Keenan Blog

Extra Precautions for Safe Summer Fun

June 22, 2020

Summer days are upon us. We’re anxious to get outside to enjoy the warm weather and long daylight hours. Before dashing out the door, be sure you are ready for the sun, heat and other hazards that have potential to ruin the day. Things are a lot different this year – facemasks, social distancing and more frequent handwashing are essentials when venturing out of the house. But below are other important tips to help you keep the season fun while staying safe.

Get Used to It – If it’s been a while since you spent significant time in the heat, you need to give your body an opportunity to acclimate. Pace yourself and cool off in the shade frequently while you’re adjusting to warm weather activities. If you have certain health problems, such as diabetes, you need to be extra careful not to go too far, too fast. Be aware that some medications increase your sensitivity to sun exposure and heat. Before you start to feel too hot, take a preventive cool-down break.

Block the UV – The sunshine feels great on your skin, but make sure your skin is protected from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These emissions from the sun have both immediate and long-term effects you’ll want to avoid. When the sun is high in the sky, skin can burn in just a few minutes. Only an hour or so for some people can result in second- or third-degree burns that can require urgent medical treatment. Exposure to UV is also dangerous because it can cause damage to skin cells that may eventually lead to skin cancer. Save yourself a lot of pain by using an effective sunscreen with at least an SPF 50 rating. UV affects your eyes as well, contributing to the development of cataracts. Put on your sunglasses and wear a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection.

Feeling the Heat? – If the warm weather is what draws you outside, keep in mind that your body will need a lot more water during the summer. Drink it in before you go out, and take plenty to-go for your adventure. Remember that you will probably start to dehydrate before you realize you are thirsty, so stay ahead of it. If you are active in hot weather, you will need at least 32 ounces of water an hour to replenish yourself. Be vigilant in watching for the signs of heat illness and take immediate action to cool down.

Hot Cars – The message goes out every year, yet the preventable tragedy is repeated too often. Never leave children or pets in a car, even if “it’s just for a few minutes.” Out in the sun, temperatures inside a vehicle can climb rapidly to 130 degrees or higher. Heat illness, heat stroke and death can occur surprisingly fast as children are even more susceptible to these conditions than adults. When you park your car to get out, make it a habit to turn around to look in the back seats to be sure you are not leaving kids or animals behind.

Fire and Rain – Weather in the summer can bring dangerous conditions to you, whether you are at home or away. Dry, hot and windy are ideal conditions for wildfires to start and spread, well, like wildfires. Clear dried-out vegetation around your property to create a defensible barrier. You don’t need to live in brush land to be vulnerable when drought and wind combine. Summer can develop sudden storms that generate lightning. According to the National Weather Service, the two most dangerous lightning strikes during a storm are the first one and the last one. When thunder roars, go indoors. Then, wait at least one hour after hearing the last clap of thunder before you go outside again.

Nobody wants to miss any of their summer days because of an illness or injury, especially the ones you can easily prevent. Staying safe whether you’re working or playing is mostly a matter of getting ready for it. Taking a few minutes to prepare for the conditions outside can help keep the summer fun going.

About Eric Preston
Eric Preston is Vice President, Loss Control Services at Keenan. He leads a statewide team of specialists assisting clients with services to reduce hazards, and improve property & casualty loss experience.