By Tamas Mondovics
Summer is in full swing and residents are urged to keep safety first and foremost while enjoying the outdoors. County officials have provided safety tips to protect family, home and animals listed below.
• Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach.
• Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child.
• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water.
• Actively supervise children around the water—even if lifeguards are present.
For more water safety tips, visit red cross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety.
• Check the weather forecast, including tides and wind information.
• Calculate your trip length to allow at least 2 miles-per-hour paddling time under normal conditions.
• Let someone know your plans, where you are going, who is with you and when you plan to return.
• Paddle in a group or with a buddy.
• Bring at least one gallon of drinking water per person for the day.
For more information, go to www.HillsboroughCounty.org, and type “canoe safety” in the search engine.
• Bring a compass and a trail map. Stay on marked trails, and check direction and in and out distance.
• Drink plenty of water, wear insect repellent and sunscreen.
• Bicycling? Wear a helmet and bring a flat repair kit.
• Leave a plan with family and friends letting them know where you will be and what time you are expected to return.
• Never leave a pet inside a locked car, even if the windows are partially open. Vehicles heat up quickly, and pets can expire quickly from heatstroke.
• Keep pet identification securely fastened, and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date in case a lost or frightened pet is involved in a bite incident. Search for missing pets by tag number at www.HillsboroughCounty.org/Pets.
• Only use your grill outside.
• Wear short sleeves or roll them up.
• Use long-handled barbecue tools.
• Keep a 3-ft. safe zone around grills, fire pits and campfires. Never leave a grill or fire unattended.
• Clean your grill after each use to remove grease that can start a fire.
Visit hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/nutri tion/food_safety.shtml.