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As Temperatures Drop, Stay Smart, Stay Safe

DNR kicks off winter safety campaign

Annapolis, Md. (January 23, 2012) — As temperatures drop to near-freezing, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds everyone to stay smart and stay safe during the winter months. Cold weather safety hazards are hard to see, especially at night, and even a small mistake can lead to serious injury or worse.

“We encourage everyone to go out and enjoy all of the recreational opportunities this season brings,” said Colonel George F. Johnson IV, Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. “However, be mindful that there are cold-weather dangers that require increased preparation and awareness.”

What to remember to help ensure a safe and enjoyable outing:

Anyone venturing out to hike, hunt, boat, fish or camp should first check the weather. DNR encourages signing-up for a weather alert system on a cell phone or computer to stay updated on any last minute changes.

“Knowing the weather is the single most important way to stay safe - and it only takes a minute,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “You’ll know what to expect, whether it’s extremely low temperatures, a snow storm, lightning, or high winds. Impending inclement weather is sometimes a sign to put your outdoor plans on hold.”

In 2011, 20 percent of boating deaths were weather-related. Boaters should always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket and make sure their vessel has the proper safety equipment, such as stress signals, a horn, bell or whistle, and navigation lights. Visit dnr.maryland.gov/boating/safety/ to learn more.

Ice can be a hidden hazard. Often extremely hard to see, ice can cause those traveling either on foot or by vehicle to lose control. Additionally, when lakes freeze, people tend to overestimate the strength of the ice, which could easily result in falling through. Road salt and abrasives plowed from highway bridges may also affect the quality of ice underneath lake areas.

“Snowmobilers, ice fishermen, hikers and cross-country skiers traveling on lakes should exercise caution,” said Mark Spurrier, Deep Creek Lake Recreation Area Assistant Manager. “Wearing a personal flotation device could prevent tragedy.”

Hidden snowdrifts can act as ramps and cause sleds and snowmobiles to become airborne leading to a loss of control and accidents.

Tree stands can be slippery. Hunters should be careful when climbing and always use a fall restraint system when hunting from elevated platforms. A video explaining how to set up a tree stand harness, is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6OiBv1fR_0

Outdoor enthusiasts should always inform friends or relatives of their plans before heading out. This information, including destination and trip length, will help rescue workers if the person does not return on time.

In the event of an emergency call either 911 or the Department of Natural Resources at 1-410-260-8888.


   January 23, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov