Your Safety

As emergency services providers, WCEC members confront the effects of fires in homes and businesses, auto accidents, and other mishaps on a daily basis. As a result we are concened with the safety of everyone in the communities we serve.

Summer is here and many people will be spending more time outdoors in the fine weather doing exercise and lawn care, playing sports, and cooking outside. You can help you and you family avoid accident and injury by reviewing a few warm-weather safety tips.

Here are some safety tips for a number of popular summertime activities.

Working & Playing in the Heat
Swimming at Home
Biking
Outdoor Cooking
Yard Care & Gardening

Working & Playing in the Heat

If you are starting outdoor exercise or work after a winter of inactivity ease into it. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Take time to warm up and stretch a bit to avoid strains and sprains. If you are thinking of taking up more intense exercise after a long period of inactivity, consult with your doctor.

As you work or play outdoors remember to drink water regularly. How much water should you drink? It depends on your health, your level of activity, and the temperature, but if you are working hard enough or are hot enough to sweat you should drinking extra water, especially if you are over 60, pregnant, or breast feeding. Ask you doctor if you have questions about the amount of water you should drink.

Know the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Be aware that the warning signs of heat exhaustion are headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, sudden weakness, paleness, fainting, nausea or vomiting, and heavy sweating. Anyone experiencing any number of these symptoms while working in summer heat should stop what they are doing immediately, rest, and drink a cool, non-alcoholic beverage. Seeking shelter in an air-conditioned environment or taking a cool shower (standing in a hose or prinkler spray works too) will also help treat heat exhaustion. If symptoms persist after an hour of treatment, promptly seek medical attention.

Left untreated, heat exhaustion can quickly develop into heat stroke which is a serious, life-threatening condition. Should a person faint, become confused, or develop a fever or seizures after working or playing in the heat, call 911 immediately.

Protect Eyes and Skin from the Sun's UV Rays

UV rays can damage your eyes and skin. Just one severe childhood sunburn can double an individual's chances of developing skin cancer in adult life. If you are planning to be outdoors for any length of time in the summer, use a sunscreen with an SPF number of at least 30, preferably one that's waterproof. When you put sunscreen on, don't skimp. An average adult in a swimsuit needs 2-3 tablespoons of sunscreen overall. If you are swimming or sweating heavily you'll need to apply more every 2 to 3 hours. Remember, you can get a sunburn even on cloudy days. Of course a hat and loose clothing can also help stop sunburn.

To protect your eyes, choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

 

Swimming at Home

Whether you have a complete in-ground pool or just a portable wading pool for the kids, there are a number of safety tips you'll want to keep in mind:

Biking

Check bicycles to make sure they are ready to ride. Tires should be inflated to the pressure printed on the tire. Safety devices such as chain guards should be securely in place. Brakes should work easily and stop the bike quickly.

In Pennsylvania, children under the age of 12 are required by law to wear an appropriate helmet when riding a bicycle. It's a good idea for anyone of any age riding a bike (or a skateboard, or scooter, or motorcycle) to wear a helmet.

Outdoor Cooking

Gas Grills

If you cook outdoors on a gas grill take some time to make sure that your gas cylinder and all gas line connectors are clean and in good repair, especially if the grill has been stored outdoors over the fall and winter or was put away dirty. Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Also remember:

Charcoal Grills

If you prefer cooking on a charcoal fire, be aware that charcoal fires produce carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. For this reason, never use a charcoal grill in an enclosed space in any season. Also remember:

Yard Care & Gardening Hazards

Mowing the Lawn

Before you use your lawn mower take a few extra minutes to be sure that all mower safety devices are in position and working -- rear shield, grass chute deflector, handle up-stops, and "dead man" automatic shut off device. When mowing, turn your mower off if you leave it, even for a minute and make sure that pets and people are not in the path of the mower's discharge.

Store and transport gasoline for your mower and other power tools only in approved safety containers. The best place to store gasoline is in a locked, well-ventilated structure separate from your house. The storage area should have no electrical equipment, open flames or other sources of ignition present. In addition, the location should be protected from the heat of the summer sun to keep evaporation to a minimum.

Do not store gasoline in the basement of your home or in the utility room. The furnace, water heater, clothes dryer or any of several other items could ignite fumes which may leak from the can and travel considerable distances. If you do not have a suitable storage area, consider building a cabinet outside your house for storage or purchasing a commercially available flammable liquid storage cabinet.

Garden Chemicals

If you use chemicals to control plant pests and a diseases

Burning Yard Waste

You may be tempted to burn yard waste and fall down that has accumulated over the winter and during spring and summer. Each spring, summer and fall WCEC responds to rubbish and brush fires that get out of control.

If you must burn yard waste, please: