SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The summer solstice at 5:07 A.M. on June 21, 2018 officially marks the beginning of summer season.
But, this season brings many dangers to those looking to vacation as they flock to beaches, lakes, and other outdoor places of interest.
Of course, you remember the basics of summer safety, right? Reduce sunburn risk & skin cancer risk by applying sunscreen. And avoiding dehydration and by drinking lots of water during the hottest days. But there are more hazards lurking June through August.
Here are four simple and sensible things you can do to stay as keep your cool and stay safe during the summer heat:
1. Take a break Heat is sometimes called the "silent killer." That's because, often, people don't realize they're suffering from heat stroke until it's too late.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. You should call 911 immediately if you witness someone showing symptoms. Those who work outdoors or spend time mowing or gardening should take frequent breaks and seek air conditioning or shade. This will give your body a break from the sun and time to cool down. Even better, try to knock out your outdoor work during the cooler hours of early morning or evening.
2. Look before you lock You would think this one would be a no-brainer. Yet, sadly, numerous children and countless pets die in hot cars every year. It has even happened right here in Mississippi in 2018.
Would you leave fresh groceries like milk in a hot car while you run errands? Probably not. By the same token, you shouldn't leave children or pets or really anyone in the car on a hot summer day. Always look before you lock and make sure everyone is out of the car before you head inside. One helpful tip would be to place important items on the floor behind the driver's seat; this helps to condition yourself to always open the back door before you lock the car and walk away.
3. Practice lightning safety Summer storms are a familiar occurrence here on the Gulf Coast. But the lightning they produce poses a serious risk for those outdoors.
Whether you're in a tent, or perhaps under a pavilion or really anywhere other than a sturdy building or vehicle, you're not safe from lightning. Those who are not somewhere safe can be struck and killed or seriously injured by lightning. Remember: when thunder roars, go indoors. See a flash? Dash inside.
4. Respect the flooding rain: 'Turn around, don't drown' When it's raining and flooding, even as unstoppable as we may think we are, sometimes it's best to stop and turn around instead of driving through a water-covered road.
Summer storms often bring dangerous flooding. And most flood victims die in vehicles when trying to drive across flooded roads, misjudging the depth and power of the water. All it takes is 12 inches of flowing water to carry off a small car and 18-24 inches to float larger vehicles. Have a healthy respect for the natural world and let that drive your decisions.