-0333.

<sh>Center Closed

<bt>The Smithsonian's Naturalist Center in Leesburg will be closed to the public Wednesday, April 4. Regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Call 703-779-9712 or 800-729-7725.

<sh>Suspect Charged

<bt>A Sterling woman is in custody and warrants are on file for a second Sterling woman involved in the theft of the identities of approximately 500 victims.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Chandra Greene, 38, was charged after the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Discover Card Corporation regarding a possible skimming operation. Greene is facing charges of credit card theft, credit-card fraud and six counts of identity theft. The Sheriff's Office has also obtained warrants for Zakai White, 29, of Sterling. White is facing charges of credit card fraud and six counts of identity theft.

The women allegedly obtained stolen credit card information and used an encoder to encode victim's credit card numbers on other cards. A search conducted on two homes in March in the Sterling area recovered identification information and account numbers of numerous victims. The investigation continues as to how the credit card and identification information was obtained.

Greene was being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center without bond.

<sh>Honoring Dispatchers

<bt>The Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management and the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office join emergency communications centers throughout the country to honor the men and women that serve as Public Safety Dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 8-14.

The Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center serves as the county's public safety answering point for fire, rescue and police incidents, using the county's Enhanced-911 (E-911) system. The center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Leesburg. Emergency and nonemergency fire and rescue calls are processed and police-related calls are transferred to the appropriate law-enforcement agency. Each shift includes workers who are certified in various aspects of emergency medical and fire dispatch and meet the national standards set forth by the Association of Public - Safety Communications Officers (APCO).

In 2006, Loudoun County 9-1-1 personnel from Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management and the Loudoun Sheriff's Office combined processed more than 600,000 emergency and nonemergency telephone calls.

<sh>Mercury Spill

<bt>Around 10:31 a.m., Monday, March 26, fire and rescue personnel from Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management, Leesburg and South Riding were dispatched to an investigation of a mercury spill at the John W Tolbert Elementary School at 691 Potomac Station Drive, N.E., in Leesburg.

A child, who attends the school, had brought a small quantity mercury into the building. Nine students, who were in direct contact with the mercury, were checked out by fire-rescue crews for possible exposure. Three of the nine children tested positive; two of these three were cleared with hand washing and the third was transported to Lansdowne Hospital Center for decontamination.

Fire-Rescue, who searched the school for any additional hazards, was able to isolate the exposure to one area within the school. During their operations, fire-rescue crews recovered approximately on-quarter to one-half teaspoon of mercury from the school. An environmental company was contracted by the school to clean and decontaminate the school.

Around 3:26 p.m., Fire-Rescue crews were dispatched to the 500 block of Ginkgo Terrace, N.E. in Leesburg to check out the residence of the student who brought the mercury to school. Upon investigation by the fire-rescue and hazardous materials crews, the home tested positive for mercury.

The student's father, who also tested positive for mercury, was transported to Lansdowne for decontamination.

The family of four, who have been displaced as a result of this incident, will not be allowed to return home until the house has been cleaned and decontaminated by an environmental company. The Loudoun County "After the Fire" Program is providing assistance with locating temporary shelter for the family.