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Safe family camping

Camping is great family entertainment. Swimming, hiking, rock climbing, and even biking the trails is a big part of the camping experience, but every activity presents an opportunity for someone to get hurt. Be prepared by following these tips and enjoy a safe camping experience.

To prevent or respond to dangerous or emergency situations, be sure to bring these essential items.

-Pocket knife. You can’t leave home without one. You’ll use one for chip cutting or carving if you need a fire, cut bandages, make repairs, and more.

Flashlight: Pack a bright, reliable flashlight and extra batteries. You’ll need it for night hikes, finding the facility at night, or if you get caught on the trail after dark.

-Bottle of water: bring a bottle of normal water or invest in a hydration backpack. The water purification tablets are necessary so that you do not drink water directly from rivers, streams or lakes without purifying it.

-Extra clothing: Pack two more layers of clothing than you think you will need in case you are forced to spend the night outdoors or if the weather suddenly turns against you. Make sure at least one layer is wind and water resistant. Pack an extra hat and socks too.

-Compass: Keep your map and compass in your hand or in a convenient pocket. Know exactly where you are at all times. It is very easy to get confused as to where you are and how to get where you want to be.

-Rain Gear: Weather can change to stormy without notice. Staying dry is essential to staying warm and avoiding hypothermia.

-Sun protection: Always wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from UV rays, even if it is cloudy.

-First Aid Kit: Your kit can prove invaluable if you or a member of your party suffers a cut, a bee sting or an allergic reaction. Package antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, tweezers, insect repellent, insect repellent, a kit for snake bites, pain relievers and sunscreen. When everyone on your trip uses common sense, you probably don’t need your first aid kit for anything other than a bandage or sunscreen. If there is an accident or if other campers in the area get into trouble, you will be ready to help.

Specific suggestions for your first aid kit include:

A great idea is to seal each item in your first aid kit in [seal-a-meal] to prevent contamination and mold. Items remain waterproof even if your container is leaking. That way, you know that the items are fresh and that any items that have been used are open for replacement. Frequently used items like Band-Aids can be stored in zip-lock bags. Be sure to keep bottled items in zip-loc bags in case they leak.

“1 waterproof container (well marked first aid – well sealed ammo box)

“1 Antibacterial soap (Phisoderm, Zethesis tincture, Hibiclens) 8 to 12 ounces

“1 bottle of Betadine (to clean wounds)

“4 pairs of surgical gloves (to avoid contamination)

“4 quarters and calling card number (for emergency phone calls)

“1 Signaling mirror (emergency signaling aircraft)

“1 Matches and candle in a waterproof container (for starting an emergency fire)

“1 space blanket (to help treat hypothermia)

“4 sheets of moleskin (for paddling blisters or on the heels in a kayak)

“36 Band-Aids (for small lacerations)

“2-tube antibacterial ointment (Bacitracin, etc. for lacerations and wounds)

“18 butterfly plasters of various sizes (to close lacerations)

“3 Carlisle trauma dressings (4 inches) or a substitute female napkin (for large bleeding wounds)

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It is important to have your gear with you when camping, but you also need to know how to use it. Getting lost, being exposed to bad weather, experiencing insect or bee stings, campfire burns, etc., can all be dangerous situations. A quick first aid lesson online or from a community source will help you know what to do and how to use your supplies to respond to and not react to an emergency situation.

Know where you are going and what kinds of natural hazards there may be. Rivers, cliffs, lakes, and other terrain create different possibilities for danger, all of which can be easily avoided.

-Encounter with wildlife. To protect yourself from bears, keep your campsite clean and don’t leave food, trash, coolers, cooking equipment, or utensils outside. Using a flashlight at night can keep them away.

Poisonous plants. Familiarize yourself with the dangerous plants common in the area. If you come in contact with a poisonous plant, immediately rinse the affected area with water and apply an antiseptic lotion to the affected area.

-Check your campsite. Arrive at your actual campground in daylight to check out the entire site and set up camp. Look for glass, sharp objects, branches, large anthills, poison ivy, bees, and dangerous terrain. Find a level spot with enough room to spread out all of your gear. Set up your tent in a safe place and far enough away from the campfire.

Camping is a family activity that everyone enjoys. Plan ahead and pack safety items wisely to make sure the experience is safe too so the fun never ends

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