Plan for a Safe Summer
By Mark Oswell 3
Every summer many people hit the road in
search of a new thrill, a bit of respite or even just a weekend escape.
Whether visiting a local amusement park,
fishing or hiking, it is important to be aware of the necessary precautions to
ensure a safe, enjoyable trip.
According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC), each year increased activity, and
heat of the summer months is accompanied by an increase in injury risk. From
dehydration to sporting injuries, the risks associated with the summer months
should be addressed by taking safety precautions and remaining aware of the
risks associated with certain activities.
hiking, camping and fishing are just a few of the numerous outdoor activities people
participate in during the season. As participation in outdoor recreational
activities continues to increase across the country, there are also more reports
on tragic injuries and deaths from accidental drownings, lost hikers and
lightning strikes, among others.
the Coast Guard reported 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,903
injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a
result of recreational boating accidents.
Between 2011 through 2014, an estimated 8.6 million sports- and recreation-related
injuries occurred annually, according to the CDC’s National Health Statistics
Reports, produced in 2106.
it is important to remember to take every precaution to reduce the risks
associated with these activities. From stretching before playing sports to
understanding lifejacket safety when boating, there are important safety
measures that must be taken when participating in any summertime recreation.
the importance of staying cool and hydrated during the warm summer months
cannot be overstated. High humidity and various personal factors can negatively
impact the rate at which the body cools itself, according to the CDC. Because
of this, the CDC encourages anyone that plans to be outdoors to “drink more
water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.”
members and civilians are not alone when spending time outdoors in the summer;
countless critters and insects make their return during the season. These
creatures range from ticks and mosquitoes to snakes and rodents, and being
prepared to encounter these critters is another factor of summertime safety.
many people do not expect to encounter poisonous snakes living in metropolitan
areas, Northern Copperheads, Eastern Cottonmouths and Timber Rattlesnakes can
be found in various places in the Mid-Atlantic region according to the Virginia
Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and the Maryland Department of
Natural Resources. Locally, they can be spotted in nearby Rock Creek Park and
Great Falls National Park.
while snakes, ticks and hornets can put a damper on summertime activities, mosquitos
still remain the primary pest of summer. Mosquitos not only are their bites
annoying, but they also may carry a
variety of diseases including Dengue, Chikyngunya and Zika viruses.
Army Capt. Donny Skinner, chief
of Walter Reed Bethesda’s Environmental Health Department, explained that the
DC metro area, “has tested positive the last few years for West Nile Virus.”
Skinner provided some
measures to prevent against mosquito bites, “Avoid mosquito hotspots, places
near standing water; use repellant; wear light colors and mosquitoes are
prevalent during dust and dawn, so avoid being outside during these times.”
“If you are also using
sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second,” explained
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rodney Fils-Julien, non-commissioned
officer-in-charge for Environmental Health Services at WRB’s Department of
former Navy nurse and WRB’s Command Emergency manager, Chris Gillette understands
the importance of planning ahead to avoid potential injuries or disasters. Water,
sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are just a few of the items that he takes along
with him while working or relaxing outdoors. He also takes frequent breaks in the
shade, ensures someone knows where he’s going and has an emergency contact plan.
personal first aid kit, Gillette recommends the inclusion of the following
items: antibacterial soap, hydrogen peroxide, adhesive bandages (different
sizes), medical wrapping, tape, scissors, tourniquet, antibiotic and burn
ointment, instant ice and heat packs, peroxide, a few pairs of latex gloves and
ibuprofen. Some of the listed items might not be found in a basic first aid
kit. Therefore, Gillette recommends creating a personal preparedness kit that
combines these items with those found in a basic first aid kit.
Planning ahead also applies to road trips and
it comes to the summer road trip, ensure you vehicle is in good working order
(wiper fluid too), turn the do-not-disturb on you cell phone on; or have your
co-pilot assume the duties of navigator, DJ, text-master, and snapchat
champion,” stated WRB’s Command Master Chief Sean Brown.
also cautioned, “Not everyone in the DMV drives, as well as, you do so please
According to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, seat belts have saved 330,507 lives between 1975 and