General safety tips
- Travel with a companion. It's better not to be alone in case of an emergency. Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person. Include such details as the make, year, and license plate of your car, the equipment you're bringing, the weather you anticipate, and when you plan to return. If you'll be entering a remote area, your group should have a minimum of four people; that way if one person is hurt, another can stay with the victim while two go for help. If you'll be going into an unfamiliar area, take along someone who knows the area or at least talk with someone who does before you set out. If an area is closed, do not enter it. Know ahead of time the location of the nearest telephone in case an emergency does occur.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Choose gear that's suitable for the weather conditions and season.
- Check your equipment. Keep your equipment in good working order, and inspect it before your trip. Don't wait until you're at your destination. Be sure to pack emergency signaling devices.
- Be weather-wise. Keep an eye on current and predicted weather conditions. In this area, weather can change very quickly. Know the signs of approaching storms and changing weather conditions. Avoid being on the lake, in exposed places, under lone trees, in streams, or on rocks during lightning storms. Find shelter in a densely forested area at a lower elevation. Even in the summer, exposure to wind and rain can result in hypothermia.
- Learn basic first aid. Carry a first aid kit with you. Learn how to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia, and dehydration, and know how to treat them.
- Make camp before dark. Traveling after dark can result in accidents, so travel only during daylight. If you have to leave camp after dark, stay in areas you have seen in daylight, go with a friend, and always use a good flashlight.
Camping safety tips
- Pack a first aid kit. Your kit can prove invaluable if someone suffers a cut, bee sting, or allergic reaction. Pack antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, tweezers, insect repellent, bug spray, a snakebite kit, pain relievers, and sunscreen.
- Bring emergency supplies. In addition to a first aid kit, this includes a map, compass, flashlight, knife, waterproof fire starter, personal shelter, whistle, warm clothing, high energy food, and water.
- Learn the ABCs of treating emergencies. Recognizing serious injuries will enable you to attend to a victim until medical help arrives.
- Anticipate the weather. Check the weather report before you leave. When you arrive at the site, watch the skies for changes and carry a compact weather radio. If the weather turns bad, find shelter until the worst passes. Stay dry, because wet clothes contribute to heat loss. Keep sleeping bags and important gear dry at all times.
- Arrive early. Plan your trip so that you arrive at your actual campsite with enough daylight to check over the entire site and set up camp.
- Check for potential hazards. Be sure to check the site thoroughly for glass, sharp objects, branches, large ant beds, poison ivy, bees, and hazardous terrain.
- Avoid areas of natural hazards. Check the contour of the land and look for potential trouble due to rain. Areas that could flood or become extremely muddy can pose a problem.
- Inspect the site. Look for a level site with enough room to spread out all your gear and with trees or shrubs on the side of the prevailing winds, which will help block strong, unexpected gusts.
- Don't leave fires unattended. Choose an area where a fire cannot spread laterally or vertically. A grill or stone surface is ideal. When putting the fire out, drown it with water, making sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Embers buried deep within the pile can reignite later on.
- Pitch your tent in a safe spot. Choose a tent made of flame-retardant fabric, and set up far enough away from the campfire. Keep insects out of your tent by closing the entrance quickly when entering or leaving.
- Be cautious when using a propane stove. Read the instructions that come with the stove and propane cylinder. Use the stove as a cooking appliance only. Never leave it unattended while it's burning.
- Watch out for bugs. Hornets, bees, wasps, and yellow jackets are a problem at many campsites. Wear light-colored clothing to avoid attracting them, and don't use perfumes or colognes. Don't wave wildly and swat blindly if an insect comes near. Instead, use a gentle pushing or brushing motion to deter it.
- Beware of poisonous plants. Familiarize yourself with any dangerous plants that are common to the area. If you come into contact with such a plant, immediately rinse the affected area with water and apply a soothing lotion such as calamine.
- Practice good hygiene. Make sure you wash your hands, particularly after using the toilet. Also wash them before handling food, to prevent everyone in your group from becoming ill.
These safety tips are provided for informational purposes only and do not represent a guarantee or promise of safety or non-injury if they are followed. To the extent permitted by law, TVA disclaims liability for any injury to any person or property, or loss of life or property, related to use of TVA land for recreation purposes.