MacArthur Middle School, located on Fort George G. Meade, releases students for the school year on June 13, 2023. With the summer season officially starting, keeping a few key safety tips in mind can minimize the risk of accidents. (U.S. Army Photo by Chuck Yang, Fort Meade Public Affairs)

By Jasmyne Ferber, Fort Meade Public Affairs

With school letting out, the summer season has officially begun. Warm temperatures and sunny skies make for the perfect weather to indulge in outdoor activities. However, it is essential to prioritize safety to prevent accidents and health hazards.

Whether you are planning a beach day, a hiking excursion, or a backyard barbecue, keeping a few key safety tips in mind can ensure a summer filled with enjoyment and minimize the risk of accidents.

Temperatures in this region can reach an average of 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, and the combination of heat and humidity can lead to dehydration. This can be dangerous, so staying hydrated is crucial. Always carry a water bottle and drink plenty of fluids during the day, especially when engaging in physical activities out in the sun.

Harmful UV rays also pose a risk when enjoying outdoor activities. You can protect your skin by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, reapplying every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.

When participating in water-based activities, such as swimming or boating, exercise caution by choosing designated swimming areas with lifeguards and being aware of currents and rip tides. If you are boating, ensure everyone on the vessel is wearing a properly fitted life jacket when on board.

If you plan on firing up the grill or sitting around a campfire, practice fire safety when handling open flames by keeping a fire extinguisher or water bucket nearby. Always position the grill or fire pit away from flammable materials and never leave them unattended.

Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities, and deaths resulting from impaired driving crashes amount to a third of all roadway fatalities. Over the past five years in Maryland, nearly 800 people have been killed in crashes involving an impaired driver. Before going out, make sure to plan how you will get home safely. Designate a sober driver or use a rideshare or taxi service.

By adhering to these summer safety guidelines, you can enjoy the season to the fullest while safeguarding yourself and your loved ones. A little preparation and vigilance go a long way to ensure a safe and fun-filled summer.

(Editor’s note: Parts of this article were written with the assistance of ChatGPT, a language model developed by OpenAI.)