Memorial Day is just around the corner, and so too is the unofficial start to summer, which means it’s time to start thinking about summer safety.
June is National Safety month and the arrival of summer brings an increase in outdoor activities such as swimming, parades, fireworks and barbeques. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Army’s 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign reminds us to focus on safety when participating in all types of summer activities – in and outside the home.
“As we spend more time outdoors doing a variety of summertime activities, it always helps to think through your plans with an eye on safety," said Doug Miller, director of AMCOM Safety. “For example, it may not be the first time you’ve taken out the boat, ridden your motorcycle, driven across country or had a backyard fireworks display, yet it’s most likely been awhile for such things. None of us mean to be complacent or overconfident, so taking the time to work through a mental or paper checklist before you get started is a great way to ensure a safe and successful event for you and your family.”
Summer is the Army’s deadliest time of year for mishaps, so playing it safe is critical to having a good time. Heed these tips to keep you and your family safe this summer.
Approximately 300,000 people will be injured in their gardens this year. Equipment such as garden hoses, lawn edgers, leaf blowers, pruning shears, wheelbarrows and chainsaws cause 73% of gardening injuries, while lawn mowers are responsible for the remaining 27%.
- Refresh yourself on your equipment’s handling and safety procedures
- Do basic, routine maintenance/inspections to ensure equipment operates safely
- Read the operator’s manual
- Keep equipment clean and store in a dry place
- Wear proper protective gear
- Take breaks and stay hydrated
There were 5,265 boating accidents in 2020 that included 767 deaths, 3,191 injuries and $62.5 million of damage. Open motorboats, personal watercraft, cabin motorboats, pontoon boats and canoes/kayaks are the vessel types with the top casualty numbers.
- All boat passengers should wear life jackets. Of the above fatal accidents, 86% were not wearing a life jacket
- Do not drink and drive, boats included. Alcohol use is the leading factor in fatal boating accidents
- Obtain a nationally approved boating safety education certificate. 77% of fatal accidents occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings
Slipping/falling, injuries from equipment, overuse injuries and sprains/strains are common injuries resulting from fishing.
- Stay in shape
- Wear protective gear, such as non-slip shoes and sunglasses
- Do not leave fishing tools, such as knives, hooks, or tackle, lying around
- When fishing from a boat, avoid getting too close to the boat propeller
- Always try to go fishing with someone else. When that’s not ideal, let someone know the location of your trip in case of emergency
- Carry a first-aid kit with you
- Take time when adapting to a new activity or climate
- Increase intensity and duration of outdoor activities gradually
- Hydrate before, during and after outdoor events
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
Ankle, head, and lower-leg injuries are the most common hiking injuries. Blisters/cuts, twisted/sprained ankle, knee pain/joint inflammation, sunburn, dehydration and heat stress are all common hiking injuries.
- Educate yourself on the difficulty level of the hike
- Don’t hike at a level above your expertise
- Drink plenty of water
- Apply sunscreen regularly
On average, grills are responsible for 10,200 home fires per year and 19,000 people per year went to emergency rooms due to injuries involving grills.
- Inspect your grill for leaks
- Do not use a dented, rusted, or damaged propane tank. Do not store propane tanks indoors
- Make sure your grill is in an open space, clear of anything flammable
- Do not leave the grill unattended when operating
- Do not attempt to move the grill while it is in use or still hot
- Be prepared in case a fire should start
Outdoor sports (football, golf, tennis, soccer, etc.)
The most common injuries are sprains and strains.
- Participate at the level appropriate for yourself
- Wear the appropriate protective gear
- Take breaks
- Do not play through pain
Approximately 4.3 million adults each year are treated for skin issues related to over exposure to the sun. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can cause skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune system. Everyone needs some vitamin D from the sun, but unprotected exposure can cause damage.
- Take time in the shade
- Wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses
- Wear and reapply sunscreen as needed
- Keep an eye on the UV index
Each year, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die and more than 130,000 are injured in crashes in the U.S. Adults ages 55-69 have the highest serious injury rate, while teens and young adults have the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries treated in emergency departments.
- Wear a helmet – bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in the event of a crash
- Wear fluorescent clothing when biking, day or night
- Retro-reflective materials and active lighting on the bike to make it more visible
In 2020, more than 15,000 people were seen at emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. On average, 8.5 deaths occur each year due to fireworks. Sparklers account for around 25% of firework-related emergency room visits. Fireworks cause personal injury, as well as structural and vehicle fires.
- Fireworks should be used only under adult supervision
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Protective eyewear should be worn if standing near active fireworks
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands or point them at another person
- Only use fireworks away from other people, houses and flammable material
- Do not re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to extinguish fireworks that malfunction