Safety Tips for the Great Outdoors
As summer approaches so to do the warm temperatures for which the Mohave Desert is known. For outdoor recreationists these summer temperatures are a real safety concern, one that must be dealt with appropriately if they are going to avoid heat related health issues.
“Safety should always be considered whenever one is recreating outdoors, but it is especially important during the summer months because heat can kill,” said Margie Klein, a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife who offered the following tips for summer safety.
Always carry water – at least one gallon per person per day. Whether you are actively hiking or fishing in a relaxing spot you still need to replenish liquids and soda is not a suitable replacement for water. Drinks such as Gatorade are good because they replenish minerals and carbohydrates.
Keep yourself as cool as possible. A moist neckerchief tied loosely around the neck can keep you cool as the moisture evaporates. New products that use this technique include cooling bands that you soak in water, and spray bottles with fans attached. Carry a towel to dry yourself off.
Protect yourself from the sun. There is a broad spectrum of sunscreens available with an SPF of 15 or higher. They are your best bet for skin protection. It’s also good to wear protective clothing such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts that are loose fitting and light weight. Light colors are best. Klein also recommends wearing sunglasses and a hat.
Don’t overexert yourself. Short rest periods help to conserve energy and allow you to keep going in the heat. The shorter the exertion period, the shorter the recovery time will be. Even if your recreation choice is more passive, break up the routine by occasionally moving to cooler places. It’s also a good idea to bring along something you can use to make shade because it can’t always be found in the desert.
Insects can be a real issue during the warmer months. Their bites can not only cause significant skin irritation but can also carry diseases and other illness causing bacteria. Where protective clothing and wear quality insect repellent. Be careful of repellents that come in flavored scents because they can actually attract some insect species such as bees.
Never go on excursions alone and always file a trip plan before you leave. No matter where you are going or what you plan on doing, it is never a good idea to go by yourself. By including at least one other person, there will always be someone to provide assistance should an emergency situation arise, said Martin Olson, hunter education coordinator for NDOW. It’s also important to tell a responsible adult where you are going, who you are going with, when you will be leaving and when expect to return.
Cell phones are great, especially if you get stranded somewhere or need immediate assistance. But in isolated places, they’re only as good as their battery and the availability of coverage. Two-way radios are also a good tool to have along.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.