#YHSafetyTips - Summer Safety Part 2

Posted by Matt Bushey in #YHSafetyTips, May 17, 2017

A few weeks ago, we covered the first part on Summer Safety. Today we will go over the second part. Summer can be a great time for activities, but if you do not take certain precautions, your activities could be cut short and it could even become harder to work with certain injuries from things you do outside. In this post, we will cover water, boat, and fire safety (including grilling safety).

Water Safety:

May is National Water Safety Month, a good time to learn or refresh on procedures and precautions to take to be safe in, on, and around water.

First, learn how to swim well. Every year, about 2 million people learn to swim using the Red Cross Program. If you bring children to swim, supervise them closely. This may require you to be in the pool with them if they are under a certain age or swimming experience level. It’s very important to have lifesaving gear nearby such as a ring buoy, rope, life jackets, or pole.


The Red Cross www.redcross.org suggests the following priorities to swim safely:

  • -Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • -Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • -Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • -Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • -Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • -Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • -Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers, and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous. If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • -Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Boat Safety:

National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26, 2017. When operating or riding in a boat, certain safety precautions must be followed. Note: these tips will not qualify you in boat safety. Click here for a list of places offering boating safety courses. You should complete a boat safety course. The rules of boating are very important.

Here are some facts on the need for safe boating:

  • -85% of people who died as a result of drowning were not wearing a life jacket
  • -Only 15 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • -Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed are the top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • -Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 17% of deaths.
  • -Twenty-two children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2015.
  • -Twelve children, or approximately 55% of the children who died in 2015 died from drowning. (Two children, 17%, of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket; half of the remaining ten children were not wearing a life jacket and were not required to do so under state law.)


Safety tips on boating from www.safeboatingcampaign.com:

1. Wear a life jacket.
No matter what activity you have planned – boating, fishing, paddling, PWC – always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket.

2. Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity and fits properly. A life jacket that is too large or too small can cause different situational problems. All persons should always wear a life jacket.

3. Know state boating laws.
Rules and laws can differ from state to state and violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time. Know local boating laws before you get out on the water.

4. Take a boating safety course.
Learn valuable tips that can help save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA (National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course. Many courses are online, and will save you money on your boat insurance.

5. Make sure your boat is prepared.
There are many items that need to be checked and re-checked on any boat. Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before you hit the water. Every Vessel Safety Check is conducted 100% free of charge.

6. Be sure to know your boat’s capacity.
If you have more on your boat than it was designed to handle, the boat may become unstable and capsize.

7. Check the weather, including the water temperature.
Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out, and keep a regular check for changing conditions.


8. Dress properly.
Always dress for the weather, wearing layers if cooler weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet. Wear waterproof clothing, especially in colder weather as cotton fabrics absorb moisture and will quickly decrease your body temperature.

9. Always file a float plan.
File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment, and emergency contacts. Find out more at floatplancentral.org.

10. Always follow navigation rules.
Know the ‘Rules of the Road’ such as operator’s responsibility, maintaining a proper lookout, safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on and overtaking situations. Find out more at boatoncourse.com.

11. Don’t drink while you boat.
Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 17% of deaths in 2015. Boating can magnify the side effects of alcohol use: impaired judgment and poor coordination. Find out more at operationdrywater.org.

12. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it. Be sure to install and maintain a working CO detector, never block exhaust outlets, and always dock, beach, or anchor at least 20 feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine.

13. Keep in touch.
Communication devices can be the most important piece of emergency equipment on board a vessel, especially in case of emergency. Cell phones, satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), VHF radios and personal locator beacons (PLB) can all contribute in an emergency situation.

Download a boating safety pamphlet from the Safe Boating Council

Fire Safety:

Fires are great for cooking and entertaining, but they are also extremely dangerous during the summertime. From grilling to fireworks you need to know how much room and handling techniques to use.

Here are some helpful techniques to keep safe around fire:

  • -Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking on the grill.
  • -Use long-handled barbecue tools
  • -Keep a 3-foot safe zone around grills, fire pits and campfires.
  • -Attend public fireworks displays; this leaves the lighting to the professionals.
  • -If someone does get burned, use to following to administer first aid:
  • -Place the burn in cool water for three to five minutes.
  • -Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.
  • -See your doctor if the burn is larger than your palm.

Here is a cool flyer from FEMA on Grilling Safety.


The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends these safety tips when lighting off consumer fireworks:

  • -Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • -Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • -A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • -Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • -Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • -Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • -Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • -Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • -Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • -Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  • -Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • -Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • -FAA regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • -Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!

  • -Don’t bring your pets to a firework display, even a small one.
  • -If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • -Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
  • -Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

Have fun this summer by being safe!

If you didn’t see last week’s post, read it here.

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