Safety in nature

 

You can benefit both mind and body when you get outdoors to explore and experience Victoria's natural places. To ensure that you and your companions stay safe, always remember that the natural environment can be unpredictable. A bit of planning and foresight can make all the difference. Always follow directions from park rangers or park signs. If a park or site is closed, entering the area could endanger you and your companions. Keep to marked tracks and designated visitor areas, be aware of your own limitations and supervise children. Always remember that wildlife is just that – wild. If you encounter wildlife, don't approach the animal, keep your distance and ensure children also stay back.

Stay safe and get the most out of your park visit by preparing for natural hazards and other outdoor risks in Victoria’s parks. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those in your care. Here are 10 easy to follow safety tips:

 

1. Research your trip and make the right choices
Match your walks and activities to your abilities, fitness and stamina. Wear good walking shoes and protective clothing for all activities. Always carry water with you.

 

2. Be sun smart
Check the Bureau of Meteorology’s daily UV Alert.When the UV Index reaches 3 and above, make sure you wear a broad brimmed hat, long sleeves, sunglasses, and apply sunscreen every 2 hours. Try and stay in the shade during the middle of the day when UV levels reach their maximum. For more information on how to protect yourself from sunburn, visit www.sunsmart.com.au

 

3. Check the weather
Some parks may be closed due to major weather events. Check for Change of Conditions in the park you plan to visit before you leave. For weather forecasts and warnings, check the Bureau of Meteorology. Always bring protective clothing in case the weather changes.

 

4. Drink plenty of water
If you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping or four-wheel driving, you should take drinking water with you. If you run out of water, or cannot carry enough water with you for your entire trip, you may need to drink from natural water sources. Drinking untreated water such as creek water, bore water, or sometimes even rainwater, can lead to illnesses.

 

5. Be bushfire aware
The warmer months are the perfect time to experience regional Victoria. However, Victoria is fire-prone. If you are hiking or camping between November to April in an area that is heavily forested, has thick bush or long, dry grass, or coastal areas with lots of plant life – you are at risk of fire. Follow these bushfire safety tips to ensure that your experience is safe and enjoyable. Familiarise yourself with important bushfire safety information. Check www.emergency.vic.gov.au for information about current fires and for Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans.

 

6. Allergies
Visitors allergic to insect stings, including those with a history of anaphylaxis, should come completely prepared to reduce the likelihood of an incident. Always wear protective footwear, long trousers and long sleeved shirts to avoid insect bites.

 

7. Beat the bite!
Mosquitoes can carry diseases that may be passed on to people through mosquito bites. In Australia, some of these include Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus. Periods of heavy rainfall or floods can lead to ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes, even in non-tropical areas. Find out more.

 

8. Look up
When camping or having a picnic, be aware that trees and limbs may fall unpredictably. Being under or near trees may be dangerous and could cause injury. Trees can drop limbs, or entire trees can fall, without warning and there is no way of determining when. Be aware that it may be dangerous to set up camp, park your car and picnic under trees as limbs can swing out beyond the drip line (the edge of the canopy) of a tree. Take extra care in hot or windy weather or during severe weather events as these can be particularly dangerous. Observe all warning signage and stay well away from trees that appear to be dead or have dead limbs.

 

9. Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and drones
Parks Victoria has regulations that govern the use of RPAS. These regulations build on Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) guidelines to allow the safe use of RPAS. Parks Victoria regulations consider RPAS to be aircraft, and vary depending on who is piloting or operating the RPAS. Recreational use of RPAS by the general public is prohibited on Parks Victoria managed land. The recreational use of RPAS is not permitted under Parks Victoria regulations and visitors should refrain from flying them or they may receive a penalty infringement notice. Commercial filming on Parks Victoria managed land requires a permit, including to use RPAS

 

10. Emergencies
In the event of an emergency, call triple zero 000 to access police and emergency services. Be aware that you may travel out of mobile phone range.

 

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