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JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 23, 2021 – Being outdoors can be a fun and relaxing experience, and the Missouri State Parks team wants to remind park visitors about the importance of practicing safety measures when visiting a state park or historic site.

“The safety of our visitors is our top priority,” says Missouri State Parks Director Mike Sutherland. “While it’s not always the first thing on your mind, practicing safety measures will help ensure your experience is an enjoyable one, and that you keep yourself and others around you safe.”

When visiting a Missouri state park or historic site, please remember to wear appropriate clothing, stay hydrated, follow any guidelines posted throughout the park, know your severe weather plan, only swim in designated areas and leave wildlife be.

Many of the outdoor features in state parks have conditions that cannot be controlled or managed. To make your experience in Missouri state parks great when enjoying any water-related activity, follow these safety tips:

  • Only swim in designated areas and follow signage.
  • Familiarize yourself with the area first before entering the water.
  • Watch for underwater obstacles (stumps, logs, etc.).
  • Never swim, wade or access any water feature alone.
  • Always wear a personal flotation device.
  • Never leave children unsupervised near the water.
  • Learn to swim and know your swimming limits.
  • Never drink alcohol and swim.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, can help you stay safe during extreme heat. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness and weakness, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting. To help prevent heat-related illness, follow these safety tips:

  • Visit the park or historic site during the coolest time of the day.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids.
  • Increase your fluid intake – regardless of activity level. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
  • Avoid drinks containing caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar because they can cause you to lose more fluid. Avoid very cold beverages; they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Ask your doctor whether medications you take affect your body’s response to heat.

For more information and tips on how to be safe in the outdoors, or information on state parks and historic sites visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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