Summer Safety for North Carolinians

Summer is upon us, bringing weekend getaways, barbecues, pool excursions and more across the state. This year, summer plans may look a bit different as North Carolina kicks off July in Phase 2 “Safer at Home” as we continue the fight against COVID-19. While some extra precautions and planning may be necessary over the next few months, there are plenty of ways to have an enjoyable and safe summer. Here are a few safety tips no matter what your plans hold.

Travel Safely

Every year, the NC State Highway Patrol warns motorists of the risks of excessive speeding, aggressive driving and distractive driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, 9,050 vehicle crashes that occurred in June, July and August were fatal. Prepare yourself and others traveling with you for a trip by planning your route and getting plenty of rest the night before to ensure you arrive at your destination safely and on time. Take the time to check the oil, washer fluid, tire pressure and tread depth and battery power before leaving on your trip. Prevention and planning up front will lower the chances of breakdowns or other time-consuming consequences.

Be sure to bring along sanitation items to help keep your family healthy throughout your summer travels. During the COVID-19 pandemic, taking the following precautions should be taken when leaving your home:

  • Get food from a drive-thru instead of going inside.
  • Limit contact with surfaces at gas stations and rest stops as much as possible.
  • Bring hand sanitizer to use when you return to your vehicle. 
  • Research state face covering and quarantine laws and have multiple face coverings if you are unable to launder reusable masks.

Don’t make a habit of sharing that you are away from home or posting photos to social media while you are on vacation. This gives thieves the perfect heads-up that your home is vacant. Share all your photos and memories upon your return.

Read more about the risks of traveling during COVID-19 and more CDC guidelines. 

Heat Safety

Experiencing extreme heat and high humidity in North Carolina is not uncommon during the summer months. Exposure to heat pushes the body past what it can handle, leading to heat-related illness and even death in some cases. Those who are elderly, young, sick or overweight are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke or sun stroke.

To reduce sun and heat exposure during summer months, stay indoors as much as possible or find shady places to spend time outdoors. Drinking plenty of fluids and wearing light-colored clothing can also help you stay cool. Cars can heat up quickly when it is hot outside. Never leave a child or pet inside a closed vehicle, even if it is running.

Be a good neighbor by learning the warning signs of heat-related illness and checking on those who you know are most at risk in your community.

Learn more about preparing for extreme heat.

Water Safety

Whether the beach, lake, river or community pool, there are plenty of places to cool off during the summer throughout the state. The ongoing pandemic may have caused public spaces to be closed, so check with local or state officials before traveling to stay updated on closures or restrictions. 

If visiting a local pool or splash pad, pack cloth face coverings and some hand sanitizer. While face coverings should not be worn in the water, they should be worn over the nose and mouth outside of the pool if six feet of separation cannot be achieved. Social distancing should be adhered to in the pool as well. The American Red Cross recommends speaking with children on the importance of social distancing while out and finding alternate activities if a child cannot practice appropriate social distancing.

Boating and other water recreation can be a fun pastime if appropriate safety measures are taken. Here are a few items to check off the list before heading out on your next water adventure.

  • Make sure every person on the vessel has a US Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Check the weather before heading out. Storms can pop up quickly around the water.
  • Ensure all equipment is working properly on the vessel before shoving off.
  • Avoid swimming or paddling in high or fast-moving water. Always swim with a friend.
  • Boating and alcohol don’t mix. Don’t drink and drive.

COVID-19 remains a public health threat, and North Carolinians must continue to be vigilant to slow the spread of the virus within our communities. Participating in the three Ws is an effective way to keep yourself healthy and looking out for those around you. 
WEAR a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth. 
WAIT six feet apart and avoid close contact. 
WASH your hands or use hand sanitizer. 


More Resources:
Traveling Safely if Venturing Out
Boating Safety Blog
Theft Prevention: Tips for Securing Your Home