Going Camping? Don't forget to plan for safety

  • Published
  • By Al Lederman
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
Camping, whether pitching a tent or pulling up in an RV, can be fun for those who enjoy the great outdoors. However, for those who are unprepared it could turn out to be a disaster like the movie "The Great Outdoors."

Here are some of the important camping safety tips you should know.
  • Plan ahead. Check on weather conditions and any current fire dangers. Arrive early in the day so you can look around the campsite. Be sure to look forbroken glass, branches, ant hills, bees nests - anything could turn your stay into a, "We should have stayed home."
  • Have an emergency first aid kit and consider taking a snakebite kit. Be prepared for cuts, bee stings or allergic reactions. Pack antihistamines, antiseptic lotion or spray, pain relievers, band-aids, sunscreen, wet wipes, bug spray and insect repellent.
  • If you take a tent, make sure it's flame resistant, and then pitch it in a safe spot away from the campfire and in an elevated area in case it rains. If you set-up under a tree, make sure there are no dead branches overhead. A fallen tree limb to the noggin during the night will ruin the camping experience. Keep your tent closed as much as possible to keep out any creepy crawlies.
  • Talk with the family about any poisonous plants in the area. Stay out of the lakes or rivers unless someone is with you. Drink the water you brought with you; not from the river or lake.
  • Be fire safe. Never leave your campfire unattended. Do not build a fire if there are strong winds. When you do build a fire, keep it inside the fire ring you created. Make sure no flammables are nearby, and DO NOT use gasoline to start your campfire! Before calling it a night, make sure the campfire is out - drown it with water. As the Bear says, "Only you can prevent wildfires."
  • Talk with your family about the wildlife in the area. Keep your campsite clean and free of food or garbage lying around. What may smell bad to you could be dinner for a hungry animal. Store your food and keep the trash closed up. Dispose of your trash in a waste receptacle if there is one nearby. Otherwise, keep the closed trash away from the campsite and tent.
If campers will remember these few safety tips, outdoor adventure can be a great experience and a good learning environment for the kids.