Netcare 911 unveils crucial summer safety tips 

Be safe this holiday season – paramedics

by Tia

The South African summer holidays should be a time for joy and relaxation – Netcare 911 has these important safety tips to ensure a happy holiday.

“Water, fire and the sun can be the elements of perfect summer days or a recipe for disaster depending on how prepared we are for the potential risks,” says Sarah Kekana, Netcare 911 spokesperson.

Be safe around the braai fire

“Spending time around a fire and outdoor cooking are characteristically South African and especially popular this time of year. Some basic precautions are necessary to keep everyone safe and prevent burns,” she says.

  • Make your fire safely away from anything flammable, including dry grass or leaves, overhanging trees, buildings or roofing
  • Keep wood, charcoal and firelighters well away from the fire – a spark can ignite materials meters away
  • Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher at the ready
  • Do not use liquid fire starters
  • Remove any trip hazards around the fireplace
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance
  • Do not wear flammable clothing when tending to a fire
  • Be aware that hot grills can cause burns, so store them safely once removed from the fire
  • Never leave a fire unsupervised, always extinguish it when you have finished
  • Save emergency contact details, including 082 911, and be ready with the Netcare App if needed

Water safety

“The risk of drowning tragically increases with hot weather, and drowning can occur anywhere. It is important to constantly assess any potential risks around water, particularly where children are concerned,” Kekana says.

  • Never swim alone
  • Never swim in the sea, dams or rivers at night.
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
  • When near water, children must always be supervised by a responsible adult who is not distracted
  • Ensure children do not have access to pools, ponds, water features, baths, or even a bucket of water or an open toilet – young children can drown in just 4cm of water.
  • Ensure your swimming pool is covered with a pool net or enclosed with a SABS-approved fence to prevent children from accidentally falling into the water.
  • At the beach, only swim in designated areas with lifeguards and don’t swim far out.
  • Remember, swimming in the sea is very different to swimming in a pool or dam, even for experienced swimmers.
  • Do not dive into any body of water if you cannot see what is below the surface, and always be sure to test the depth first.

Hot weather

  • Sunburn is an ever-present danger. Parents must regularly apply high protection factor sunscreen to their children.
  • Outdoor activities should be avoided during the hottest part of the day
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  • Senior citizens are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, so take special care to ensure that they are kept cool and well hydrated
  • Antihistamines, diuretics, and alcohol should be avoided if spending time in the sun
  • Never leave your child or anyone – including a pet – in a parked car, even for short periods

Who are you going to call?

“Make a list of emergency contact numbers, including emergency medical services such as Netcare 911 on 082 911, and stick it on the fridge and anywhere that will be quick to find when needed. Keep the number saved on all cell phones and on a visible card near landline telephones,” Kekana says.

“It can be difficult to remember what number to call in a stressful emergency situation or to provide directions. The emergency call and geolocation functions on the Netcare App assist in minimising response times by connecting callers and ensuring we have their precise location so the emergency vehicle can find them – even in remote areas or if the caller doesn’t know the address.”

The Netcare App also includes a Netcare 911 60-second call back option. The app also provides detailed resource tracking, allowing the user to follow the ambulance and/or response vehicles’ response.

“A few simple precautions can make for a less stressful summer, and Netcare 911 is here to assist you in any medical emergency,” Kekana says.

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