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It’s trauma season.

As a lifelong resident of West Virginia, I love the fact that so many outdoor activities are within our reach. Of these, I think about the beautiful wilderness that offers bountiful recreation and relaxation. From rafting the white water of the West Virginia streams and rivers to enjoying the trails while riding motorcycles and other types of ATVs, West Virginia is a magnet for those wanting to enjoy these types of activities.

From grateful resident to concerned health care provider, I wanted to take a few minutes to remind everyone of the dangers and their responsibilities while enjoying some of these activities. As titled, “it’s trauma season,” and this means that the EMTs and paramedics providing care to the residents in Cabell County are seeing more traumatic injuries than other times of the year. Motorcycles and ATVs are very popular, but remember that helmets really do save lives. Regardless of age and terrain, a helmet will protect the rider from limbs, trees, the ground and other riders during a crash. Regardless of mastering the trails or cruising over the road riding a street bike, remember to wear your helmet! It’s not just a good safety practice — it’s the law.

PFDs are personal flotation devices (life jackets) and should be worn while enjoying water activities. Even the strongest of swimmers can be overcome by waves or hydraulics while navigating rapids. Take special care that those under the age of 14 are continuously wearing their life jacket, even in flat, calm waters. Water is unforgiving, relentless and constant.

“You can learn a lot from a dummy” was a great public service announcement a few years ago that stresses the importance of wearing your seat belt. More and more traffic is on the road, and even though cars are built safer every year, no one innovation is as effective at saving lives in an automobile crash than a properly worn seat belt.

To be effective, the belt must ride across the hip and thighs and the shoulder strap should fit snugly across your chest and shoulders. Seat belts don’t work if the shoulder strap is behind you or the lap belt is too high over your abdomen.

An improperly placed seat belt is as dangerous as not using one.

While the weather improves and the reopening of our state continues, more and more people are eagerly leaving their homes and heading outdoors.

Please enjoy all that West Virginia has to offer. Explore and find yourself in a state of amazement, but always keep in the back of your mind that it’s trauma season.

A. Gordon Merry III is the director of Cabell County Emergency Medical Services.

A. Gordon Merry III is the director of Cabell County Emergency Medical Services.

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