Monday November 24, 2014

EDITORIAL: Be safe out there, people!

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The weather may not necessarily coincide with the calendar this year, as it still feels like late spring, and hardly like the first part of July; nonetheless, school’s out, vacation plans are made and people are getting ready for a summer of outdoor activity and/or travel to see family, friends or to just enjoy some well-earned time off.

In all the rush and excitement of getting to the lake, or campground, or on the road to grandpa and grandma’s place in B.C. or Ontario, and making sure everything got packed, sometimes parents are flustered and aren’t paying attention properly on the drive out; this is the first point on which people need to take care.

Out on the road, with children becoming loud and restless in the back, or with the driver distracted about whether their plans and arrangements are all going to work out, a driver can miss a crucial lane change or speed limit sign, or not be paying attention to the traffic on the highway, which can be deadly during the summer as the roads get extremely busy.

The second point is at the particular vacation destination, or the weekend campground get-away, the attention to safety has to continue. Campfires need to be extinguished properly, not left smoldering; boaters need to be mindful of the weather when out on a lake or a river, and for that matter, drivers need to be aware also, as foul weather can rise up quickly and catch people unawares; and life jackets need to be worn at all times, as even swimmers have been known to drown when their boat or canoe flips in the middle of the lake, or boaters fall over the side while going over white-water rapids.

This is not to say that hazards lurk around every corner as one relaxes in their favourite folding chair to watch their children or grandchildren play on the beach, or a nice sunset over a tranquil lake. But, in order for a family or group of friends to be able to fully enjoy their time on vacation without a tragedy intruding and ruining everything, people merely need to pay attention to those things that matter: observe the rules, and safety protocols, and pay attention to what people are doing, what the weather is shaping up to be, or what the traffic is doing out on the highway. Don’t make assumptions about invulnerable you are, but realize there are real hazards to be aware of.

Then, like they used to say years ago, you can “bring ‘em back alive”, safe and sound back home again.

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