to be worn
»U se sunscreen and wear appropriate clothes and old tennis » U nderstand what the water level means. Check the gauge shoes or river sandals with heel straps. Take a first aid kit and plenty of drinking water.
»N ever wade, tube, swim or boat alone. Go with someone who knows the river.
before you leave home. When the river is in the Green area, life jackets are essential. Stay off the river when the levels are Yellow or Red. Rescue is difficult, if not impossible, when the water level is Red.
»W ear a life jacket when fishing, wading, tubing, swimming » R ecognize moving water hazards. Swiftly moving water, or boating.
»D on’t drink alcoholic beverages. Impaired coordination and judgment increase risk of injury or death.
» C heck
muddy water, and river water out of its banks are warning signs to stay off the river.
»D on’t stand in moving water. Foot entrapment between
the weather forecast. Lightning, cold weather, high winds, and dusk all mean you should get off the river until conditions improve.
rocks or in debris can cause the current force the victim underwater. Instead, float and keep your feet up and downstream to fend off rocks.
trip should take. Let someone know of your plans —when and where you will start and when and where you expect to complete your trip.
if something goes wrong.
» P lan your trip. Consider water levels and how long your » C arry a charged cell phone in a dry bag to stay connected
If you make the switch to these alternatives, just be sure to dispose of your household chemicals properly. Don’t pour anything into a storm drain and contact your local hazardous waste program to find out about disposal options. Simple maintenance and good water conservation habits can also save a lot of money. That dripping faucet is not only keeping you awake at night, it may be wasting up to 20 gallons of water a day and costing up to $41 per year. Similarly, A leaking toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons a day, or $416 per year. To check for toilet leaks, add some food coloring to the water in the tank. If any color seeps into the bowl after thirty minutes, you have a leak. Turning off the water for personal care like tooth brushing saves up to nine gallons of water a day and taking shorter showers saves five gallons per minute. While the water savings
Visit www.riverfriends.org for current conditions, warnings, and safety advisories in our area.
may not seem like much, these gallons add up. Check your water bill this month and challenge the family to bring it down next time. Improving your home’s energy efficiency will save money each month too. The easiest no-cost solution merely requires a flip of the switch when leaving a room. Turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees. Bump your thermostat up a few degrees this summer and down in the winter. Use a power strip for electronics so it’s easier to switch them all off, and unplug your cell phone charger when your phone isn’t charging. Low cost fixes include sealing cracks and installing weather stripping around doors and windows, installing a programmable thermostat and switching to compact fluorescent bulbs. Be sure to recycle them. Implement a few, if not all, of these great green tips and see how healthy your budget and environment can be.
Author Julie May is an Analyst for the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board. For more information about R-Board programs, visit www.r-board.org.
JULY / AUGUST 2010 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 11