The Fourth of July is a great time of year when families often embark on picnics, camping, and other outdoor recreation. But these activities can be potentially dangerous if simple precautions are not taken. Georgia Power and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources want people to be safe in the parks, recreational areas and on the lakes this summer.
If you are staying in a Georgia Power camping area or a state park, please register at the office and follow the park rules. This will allow for an enjoyable stay for all patrons. Also, follow these recommended safety tips:
Always keep fires in established fire rings or designated areas.
Always put out a fire before going to bed at night and before leaving a camp area. Ensure that the fire is completely out by pouring water or sand on it.
Dont put fresh fire ashes or warm coals in a trash can.
During exceptionally dry periods, such as the current drought in Georgia, always ask park personnel if burning is allowed before starting a fire. If no burning signs are posted, please abide by the ban.
Never place lanterns directly against a tree. Use a hanger or a clothesline suspended between trees to hang lanterns.
Dont set off fireworks in the parks. Fireworks are forbidden in the state parks and in Georgia Power parks and recreational areas. The company and state parks also forbid firearms and other potentially lethal devices.
Leashed dogs are welcome at state parks. Using a leash prevents dogs from getting lost, harassing wildlife or frightening other visitors.
When driving in the parks, drivers should always obey the posted speed limits and be extra aware of kids playing or riding their bikes.
Parents should closely supervise children to prevent children from being lost or injured.
When hiking, wear shoes with ankle supports and stay on the main marked trails. Also, watch where you are going to avoid tripping on branches or roots or encountering snakes, spiders, ants and other insects.
Waterfalls are very dangerous. Walk on marked trails around the falls and dont attempt to climb a waterfall.
Always be prepared by carrying water, matches and a flashlight, even if you are only planning a short hike.
Swim only in approved or designated swimming areas.
Never swim alone in unsupervised areas. Use the buddy system when swimming without a lifeguard or when swimming in a large group of people. Also, protect your children around water by requiring them to wear approved floatation devices.
Dont dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks can be dangerous and result in a paralyzing accident.
Dont drink alcohol or use drugs when swimming or operating a boat or personal watercraft.
Follow boating right-of-way rules and always carry necessary safety gear such as a fire extinguisher, a throwable safety ring, and enough Coast Guard approved life jackets for all passengers.
We want people to enjoy our parks, recreation areas and lakes, but that includes individuals taking responsibility for being safe and considerate of others, said Glenn Ivie, manager of Georgia Powers Land Management group.
In order for everyone to be able to enjoy the parks and recreation areas, people must be courteous by keeping noise levels to an acceptable level and by cleaning up an area before leaving. Ivie said that people should never litter and always place all trash and garbage in designated containers.
People can help Georgia Power and the DNR maintain the parks and recreation areas by reporting unsatisfactory or dangerous conditions to the respective offices.
For information about Georgia Powers recreational facilities or to make a reservation call 1-888-GPC-LAKE (1-888-472-5253,) or go to the company web site at http://www.georgiapower.com/gpclake/.