Can’t-Miss Safety Tips for Summer Recreation in Washington

Homeowners Insurance
July 17, 2023
Hikers enjoy the view in Cascade

Washingtonians have always loved the great outdoors. And they should! There’s plenty to do here, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter months to hiking, camping, kayaking, whitewater rafting, other water sports, and a whole lot more the rest of the year. 

But let’s face it: some of those activities can be as dangerous as they are adventurous. That’s why you need to take some basic precautions before heading out and engaging. 

Extreme sports are possibly dangerous, but many people don’t give a second thought to some of the surprisingly dangerous activities we do at home or in our neighborhoods every day. 

How will you keep yourself and your family safe as you chase your summer rush in the Evergreen State? Here’s a few tips. 

Let Others in on Your Plans 

You don’t want your friends to contact the authorities because they haven’t seen you around…for a week or so. You want them to call for help when you’re within a couple of hours of your anticipated return time and to know exactly where you can be found. After all, time is of the essence when you might be in trouble. 

Even the Washington weather can be a threat. The only way loved ones will know you’re missing and where to send help is if you’ve told them ahead of time what your plans are and when you’re expected to return. 

After all, there are places in the Washington wilderness where cellphone signal towers are few and far between. Or you could be in a predicament where you’re unable to phone for assistance. Whatever the situation, it’s important that you alert others of your plans so they can alert the authorities if, for any reason, you can’t. 

Bring a Friend 

There’s strength in numbers. Right? If one of you gets lost, perhaps the other one has a better sense of direction. One might be able to provide basic care or go for help if the other gets hurt. 

When it comes to responding to the unexpected, two (or more) heads are better than one. Two or more people working together might better figure out how to successfully escape what you’ve gotten into. 

What if you get stranded by a famous Washington landslide? You’ll need a friend to help figure out the best way to get you and your RV home safely. 

Pack the Proper Gear 

What’s proper? That depends entirely on what your outdoor recreation involves. However, you’re better off bringing along too much gear than not enough. Here are some of the basics we recommend for most outdoor adventures in the state: 

  • A fully charged phone (or several, if you’ve taken our good advice and gone with others) 
  • Water (plenty of it, especially on hot summer days) 
  • Suntan lotion and sunburn treatment 
  • Jackets or sweatshirts (in case you get lost and must spend a cool summer night outdoors) 
  • Basic first aid gear, including adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, scissors, and antibiotic cream 
  • A Swiss army knife for…anything 
  • One or more backpacks for toting all this necessary stuff 

Don’t Get Ahead of Your Skis 

That’s an old saying to avoid doing more than you can handle. If you haven’t done much hiking, don’t vow to make it up one of the sheerest mountain hiking trails at North Cascades National Park. 

Take baby steps. Go at your own pace. Learn how to paddle a canoe before challenging the Skykomish River. Adventurers get hurt (or worse) when they decide to “just go for it” or to imitate a move they saw a professional athlete make on TV or YouTube. 

Mother and child hiking in Mt. Rainier

Respect the Wildlife 

Here’s another thing to love about the Evergreen State: the abundant wildlife in our mountains, valleys, forests, and waterways. Washington is home to the mule deer, black bear, moose, cougar, elk, bobcat, Canada lynx, and kangaroo rat, among many other creatures that would be considered exotic and unheard-of in most other states. 

For that matter, even small grizzly bear populations can be found in the Selkirk Mountains and some points elsewhere in the state. 

This wildlife diversification is the good news…most of the time. But if you’re hiking or camping out in the wilderness, you’re invading their space. While even the most potentially dangerous of those wild animals would usually rather leave you alone, that might not be the case if they feel threatened or protective of their young. 

If you see an animal baby alone in the wild, regardless of how cute or helpless it seems to be, leave it alone! You might think it’s abandoned, but its mama might not be as far away as you think (or hope). Even a normally placid animal can turn ferocious if she feels her babies are threatened. 

Assume there’s a mama for every sighted baby. Stay away! 

Some male animals — even normally placid deer — can act aggressively during the rutting season in the spring. So here are some key ways to stay safe in outdoor recreation. 

Know the threat. What wildlife are you likely to encounter on the route you’re taking? Bring bear spray if that’s a threat and proceed with alertness and caution if you’re around any potential wildlife risk. For instance, don’t unroll sleeping bags on the bare ground where the Western rattlesnake calls home. (Although it’s venomous, this snake will only strike if threatened. Its venom will certainly cause pain and discomfort, but it’s not generally fatal to humans.) 

Avoid wildlife encounters before they occur. If you see a moose or bear in the distance, that’s exactly where it should remain…in the distance. Make sure you never get any closer than that initial sighting. Back away and figure out your escape route. 

Make Sure You Have the Most Affordable Home Insurance 

You can take every precaution and still get hurt on your Washington outdoor adventure. It’s the same if you are taking part in a staycation this year and hanging around home. That’s just life. And it’s why you need to be sure you have the most affordable home insurance available. 

If you don’t have the right liability coverage and someone gets hurt, you could be on the hook for medical bills and even a lawsuit. Your home insurance will also pay for that expensive laptop if you leave it in your car while you are out hiking and somebody breaks in and steals it. 

When shopping around for insurance, check with an independent agent who represents policies from many major carriers. That means they can go shopping on your behalf for the cheapest possible coverage that meets your needs. 

Find Affordable Home Insurance in Washington Before You Need It 

At Vern Fonk Insurance, our knowledgeable independent agents can help you find the most affordable home insurance before you set off into the great outdoors. Just call us at (800) 455-8276 or go online for a quick quote. You can also find a Vern Fonk Insurance Washington office near you.