Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Safety: Sea, Rivers and Mountains

   You will have many opportunities to visit the sea, rivers and mountains in the summer holidays, but remember that there are a variety of dangers in such places. You should be particularly aware of the following dangers:

Rip Currents (Sea)

   If you go into the water and you feel yourself being pulled away from the beach by a strong current, you are likely caught in a rip current. Rip currents can be found off beaches such as Katsurahama Beach (Kochi City), Hirano Beach (Shimanto City) and Okinohama Beach (Tosashimizu City). NEVER try to swim against a rip current, it will only tire you and eventually you will not be able to swim and you may drown. Instead of swimming against the current swim across the current (parallel to the shoreline) until you get out of the rip current.Then you can swim back toward the beach.

Jellyfish (Sea)
   Jellyfish are found in the seas off Kochi and appear in bathing areas particularly in and after August. Every year jellyfish sting many people. Never go into areas where they are sighted, or if dead ones are seen on the beach. If you are stung, douse or spray liberally with vinegar. Pluck off any visible tentacles carefully - try not to use your hands or fingers, use paper tissues, a towel, etc. instead to brush themaway. For severe pain, try applying a hot pack. If heat makes the sting feelworse, try applying a cold pack or ice to the sting.

River currents/moss (River)
   The current can be faster underneath even if the surface of the water seems to be running slowly. Try not to walk against the current in the river.You should keep yourself away the moss because it can be slippery.

Unexpected floods (River)
   There are dams in the upper area of rivers such as the Kagami River (Kochi city) and the Niyodo River. As the water is released from the dam because of heavy rain, the level of the water in areas downstream can rise unexpectedly and rapidly. Please be very careful when you are camping on the riverbank because water can be released from the dam when it’s raining in the upper area, even though it’s not raining at the campsite. Sirens will sound just before the water is released from the dam. You should evacuate to a higher place immediately when you hear the sirens.

Thunderstorms (Mountain)
   The weather in mountainous areas is unsettled. It can get worse as you get closer to the top even if it’s sunny at the foot. Be sure to take this into consideration when preparing equipment and clothes. It is safest to evacuate to a hut when you hear thunder, but if there is no safe place around you, you should keep away from metallic objects, run into a forested area and crouch down until the thunder stops.

Wasps/Adders (Mountain)
   If you encounter them before they find you, sneak away quietly without arousing them, or you can wait there until the adder (“mamushi” in Japanese) leaves you. Since wasps tend to aim at black things, you may benefit from wearing a white hat. If you are bitten by an adder, it is believed to be beneficial to suck the venom out of the wound by mouth if you don’t have any injury in your mouth. Don’t panic and try not to run so that the poison doesn’t spread throughout your body, but make your way calmly down the mountain and go directly to the nearest hospital.

Taken from vol.2 PDF

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