Camping Safety Rules

Camping safety is about being prepared. The difference between a great camping trip and a disastrous one is knowledge.

Before You Go Camping
Camping safety begins before you pull out of the driveway. Some things you'll need to know before you load up your vehicle:

  • A word on first aid. Be sure to pack a complete first aid kit and know how to use it. Also, learn to recognize and deal with serious injuries so you'll know when to call for help. A Red Cross first aid class is a great first step.
  • Prepare for the worst. Make sure to bring a detailed map of the area where you'll be camping as well as a compass, whistle, pocketknife and waterproof fire starter. Extra food and water will also be helpful if you are stuck or lost.
  • Keep an eye on the sky. Check (and re-check) the short and long term weather forecasts. While you're out, be sure to keep an eye out for changing weather that could impact your trip.

Setting Up Camp
Properly setting up your camp will ensure a safe and comfortable camping trip. When you arrive, keep these rules in mind:

  • Leave plenty of time. Make sure you arrive at your campsite with plenty of daylight left. You'll want to be able to see what you're doing as you select a campsite and set up your tent.
  • Gravity is the enemy. Avoid setting up camp in a low area or near streams or rivers-a sudden storm could cause the water level to rise. Also, if you're forced to camp on a slope, point the open end of your tent downhill to avoid flooding your tent with rainwater.
  • Look around, and up. Inspect your proposed camp area for any hazards such as sharp objects, insect nests or poisoned plants. Look above your tent area for dead or broken limbs that could fall in the night.

Fire And Water
Once you've settled in, take care in setting up a fire and establishing safe drinking water. Rules you'll want to think about:

  • Camp fire safety means staying away. If you must have a fire, make sure it's in an established fire ring, well away from your tent. You'll want to keep sparks and embers away from flammable materials, especially if it's windy.
  • Make sure your fire is out. Before turning in, make sure your fire is completely out by dousing all ashes, embers and combustible materials with water. Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Know your drinking water source. If you're not drinking bottled water, make certain that the water you're drinking is from a purified source. Never drink water from streams or rivers and never melt ice for drinking water.

The Wonderful World Of Animals
Experiencing the joys of nature doesn't mean having to fight off wild animals. Keep animals at bay by following these rules:

  • Keep your camp area clean. Keep food and trash well sealed and away from your tent. If you're camping near your vehicle, these things should be stored inside. Also, clean pots, pans and cooking utensils after use.
  • Look for them before they look for you. Inspect the area around your campsite for anthills, wasps nest or signs of animal activity. Don't be afraid to relocate if you're too close.
  • Avoid high traffic areas. Make sure to set your camp up away from known game trails or feeding areas.
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