Hot topic: Summer safety
Summer is a time for family road trips, outdoor fun in the sun and hopefully lots of great weather.
Here are some simple reminders to prepare for safe summer days:
Stay cool in the heat: Keep cool and hydrated and minimize your time in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Drink plenty of water, find shade, visit cool buildings, slow down, bathe in cool water and wear light-coloured clothing. Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle. When the outside air temperature is 23°C/73°F, the temperature inside a vehicle can be extremely dangerous – more than 50°C/122°F. More sun safety tips here
Wear the right helmet: Everyone is encouraged to wear a helmet when cycling, inline skating and skateboarding. The additional cushioning in a helmet could save your life. In bicycle mishaps, the forehead usually makes first contact with the ground. With skateboarding, falls are more common and helmets are specifically designed to protect more of the back of the head. Unlike bicycle helmets, skateboard headgear is also designed to protect against multiple falls, whereas bicycle helmets should be replaced after one crash. Visit the Canada Safety Council for more info.
When thunder roars, go indoors: Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you can get hit by lightning. Take shelter immediately in a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. If no solid building is available, you can take shelter in a metal-roofed vehicle. Read more about severe summer weather.
Stay safe while camping: If strong winds, hail or a tornado is developing while you are camping in a tent or tent-trailer, move to the closest building or a hard-topped vehicle. Make every effort to get to a suitable shelter. If no shelter is available, seek refuge deep in a thick stand of trees in the lowest-lying area. Environment Canada has more summer weather safety tips.
Avoid the bugs – and their bite: Avoid being outdoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Keep in mind that ticks are often found along trail edges, mostly in wooded areas or tall grass. Light-coloured clothing is less attractive to mosquitoes and allows you to see ticks more easily. Registered insect repellents containing DEET can be used safely when applied as directed. Health Canada's last review of DEET products was supported by the Canadian Paediatric Society.
Pack an emergency kit: You may have some kit items already, such as a flashlight, a wind-up radio, food, water and a manual can opener. Make sure they are organized and easy to find in case you need to evacuate your home. Make a kit to go in a backpack. Whatever you do, don't wait until a disaster is happening to make a kit. Check out how to put together an emergency kit.
Keep food fresh: Chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Leftovers should be chilled promptly, but remember to throw them away if they have been out at room temperature for more than two (2) hours. Keep the fridge at 4◦C (40◦F) or below and use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Check out these food safety tips for leftovers.
Make a (safe) splash: Never leave a child unattended in water, not even for a second. Pick the best time of the day to swim and avoid swimming at night and in stormy weather. The Canadian Red Cross offers tips for all kinds of water activities such as water parks, backyard pools and hot tubs.
Stay safe on the roads: Canada has nearly 900,000 kilometres of road — enough to circle the globe 22 times! Transport Canada is our resource on road safety, especially when travelling with children. Every year in Canada, about 10,000 children (from infants to 12-year olds) are hurt or killed on the roads. Make sure your children are always buckled-up properly while in the car, even for short trips. And remember, the back seat is always the safest place for your children.
Connect with care: Don't mention going away on vacation in your social networking status updates. You may also want to delete messages from friends who mention these things to avoid the possibility of someone robbing your home while you're away. Avoid geotagging photos. Most smartphones and many digital cameras automatically attach the exact location where a photo was taken – and when you share it online, the geotag can give away your address or let criminals know that you're on vacation, which could make your home a target for break-in. More tips here: www.GetCyberSafe.ca
Happy Summer from Public Safety Canada!
To learn more about how to become better prepared to face a range of emergencies, visit GetPrepared.ca, or follow us on Twitter @Get_Prepared.
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