By: Rachael HaileSelasse
As you welcome warm weather and head out into the fresh air you’ve been missing, it’s time to relax. But don’t drop your guard too much—you’ll need to avoid virus exposure along with the usual hazards of summer. Preventing emergencies further protects your community, heroic emergency workers, and hospitals. Here are seven ways to stay safe while having summer fun.
1. Remember the “other” CDC: Cover, Distance, Clean. The American Red Cross has adopted these familiar initials to keep people mindful of maintaining safe habits. First, cover your mouth and nose completely with a fabric mask. If you cough or sneeze—even with a mask on—do so into your elbow (the “Dracula sneeze”) or shoulder. Second, maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others. Finally, clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
To avoid virus exposure—for yourself and others—try to limit the number of places you go. Also, disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as car door handles, buttons, outdoor furniture, pet leash handles, keys, cellphones, and any other portable electronic devices.
2. Stay aware of seasonal risks. Some common summer hazards involve grilling, driving, and special outings.
Position your grill away from structures and flammable surfaces, and watch your pets and kids while grilling. Never grill in an enclosed area like a camper or tent! For more, check out these Red Cross grilling guidelines. When driving, be alert and calm (and sober, needless to say) at all times. Finally, before you go on that hike, bike trip, or picnic in the park, make sure you have emergency contacts and tell someone where you’re going. Don’t forget insect repellent, water, food, and a first aid kit.
3. Camp with care. Whether you’re in a backyard or the backcountry, camping is more fun when you’re prepared. That’s why first aid training is always a good idea. Pack appropriate clothing, practice fire safety, and give your itinerary to your emergency contact(s).
4. Enjoy a safe Fourth. So they canceled your local public fireworks show? Temper your kids’ disappointment with fun backyard alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti launchers, or a piñata. We recommend leaving fireworks to the professionals, but if you must set them off, use eye protection. Never give them to children or point them toward people, animals, or objects. Fireworks can bounce off hard surfaces and injure people or spark flammable materials. Don’t try to relight a dud.
5. Be water smart. At public pools and beaches, follow official rules and maintain social distancing. (Check out this Red Cross guide to ocean safety.) Never, ever leave a small child unattended near water. Even plastic kiddie pools and buckets of water are drowning risks. When not in use, store these items empty and upside down. More on water safety here.
6. Respect the weather. Excessive heat causes more deaths than all other weather events. Do not leave a child, pet, or elderly person in a hot vehicle, even for a minute! Remember that small children and pets can’t access fluids on their own, so offer them water frequently.
Follow official weather warnings, and evacuation orders during the threat of a hurricane, flood, thunderstorm, tornado, landslide, or wildfire. Prepare an emergency kit that includes food and water for everyone, as well as medications and cell phone chargers. Don’t forget carriers and leashes for pets.
7. Keep up to date. The American Red Cross has many online resources to help you prepare, respond, and recover in the face of emergencies. Enable the Red Cross skills on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices to get first aid information, schedule a blood donation, receive warnings about an approaching hurricane or make a financial donation to the Red Cross.