Safety Tips When Camping and Hiking

Hiking/Camping Safety Tips

Never approach wild animals. They may look cute and harmless, but they are very unpredictable and can be very territorial and protective. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. In most cases, the animals are more afraid of us and will run away. Do not attempt to feed wild animals. Most injuries occur when people try to feed them. Keep your food safely stored away or hang it from a tree. Do not keep food in your tent.

Look out for snakes, spiders and other critters. Watch where you are walking, be careful when picking up sticks or rocks and look around before taking a seat. Again, snakes are usually more afraid of us, but if they feel threatened or if you make sudden movements they may strike. Stay calm and slowly move away from them.

Other insects such as bees, ants, ticks, mosquitoes, flies etc. should not be taken lightly. Not only can they be annoying but they can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort. Many people have severe allergic reactions to their bites and need to carry necessary medical supplies or seek medical attention. Again, be aware of your surroundings.

Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. You can get sunburn in a very short period of time even on overcast days. Protect your eyes from the strong ultraviolet rays of the sun and reduce glare from off the water or off the snow. Sunburn can ruin any vacation.

Never hike alone; always go with a friend. Tell someone else of your plans. Always take plenty of water, snacks, matches and a flashlight. Don’t forget your compass and trail maps. Be aware of the weather. Although the point of the hike may be to escape the rigors of everyday life, bring your cellphone (turn it off, it you prefer). Better to have and not need …

Be prepared with a water-purification system should you need to use a natural water resource.

Supervise your children. Instruct them to stay within your sight and don’t allow them to wander off. Give them each a whistle to wear around their neck to be used only in an emergency. Agree on a location to meet. Consider ID bracelets. Keep a picture of your children with you in case they get lost.

Be careful around water. Watch your step and don’t take chances. Watch your children closely. Everyone should know how to swim.

Pay attention to weather conditions, as they can change very quickly. Be prepared and act in anticipation of severe weather. In the winter, watch out for extended exposure to cold temperatures. Frostbite and hypothermia are very dangerous. Keep an eye on each other.

Be very careful with gas canisters. Keep upright at all times. Keep outside in well ventilated area. Check for leakage by putting soap liquid on all connections. Turn off when not in use. Never install or remove LP-gas cylinders while stove is lit, near flames, pilot lights, other ignition sources or while stove is hot to the touch.

Do not operate stove or store fuel containers around another heat source such as a campfire. Only operate the stove in open, well-ventilated areas. Never use the stove in a tent or a confined area.

Replenish your ice often. Keep your food cold at all times to avoid food spoilage and food poisoning.

Practice good fire safety. Clear area of all debris/avoid areas with overhanging branches. Construct a fire ring surrounded by rocks. Have a bucket of water, shovel and a fire extinguisher nearby and ready to put out a fire. NEVER build a fire near tents or other flammable items. NEVER use flammable fluids to start a fire. NEVER leave a fire unattended. Build a fire only as big as you need. Make sure to completely extinguish fire.

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