Are you going on holiday? – ER24 report

As the year draws to a close and the festive season starts, ER24 is urging everyone not to let their guard down while they go on vacation. It is vital whether you are on the roads or at home to stay safe during this time and to also keep an eye on your children at all times.

If you plan on driving to your destination, remember the following:

  • Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. Remember to check all fluids in the vehicle. Make sure the rear and front signal lights, wipers and headlights are working. Also check the tyre wear and tear.
  • Ensure you have a spare wheel, first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the vehicle.
  • It is never a bad idea to plan your route. Take note of all filling stations, police stations and hospitals.
  • Have a look at the weather forecast for the route you are going to take as well as the area you will be spending time at to determine if it is still worthwhile to go. If you decide to go, make sure you pack appropriately.
  • When packing, consider where you are going and what you are going to be doing. Take the appropriate clothes and shoes.
  • Keep a list of telephone numbers of people to contact and your medical history. That will come in handy in case of an emergency.
  • Let people you trust know where you are going and when they can expect you back.
  • Always ensure children in the vehicle are appropriately restrained. Use a child safety seat where applicable and ensure it is strapped in correctly.
  • Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If you are driving in direct sunshine, wear sunglasses. Glare strains the eyes and adds to fatigue. Do not wear tinted glasses after dark. Although they help reduce the dazzle of incoming headlights, they restrict your ability to see dimly lit objects.
  • Make sure you rest before your journey. Take as many breaks as you need while driving.
  • Refrain from road rage. If someone annoys you, rather keep your distance and ignore them.
  • Be alert at all times and do not speed.

Outdoors

If you plan on going camping or sightseeing there are a few things to keep in mind. Do some research about the area if you have never been there. It is better to know what to expect so you can plan accordingly. Some areas may be high-risk for malaria for example. It is vital for people to take medication prior to visiting a high-risk area to reduce chances of being infected.

If you go hiking or sightseeing to areas that include cliffs, be aware of your surroundings. Be careful as you could be stepping on loose stones or rocks.

If there are children with you, ensure you know where they are at all times. This should be something you ensure at all times whether you are outdoors or anywhere else for that matter.

Braai

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned braai with family. If you decide to have a braai while on holiday, ensure you are allowed to do so at the location you have chosen.

If you do have a braai, be careful. Keep a fire extinguisher close by. The braai stand should not be placed in or close to the only escape. The braai stand should also be sturdy. Adult supervision is a must when children are around open fires. Also teach children about the dangers of playing with matches and lighters.

Never abandon the fire. Make sure it is extinguished when you are done with the braai.

Drowning

Plan on visiting the sea or relaxing around a swimming pool? Remember that anyone, even those who can swim, are at risk of drowning.

Never allow a child to swim without adult supervision. Keep your pool covered with an approved cover when not in use.

Do not swim too far out into the ocean. After a while, you may struggle due to fatigue or get swept further away due to strong currents.

Wearing a life jacket is vital. Only swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards. Never swim alone. Remember your life jacket when participating in water sports.

Never dive or jump into unfamiliar or shallow water. It is never too early or late to learn CPR.

What to do if someone is drowning?

If you are at the beach and you see a person drowning, inform a lifeguard immediately. Ensure you wear a life jacket if you decide to save the person yourself. If you are able to get the person out of the water, initiate CPR if there is no pulse and breathing.

Do not stop CPR unless the person starts to breathe on their own.

Call for an ambulance as soon as you are able to or get someone to do so.

In case of a near drowning, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Explain to medical staff what has happened. There are instances where nonfatal drownings occurs. The person may seem okay even though they have taken in water that finds its way to the lungs.

Children

Teach children what they should and should not do in case of an emergency. Also ensure they know who to contact.

ER24 can be contacted 24-hours a day on 084 124 in case of a medical emergency.

Pre-journey Safety Checks

Vehicle

  • Tire Pressure / Tread
  • Lights and Brakes are in good order
  • Check windscreen for cracks and make sure windscreen wipers are effective
  • Check fluid levels (oil, water and windscreen cleaner)

House

  • Lock all doors and windows; make sure your home is secure
  • Install a timer on certain lights and if possible radios. This will make the house seem more lived in.
  • Do not make you planned absence known. Be careful with whom you discuss your holiday plans.
  • If you leave your animals at home and not at a kennel, make sure someone is taking care of them.
  • Even if you don’t have animals to feed, get a friend to look after your home. To open and close curtains, empty your mailbox and make the place look lived in.
  • Cancel newspaper subscriptions or make sure someone collects them; a pile of newspapers in the driveway is a sure giveaway that no one is home.
  • When departing, do not pack your vehicle in clear view of the street.

What to do in an accident

Many people, when involved in an accident do not know what to do. Some guidelines and suggestions are outlined below.

  • Stop immediately
  • Establish whether or not any parties have sustained injuries
  • Provide your name, address, registration and who the owner is of your vehicle to the other parties involved and get the same information from them. Always carry a notebook and pen in your car.
  • If there are injures, do not move the vehicles. Call the police and ER24 on 084 124 and only move the vehicles with the authority of a traffic officer
  • Do not consume alcohol or take any drugs before reporting to a police station.
  • Make sure you record the date, time and all the details of the accident (diagrams are helpful here)

ER24 wishes everyone a safe festive season. Distributed by: Ineke van Huyssteen – ER24 Multimedia Journalist

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