Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Dressed to kill

Continuing on the subject of safety,  as a civilisation as a whole we need to assess the way we dress when we are in the outdoors. During many of my outdoor trips with children, teachers,corporate executives,families I have observed many small but crucial safety compromises.
These compromises are made during any outdoor activity be it indoor or outdoor sports activity, picnics, get together, treks, camps, bird watching trails, training assignments etc. Some of those compromises are as follows:

  • Not reading the communication carefully a couple of days prior to the trip and getting to know about it from the third person. You are here assuming the person you called is more diligent than you and not as lazy and must have read the communication.
  • Not clear about the outdoor activity and what is going to happen, in many cases not even knowing the destination.
  • The opposite is also true in some instances we have a Mr. "Know it all", we call this person the influencer who has been to the site 6 years ago and from memory shares his experience and that becomes the group standard.
  • Not reading up about the place, people and culture.
  • Some common observations made are going to play a racquet sport with slippers, jeans,full sleeve shirt,sari, rainy shoes, leather shoes.
  • Not doing any kind of warm ups nor carrying a sweat shirt after a physical activity where you have sweated to prevent you catching a cold or getting spasms. 
  • Going into the sea with improper clothes as above and once again either not reading the sign board or not heeding it. I remember a sign board boldly put in the Tadoba Lake which has crocodiles. It had a person swimming and a crocodile with mouth wide open following. The board read simply " Survivors will be prosecuted".
  • Going into or near water bodies without knowing to swim.
  • Not heeding the warnings of tides or reading about the same.
  • Going on a bicycle without head or hand, elbow and knee pads, Going on a bird watching trail in brightly coloured clothes mired in perfumes or body odour and wearing stilettos, high heels shoes, slippers, moccasins of leather.
  • Two persons carrying food for 8 and lit erring the place.
  • Playing loud stereos below a board saying no noise and then bribing the guard to go Scott free.
  • Drinking and littering the place and breaking glass beer bottles and throwing it around without a care.
  • Not carrying a basic medical kit
  • Drinking and driving
  • Not carrying head gear i.e caps, sun glasses and water to hydrate constantly. Keep your personal medicines and ensure you carry sufficient dry fruits, and hard boiled chocolates.
So how does all the above kill you. If they do not kill you they can injure you even critically and some falls during critical activity can kill you too if your shoes are not right. Dupatta or a neck scarf hanging on your neck while on a motor Buick can be disastrous if mistakenly entangled.
Chastise bad driving, rude driving, rude and insensitive parking and ensure you give your driver sufficient resting time an good food and no alcohol. Ensure he is given a room to stay, and give him clear instructions of the programme and next days plans. Bad driver is a recipe for disaster. Do not do back seat driving. If you do not like your driver change the driver or cancel the trip and use other mode to travel. 
Do not start the road journey before 6 am. Most road accidents happen between 3 and 5.30, when the human body is demanding rest and sleep. You may have given enough rest to your driver but remember it takes two to tango. The driver from the opposite direction is unlikely to have a sensible owner.

Have the vehicle checked fueled watered, coolant ready and tyres including the step nee checked for air.
Stick to time and do not argue with your driver.

Dress for the occasion and dress appropriately. Do not dress only to impress or feel good. Outdoors does not have time for fools. If you do not know what to wear ask, check out on the internet and know why are you going? Dress accordingly and behave accordingly.

You can never be safe enough but follow the scout moto "Be Prepared" 
There will be more articles to follow on this subject readers may add to this and we can have a safe outdoors activity for all, Outdoors is fun just follow simple rules.