Posts Tagged ‘safety’

It’s National Lightning Safety Awareness Week — be careful out there

June 26, 2014

Lightning strikeWith summer officially here and the weather turning warmer (two events that do not always march in lockstep here in Washington State), there will be many more opportunities to get outside. Just remember that if you hear thunder, lightning is likely within striking distance. Did you know that lightning threats can extend 10 miles from the storm?

June 22-28 is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

Even if it means you have to take a break from playing or working outside, play it safe by remembering this little phrase: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors! The National Weather Service advises waiting 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder before going back outside.

Learn more about lightning safety, myths, facts, science and more from the National Weather Service.

 

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Professional Divers: Online registration, agenda now available for DNR’s dive safety conference

February 25, 2014
Photo of diver about to jump in water.

Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

Are you a professional diver who makes a living working underwater? Are you interested in learning about the latest in dive safety? Would you like to spend some time networking with fellow professional divers?

DNR is hosting the 2014 Professional Dive Safety Conference April 7-8 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The conference will bring together local, state and national dive experts to present the latest scientific research, technology and best management practices.

Registration for the conference is free but required.

Some of the topics at the conference include:

  • DNR’s Dive Program: Overview, history and sustaining a safe diving culture.
  • Panel discussion with dive safety review experts.
  • Standards governing professional diving.
  • History and regulation of scientific diving.
  • Decompression sickness.
  • Using advances in equipment technology to improve dive safety.
  • EPA task hazard analysis for diving in contaminated waters.
  • Diving risk management course.
  • Developing a dive safety network using technology and social media.

Registration will be open until filled.

A full agenda and online registration are available on DNR’s conference web page.

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Winter winds can make recreation hazardous

January 10, 2014
storm damage

Use caution as the forest can be a hazardous place on windy days.
Photo by: DNR/Christine Redmond

Washington’s typical winter weather is finally upon us, and with it comes rain, wind, snow, and storms.

Use extra caution
This wild weather may inspire you to strap on your raincoat and hit the forest for a hike or recreation adventure, but DNR staff would like you to use caution and stay safe.

With winter storms rolling through our state, please be careful out in the forest during high winds. Windy weather can be very dangerous to recreationists in the woods when trees, limbs, and other debris fall.

Report hazards
If you come across windfall blocking roads or trails, please contact our region offices listed below to inform them so we can get folks out as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.

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Safety, defensive driving matter on forest roads all year round

October 30, 2012
logging truck versus car

Be alert for logging trucks and other vehicles (large or small) on forest roads, including those maintained by DNR. Photo: USFS

As winter weather rolls into Washington state’s uplands and lowlands, it becomes even more important to drive defensively–forest roads are no exception. Don’t let the appearance of a quiet, unpaved forest road lull you into driving complacency. Most DNR recreation sites are on state trust lands where timber harvests and other leasing activities generate revenue for trust beneficiaries, including local schools. A loaded logging truck coming around a bend on a one-lane forest road can be a real scare. If you hear or see one, pull off to the side of the road in a designated pull out.

Because many DNR-maintained roads into the backcountry are mountain roads, expect to find many of them too narrow for two vehicles to pass easily and with sharp curves that may prevent you from seeing approaching traffic. Here are additional tips to be safe on forest roads:

  • Drive defensively: There may not be a lot of traffic but there will likely be other vehicles, such as other cars and trucks and, possibly,  logging trucks, road maintenance machinery, and other vehicles.
  • Obey the rules of the road. You may be in the middle of nowhere, but the rules of the road (and basic common sense) still apply.
  • Keep to the right.
  • Don’t drive in the dust, mud splatter or snow mist that is kicked up by other vehicles.
  • Be prepared. Expect to encounter rocks and boulders, road washouts, downed trees and other hazards.

Our Forest Road Survival Guide has more tips.

What’s your top 10 this weekend?

August 31, 2012
Camping in Washington

Camping season is almost over! Be safe while having fun this Labor Day weekend. Photo: DNR/Luis Prado.

As you plan your weekend adventure, be sure you have these top 10 essential outdoor items to bring along, especially if you’re planning on traveling to the backcountry or heading out on the water:

  • Matches/fire starter for emergencies (be sure you know fire safety rules)
  • Communication device, such a cell phone and/or radio
  • Map
  • Compass (GPS units are helpful, but don’t rely on electronics)
  • Flashlight
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra clothing
  • Sun protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen)
  • First Aid Kit – and first aid training
  • Knife (the multi-tool knives are ideal)

Know before you go. Check the Department of Natural Resources’ recreation page before you head out to see if there are any notices about your destination.

For more information about recreation on DNR-managed lands, check out our online resource for safe and sustainable recreation on DNR-managed lands, and brush up on the  recreation rules.

Don’t forget to grab your Discover Pass as you head out to enjoy the last of summer.

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With wildfire threatening Washington State, DNR wants you to be prepared

August 14, 2012

wildfireThe Taylor Bridge Fire has closed roads, threatened homes, and has forced many communities to evacuate. While firefighters battle this fire, we want to share a message from a longtime nationally recognized Firewise Community/USA to keep you safe this fire season. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part- here’s something you can do to get ready while you wait. The city of Perry Park, Colorado has devised the “P’s of Preparedness” to remember in case an immediate evacuation is required in your area.

