Camping is a great family entertainment. Swimming, hiking, climbing rocks, and even riding a bike on trails is a great part of the camping experience yet each activity presents an opportunity for someone to get hurt. Be prepared by following these suggestions and enjoy a safe camping experience.

To prevent or respond to hazardous or emergency situations make sure you bring these essential items.

-Pocket knife. You just can’t leave home without one. You will use one for cutting shavings or whittling if you need a fire, cutting bandages, making repairs, and more.

-Flashlight: Pack a bright, reliable flashlight and extra batteries. You will need it for night walks, finding the facilities at night, or if you’re caught on the trail after dark.

-Water bottle: Carry a regular water bottle or invest in a hydration pack. Water purification tablets are necessary so you don’t drink water directly from rivers, streams, or lakes without purifying it.

-Extra clothing: Pack two more layers of clothing than you think you’ll need in case you are forced to spend the night outdoors, or if the weather suddenly turn on you. Make sure at least one layer is windproof and waterproof. Pack a hat and extra socks, too.

-Compass: Keep your map and compass in your hand or in a convenient pocket. Know exactly where you are at all times. It is very easy to get confused as to where you are and how to get where you want to be.

-Rain gear: The weather can change to stormy without notice. Staying dry is essential to staying warm and avoiding hypothermia.

-Sun protection: Always carry sun block, sunglasses, and a hat to protect from the UV rays, even if it is overcast.

-First Aid Kit: Your kit can prove invaluable if you or a member of your group suffers a cut, bee sting or allergic reaction. Pack antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, tweezers, insect repellent, bug spray, a snake bite kit, pain relievers, and sunscreen. When everyone on your trip uses common sense, chances are you won’t need your first aid kit for anything more than a bandage or sunscreen. If there is an accident, or if other campers in the area do get into trouble, you’ll be ready to help.

Specific suggestions for your first aid kit include:

A great idea is to seal each item in your first aid kit in [seal-a-meal] to prevent contamination and mildew. Items remain waterproof even if your container leaks. That way you know the items are fresh and any item that has been used is open so it can be replaced. Frequently used items such as band-aids can be put in zip-loc bags. Be sure to keep items in bottles inside zip-loc bags in case they leak.

” 1 Waterproof container (well marked first aid – ammo box with good seal works)

” 1 Antibacterial soap (Phisoderm, tincture of zephesis, Hibiclens) 8 to 12 ounces

” 1 Bottle Betadine (for cleaning wounds)

” 4 Pairs surgical gloves (to prevent contamination)

” 4 Quarters and calling card number (for emergency phone calls)

” 1 Signal mirror (signaling aircraft in case of emergency)

” 1 Matches and candle in a waterproof container (for emergency fire starting)

” 1 Space blanket (for helping treat hypothermia)

” 4 Sheets of moleskins (for blisters from paddling or on your heels in a kayaking)

” 36 Band-aids (for small lacerations)

” 2 Tubes anti-bacterial ointment (Bacitracin, etc. for lacerations and wounds)

” 18 Various sizes butterfly band-aids (for closing lacerations)

” 3 Carlisle trauma dressings (4 inch) or substitute feminine napkin (for large bleeding wounds)

Your equipment is important to have with you when you camp but you also need to know how to use it. Getting lost, being exposed to bad weather, experience insect bites or bee stings, campfire burns, etc, can all be dangerous situations. A quick first aid lesson online or from a community source will go along way in helping you know what to do, and how to use your supplies, to respond to an emergency situation and not react to it.

Know where you are going and what type of natural hazards there may be. Rivers, cliffs, lakes, and other terrains each create different possibilities for danger, all that can easily be avoided.

-Encountering wildlife. To ward off bears, keep your campsite clean, and do not leave food, garbage, coolers, cooking equipment or utensils out in the open. Use a flashlight at night may keep them away.

-Poisonous plants. Familiarize yourself with any dangerous plants common to the area. If you come into contact with a poisonous plant, immediately rinse the affected area with water and apply an antiseptic lotion to the affected area.

-Inspect your campsite. Arrive at your actual campsite in the daylight to check over the entire site and to set-up camp. Look for glass, sharp objects, branches, large ant beds, poison ivy, bees, and hazardous terrain. Find a level site with enough room to spread out all your gear. Pitch your tent in a safe spot and far enough away from the campfire.

Camping is a family activity that is enjoyed by everyone. Plan ahead and pack safety items wisely to ensure that the experience is also safe so the fun never ends

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