Emily Jaycox editorial

Proper preparation can prevent tragedies

As you set out to enjoy the last couple weeks of summer, please take some prudent precautions to protect yourself and your family.

Although nobody expects disaster to strike them, it only takes an instant for the worst to happen, and taking some simple preventative measures can make the difference between life and death.

Drownings are tragic and, in many cases, preventable, and happen more often than you might think across the province during the summer months. It can happen to anyone.

Wearing a life jacket is so simple. If you are doing any outdoor water activity, you should be wearing a life jacket. It doesn’t matter your age or swimming ability, if you’re just standing in the shallows or on shore, or if you think you’re too much of a boating expert to capsize.

Shallow banks can drop off unexpectedly and calm surface water can belie a strong current that will pull you under in moments.

While life jackets can be cost prohibitive, you can also buy second hand, borrow from a friend or rent.

And yes, bad things can happen no matter what you do and perhaps you think it’s better to live life carefree and not to worry over “every little thing,” but at least if you do lose a loved one, if you know you did all you could to prevent it, your grief won’t be further complicated by guilt.

Don’t forget to let someone know where you’re going.

The Alberta RCMP advises telling your travel plans to a trusted contact before leaving home. They recommend providing a written itinerary including destination, mode of transportation and contact information to a loved one, friend or neighbour when you’re away from your regular routine.

Don’t leave things up to chance. Some may naysay the wary and cautious, saying they are “living in fear,” however, taking the steps to be properly prepared actually makes things less stressful and allows you to relax and enjoy your time more.

Don’t forget the little things either. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so wear the sunscreen even if you “only ever get a tan,” check for ticks after a hike and make sure your first aid kit is stocked.

Use the proper safety equipment for each activity, take recommended precautions and then go and enjoy your time with the peace of mind being fully prepared brings.