Dangers come with summer

Editor's Corner

Brian WilkinsonJune 5, 2013 

Last week's deaths in Yosemite -- a swimmer being swept over Nevada Fall and a man killed by a falling rock while climbing El Capitan -- Along with the near-drowning at Bass Lake is a stark reminder that summer fun brings its share of danger with it.

Amidst the beauty and the variety of recreational activities that make our Mountain Area the special place that it is, residents and visitors alike often forget that a fun-filled day can quickly turn to tragedy.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in America. Each year, more than 1,000 children under the age of 14 drown. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, another 16,000 are rushed to hospitals for near-drowning.

And like most summers, fire is always a dangerous possibility. In the past two months, there have already been six vegetation fires in and around Yosemite Lakes Park, one destroying a home.

Here are a few water, driving and other safety tips to consider this summer:

Be extremely cautious around swift-moving water

Never leave a child alone in or near water (swimming pool, lake, river or bathtub).

Teach children how to swim at a young age.

Learn first aid and CPR.

Make sure children always swim with a friend or adult.

Never drink and drive.

Always use seatbelts and child restraint seats and obey the posted speed limits.

Refrain from using hand-held cell phones and texting while driving.

Don't pass on double-yellow lines no matter how safe you might think it is.

Be cautious around dry vegetation while operating weed eaters, lawn mowers, off-road vehicles and dirt bikes. Remember a hot muffler on a car can start a vegetation fire when you pull your car off the road to look at the pretty scenery. According to Karen Guillemin with Cal Fire, 96% of fires are started by people.

When boating, always wear Coast Guard approved life vests. Water wings and other air-filled swimming aids are not safe substitutes for life jackets.

Always operate your boat at a safe speed.

Always have a designated lookout to keep an eye on other boats and swimmers.

When barbecuing, keep children away from the grill and never leave the barbecue unattended.

It's best to not hike alone, and when hiking, always let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to return.

Depending on the length of the hike, take plenty of food and water.

Always take a basic first aid kit with you when hiking and know that cell phones, whistles, and mirrors are good to have.

We just hope that at the end of August, everyone has good, not bad, memories of summer 2013.

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