An avoidable accident can turn a wonderful adventure into an unpleasant one in a blink of an eye, therefore, safety first should be the phrase that every camper stands by. Implementing emergency plans, being prepared for the “what if’s” and following the campground rules are important to ensure that you and your crew stay safe on your trip.
|Camping safety tips Image credit: bhossfeld|
General Safety Tips for Campers
● Travel safe: it’s a smart idea to have your RV, car or truck serviced before hitting the road. Checking to make sure everything is in good working order beforehand will put your mind at ease. Additionally, your toolbox should be full of essentials such as spare tires, flares, flashlights, jumper cables, multi tools and the vehicle manual.
● Know the campsite: To avoid getting lost, take some time to get to know the campsite once you have arrived. Study the map if one is available and mark trees and boulders on your trail for you to follow back to your tent, RV or cabin.
● Implement your emergency plan: Implement your emergency plan with your camping crew before you start your trip. Go over what to do if someone gets lost or if a medical emergency should arise.
● Check your Equipment: Check all your equipment before you pack up and head out. Everything from your tent to your flashlights should be in complete working order.
● Walk with a first aid kit: Your first aid kit should contain bandages of varied sizes, antiseptic ointment, antibacterial gel, hand sanitizer, gauzes, tweezers, lighter, gloves, scissors, aloe vera gel, pain relief tablets (like aspirin), antihistamine, and safety pins. Walk with it everywhere.
● Pack the essentials: Pack items such as protein-rich food, insect repellent, sunscreen, hats, shades, comfortable weatherized clothing, flashlights, whistles, a pocket knife, water, matches, duct tape, blankets and a multi-tool with scissors and a blade.
● Be fire safe: Avoid forest fires by paying close attention to your flame; never walk away from your fire, make sure that your fire is lit in a dedicated ring and kill your fire with no signs of heat when you are ready. Also, you should have a fire extinguisher nearby. Never throw your cigarette butts on the grounds or light fireworks.
● Read your body: Camping is an excursion for every physical fitness level, however, to avoid a medical emergency, it is very important that you read your body for symptoms and signs of physical or emotional distress. You should report your symptoms to other members of your crew as soon as they arise. Additionally, if you have a pre-existing condition then you should talk to your doctor before the trip to ensure that it is safe and continue to take your medications as prescribed.
● Stay hydrated: Invest in a portable water filtration system for water bottles and stay hydrated by drinking ample amount of clean water.
● Beware of the dark: Taking dips in the lake and strolls around the campground at nighttime can be fun, but it can also be dangerous, so be mindful of your actions. Do not wander too far away from the base and always walk with your flashlight and map.
● Don’t run from wildlife: Wildlife sightings is certainly an exciting perk of camping, however, it can also be a scary one. If you encounter a bear, remain calm and back away slowly.
● Keep your buddies close: Safety in numbers is a key strategy to live by while camping, especially when it comes to campsites near water. Never hike, swim or fish alone. Having a buddy or two with you will increase your confidence and safety level.
● Don’t rely on technology: As reliable as cellphones can be in the city, the opposite is true when you are in the forest. You should still walk with your phones, however, you should walk with primitive backups such as whistles, maps, a compass and a flashlight.
Avoiding the negatives will help you enjoy your trip and bring home lots of beautiful memories to share. Stay safe.
Author: Michael Bourke (SciCamps.org)