Summer safety in Washington: A guide for the JBAB community

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Roxanne Paleo
  • 316th Medical Squadron

As summer ramps up in Washington D.C., it’s important that the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling community stays informed and prepared for the season. With its unique location and diverse activities, JBAB offers plenty of opportunities for summer fun. However, ensuring the safety of all community members is paramount.

This article provides essential tips for staying hydrated and beating the heat, ensuring water safety, preventing heat-related illnesses and enjoying outdoor activities safely so that you can have a safe and enjoyable summer.

Washington summers can be hot and humid. To combat the heat, it is essential to hydrate regularly by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, as they can lead to dehydration. Wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton and linen can help keep yourself cool. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapplying every two hours or after swimming or sweating is crucial. Plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon, and take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors.

With access to the Potomac and Anacostia rivers as well as community pools, water activities are a popular summer pastime. Always keep a close eye on children when they are in or around water and use life jackets as needed. Enroll in swimming lessons if you or your children are not confident swimmers. Adhere to all posted pool rules and lifeguard instructions. Wear life jackets, avoid alcohol while boating and be aware of weather conditions before heading out on the water.

Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can be serious. Know the signs and how to prevent them. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea and headache. Move to a cooler place, drink water and apply cool wet cloth to your body. Heat stroke symptoms include high body temperature, confusion and loss of consciousness. This is a medical emergency. If on JBAB, call the emergency line at (202) 433-3333, if off base, call 911.

Washington offers numerous parks and recreational areas. To enjoy them safely, use insect repellent containing DEET to protect against mosquito and tick bites. Check for ticks after spending time in wooded or grassy areas. Wear helmets when biking and stay alert to traffic. Use designated paths and obey traffic signals. Summer storms can come on quickly, so monitor weather forecasts and seek shelter if a storm approaches.

Summer at JBAB can be a time of fun and relaxation. However, the Air Force Safety Center’s 2023 Critical Days of Summer Report shows a concerning trend: while off-duty summer fatalities for Airmen and Guardians steadily decreased from 2013 to 2022, there was a slight rise in 2023. By taking proactive steps to stay safe and informed, you can ensure a healthy and enjoyable season for you and your family. Remember, safety starts with awareness and preparation. Enjoy the summer responsibly and make the most of the beautiful Washington surroundings.

Stay cool, stay safe and have a fantastic summer!

Contact JBAB Public Health with any questions at (202) 404-3604.