  • People and Pets
  • Papers, phone numbers and important documents
  • Prescriptions vitamins and eyeglasses
  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  • Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
  • Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, and cash)
  • Patience

People and pets
When it comes to evacuating your family safely, you need to plan ahead. Do you know at least two routes out of your community? Where is your meeting place and how will you contact each other? Where will your pets stay if you can’t return to your home? Do you have food and water in an emergency kit to keep you, your family, and your pets healthy if you can’t get to supplies? Firewise.org has many publications available to help you get ready for the threat of a fire. Make sure you talk about your disaster plan with your family and practice evacuation drills. Giving tasks to older children can help keep them calm if an emergency strikes and the routine will help everyone evacuate quickly. Post emergency telephone numbers in a visible place and go over what your children should do if they are home alone when an evacuation is ordered. FEMA has great guidelines to help you start your disaster plan and build an emergency preparedness kit today.

Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
If a wildfire strikes your community and you are forced to evacuate, you don’t want to be running around the house looking for all your important documents. Evacuation is emotional enough without you desperately digging through your papers for your husband’s birth certificate. Keep deeds, birth certificates, vehicle titles, and other irreplaceable documents in one location, and look through your papers frequently to make sure everything is up to date.

Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
It can be easy for prescriptions and vitamins to spread across the house with daily use, but during an evacuation pharmacies and drug stores may be closed or out of the items you may need. Keep extra allergy medicine, supplements, vitamins, and prescriptions in a plastic bin or bag that will be easy for you to grab as you hurry out the door. Make sure you include emergency supplies such as diabetes medication, emergency asthma inhalers, and EpiPens in your evacuation kit.

Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
Even during an evacuation, no one wants to fathom the possibility of losing their home to wildfire. Should tragedy occur, the loss will be softened if you can save irreplaceable memorabilia. Your decorative marriage certificate may not have legal importance, but can hold priceless meaning for you and your family. Giving each person in the home a bin to fill with the things they want to take with them will ease the stress and anguish of leaving home behind.

Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
Make a digital copy of family photos, important documents, and business papers that can be downloaded onto an easy-to-carry flash drive or external hard drive. Make sure to back-up household computers in case you have to leave in a hurry. Also, keep any laptops with their chargers so they can be easily loaded for evacuation.

Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, and cash)
It is a very good idea to keep an extra credit card, cash, and a book of checks in the same place you store your important documents. You don’t know how many times you will have to fill your gas tank, or how many nights you may have to stay in a hotel.

Patience
Evacuation and the uncertainty that comes with it will be stressful. The process will be easier for everyone involved if they have a familiar system to follow. If you stay calm, it will help keep your children and animals calm as well.

Visit the Firewise FAQs page and the Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program for more information about wildfire safety and what you can do before a fire strikes to be prepared.

Check out the DNR Burn Map to view the fire danger in your area and stay connected with this year’s wildfire season on the DNR_Fire Twitter feed.

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Wild Monday: A little knowledge can help you avoid big trouble with black bears

June 25, 2012
Black bear cubs playing in tree

Two bear cubs playing in a tree in DNR’s Salmon Creek Block on state trust land in southwest Washington. Photo: Florian Diesenhofer/DNR. (NOTE: Using a long telephoto lens, the photographer was able to keep a safe distance from the cubs and their mother.)

There are between 25,000 and 30,000 black bears in Washington state. They live in a variety of habitats on both sides of the Cascades. Bears usually avoid people but you have to do your part, too, by avoiding them when possible, never feeding them, and knowing what to do (and not do) if you  encounter a black bear at close range.

Black bears are not as aggressive as grizzly bears but black bears have severely injured and sometimes even killed campers or travelers who fed them. When black bear mothers confront humans, they typically send their cubs up a tree and retreat or bluff. People who live in or visit areas with black bears — most of the forested areas of Washington State — should know the appropriate steps to avoid a black bear encounter.

Additional advice and facts about black bear is on the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, ‘Living with Wildlife’ web page. In addition to describing the habits and life cycle of black bears, the web page lists helpful dos and don’ts for bear country. ‘Do’ Number One should always be: ‘Do everything you can to avoid an encounter with any bear. Prevention is the best advice.’

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Root rot fungus infects conifers in Capitol State Forest campground

December 17, 2010
Photo of fallen tree near outhouse in Mima Falls Campground.

Recently, this tree—infected with laminated root rot—blew down in a storm at Mima Falls Campground. Fortunately, no one was in the outhouse at the time! Photo: Florian Deisenhofer/DNR.

DNR scientists who specialize in tree health have discovered a widespread infection of laminated root rot in Douglas fir, grand fir, and hemlock trees in Mima Falls Campground and the trailhead parking area in Capitol State Forest. Trees infected with this disease pose a significant threat to public safety because the fungus destroys the roots.

For safety reasons, all but a few of the trees in the campground and trailhead will be removed this winter while the area is closed for the season.

“Trees infected with laminated root rot are highly unstable and can easily fall over as they lose root strength,” said Florian Deisenhofer, Natural Resource Scientist with DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region. “This can even occur when trees are still alive and have no observable symptoms. The disease creeps from root to root through the soil and can persist for decades on a site, making forest management very difficult.”

DNR will conduct a small timber sale to remove the trees early next year. Harvest is scheduled to begin in early February. The goal is to complete the harvest by mid April, in time for the reopening of the campground and trails on May 1.

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Tuesday on the DNR Forum: Enforcement, education, and safety

September 14, 2010

DNR Forum logoToday’s “conversation starter” on the DNR Forum on recreation focuses on enforcement, education, and safety.

Tuesday, September 14 – Enforcement, Education and Safety
How can DNR ensure an appropriate level of law enforcement and provide an adequate awareness and education program for visitors to safely recreate on DNR-managed lands?

>> Join Tuesday’s conversation

Remember, your responses will not immediately post to the DNR Forum. DNR will be moderating the responses for topic relevancy and inappropriate remarks (foul language or personal attacks on other contributors). You can also use links to more detailed information.

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