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Safety First At Your Campsite

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June 11, 2012

Camping is a great activity for the whole family. With a little preparation, you can insure that your family has a safe and fun camping trip. Take the time to learn a few safety rules for camping and you will be able to prevent common problems that can occur and you’ll know what to do if you do have an accident.

Food Safety

Food safety involves the proper storing of perishable and non-perishable foods.

  • Dry foods should be stored in containers with tight-fitting lids. The object is to keep dirt and insects from getting in your dry food.
  • Perishable foods must be kept cold. If you are in a camper with an electric hookup, this is no problem. However, if you are tent camping, you will need a cooler, filled with ice to keep your food cold. Tip: If you can find them, blocks of ice last a lot longer than bags of ice. In either case, drain the cooler of melted ice often.
  • When you are through eating, put the food back in your car. If you are camping in bear country, the campground may have provided bear proof containers in which to store your food. Use them. In some areas of the country, the bears have learned to recognize Coleman coolers as a source of food, and have been known to break into cars.
  • Keep all food out of your tents. No snacks or candy bars are allowed. In fact, anything that has a strong smell like toothpaste, shampoo or deodorant needs to be stored in the car. If you are backpacking, put all those food and accessory items in a bear bag and hang it from a tree limb away from your campsite.

Fire Safety

Fire safety must be emphasized to all members of the camping party. It is best to do your cooking on a Coleman portable propane gas grill and leave the campfire for after-dark entertainment.

  • When you build a fire, it’s okay to let the younger children search for kindling, but never let them use matches to start it. They need to stay well back from the flames. Brush all dry leaves and sticks away from the fire.
  • Set a perimeter ring around the campfire and make sure everyone stays outside the ring. The wind can blow sparks and hot ash out of the campfire ring and onto tender skin.
  • Build your campfire far enough from your tents so that the sparks don’t put a hole in the tent fabric.
  • Never leave the fire unattended. Put it out with water or even dirt when you go to sleep or if everyone leaves the campsite.

Campground Safety

Familiarize your family with the layout of the campground. Make sure everyone knows where the bathrooms and camp store are.

  • Institute the “buddy” system. No one goes anywhere alone.
  • At night-time, always carry a flashlight with you. This applies around the campsite too.
  • Everyone should have a whistle to blow if they get lost.
  • Designate a particular spot where you can go if you can’t find your campsite.
  • Choose some type of object to designate your campsite. It could be a large rock, an unusual tree or even a flag.

Campsite Safety

Campsite safety is not hard to follow.

  • Set up rules as to how far you can roam around the campsite. For young children, they should always be in sight. Perhaps elementary school age children could be allowed a little more leeway, as long as they are within hearing distance.
  • Always wear shoes around the campsite. There may be sharp rocks and pine cones or even someone else’s trash. Sandals and sneakers are okay for the campsite, but not for hiking.
  • If you are tent camping, make sure the guy wires and stakes are visible at night. If you have multiple tents, set them up so the entrances are facing each other.

Hiking Safety

These safety rules apply to any activity that you are doing on your camping trip.

  • Teach your children to respect wildlife. They should only be viewed from a distance. A good pair of binoculars will bring them up close without exposing your children to harm.
  • Get a nature guide that has pictures of poisonous plants. Help your children to identify them.
  • Be aware of local snakes. Avoid putting your hand in places you can’t see. Make lots of noise on the trail, and the snakes will retreat before you get near.
  • Drink plenty of water. Getting dehydrated can have serious effects.
  • Take plenty of rest stops and only go as fast as the slowest hiker.

These are some commonsense safety rules that you can practice on your next camping trip. Taking the time to practice safety first, will help to make your outdoor adventure enjoyable for everyone.

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