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Safety 1st

California Consumer WARNING: Some outdoor products may expose you to lead, phthalates, or other chemicals cited by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

Know The Risks, Play It Smart: Many outdoor sporting activities including general recreational camping, hiking, biking, paddling, lake tube towing, skiing, climbing, and snow sledding can quickly become dangerous -- even FATAL.

Examples: Shallow water diving and trekking on nearby wet surfaces (you can drown in very little water if you're unconscious -- hidden rocks, pier cement, boat docks and heads don't mix) .. Drunken, drugged, and/or tired paddlers .. Riverside low campers (caught in flash floods) .. Winter wilderness hikers (caught frozen) .. Summer wilderness hikers (caught lost) .. Lack of fresh air from heaters & stoves used in tents and RV's -- cook outdoors or under a properly vented annex/vestibule/power hood, and leave the smokes, lanterns & stoves outside .. Too much sun, stings, bites, bears (no food or utensils in or near the tent), bullets .. Non-swimmers (take lessons, and LEARN TO SWIM) .. Tents and campers ablaze from too-close pitching near a sparking campfire .. Tent poles and ground stakes into power lines (look up, know where you're digging, and stay clear of wires) .. Wrong tent in the wrong place at the wrong time (get a heavier, full-fly, 3+ season model for windy climes, WATCH THE WEATHER, break camp and take other cover as appropriate) .. Hot and exhausted (swimmers, paddlers, hikers, bikers, runners, kids, the out of shape, the medically questionable) .. Sharps around the face/body/kids (poles, prods, rods, lures, knives, sticks, stones, stakes, utensils) .. Paddlers (of any skill level) on the wrong water .. Overloaded boats .. Half-frozen winter lakes, ponds, and creeks .. Lack/non-use/misuse of life vests, helmets, goggles, rescue ropes, signals, fire, water, food, clothing, hard shelter, shade, high ground -- and slow caution. Not the only risk areas, but frequent -- and very often AVOIDABLE.

Some of the most tragic cases are, sadly, far too common: Camping in flash flood prone areas, where some or all family members are swept away .. Leaking gas stoves and lanterns in poorly ventilated tents and RV's, killing entire families .. Kids and teens diving into rocky shallow waters or dockside and getting knocked out -- unseen by others nearby -- and carried dead for miles downstream .. Improper campfire dousing leading to massive, destructive, deadly forest fires .. Little kids and novices getting off marked trails and freezing, drowning, or being attacked by animal -- or inhuman human -- predators.
  • Children and novices in particular must be carefully supervised by experienced and responsible adult outdoor leaders, AT ALL TIMES.
  • Practice at home before you venture out. Learn how to handle and maintain your tent, boat, food and fire sources, and safety equipment well ahead of any trail or waterway use.
  • Take a GPS device, cell phone, weather radio, all with extra batteries and solar or manual crank recharge power. Use a compass, bring a good recent map. Know the conditions, before and during your trip.
  • Bring a First Aid kit including any medications you regularly take.
  • Tell responsible people, including area park or reserve authorities, where you are going and when you expect to be back. Be sure they have your emergency contact information. Have a plan, know where you are going, how and when to get out -- and then stick to it.
  • Use an established, bonded & insured shuttle service if you are concerned about vehicle or camp security, if someone in your party will not be watching your gear. Be sure your vehicle, medical, and travel insurance is adequate and up to date, for any physical belongings and personal mishaps.
  • Read and understand any professional guide/outfitter contracts and disclaimers before signing up -- and get solid, verifiable recommendations before using any of them.
  • Realize your limitations and the limitations of your equipment, particularly on variable or unknown terrain/waters. USE REASONABLE, ADULT COMMON SENSE.
  • Camp where you can take hard cover in an emergency. Most general recreational (i.e. non-Himalayan use) tents and screen shelters are for moderate, low wind, low risk situations -- they are not severe weather rooms.
  • Our suggested maximum packed weight for teen and adult size internal frame backpacks is about 30 (thirty) lbs. If you intend to carry more than that in the wilderness, an external frame pack with a heavier suspension system and load capacity is advised. Check with local Scout and outdoor trekking group web sites for other tips on backpack sizes, designs, and capacity selection, as prudent pre-purchase research.
  • USE SAFETY GEAR, properly: PFD's (a-k-a life vests), throw bags, paddle floats, helmets, safety eyewear, location whistles, signal mirrors, space blankets, First Aid kits, spare stakes and guy-out lines, weather radios, maps, bear bells & pepper spray -- these and more are essential to most safe ventures.
  • Check with your area paddle or boating club, U.S. Forest Service, Scouts, Red Cross, Coast Guard auxiliary unit, and college rec programs for further information on outdoor gear use and safety measures -- BEFORE YOUR TRIP.
Emergency responders are already busy enough; don't make more work (and public expense) for them, where most problem situations can be avoided.

USER ACCIDENT OR MISHAP IS NOT A WARRANTY ITEM, under any circumstances, including gear abuse, misuse, exceeding of normal product limits, and/or acts of nature (winds, hail, tree branches, animals as examples). Know that expert paddlers and outdoors-people can be and have been harmed (including death), even under seemingly good field and stream conditions with adequate equipment and prior training.

Early and regular training -- in proper use and care of outdoor equipment, rescue and safety gear, and CPR and basic first aid (by certified sources) -- is strongly advised for best results.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Know Your Limits, Have FUN!

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[This article may be republished for non-commercial use with proper attribution.] 

Need some help? Call 1-302-404-FUN1/3861 or email us at Helpers@AmbleOutdoors.com