June 10, 2022
By Anna Peabody, AEMT
Summer brings many changes to the Helena Valley. The increasing temperatures signal it’s time for school to be out and vacations in the sun with family and friends to begin.
For local emergency response teams, summer brings not only sunshine, but also an increase in emergency calls due to recreational accidents. Some accidents are minor, while others could have had better outcomes if a few additional safety measures were followed. As summer recreation hits its stride, your local ambulance team would like share a few summer safety tips:
When it comes to recreating in the water, we are very lucky to have a variety of area lakes and rivers to play in. However, the fun can sometimes lead to boat accidents and swimming related injuries. When boating on the water, make sure your boat or raft is in good working order. Be sure to check the weather before leaving and pack appropriately based on what you learn. Do you have proper fitting floatation devices for everyone on board? It is crucial that all children wear properly fitted life jackets and are watched at all times.
When spending time in the water, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Wear a floatation device if needed and get out of the water if you become tired. Children are at a higher risk for swimming related injuries. You can avoid these injuries by knowing your child’s swimming skill level and abilities; knowing what’s under the water when jumping off cliffs and elevated surfaces; and making sure children are not in the water alone. Spring is a great time to sign your kids up for swimming classes to help prepare them for safe water recreation!
There are miles and miles of trails to check out across the valley and the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, summer is when we see an increase of ATV/motorized vehicle related accidents. Keep yourself and your family safe by knowing how to operate the vehicle, wearing a helmet, operating at a safe speed and knowing the terrain and the area ahead. It is not uncommon for our team to take an hour or more to respond to an emergency depending on the area of the accident. That is one reason why it’s important to know where you are and to have a basic first aid kit with you.
Recreational vehicle safety also includes being aware of motorcycles on roadways. Make sure you are staying vigilant and watching for other vehicles around you. Summer not only brings good weather but more traffic to our area. If you are the motorcycle rider, make sure you are visible by wearing bright colors, wearing your helmet (even on those hot days) and making eye contact with the other drivers. As for vehicle drivers, make sure you are stopping completely at every intersection and looking twice for motorcycles. Let’s keep each other safe on the roadways!
Hiking and Biking
Helena is well known for its mountain biking and hiking trails. Please be aware of other users when in the South Hills and the surrounding areas. We can’t stress enough the importance of wearing your helmet, traveling at a safe speed and being courteous to riders of varying skill levels. If you are hiking in the warm weather, be sure to stay hydrated, use sunscreen and be aware of other users traveling at faster speeds on the trail.
Summer is a wonderful time in the Helena area. We all want to spend time recreating and enjoying outdoor activities with family and friends. No matter what activities you choose, it is important to follow the safety tips above. And, don’t forget to stay hydrated, use sunscreen, let people know where you are going and be prepared for changing weather. Accidents do happen and we are here to respond in an emergency, but don’t cut your summer fun short by forgetting these summer safety tips. Wishing you a safe and happy summer from your local ambulance team!
Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) Anna Peabody has been a member of the St. Peter’s Ambulance team for four years, and has worked as an emergency responder for six years.