Be Ready for the Unexpected

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from the Canadian Red Cross

Nobody expects an emergency. Slips, trips, and falls happened to even the most seasoned climbers; bugs can always find that exposed inch of skin to sting. Knowing what to do can turn a stressful situation into a solvable one.

Available free on Google Play and the App Store, the Canadian Red Cross First Aid App is filled with safety tips, instructional videos, and more. Better yet, much of its content is pre-loaded, so it will work whether you’re in the heart of the city or in the middle of the woods without data.

Build (or buy) a First Aid Kit:
There’s more than one way to fill a first aid kit, but every good kit needs these few basics: bandages, gauze, tweezers, and vinyl/sterile gloves are all essentials.

Be Sun Safe: An expert tip from Don Marentette, Director, First Aid Programs: “Spend 15 minutes before you set out and look at your first aid kit. Often, the times you need it are when you’re stressed, someone has hurt themselves, or the conditions and environment are chaotic. Before you leave, have a look at the first aid kit and make sure you’re comfortable with it.” –

Even if the weather feels cooler than it did in the dregs of July, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the sunscreen. Even the shade can’t save you from a sunburn, so opt for at least an SPF 30 – and reapply every few hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or sweating excessively.

Be Bug Ready: The mosquitoes are buzzing, and they’ve brought along a few friends: ticks, horseflies and other biting bugs are at their busiest this time of year. The easiest way to avoid getting bit is with long sleeves and pants, but we realize “covering up” and “summer” don’t always go together. So, if you’re still in shorts, avoid heavily scented products, carry an insect repellant, and know what to do if you’re bitten. Scared of Ticks? We can help.

Know Your Surroundings: If you’re going on a hike, consider going old school: bring a map, or a compass, because your smartphone might not always have a connection. If you’re hiking in the evening, bring a flashlight or headlamp, and before you leave, inform someone of your plans so they can help should something unforeseen happen.

Another expert tip from Don Marentette: “Be aware of where you’re going. Do your research on which animals are in the area, then you can do a quick search on what to do if there are bears, foxes, or coyotes. It’s good to know ahead of time.”

Pack Smart: A spare pair of socks can feel like the most lavish luxury if you’re caught in the rain during a hike. An apple could be enough to get you through the second half of your long bike ride. While we’re not suggesting you bring a full picnic and wardrobe change with you every where you go this summer, some snacks, extra water and spare clothes can make a world of difference without taking up too much space.

When it comes to lifejackets or Personal Flotation Devices (PFD), close by isn’t close enough. If you’re planning on being out on the water, make sure you or your children have on a Transport Canada Approved lifejacket of PFD.

Summer is best spent outside, so we hope these tips will encourage you to enjoy the outdoors while also preparing you for a possible emergency. To learn more about first aid, or to sign up for a course, visit our website.

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