Summer Safety

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, June 7, 2012

Safety is something to be mindful of year-round, but the warm weather of summer brings about many different things to be concerned with.

     Whether it’s on the water, in the pool, on the roads, or in the home, the summer has many hidden and not-so-hidden dangers that can strike.

     Local officials had many tips and warnings about summer safety.

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     Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson wanted to remind people that students are out of school, which means they’ll be playing and the public – especially drivers – should be aware of their presence.

     “Students not in school will not have much to do over the summer, so they’ll be out playing, riding bikes and other things,” Henderson said. “People need to help us by keeping kids safe over the summer and watching out for them.”

     Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing pointed out that four-wheeler use increases over the summer and people should be careful while riding them.

     “Please stay off the road with four-wheelers,” Rushing said. “We see a lot of it over the summer. We’ve written tickets in the past for people riding four-wheelers on the roads. We see people trespassing riding their ATVs on other people’s properties as well.”

     The sheriff also wanted to remind ATV users to be vigilant with safety near creeks and rivers and for drivers to share the road with people walking or riding bicycles.

     Rushing also said being cautious while swimming or on the water is especially important.

     “Remember to exercise caution while on the water, especially with children by the pool,” he said. “Keep an eye on your kids and be aware of where they are at all times.”

     Lincoln County Extension Service Agent Rebecca Bates provided tips on outdoor safety.

     “Try to stay away from poison ivy if you can,” Bates said. “If you’re pulling it out, make sure you wear gloves and wash with warm soapy water after you think you may have been exposed to the poison ivy.”

     Bates said to drink plenty of water when you’re out working in the yard to stay hydrated, as dehydration can set in quickly and lead to heat stroke. Wear sunscreen if you plan to be outside for extended periods.

     She also recommended proper footwear while doing yard work.

     “Wear closed toe shoes when working outside, especially with string trimmers and mowers to protect your feet,” she said. “I also recommend safety glasses for mowing grass or using other trimmers.”

     Bates added DEET in insect repellants will protect you from mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry viruses.

     Brookhaven Fire Chief Tony Weeks had safety advice for outdoor fires.

     “For outdoor burning, I don’t recommend burning on a dry windy day,” Weeks said. “Don’t leave a fire unattended. Watch it and make sure the fire stays contained to your burn pile.”

     Weeks said grass fires become more common over the summer.

     “When it starts getting dry over the summer, we’ll get some grass fires,” he said. “Especially along the interstate, sometimes people will throw a cigarette out a window and it will start a grass fire.”

     Rushing said one thing Lincoln County has done in recent years is a not lock a child in hot cars over the summer.

     “We haven’t seen any children locked in hot cars over the summer lately, which is great,” Rushing said. “I recommend parents always be aware of where they’re children are. Someone needs to be there with them at all times if they’re in a vehicle, especially small children.”