Outdoor Safety Tips

» SPLASH Water Safety & Conservation

With summer upon us, many agencies are reminding Georgians of the importance of water safety through a SPLASH campaign. The program includes bilingual brochures, boat checks by law enforcement officers, public service announcements and videos, and social media messaging. The DNR is in the process of adding “loaner boards” with personal flotation devices (life jackets) at public boat ramps.
SPLASH encourages citizens to follow these tips when enjoying beaches, pools, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water:
  • SPLASH Rack Card ImageSupervision — Designate an adult to watch children at all times. Do not assume someone else is watching.
  • Prevention — Wear personal flotation devices (PFD or life jacket), install fencing around pools, and use drain covers in hot tubs and pools.
  • Look before you leap — Never jump into water without knowing how deep it is and what is below the surface.
  • Arm’s Length — Adults should be arm’s length to children in water, and safety tools such as hooks should be nearby at all times.
  • Swim Lessons — Knowing how to swim greatly reduces the chance of drowning. Classes are often available through the Red Cross or YMCA.
  • Have a Water Safety Plan — Know what to do during an emergency.
More Information:
SPLASH Safety Video
Public Service Announcement from First Lady Sandra Deal
SPLASH News Release

» Zika Awareness

The Centers for Disease Control has issued travel warnings for areas in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Pacific Islands and Mexico where there are ongoing outbreaks of Zika virus infection. As of this date, no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in Georgia or anywhere in the United States. However, we encourage visitors to be aware of risks and take precautions.

Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Most people infected don’t even know they have it. See a healthcare provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes during a trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to a place with Zika, or if you have had sexual contact with someone who has traveled. Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to birth defects. 

What are Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites doing to prevent Zika?

We are committed to preventing the spread of this virus by eliminating mosquito breeding sites. 

Traditional truck spraying is not very effective for the Aedes mosquitoes due to their breeding habits. Therefore, parks are reducing areas suitable for mosquitos to breed in the vicinity of campgrounds, cabins, golf courses, museums and offices. Park staff are also working to keep vegetation cut low in these areas. Our retail areas stock insect repellant and mosquito netting.

 What can you do while visiting Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites?
  • Use insect repellant (20–30% DEET is recommended).
  • Wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin.
  • Mosquito-proof your tent, trailer or RV.
  • Use mosquito netting around picnic areas.
  • Notify park personnel if you see standing water likely to breed mosquitos.
Learn more:

» For a Fun, Safe Day in the Great Outdoors, Follow These Safety Tips

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Check for ticks after being outdoors. If you find a tick attached to your body for more than a day, look for symptoms of Lyme Disease.

» Hiking Tips

No one ever plans to get lost, but it does sometimes happen. Each year, Georgia’s park rangers spend numerous hours searching for hikers who did not return on time, slipped on waterfalls, got off the trail or encountered other problems. Follow these tips from the pros for a fun and safe hike.

  • Avoid hiking alone because the “buddy system” is safer during any type of activity. If traveling with a group, never stray from the group.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.
  • Stay on marked trails. Making shortcuts and “bushwhacking” causes erosion and greatly increases your chance of becoming lost. As you hike, pay attention to trail blazes (paint marks on trees) and landmarks.
  • Never climb on waterfalls.
  • Always carry quality rain gear and turn back in bad weather. If you become wet or cold, it is important to get dry and warm as quickly as possible, avoiding hypothermia.
  • Dress in layers and avoid cotton. Today’s hikers can choose from numerous fabrics that wick moisture, dry quickly or conserve heat.
  • All hikers (especially children and older adults) should carry a whistle, which can be heard far away and takes less energy than yelling. Three short blasts is a sign of distress.
  • Carry plenty of drinking water and never assume stream water is safe to drink.
  • Don’t count on cell phones to work in the wilderness. Also, don't rely on a GPS to prevent you from getting lost. Batteries can die or the equipment can become damaged or lost.
  • Wear bright colors. Don’t dress children in camouflage.

» Carry An Emergency Kit

Each hiker should have these items:

  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle
  • Small flashlight with extra batteries
  • Energy food
  • Brightly colored bandana
  • Trash bag (preferably a bright color, such as “pumpkin bags” sold in autumn). Poke a hole for your head and wear it as a poncho to stay warm and dry

» Tips for Hiking with Children

  • Attach a whistle to their clothing.
  • Talk to children about what to do if they become lost, no matter what the location (city or wilderness).
  • Teach children that they won’t get into trouble for becoming lost.
  • Reassure children that people (and possibly dogs and helicopters) will look for them if they become lost. Do not hide from searchers; answer their calls.
  • Do not run. Instead, “hug a tree” and make a comfortable “nest.” This prevents wandering even further.
  • Do not be afraid of animals or strange noises. If something is scary, blow the whistle.
  • Come up with a password that a child will respond to if a stranger needs to pick them up. Searchers can use this password.

» What to Do If You Are Lost

  • Stay put.
  • Make shelter.
  • Stay warm and dry.
  • Be visible and heard.
  • If helicopters are searching overhead, seek an opening rather than thick tree cover. Lie down so you look bigger from the air.