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Exercising caution curbs camping risks

Sun Advocate community editor

With the Memorial Day holiday wrapping up and many long summer weekends ahead, camping will be on the agenda for many Carbon residents in the coming months.

While camping can provide memories that last a lifetime and a bonding experience for family and friends, it can also be dangerous.

Several state and national organizations have outlined helpful tips to insure a safe and fun experience for all.

The American Red Cross starts their safety regulations by dispelling a common misconception.

Many people grew up with the myth that a snake bite could be treated by cutting into the wound and sucking out the poison. The treatment is neither accurate nor safe.

"Do not cut the wound, do not attempt to suck out the venom, do not apply ice, do not apply a tourniquet and do not use electric shock," states the Red Cross website. "Wash the wound. Keep the bitten part still and lower than the heart. Call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. If professional medical care is not accessible within 30 minutes, consider suctioning the wound using a snake bite kit."

The site states that people at risk of incurring a snake bite should carry a snake bite kit, available at camping and wilderness equipment stores and know how to use the contents.

The site also outlines general camping guidelines and advises residents to:

•Plan trips in advance to insure arrival at the site with enough light to check out the area and set up camp.

•Check the site thoroughly for dangerous items such as glass, sharp objects or anything above the site that might fall on the camp.

•Check desert terrains for possible danger due to flash flooding.

•Try to find a level site with room to spread out.

•Check for environmental hazards like poison ivy, bees, fire ants and other dangers.

•Fire is a major concern at any camp site. Where fire is permitted, make sure to use an area where the fire cannot spread laterally or vertically.

Campers should keep water nearby to extinguish the fire quickly and assign someone to watch the fire at all times.

When putting out a fire, people should use water and soil to thoroughly douse the area until it is cool to the touch with no burning embers.

•Dispose of all trash properly as a consideration for the forest and other campers but also as a safety technique aimed at not attracting unwanted animals into the site.

•Return the camp site to its original condition.

•Recreational vehicle operators are cautioned to watch for proper roads and sites.

•Check RVs before departure for damage, repair and maintenance problems.

Information available at indicates all campers should, "be prepared to administer basic first aid and CPR when in the wilderness."

The site lists suggested first aid supplies, but cautions people to personalize kits to meet the needs of the activities and situations.

Recommended items include personal medications, roll bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, sterile gauze pads, cotton swabs, tweezers, safety pins, scissors, triangle bandages, misc. bandages, antibiotic cream, aspirin, hydrogen peroxide, ace bandages, sunburn lotion and burn ointment.

Campers should never approach wild animals and be alert to the surroundings.

Wild animals may look harmless, but are generally unpredictable and can be territorial.

Most injuries occur when people try to feed wild animals.

Additionally, campers should look out for spiders and small, but dangerous critters. People should closely check walking trails and where group sittings are planned for potential dangers.

"Many people have severe allergic reactions to bites and certain plants. some resulting in the need for medical attention," concludes the site. "Again, be aware of your surroundings."

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