August Injury Prevention

Camping and outdoor safety

Camping is a favorite pastime at the many campgrounds and lakes in our area, especially during the summer months. A little knowledge and good prevention practices can make these activities fun and safe for you and your family.

When planning a camping trip, remember the following activities:
  • Let friends and family know about your camping destination and the date you will return prior to going on the trip. Sign up at park registries upon entering a camping area and sign out at the close of your stay.
  • Pack a map and compass, and teach your group how to use them.
  • Bring bottled water or water filters because wilderness streams may be contaminated.
  • Know how to identify poison oak, sumac and ivy. Avoid touching these plants, and wear long pants and sleeves to protective your skin.
  • Wild animals are usually strong, agile and very defensive. Check with park rangers about animals in the wilderness park. Keep food in animal resistant containers and food odors away from the campsite.
  • Always bring a first-aid kit that includes insect repellent.

Weather and camping

One of the more unique features of Oklahoma is the unpredictability of weather systems. Some helpful practices to protect you and you family during this time include the following:
  • If your campsite is located on high ground or in an open area such as a large meadow, abandon it and your gear immediately in the case of a lightning strike. Move to a better location for lightning protection.
  • Avoid riding out a thunderstorm in your tent, as it poses a substantial risk. Move to a more protected location, such as a nearby motor vehicle. If you must remain in your tent during a storm, be extremely careful to minimize the amount of contact you have with the ground. For example, squat instead of lying on the ground.
  • If someone you are camping with is struck by lightning, seek medical help immediately. If the lightning victim has no pulse and has stopped breathing, administer CPR while you wait for paramedics to arrive. Once they have arrived, make sure they know the person was struck by lightning, as the treatment for lightning victims is different than the standard treatment for electrical shock.

If you are hiking when a storm rolls in, follow these instructions:
  • Avoid being the tallest object around. Get as low to the ground as possible. Again, squat rather than lying down to minimize your contact with the ground and the danger from ground currents.
  • Stay far away from the tallest object around (i.e., an isolated tree). The safest bet for a hiker on a mountain peak is to abandon his or her gear and get to lower ground as quickly as possible.
  • Be aware that there is no reliable warning sign to alert you to an approaching lightning strike. The first sign of a cloud to ground lightening flash could be the flash itself, so always keep an eye on the sky.
  • No distance from a thunderstorm is absolutely safe. The time from the lighting flash to the sound of thunder provides a rough measure of the distance of the lightening, with each five seconds corresponding to one mile of distance.
  • Hikers need to seek shelter if the time from seeing a lighting flash to the time of hearing thunder is 30 seconds or less. Also, refrain from continuing hiking activities within 30 minutes of the final lightning strike.
  • You do not have to be directly hit by lightning to be affected by it because lightening can jump or travel to you from nearby strikes.

Being savvy about outdoor safety makes for a fun summer and prevents injuries. Common sense and proper preparation will allow the whole family to enjoy the great outdoors safely.

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