As we move into the summer months, there are many things that come about to enjoy: a day at the beach, a barbeque, even mowing the lawn. But with these previously forgotten activities of the summer comes new responsibility for all hands to remain safe.
With the newfound warmth comes new dangers which require everyone's attention in order for the Navy to maintain operational readiness and efficiency: after all, a chain is only as strong as it weakest link. Jim Peake, the safety installation program director for Naval Support Activity Washington has a series of helpful hints for Sailors to pay attention to.
"During the summer months, when we feel jolly and sometimes us older people want to feel young again, you're going out and doing things that you haven't done in six, seven, eight months and you might not use your basic safety practices," said Peake.
Peake emphasizes the importance of safety, especially when it comes to children, during the summer months and beyond. One of the most important venues to maintain safety awareness in is around water: pools, beaches and beyond. Especially when it comes to water safety, a fun day at the pool can turn into a tragedy in the blink of an eye.
"Always watch your kids [around the pool]" said Peake. "It only takes a matter of seconds for something to happen."
When it comes to pool safety, there are a number of important things to keep in mind: always swim with a buddy, no horseplay, be careful while diving, and maintain proper rescue equipment at all times. In the same vein is boating safety, where the one should be sure to maintain that rescue gear and properly-fitted life jackets, and an alert and of course, sober, operator.
At the beach, it is important for all children to be properly supervised at all times, and never swim without a lifeguard present. One often ignored piece of advice is one concerning riptides: always swim parallel to the shore in order to escape a rip current, and then swim back in. Fighting a riptide will only tire one out and could prove to be dangerous even for very strong swimmers.
"Especially for Sailors who are trained, they might think 'oh, I can handle it'," said Peake. "But it is important to never let your guard down."
Even at home one must keep that guard up. When working on the lawn, always wear proper footwear and maintain extreme caution when operating power tools and lawnmowers. Maintain a perimeter around grills that young children must adhere to.
Peake also encourages people to think safety when it comes to summer vacations and transportation. He emphasizes the importance of only driving when well rested and prepared, keeping one's vehicle properly maintained, maintaining contact with someone while travelling, especially alone, and to eat light meals when on the road.
"Always look out for that other person," said Peake. "You might be being very safe, but he or she is not and you have to be prepared for that."
What is the most important thing to remember while having a fun and safe summer? Peake emphasizes the importance of hydration, especially when working.
"One of the key things is to always drink plenty of water," said Peake.
For more information on summer safety, especially around pools and beaches, visit the American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/watersafetytips or the Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pre rel/prhtml02/02182.html.