Have a fun; safe Labor Day

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- As the summer season begins to come to an end, many people see Labor Day as the last opportunity to hit the lakes or pools before the cooler temperatures set in. This is a weekend where many take vacation to visit the beach or local lakes to soak up the last of the summer sun and enjoy fun times with family and friends.

"Many people will spend the Labor Day weekend traveling and spending time with family and friends, no one should take a vacation from safety," said Phil Hansen, Regional Executive of the American Red Cross Northern Minnesota Region.

Water safety is an important way to make Labor Day festivities fun and exciting. To avoid spending it in a hospital, here are several important tips to ensure swimmers are safe:

· Do not swim alone - Have a buddy or lifeguard available in case there is an emergency
· Always supervise children - Stay close to young children and inexperienced swimmers and keep visibility of other child swimmers
· Wear appropriate safety gear - Inexperienced swimmers should wear a life vest or have another floatation device available
· Watch the weather - Weather changes frequently in Kansas; patrons should evacuate water sources and seek shelter when there are lightening potentials and severe weather


Another item to consider is boat traffic. Teach children about areas designated for boats and fishing, and about areas that are designated for swimming so they do not endanger themselves.

Many people tend to use boats or other marine equipment during this time. For those that decide to rent or use marine equipment of any type, be sure to understand how to operate it safely and within the normal limits of its operation.

Furthermore, never operate a watercraft after consuming alcohol. Boaters need to take extra precautions around crowded lakes, including slow down when approaching docks and populated areas and ensure all children are wearing life jackets. According to the U.S Coast Guard, there were approximately 2,535 boating accidents in 2013, which resulted in 185 deaths and 1,639 injuries.

It is also beneficial to understand available safety equipment; this includes life preservers and other rescue devices. A basic knowledge of CPR, and access to a phone are also useful, in case of an emergency.

The importance of wearing sunscreen is also vital for a safe Labor Day. Even in cloudy conditions, ultraviolet rays are still harmful to your skin if exposed for extended periods of time. Experts at the Skin Cancer Foundation recommend that sunscreen no lower than SPF 30 be applied to prevent sunburn. Fair-skinned individuals may need to apply a higher SPF to offer better protection.

With these helpful suggestions, you can have a safe and fun Labor Day.