Safety in Camp Sites
Public camp sites can be fun, low-cost accommodation for those who like to camp, hike and otherwise trek their way through their holidays. Unfortunately some camp sites do leave you exposed not only to the surrounding environment, but to other campers as well so safety precautions should be observed. To make sure you stay safe in camp sites, follow all site rules, pitch where you are asked, take precautions against animals and ensure you handle food correctly.
Follow Site RulesMost public camp sites will have their own rules, and these will be well advertised around the camp. These rules usually come from years of trial and error and are meant to keep you safe from the environment, weather, local animals and other campers. Rules may include whether pets can enter, the speed of vehicles on site, where and when fires may be lit, toilet and shower use, the use of generators, how food may be cooked and stored as well as the manner in which rubbish should be removed. Never assume that you know better, because no matter what - you don’t have as much experience at a particular site as the management does.
Choosing a PitchIf possible arrive at your camp site during daylight hours so that you can see as much of the site as possible and get orientated. You may be assigned an area in which to camp, but if you are able to select your own remember to avoid areas which may get muddy, look for bushes which can provide shade and wind protection, avoid overhanging trees which could be impacted during storms and keep at least 5 metres from lakes or streams. Avoid areas which host insects and/or poisonous plants, and try to camp on a flat area rather than an area that is pitched or uneven. Clear your chosen area of rocks, broken glass, and sharp sticks before pitching.
Take Precautions Against AnimalsWhen you camp you are placing yourself in many animals’ natural habitats, so take precautions to keep yourself safe. Stay as clean and fresh as possible and avoid using hygiene products with scent. Change clothes after cooking in them, and hang them away from where you sleep. Keep a noisemaker with you, and remember that often something as simple as singing or whistling will keep animals away. Avoid approaching animals, such as for a better picture, and try to keep shiny objects hidden. Never try to pet or pick up wild animals.
Ensure Correct Food HandlingCorrect food handling will not only help keep you safe from animals and pests who might like a free lunch, but from the effects of spoiled or rancid food as well. Always store food correctly, for example ensuring that food which must be refrigerated is kept cold. Wash your hands before handling and preparing food, and bring a meat thermometer if you are not confident in your cooking. Thoroughly wash your hands, clothes and equipment following cooking, and always rinse disposable plates and cutlery before putting them into a rubbish bin or locker.
Practise Proper Personal SafetyA camp site is a type of accommodation just like any other so be sure to practise proper personal safety during your stay. Don’t bring valuables, or at least make sure they are safely stowed for the duration of your trip. Bring flip-flops and proper cleaning supplies for shared toilets and showers, and always bring several layers of clothing for changing temperatures. Either keep a mobile phone with you or locate a public phone at the camp site, and ask about evacuation routes in the event of an emergency. Bring a well stocked first aid kit, and always remain aware of your surroundings and fellow campers. If you have a run-in with a fellow guest, speak with management about the incident rather than confronting him or her yourself.
Public camp sites are wonderful resources for those who like to get back to nature and enjoy their holidays in the great outdoors. Proper safety measures should be observed at all camp sites, however, including following site rules, choosing a safe camping area, taking precautions against animals, ensuring correct food handling and practising proper personal safety.