Wilderness Safety

bulletUV in My Eyes


When thunder rumbles, clear the pool

Nearly 100 North Americans die from lightning strikes each year, and a high percentage of these deaths occur in summer when people are swimming and participating in other water sports.

First and foremost, you need an evacuation plan. To determine the distance between you and a lightning strike, use the "flash-to-bang" rule: every five seconds you count between seeing the lightning flash and hearing the thunder indicates there's one mile between you and that lightning strike. If your evacuation building is nearby and nothing obstructs your view at the pool, a 30-second flash-to-bang time should be your minimum evacuation time.

Pools that have obstructed views should evacuate as soon as thunder is heard. And pools in noisy areas should use an information source such as the Weather Channel, lightning sensors or other means of monitoring the weather.

Some other rules to remember:

bulletThere should be a well-grounded, enclosed shelter near the pool in case of a quick evacuation.  [[An open shelter, like a covered picnic shelter in High Park, will kill you.]]



Shade those peepers        2003/8/12

You wouldn't poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick, would you?

So why would you leave your eyes unprotected against the potentially serious damage they can suffer from ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunshine?

UV can contribute to age-related changes in the eye and a number of serious eye diseases, including cataracts, sunburned corneas and, yes, eyelid cancer.

wear sunglasses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of the full UV spectrum. You can't tell that just by looking at them. Some sunglasses may have a dark tint, but offer little or no UV protection.  Look for sunglasses that have labels outlining their UV protection.  An inexpensive pair of sunglasses at your local drugstore can offer more UV protection than pricey sunglasses with designer frames.
The same rule applies to children.

You can enhance the protection offered by your sunglasses by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, which reduces the amount of UV on your face by about 50 percent.