By Sonya D. Lavett
Among the warm weather, break from school and vacationing, we often put our guards down during the summer, distracted by fun and relaxation. Summer is certainly the perfect time to relax, but accidents can happen at any time. If you are not prepared for a mishap, a bad situation can get much worse very quickly.
Wherever your summer travels take you and your family or friends, here are 10 tips to remember before you hit the road:
- First Aid Kit: It sounds pretty basic, but don’t leave home without a first aid kit. Even better, check it to make sure that its medicines are up to date, its bandages are in good condition (a bandage that’s been in your kit since the 1980’s is surely to be falling apart) and throw a bottle of water into your kit. If you’re outside in nature, you may not have access to running, clean water. If your child or pet gets cut, that wound needs cleaning before you can bandage it. A bottle of clean water is invaluable when you really need it; of course, it also comes in handy to quench your thirst.
- In Case of Emergency: Suppose you are alone walking on the beach, you fall and hit your head, rendering you unconscious. The emergency medical team does not know who you are and needs to get in touch with your family. Who do they call? If you place the acronym ICE (In Case of Emergency) with the names of those closest to you in your cell phone, the medical professionals will know who to call. Some smartphones already have this built-in feature.
- Water: It is swelteringly hot on the Gulf Coast this time of year, and it is so easy to become overheated and dehydrated. Wherever you go, take plenty of water. Keep a gallon of it (or two) in your vehicle. Water isn’t just great for humans and animals, it’s good for an overheated car. You can also wet a bandana or scarf and wear it around your neck to keep you cooled down. You won’t ever be sorry that you have plenty of H2O when you need it, but you may be really sorry if you need it and don’t have it. It can literally save your life – or someone else’s. Keep it close!
- Extra Layers: Speaking of the weather, it is actually pretty cool in some places in the U.S. It is a statistical fact that most people freeze to death not in the winter in frigid temperatures, but in the spring. In the spring, things can be pretty warm in the day time, but at night, temperatures can dip pretty rapidly in some regions. If an individual is dressed in shorts and a T-shirt for the sunshine, but doesn’t have a jacket or a windbreaker for cooler night temperatures, hypothermia can set in before you know it. Wandering around the woods at night with no jacket is not a good feeling. Wherever you go, bring extra layers.
- Power: Back up your power supplies. With so much technology, we tend to rely pretty heavily on our cell phones, GPS and other gear, but even technology can let us down. Batteries die. Phones lose signal. Bring extra batteries, chargers and power banks with you and check your equipment throughout the day so that your power does not become dangerously low just when you need it the most.
- Tell a Friend: Know where you are going. GPS is a great tool, but in an emergency situation, you need to have a general idea of which way you are headed. Use the sun’s position to gather your bearings. Just as important, tell someone where you are going, especially if you are alone. Give them a general idea of how long you’ll be there. That way, if something happens or you don’t come back, your ICE loved ones will know where to start looking. This happens often when people go boating. We are taught to develop a float plan, but on a pretty day, when the fish are calling, it seems like nothing could go wrong. Something as simple as telling someone where you plan to be can be a life saver on the water, but it can be equally as critical on land.
- Pay Attention: A lot of accidents and tragedies could be prevented if people would pay better attention. Paying attention to roads, signals, mile markers, names of towns and streets, as well as other points of interest could help you in case you get lost or break down. Wherever you go, develop good situational awareness and always look for an exit.
- Proper Footwear: Wear proper shoes! No matter what you are doing, make sure you have the right shoes for the activity. If you are out doing yardwork, flip flops and sandals are not safe. Wear shoes that cover your toes. If you’re around water, such as a beach or a lake, it is a good idea to wear water shoes to avoid cutting them on broken glass, rocks or a lost fishing hook.
- Fire Safety: With warmer weather, people enjoy grilling out and sometimes burning piles of debris or leaves. Fire poses a special danger, especially when we are lackadaisical in our approach. The most important thing to remember with fire is to always keep an eye on it. Never leave it unattended or allow yourself to be distracted. That is how fires can quickly get out of hand. Keep a hose, a large container of water, or some sand nearby in case the flames begin to grow too high.
- Panic Button: Most people have a car key fob with a panic button, yet, we forget about that little button in an emergency. You don’t necessarily have to use the panic button as it pertains to your car. If someone is attacking you, or if you are in your home and someone is trying to break in, use the panic button on your key fob to draw attention to the situation. If you always keep your keys in the same place, or within reach (like on a night stand next to your bed) you will have this great little tool at your fingertips for any emergency situation.
Enjoy your summer and, most importantly, enjoy it safely!
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