All right, people. *Cracks knuckles.* Summer is upon us, which means people hitting the beaches, which means a lot of people traveling to places they don’t go much. Or never have gone before. If that’s what you’re bent on this summer, enjoy, but take a few tips with you. Some may be grim tips, but they may save your safety, or sanity.
First, do not underestimate the heat.
I feel like this needs to be starred, underlined, and maybe painted in flashing neon lights. Heat is brutal; heat plus humidity can be lethal. We’ve already had one tourist arrested on this coast because she went to lunch with four dogs locked in her car. The dogs did not survive.
Do not leave pets in the car. Do not leave children in the car. No, not even if you left the windows cracked and you plan to be “just a few minutes”. The heat down here can be incapacitating in just a few minutes, and fatal in under half an hour. Don’t do it.
And if you see someone else has done it? If possible, first call 911 and tell them the situation. That way you’re legally covered when you and everybody you can get to help go ahead and break the vehicle window out. And the emergency operator will know who to call, ambulance or vet-wise, to render further assistance.
(Yes, Florida has a Good Samaritan law about this, and it covers rescuing animals, not just humans. We got pretty bleepin’ ticked off that people keep doing this.)
Keep water on hand. Keep salt on hand. Keep sunscreen on hand – “boiled lobster” should be on your plate, not sitting in your chair. And if you’re traveling out of town, check the local weather reports. Daily. At least. Our local weather reports not just on stuff in the sky, but whether dangerous sealife’s been spotted and if the conditions are good for riptides.
Speaking of sealife – do not play with any odd blue-purple balloony critter flopped on the beach. Odds are it’s a Portuguese man o’war and you will regret it immensely.
Speaking of other dangerous sealife – I know it looks fun, but don’t swim near the fishing piers. People fish there. You will run into hooks, and bait, and quite possibly sharks after an already-hooked dinner.
Also watch the manatees from a distance. They startle easily, and may swim into real danger if they’re fleeing what they think is a threat.
Keep cool, take your time, always have a current map on hand… and come help us eat all the lionfish invading the Gulf! I hear they’re good! *G*