Summer is a time of happiness and sun. We want to help everyone keep themselves and their loved ones safe during this time.
You are likely to go camping, have barbeques, be exposed to the sun and open waters, which are all very fun but do come with risks. However, by following the tips below, you can keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe all summer long.
Summer is a great time for lots of people to enjoy the great outdoors and go on trips with family and friends camping. It is the perfect time to enjoy sunsets and toast some marshmallows over the camp fire, however there is some very important safety rules everyone should follow to ensure everyone has a fun and safe time.
Open fire and barbeques are the perfect edition to camping, they provide warmth when the summer air begins to cool. However, they are huge fire hazards, here are a few tips to ensure your safety;
Ensure that fires are far away from tents and sleeping bags, most sites state the amount of distance you must have, this helps in the prevention of fire spreading.
When starting open fires always be careful when using accelerants especially petrol or meths (mentholated spirits) as these can vaporise and ignite quickly, especially when poured onto fire or wood.
Always keep the surrounding area of a fire clear and safe, there should be no objects in the way that can be tripped or climbed over.
It is a good idea to have a bucket of water, sand or earth or a fire blanket close to hand to help put the fire out.
When disposing of barbeques never burry them as these can be extremely dangerous and cause significant burns as the ground retains heat for several hours after. If there is nowhere safe to dispose of a barbeque always ensure it is in clear sight.
Cooking stoves use pressurised camping gas or meths. It is very important before using one of these that you know how to work it and the equipment needed when using one.
The gas cartridges come in several types, mostly screw in or puncture style and are designed for specific models. Always check the manufacturers guide for safe use and disposal of the gas canisters.
When disposing of gas canisters never puncture them or put empty or full ones onto open fire.
Caravaner’s should have all gas-powered appliances annually serviced and should consider placing a carbon monoxide alarm into their caravan.
Carbon Monoxide is known as a silent killer, as it cannot be seen, heard or smelt. It can kill quickly and with no warnings.
Never place a barbeque or fire inside a tent to keep warm, even in the coldest of nights as this can cause deaths and has done previously.
Signs of CO poisoning:
• Chest Pains
If you suspect yourself or someone else has CO poisoning, get into fresh air quickly and seek medical attention immediately.
School holidays – open water
The school holidays are a great time for families and friends to enjoy a swim in the pool or a trip to the beach or even abroad, where the water is warm. However, the water, especially open water can be dangerous if someone does not know what they are doing correctly.
Every year, in the UK alone 400 people die from drowning because of an accident in or around water. Thousands of people do survive water accidents but are often left with severe and in some cases, permanent, life-changing injuries. Emergency services respond to 100,000 water-related events annually.
Many of these deaths occur as a result of simple, everyday mistakes such as trips or falls into water, or misjudgements into the temperature or depth of water. Others occur from risky activities such as jumping from great heights into water.
These things are preventable. By making sure you and your family can swim and are comfortable in the water, as well as having the appropriate swimming equipment e.g. arm bands, pool noodles, floats. And, knowing how to react in an emergency to help save a person’s life, from performing CPR, ensuring they aren’t chocking to calling 999.
The sun is something we do not often see a lot of in the UK, but when we do and its warm we do love to bathe in it. However, doing so increases your chances of sunburn which can be extremely painful and can increase your risk of skin cancer. It doesn’t always need to be extremely sunny for someone to get sunburnt, you can also be burnt in cloudy weather.
There isn’t a safe or healthy way to get a tan, the best option is to aim for a good balance of protection from the sun and getting your essential dosage of vitamin D. The best way to do this is to spend time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest, in the UK this is between 11am and 3pm. By also covering up with suitable clothing and sunglasses will help to reduce the chance of sunburn.
Sunscreen is also a massive prevention of sunburn. Use a sunscreen that has a SPF of at least 15 and has a 4 star UVA protection rating to help prevent against UVB. Always ensure that your sunscreen has not passed it expiry date, a bottle usually has a shelf life of 2/3 years.
When applying sunscreen, it is recommended to use 2 teaspoons if only covering your head, arms and neck and 2 tablespoons if covering your entire body whilst wearing a swimsuit. If the layer is too thin, the amount of protection is reduced.
If you plan on being in the sun for a long period of time, apply the lotion twice, 30 minutes before you go outside and just before going out. Always reapply sunscreen liberally and frequently.
If you or someone you know does get sunburnt, sponge the sore skin with cool water or take a cool bath/shower and apply soothing after sun or calamine lotion. Painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen will help to ease any pain by reducing inflammation.
Drink plenty of fluids to cool down and prevent dehydration, stay out of the sun until all redness is gone and seek medical help if you feel unwell or skin swells badly or blisters.
Signs of severe sunburn:
• A high temperature of 38C or above
• Dizziness, headaches or feeling sick – these are also symptoms of heat exhaustion.
Who is most at risk of sunburn?
• People with pale and white skin
• Anyone who has freckles, red or fair hair
• Those who tend to burn rather than tan
• Anyone who has lots of moles
• Anyone who has skin problems related to a medical condition
• People who are only exposed to intense sun occasionally (e.g. on holiday)
• Anyone who has a family history of skin cancer.
• Loss of appetite and feeling sick
• Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
• Cramps in the arms, legs and stomachs
• Fast breathing or pulse
• Temperature of 38C or above
• Intense thirst
Symptoms are often the same in adults and children, however, children may also become floppy and sleepy.
If you see someone demonstrating any of these symptoms here are 4 steps to help cool them down:
1. Move them into a cool place
2. Lie them down and elevate their feet slightly
3. Ensure they drink plenty of water
4. Cool their skin down by spraying or sponging them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits and neck are also good ways to cool someone down.
If you follow these 4 steps, the person should be feeling better and cooler within 30 minutes.
Call 999 if the person:
• Is no better after 30 minutes
• Feels hot and dry
• Isn’t sweating even though they are too hot
• Has a temperature that has risen to 40C or above
• Has rapid or shortness of breath
• Is confused
• Has a fit (seizure)
• Loses consciousness
• Is unresponsive