Tips for a Safe Spring Break
Each year, thousands of people travel to destinations near and far to enjoy Spring Break. You can help ensure a safe trip by taking a few steps to be prepared for disasters and other emergencies. Take a few minutes to prepare for the unexpected in unfamiliar surroundings:
Before you leave
- Compile a list of important numbers such as local hospitals and emergency responders and make sure your friends and family have these numbers as well.
- If you are traveling outside the United States, register with the U.S. Department of State.
- Make sure family members or friends know your travel plans, where you will be staying, and how to reach you.
- Learn about the area you are visiting. Find out what types of disasters may occur in the area, especially if they are disasters you have never experienced before.
- Pay attention to the local weather forecast. Travel and weather Web sites can help you avoid storm seasons, severe heat and other regional challenges that could affect your safety.
- Find out how you would obtain information in the event of a disaster. Research the local radio stations and emergency alert systems.
- Read your car's manual for safety precautions specifically related to the car and its airbags.
- Before packing the car, perform a simple safety check. Turn on the lights, walk around the vehicle and ensure they are in working order. Check turn signals, look for any fluid leaks, and make sure the tires are properly inflated.
- Pack your vehicle carefully. Nothing should block your view through the rear window.
- Check your mirrors to be sure you have an unobstructed view of the road.
- Prepare an emergency supplies kit for your vehicle and keep it in your car at all times. Include a first aid kit and manual a blanket, flares, flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, water, high-protein snacks, battery-operated or hand-crank radio, and an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers. First Aid kits may be purchased your local Red Cross.
- No matter how far you are traveling, be sure you are well rested before you leave.
On the road
- Everyone in the car should wear a seatbelt. Babies and young children should be properly secured in safety seats at all times.
- Leave early and give yourself enough time to travel at a comfortable pace.
- Should you find yourself getting tired from the drive, pull over to a rest stop or gas station to walk around and refresh yourself.
- Do not talk or send text messages on your cell phone while driving. If you must use the phone, pull over to a safe, well-lit parking lot and place your call there.
- When driving in inclement weather such as rain storms, reduce your speed. Don't make sudden moves if the roads are wet. Applying the brakes slowly and steadily will help you keep better control of your vehicle.
When you arrive
- Review the disaster plan and disaster safety procedures and precautions for the place where you will be staying.
- Check to see if the building is equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which can help save lives in the event of a cardiac arrest.
- Identify how you would get out of the building in case you need to evacuate due to a hurricane or fire.
- Locate safe places inside should you need to take cover
- In a disaster situation, be sure to register on the Safe and Well Web site on RedCross.org to let family and friends know you are safe.
Water, sun and beach safety
- Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.
- Always swim in an area with a lifeguard.
- Keep children under active supervision when in or around the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should be within arm's reach.
- Have weak swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket—do not rely on water wings or inflatable toys.
- Be aware of the water environment and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents and depth changes.
- Always enter the water feet first in unfamiliar waters. Only dive or do head-first entries in areas that are designated as safe for diving.
- Do not mix alcohol with swimming or any water activity.
- Protect your skin with sunscreen. Use a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and reapply it often, especially after swimming.
- Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.