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Summer safety suggestions

Stay safe this sunny season by practicing risk management during any water-related activity. Water activities such as fishing should be accompanied with proper gear such as fishing and boating licenses and flotation devices. Planning ahead by checking the weather and being aware of the potential hazards in the area can be crucial in preventing water-related accidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Dougherty)

Stay safe this sunny season by practicing risk management during any water-related activity. Water activities such as fishing should be accompanied with proper gear such as fishing and boating licenses and flotation devices. Planning ahead by checking the weather and being aware of the potential hazards in the area can be crucial in preventing water-related accidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Dougherty)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The summer season begins June 20, along with the fireflies and longer days associated with the season, which lasts until Sept. 22, summer can bring with it many potential hazards.

Summer is a time of hotter weather and seasonal activities and due to this it is critical to use proper gear, planning and risk management skills for any pastime.

“Summer safety is very important,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Freeman, 20th Fighter Wing operational safety manager. “During the summer people want to do activities, get outdoors and hang out with their friends.”

Besides the heat, some of the more prevalent summer hazards include outdoor cooking, travel and water activities.

One way of beating the heat is simple protective measures such as sunglasses, sunblock and wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Ensure proper gear such as flotation devices are in use when on the water.

Throughout the holidays and potential vacations, increased travel is another potential hazard of summer.

Practicing safe driving habits such as keeping up with car maintenance, taking rest stops and eliminating distractions can help prevent accidents on the road.

“Another thing that is associated with summer safety is grilling and barbecuing,” said Freeman. “When you do that you want to make sure that you’re keeping your grease collection cut down and keep small children and animals away from the grill. Also make sure you’re cooking away from any kind of overhang and have a clean path for the smoke to escape up and out.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2014, more than 16,000 people went to emergency rooms due to grill-related injuries.

Some seasonal activities can be physical and can lead to dehydration during high temperatures. Recognizing the symptoms of heat stroke such as heat cramps, nausea and disorientation can be life-saving in an area with a hot climate such as South Carolina.

Keep in mind to hydrate during activities that cause exertion and perspiration, said Freeman.

Outdoor water activities such as swimming, boating and fishing are also common during the summer. To help stay safe during these activities, Tim Godwin, 20th Force Support Squadron pool and outdoor recreation supervisor gave tips such as never swim alone, always use the buddy system, and do not overestimate swimming abilities.

Over the summer, no matter the activity, it’s important to plan ahead and have back-up plans in case things go wrong.

“Having an emergency action plan is key,” said Godwin. “Have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, because usually Plan A won’t work.”

While summer can be the source of cherished memories, remember to use planning, proper gear and risk management this sunny season to identify, assess and mitigate risks to avoid accidents and stay safe.