Take Safety Home: Spring Camping
Camping is an activity that many Americans look forward to enjoying during pleasant weather. Did you know that in recent years, over 1 million Americans became new campers on an annual average? However, along with the fun of roasting marshmallows over a hot campfire with your loved ones is working to ensure that they are safe: Make sure that you adequately prepare to make the most of your camping trips!
- Choose an appropriate shelter and/or campsite. When choosing a campsite or shelter, pick the one that is most suitable for your physical and medical needs. Certain sites will have more amenities, while other sites will require that you bring more of what you need. No matter which site you end up deciding on, be it an RV, a campsite, or the tried-and-true tent, make sure you bring all the necessities called for.
- Camp during good weather. Check on whether the weather forecasts will be pleasant around the time you decide to camp, but pack for inclement weather conditions also.
- Prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, remote and wild areas can be host to mayhem and mishaps. Before you depart, leave the details of your itinerary with someone you trust. Let them know your car information (i.e. license plate, make, model, and year) and the date you plan to return. Minimize your alone-time traveling in unfamiliar territory; travel with a buddy or two, and utilize the buddy system. Be aware of where rangers and telephones are located in your vicinity.
- Keep your food safe. Wild critters will be attracted to the scent of human food. Therefore, keep your provisions tucked away in a cooler and in containers that are tight and waterproof. Also, keep your raw and cooked foods separate, and remember to adhere to safe food hygiene, like washing your hands, whenever you eat.
- Contain your fires. All fires should be at least 15 feet away from the walls of your tent and the surrounding shrubbery and/or trees. A fire pit can be used to keep the flame size localized. Be sure to have a portable fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby, and do not leave any fires unattended. Douse all embers thoroughly, not just the red ones.
- Beware of bugs. Check your body daily for ticks, and wear long-sleeved clothing to reduce the risk of exposure. 10 minutes in a dryer on a high-heat setting should kill any ticks that might be hiding in your clothing. Use water-resistant insect repellent to keep ticks, mosquitos, and other bugs that bite away from your skin.
- Allergies and medications. It’s extremely important that you bring any medications you need. Also bring treatments for your known allergies, such as EpiPens, antihistamines, and inhalers. Make sure you know how to deal with the symptoms of exposure to common toxic plants and insects, ex. poison ivy, ragweed, bees, wasps, found in the wild.
- Protect your body from excessive sun. The sun’s rays are present even on cloudy days, and are strongest at mid-day. Bring full-spectrum sunscreen, lip balm of at least SPF 15, hats, and sunglasses. Seek shade if you need it.
- Stay hydrated. Thirstiness is a symptom of dehydration, so remember to drink enough water throughout the day. Bring an emergency kit with at least a few days’ supply of extra drinking water. And unless you’re severely hydrated, avoid drinking water from streams or lakes. These bodies of water contain microorganisms which may cause infections in the body to manifest a week or two later. If you must take a drink there, carry a small water filter or iodine tablets, which can be ingested to combat these microorganisms.
- Clean up. Check for mold and mildew spots on your camping equipment, such as chairs and tents. Scrub and spray-clean them with a bleach and water solution, and then let air dry. If you touch any wildlife, wash your hands with soap and afterwards. Hand sanitizer composed of at least 60% alcohol will also neutralize lingering germs.
- Take care of yourself. Get adequate sleep and rest, and don’t drink alcohol to excess. You should stay alert and vigilant and be in a good condition to respond well to changes or dangers in your environment.
We hope that these tips will help keep you and your nearest and dearest safe and support you for many more happy camping trips in your future!
This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.
This information was compiled from the US Forest Service, University of Utah, and Kampgrounds of America websites.