Thu, Mar 23, 2017 01:34 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-06-20 life & times
Enjoy a safe summer
PAINTSVILLE — With summer fast approaching, more and more people in the Johnson County area will be enjoying the outdoors.

Unfortunately, sun, heat and fair-weather activities such as swimming, biking, picnicking and lawn mowing also present their share of hazards. To help ensure everyone in the community enjoys a safe summer, the members of Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management, under the direction of Gary McClure, offer the following tips and suggest you post them where they are likely to be seen by the greatest number of people.


Overheating can cause muscle cramps, chills, nausea and dizziness, among other symptoms. At its worst, it can lead to heat stroke, a medical emergency. Don't do too much, too soon. After long periods of inactivity during the winter the body is not ready for strenuous exertion – especially in hot temperatures.

• Drink plenty of water before and during hard or strenuous work in the heat. You'll need to drink more water than your thirst indicates.

• Take frequent small drinks, which are more effective than gulping down large amounts at once.

• When possible, schedule heavy work for the cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

• Take frequent rests, lower the workload as the heat increases.

• When possible, start with less strenuous work and gradually build up the intensity so you can acclimatize yourself to the heat.

• Never leave children alone in a car during the summer – even for a few minutes with the windows rolled down.


Protect yourself from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Overexposure can lead to eye problems, sunburn and even skin cancer.

• Use UV protective sunscreens with a protection factor of at least 15 whenever you are in the sun for long periods. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can get through.

• Minimize your exposure when the sun's rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Wear wide-brimmed hats in the sun; baseball caps don't cover enough of your face and neck.

• Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV light. Wraparound glasses are best.

• Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.


The Centers for Disease Control report that drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death among children one to 14 years old.

• Always swim with a buddy, never alone, even if you are an experienced swimmer.

• never leave kids alone while they are in or near a pool, even if they can swim.

• Know your limits. Don't get overly tired.

• Don't swim if you are chilled, overheated, immediately after eating or in storms.

• Alcohol and swimming don't mix.

• Do not chew gum or eat while swimming. You could easily choke.

• Obey "no diving" signs. It means the area is unsafe for headfirst entries.

• Always enter the water feet first if you don't know the depth. Check for submerged obstacles.

• Always dive with your hands in front of your head.

• Surround your pool on all sides with a sturdy five-foot fence. Make sure young kids can't reach the gate latch.

• Keep rescue equipment (life preserver, long pole with a hook on the end) near your pool.

• Slips and trips are common on slippery surfaces. Discourage running in a pool area.

•Don't body surf in waves bigger than three feet, on sloped beaches or near sandbars.


Every year, thousands of people – most of them children – are treated in emergency rooms for serious injuries related to fireworks. Fireworks (sparklers and firecrackers included) are not toys. We recommend they be used only by trained professionals. The only safe way to enjoy fireworks is at a distance. If you still plan on using fireworks and/or sparklers, please heed these warnings:

•Do not allow children to play with them.

• Read and follow all instructions on the label.

• Light fireworks outdoors away from houses and flammable materials. Be sure people are out of range.

• Keep a bucket of water handy.

• Don't try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.

• Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one made of glass or metal.

• Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.


It's important to wear a protective helmet while bike riding. The American Medical Association reports 75 percent of cycling deaths are caused by head injuries.

• Wear a protective helmet when in-line skating and using scooters.

• Ride near the curb, single file, in the same direction as traffic.

• Keep to safer, less-traveled routes.

• Don't do stunts – they can lead to serious injury.

• Be alert to road hazards such as potholes, rocks and glass that can cause you to lose control.

• Make yourself visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, wear a reflective vest or use reflective tape on clothes at night.

• Never ride at dusk without a headlight and red taillight or large reflector in the back.

• Know traffic laws and signals.

• Make sure your bike is well maintained.


Each year about 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for playground equipment-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

• Make sure protective surfacing such as double-shredded bark mulch, wood or rubber chips, fine sand or fine gravel is six to 12 inches deep under and around all playground equipment.

• Make sure all equipment is carefully maintained and checked for loose hardware, projections, splinters, rust and chipped paint, moving parts that may crush or pinch, scattered debris and tree roots.

• Supervise and teach your child safe play.


Summertime also means gas-run tools from lawn mowers and trimmers to weedeaters and saws.

• Use an approved safety container with a self-closing lid so vapors cannot escape – and never bring gas inside your living quarters.

• Don't smoke while handling gas.

• Don't use gas near sparks, flames, hot surfaces and sources of static electricity.

• Don't use to start a fire.

• Don't use gas to clean paintbrushes.

Lawn mowing

•Before you mow, clear the yard of rocks, sticks and anything else the mower might fling.

• Wait for grass to dry before mowing. Wet grass might make you slip or clog the mower chute.

• Clear a clogged chute using a stick – never your hands – with the mower off.

• With a riding mower, mow up and down the slope so you're less likely to tip.

• Never leave a running mower unattended.

• Keep kids and pets away while you're mowing.

• Never refuel a hot mower.

• Never mow in bare feet or sandals. Wear heavy-duty shoes with non-slip soles.

• Avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught in the machine.


• Carry an insect sting kit, if you have a known allergy. To decrease the risk of insect bites, avoid wearing perfumes and clothes with floral patterns.

• To help prevent food poisoning, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Don't store perishable foods in a hot car.

• Keep kids away from grills and lighter fluid.

• Keep grills away from anything that can burn.

• Be aware of tiny deer ticks that carry Lyme disease. When in a potentially infested area, apply insect repellent that contains deet, wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks, and know which symptoms to watch out for.

• Learn to identify poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Wash the contact area with soap and water as soon as possible.

• Do not build a fire near tree trunks, fallen trees or overhanging branches.

• When extinguishing a campfire, let it die down, and break up the coals or logs and make sure the fire is completely out.

Severe storms

In the event of an electrical storm:

• Get inside a house, large building or automobile.

• Don't stand near a single, tall tree or the tallest tree in a group.

• Get out of and away from water.

In the event of a tornado:

• Go to the basement, interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of a building.

• Go immediately to a substantial structure or designated shelter if you are in a car or mobile home.

• Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression if outdoors, cover your head with your hands.

In the event of a flash flood:

• Leave the building you are in immediately if ordered to evacuate.

• Go to higher ground, do not try to walk through flowing water more than ankle deep.

• Do not drive through flooded areas even if it looks shallow enough to cross.

Flooding safety

More deaths occur due to flooding each year than from any other thunderstorm or hurricane-related hazard. Many of these casualties are a result of careless or unsuspecting motorists who attempt to navigate flooded roads. The National Weather Service now warns anyone who comes to a flooded roadway to "Turn around....don't drown."

•If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Stay away from flood-prone areas, including dips, low spots, valleys, ditches, washes, etc.

• Avoid flooded areas or those with rapid water flow. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream. It takes only six inches of fast flowing water to sweep you off your feet.

• Don't allow children to play near high water, storm drains or ditches. Hidden dangers could lie beneath the water.

• Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. NEVER drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Water only two feet deep can float away most automobiles.

• Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly when threatening conditions exist.

• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

• Monitor NOAA Weather Radio or your local media for vital weather-related information.

More information on flood safety is available through the National Weather Service,, or the Federal Alliance For Safe Homes, Call the toll-free help desk at 1-877-221-SAFE or email

Most important of all, remember to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

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