Sizzlin’ summer safety

Weather, travel, boating and bugs can all pose unique safety concerns during summer months.

Weather, travel, boating and bugs can all pose unique safety concerns during summer months. By taking proper precautions, such as wearing appropriate clothing and observing all laws, individuals can protect their health and wellness. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- As summer approaches and families spend time traveling for beach vacations or barbeques, they also face unique safety concerns.

Weather, insects and water can threaten health, but taking proper precautions can help ensure Team Shaw members enjoy the summer safely.

“People get relaxed and that leads to accidents caused by complacency,” said Staff Sgt. Geraldo Greaves, 20th Fighter Wing safety technician.
“Safety is all about vigilance.”

One precaution individuals can take to protect themselves is to properly prepare for activities.

The Air Combat Command safety office released the Check 3 concept to help Airmen and families prevent accidents during off-duty activities. The idea indicates there are three things Airmen should check to mitigate hazards: what gear is required, what is the plan and do individual skills match the activity.

Summer weather in South Carolina is often hot and humid with increased likelihood of storms. This weather can lead to instances of burns, heat exhaustion or slips affected by clothing.

For example, light-weight clothing can minimize overheating, sunscreen can prevent sunburns and proper footwear can reduce falls.

Maj. Dawn Clauson, 20th Medical Group family health clinic flight commander, said dress cool and wear a single layer of lightweight clothing, changing when items become wet with perspiration.

Clothing and bug repellant may also ward off bugs.

Bees pose a threat to individuals with allergies, spider bites can cause bad reactions and ticks can carry bacteria, said Clauson. People may wear items such as long pants in grassy areas or use insect repellant over clothing to add a layer of protection. It is also important to check the body for bites or ticks.

Another hazard that poses a threat to summer safety is water.

More time outside during a hot day increases the risk of dehydration.
“Take water breaks,” said Clauson. “It is important to take 5 minute water breaks in the shade every 25 minutes. It is important to drink water even when not thirsty. Thirst is often delayed until a person is almost dehydrated.”

Dehydration can lead to dizziness, overheating and cramping.

With the possibility of people spending more time swimming or boating, Greaves provided the following tips:

- Obey all boating laws to participate in water recreation safely

- Make sure everyone buckles up and wears a life vest

- Never operate a boat when under the influence of alcohol

- Focus on boating and avoid distractions such as texting and talking on cell phones

- Pay attention to weather conditions while on the water, especially when there is lightning

These boating tips can also be adapted for road travel, such as observing all traffic laws and never operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

By planning ahead and keeping hazards in mind, Airmen and their families can enjoy summer safely.