Editorials

Don’t forget the sun’s dark side

Swimming accidents rise in the summer, along with heatstroke and other hot weather hazards. As the mercury rises, remember to be careful out there.
Swimming accidents rise in the summer, along with heatstroke and other hot weather hazards. As the mercury rises, remember to be careful out there. rbenton@sacbee.com

June is here and the heat is rising – and rising. The drought shows no sign of abating. Forecasters predict more California wildfires.

In other words, summer has come early again, and it’ll be another scorcher. Accustomed as we may be now to triple-digit temperatures, it bears repeating: Be careful out there.

Too many lives are lost to seasonal accidents in hot weather. Elders perish from heatstroke. Farmworkers collapse in the fields. Teens drown in the rivers. Toddlers are found at the bottom of swimming pools by parents who just looked away for a minute. Infants suffocate in hot cars.

Every year, we forget these and other dangers. So as school ends and vacations beckon, please take just a minute to prepare.

Put on a hat. Pack some water. Check the pool fence. Bring a life preserver if you’re going to the river. Don’t leave children or elderly people or pets in the car.

If you’re hiking, tell someone where you’ll be and take a cellphone. If you’re camping, keep fires small, burn only firewood and extinguish all embers before moving on.

Don’t smoke on the trail. (Better yet, kick the habit.) Don’t use fireworks where they’re not legal. If you live in a fire-prone area, clear the brush from your home.

Save strenuous outdoor chores for cooler mornings and evenings. If you labor outdoors for a living, take breaks and hydrate.

And be thoughtful. If you employ people who work in the heat, do the right thing and provide water and shade and paid rest breaks.

If you see someone in potential trouble – a child alone in a locked car, a swimmer struggling too hard to cry out, a disoriented senior – call 911.

These tips aren’t complicated, but each summer reminds us anew that the sun has a dark side. Keeping that in mind could save someone.

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