Ah, yes – it’s summer, and we can all enjoy the sun, the beach, the easy summer living. Vacations, camping, daytrips to see the sights – these are what memories are made of – especially as we approach the final long weekend of summer. But it’s also important that we remember to be aware of the hidden dangers of summertime. It’s one way to ensure that you’ll enjoy the photos from your summer fun for years to come.
Travel – Be sure to keep your cell phone charged, and consider purchasing a second battery. Always have a first aid kit in the car. Make note of landmarks and direction so emergency personnel can find your location easily if you need to call 911.
Water and pools – Children are particularly vulnerable to accidents in pools. They can drown in less than five centimetres of water, so never leave a child unattended near water. Always empty wading pools after supervised use. People really enjoy being near the water in the Revelstoke area – especially around the Columbia River – so remember that it’s important to be vigilant about fast moving water. Children, adults and pets can be swept away in rivers or the ocean.
Bikes, Skateboards and Rollerblades – Helmets can significantly reduce the risk of brain injury for all ages when worn appropriately. Children should wear a helmet at all times, even if they’re just riding a tricycle; a fall from as little as two feet can result in significant trauma to a child’s brain.
Cars – Never leave a child or pet in your car – even with the windows partly rolled down as the interior temperature can reach 50 degrees Celsius in as little as 10 minutes.
Sun Sense – Guard against heatstroke by moving to the shade — take a break once in a while so that you don’t overdo sun exposure — and drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, clammy/pale skin and weak or rapid pulse are all common signs of heat exhaustion.
Campfires and barbeques – Never leave a fire or barbecue unattended or use a camp stove in a confined space; always keep children a safe distance from the heat. Remember that even a fire that has been recently put out can generate enough heat to cause a serious burn in a child.
Pull over for paramedics and other emergency responders – If an ambulance is travelling with lights and siren on, you can be sure that paramedics are responding to a life-threatening situation or are taking a patient to receive urgent care. BC Ambulance Service crews respond to more than 486,000 events every year throughout the province — nearly one call every minute 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When minutes can affect a patient’s outcome, paramedics use lights and siren so that they can reach their destination as quickly as possible.
So enjoy a wonderful summer with family and friends. Make sure you have lots of great memories and photos to share for years to come. Make time for safety in the summertime sun but don’t forget the sunscreen. I know that I’m going to enjoy all that British Columbia has to offer this summer.
John J. Warren is the paramedic Unit Chief for BC Ambulance Service in Revelstoke, B.C.