Saturday, June 9, 2018

10 Tips for the Desert in Summer

It's heating up quite a bit in the desert southwest.  With temperatures regularly above 100 degrees, survival skills need to be top of mind whether you are a local or a tourist.  Here's some tips for staying safe during the summer here:

  1. Do your outdoor activities early in the morning, preferably at daybreak.  Biking, hiking, walking, mowing the law, running...if you plan to be active outside during the summer, try to get these activities done in the morning while it is still relatively cool outside.
  2. Always have water with you.  Whether you are exercising outdoors, walking the Las Vegas Strip, or visiting Death Valley National Park...always have water with you, both on your person and in your car.  It's very easy to become dehydrated when it is very hot and dry outside so drink up often.
  3. While the party people in Las Vegas strip down to barely nothing during the summer, most people who live or work in the desert know to cover up in order to keep cool and protect themselves from the sun.  Wearing loose fitting long pants and long sleeved shirts, sun screen, sun glasses, and having a hat or umbrella on hand keeps the sun off of you and oddly enough, it keeps you a bit cooler than baring it all.
  4. Know what dehydration and heat stroke look like as well as how to quickly treat these conditions.
  5. Pay attention to summer road safety.  If your tires are old and crumbly, they can easily blow out on highways when the pavement is super hot; in other words, early summer is a great time to replace old tires.  If you are pulling a victim from a car wreck during the summer in the desert, try not to lay them on the pavement which can give them severe burns.
  6. Pets need extra care during the summer.  Hot pavement can burn paws so either walk your dog on the grass or get them boots to wear (some dogs will tolerate these, others won't).  All animals need easy access to water, as well as a shady place to hang out (or air conditioning if the temps are really high).
  7. Be aware of weather emergencies common to the desert in summer.  These range from summer monsoon season complete with flash floods to wildfires sparked by summer lightening storms.
  8. Plan ahead if you are going off the beaten path.  While many families hit the desert southwest during summer vacation, it is one of the most deadly times to travel here--hikers get lost and die in the desert, boating accidents and drownings soar, there's even such a thing as "death by GPS in the desert".
  9. Keep an eye on the elderly, infirm, and infants.  These people have a more difficult time regulating body temperature and can easily both overheat and not be able to ask for help with this.
  10. Remember that any metal exposed to the sun can cause burns.  You would be surprised at how many sources of these "touch burns" you can find in the desert--door handles, car seat belt buckles, slides and other playground equipment, etc.

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