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Avoid A Camping Disaster


Many Floridians enjoy communing with nature: the sound of water lapping on the beach, the smell of the campfire, and breathing in the fresh outdoor air can make you feel alive like nothing else can. Even so, smart campers know that there are hazards involved with camping, and take appropriate steps to remain safe.

Take Precautions

Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you prepare carefully for your camping adventure.

  • Check the weather forecast;
  • Learn about the wildlife that may be present;
  • Be prepared with fire safety equipment;
  • Carry a first aid kit;
  • Bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration;
  • Take precautions to avoid getting lost (carry a map and compass);
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen: we’re known as the Sunshine State for a reason!
  • Be aware of hunting season: dress in blaze orange, avoid hikes at dusk and dawn, and stick to designated campsites.

Beach Campsites

Once you’ve chosen a campsite, check around for any safety threats. Many hazards may be posted, such as issues related to debris, high tides, or dangerous water conditions. Be certain that you and your family take note of warning signs and obey cautionary flags. Various colors relate to specific hazards at the beach:

  • Red with yellow markings: The water in this area is closed for public use;
  • Solid red: High hazard including potential rip tides;
  • Solid yellow: Medium risk hazard;
  • Solid green: Low hazard;
  • Solid purple: Dangerous marine life.

Wilderness Campsites

For those who really want to get away, wilderness camping is appealing. Be aware that facilities are not available in these areas, including medical care. If hiking is part of your plan, be sure to be prepared for potential sprains, scrapes, and abrasions. Also, be aware that remote areas offer a greater opportunity to experience run-ins with wildlife, including wild boars, bears, and, of course, alligators. Arrange your camping trip with the understanding that leaving food out may attract unwanted visitors!

Poisonous Plants

 Florida is home to many toxic plants. Be careful when encountering the following, particularly if you have pets that may try to eat leaves:

  • Bracken Fern: Multiple exposures can be toxic;
  • Crotalaria: Otherwise known as Rattlebox, this plant can lead to confusion, weakness, and even liver damage. Animals who eat this plant may experience death within months;
  • Castor Bean: When eaten, these beans may cause unpleasant gastrointestinal problems, and even death from kidney and liver damage;
  • Chinaberry: Consuming these berries may cause clammy skin, difficulty breathing, general weakness, and gastric issues;
  • Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac: These can all cause skin irritation including itching and raised pustules;
  • Pencil Cactus: The spines can cause irritation to the skin;
  • Arrowhead, Peace Lily, Pothos: These can all cause irritation to the eyes, skin and mouth with contact.

Enjoy Florida!

The legal team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton hopes you enjoy the great state of Florida year-round by remaining safe. In the event you encounter an accident due to the negligence of others, contact us to discuss your concerns.