Spring Break: Tips for Remaining Safe

 

Make this Spring Break a good one by staying safe.  It’s nice to have a lot of fun, but that can quickly end if something happens.  Know that it is your responsibility to ensure not only your own safety but your friends as well.  So here are a few tips for what you might be doing this year.  A couple major tips.  Make sure to get plenty of sleep to keep a clear head and make sure to pack any medications you might need.

Going on a road trip – Make sure you take turns behind the wheel, and whoever is riding shotgun should be wide awake to keep the driver company. Before leaving for this close bonding vacation make sure everyone has a valid driver’s license and the vehicle registration is in the car before driving off.

Going to the beach – Sun can maximize the effects of alcohol so keep this in mind if you party on the beach. Take it slow and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. If you start feeling faint or light headed, get shade and water immediately. Unless you want to come back looking like a lobster use sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and reapply often. Pay extra special attention to ears, nose, face, and shoulders. For all the fair-skinned people out there, wear sunglasses and even a hat. Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun’s rays and remember you can burn even when it’s cloudy.   If you decide to go into the water, stay within the designated swimming area and never swim alone.

Know the flag warning system:

  • Red Flag: Stay OUT of the water – strong undertow and riptides.
  • Yellow Flag: Use CAUTION in the water – some undertow and riptides possible.
  • Blue Flag: Calm water.

Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.

Going on a cruise – Vacationing on a cruise ship is a blast, but there are a whole different set of rules when you have a few thousand people aboard a boat with no where to go. Stick with your friends, and watch your pockets when you get off the boat for stops. There are many cases of people being pick pocketed by island residents who prey on tourists.

Staying in a hotel – When looking at hotels try to reserve a room that’s above the 1st floor but below the 6th floor. First floor rooms are easier to break into, and rooms above the sixth floor are sometimes too high for fire ladders to reach. Also if safes are provided, definitely use them for any valuables you may have. Keep doors and sliding doors locked, and don’t let anyone into your room unless you can trust them and use the buddy system.  Make a mental note of where the nearest fire exits and stairwells are located in case you need to evacuate.

While drinking – Do everyone a favor and party smart. Be responsible. Pace yourself if you choose to drink, and avoid hard alcohol or other drinks that are powerful and have fast effects. Also be aware of alcohol poisoning and what to do if someone is overly intoxicated.  Should a member of your group become intoxicated, never leave them alone. If they pass out, make sure they sleep on their side to prevent choking, and if their level of consciousness is too low to get a response, call for help.  If you do decide to drink, know the liquor laws of wherever you’ll be vacationing. Not everyone has the same rules.  No matter where you are, drinking & driving is always a dangerous situation, so avoid this by having your safe mode of transportation home planned before you go out.

Leaving the country – If you’re planning on leaving the country you’ll need a passport. These are not quick and easy documents to attain, so file your application about 6 months before going on a trip abroad. Safety has a lot to do with what you pack when traveling abroad. Don’t bring flashy valuables and dress conservatively so you don’t stick out too much. And do your homework beforehand about your destination, keeping in mind you are subject to the laws of the country you visit.

To get a full list of tips for traveling abroad (as well as travel warnings for certain countries) check out the Bureau of Consular Affairs website

Sex & Violence – To ensure your own safety don’t drink too much. Drinking makes it easier for a person to become either the victim or the perpetrator of a sexual assault. Don’t allow yourself to be taken to an isolated location. Make sure you use the buddy system and never leave with someone you just met. Attend parties with friends and plan to leave with the same friends. Also watch out for drugs which can easily be avoided by never leaving your drink unattended and never accepting open drinks from strangers.

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