It’s camping time! Picnics and activities in the day, and of course, campfires at night, are all part of the fun and excitement of camping. With school out and summer here, now is the time for weekend getaways and camping excursions. Before you head out, we wanted to provide you with some tips on how to keep everyone safe and prepared for the riskier elements of the woods.
Pack what you need: In many ways, getting ready for a camping trip is a great mini-test for disaster preparedness! Packing for your trip is crucial – not only do you need to consider what you’ll eat when you get to the campsite, but also how you’ll be able to cook it. If you’re bringing canned items, you’ll need to remember to bring a can opener, and for barbecues, you’ll require all the grill essentials. And the other items you’ll need are ones that you’ll find in your emergency kit – extra food and water, some cash, a crank radio, solar-power phone charger, flashlight and batteries, whistles, a park map, emergency information for yourself and your family members, and a first aid kit. Just remember to put these items back in your kit when you return home if you do use them for your trip!
Campfires: When you think about camping, sitting around the campfire is often the first image that comes to mind. Roasting s’mores and telling ghost stories around the fire are a must for any camping trip. However, being safe around campfires should be a huge priority.
If your campground prohibits campfires, don’t break the rules – they are there for your safety!
If you are able to build a fire, always look for an area that is at least 10-15 feet away from tents, trees, and other flammable objects. Make sure the fire stays small and under control, and that it is never left unattended. All children and pets should be prohibited from the fire pit area without supervision.
And when it’s time to put out the fire, allow the wood to burn completely to ash and pour water on the fire to burn all of the embers. If you run out of water, dirt is another way to help cover up embers and cool down the smoke.
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Activities: There are so many fun activities to do in the great outdoors! From hikes, to bike rides, sports like badminton, volleyball, or soccer, and of course swimming, there are tons of great ways to keep active while camping.
- If you are with young kids in the water, always make sure that they are wearing life jackets and supervised closely. If they are even playing near the water, there should always be an adult present.
- When playing field sports, be sure there aren’t any large rocks or holes that people can trip over, and that you’ve set clear boundaries if close to a road.
- For bike rides or rollerblading, ensure everyone is wearing a helmet at the very least, and ideally knee and elbow pads as well – including the adults! It’s important to set a good example so that the kids will follow along rather than question the importance of critical safety equipment.
Keep your cool with nature: Think before you act in the wild! Remember, you are in the home of wild animals and it’s important to respect them as well as take care of yourself. Should you encounter a wild animal, do not approach the animal or attempt to touch or feed it. Always keep your food stored in sealed containers and well out of the reach and eye of animals. In BC, it’s particularly important to be bear aware, and the BC Parks website has some great tips for this!
Medical needs: If you or your loved ones have any medical conditions or allergies, make sure to pack appropriately with the extra medication and equipment that might be needed. Also be sure to think outside the box, to identify additional medical needs you may encounter out in the wild. Some plants you may find while camping may be poisonous and thereby trigger reactions, so bringing calamine lotion or other anti-itch creams and remedies is a good idea. Similarly, you will likely be exposed to a variety of bugs, and potentially ones that bite and sting. Bring the proper medication to treat these, in addition to preventative measures, like bug repellant spray or bracelets, and other repellent items to store around the site. Finally, if you’re bringing your pets along on your trip, get them vaccinated before you leave!
Have a great time camping with your loved ones! We hope your trip is filled with wonderful experiences and memories. Where are your favorite camping destinations? Send us a picture on Twitter at @ePACTnetwork!
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