By Nicole Munoz
There are millions of people everywhere whoenjoy the relaxation of camping. Whether you’re spending the weekend camping with your family at the local state park or backpacking through the backcountry, there are some general rules of camping safety that you should always follow. Many of these camping safety tips are simply common sense, but it is still a good idea to review these guidelines before setting out for any type of outdoor adventure.
General Camping Safety
Camping safety begins before you ever set out on your vacation. Check the weather forecast ahead of time and be prepared for rain or storms. Pack emergency rain gear, as well as a well-stocked first aid kit, and plan to arrive at your campsite as early as possible. You want plenty of time to set up camp before the sun sets.
Upon arrival, inspect your campsite closely for glass and harmful debris, poisonous plants and animals, and areas that may be prone to flooding in the case of a heavy downpour. Set up your tent on flat ground and remove any rocks, branches, or other objects that could damage your tent or be uncomfortable to sleep on.
If you are camping with children, check the campsite closely for fire ants, hornet or wasp nests, dangerous grades, and other potential hazards before settling in. Wear light colors and refrain from using scented lotions, soaps, and perfumes to prevent attracting bees and mosquitoes. Coleman citronella candles can ward off mosquitoes as well.
Use caution whenever you operate your propane stove or grill and anytime you have a campfire. Never leave any of these unattended. Keep your campsite clean, storing food in closed containers and disposing of garbage, to reduce the chances of bears, raccoons, or other wild animals entering your campsite. Never keep food items inside your tent.
Hiking and Outdoor Activity Safety
Anytime you decide to enjoy the great outdoors, it is important to remember that you are in nature’s domain. To stay safe, it is your responsibility to follow the proper safety precautions. It is a good idea to become familiar with poisonous and harmful plants, animals, and insects that are common to your area. Always carry a small first aid kit while hiking or biking and have knowledge of first aid procedures for outdoors. If you should come in contact with poison ivy or sumac, apply calamine lotion to the infected area to relieve the itching.
Stay on the designated trail and avoid high grass and overgrowth. Wear light colors so ticks are easy to spot and check your head and body for any possible ticks each night. If you find a tick that has already bitten, remove it gently with tweezers, taking care not to crush the body or leave the head. Clean the bite area with warm water and soap and see a doctor if you experience a fever or rash within the next few days or if you think the tick was attached for more than 2 days.
Never enjoy the beauty of nature alone. Have at least one companion with you wherever you go and whatever you are doing outdoors and tell your friends and family where you will be and how long you plan to be gone.
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