An Outer Banks vacation is something families plan for and look forward to months, sometimes over a year, in advance. There’s nothing better than experiencing the salt air, ocean breezes, history and outdoor activities we offer year-round here on the OBX.
But one thing that should never take a vacation is your awareness and safety when it comes to protecting your family from unforeseen circumstances.
Here are a few tips and suggestions to keep in mind when on vacation, not just on the Outer Banks, but anywhere you and your family may travel.
Be Aware of Your Location
If there is an emergency, 911 does not know the name of your beach house, and most guests will be calling from a cell phone. It’s important to know the actual street address of the vacation home where you’re staying. This information is included in guest emails and on the Guest Portal, but it’s important that ALL members of your party have these details, so be sure to share them with your group.
Have a Plan
You probably have an emergency evacuation plan for your home in case of fire (if not, you definitely should do that!), so why not take a few minutes when everyone has arrived and detail a plan with multiple ways to exit the building, plus a meet-up spot. If a fire or other event were to happen in the night, and you’re all in an unfamiliar home, it will help to have a plan for exit. Be sure to include all members of the family, especially children and any elderly members who may need assistance in the plan. Have night lights or flashlights nearby, in case you need to exit the home in the dark. Candles are not recommended.
Swimming Pool Safety
Never leave children unattended at a home with a swimming pool. When guests are bringing in groceries or luggage, it’s easy to get distracted, and kids can get excited, but be sure to have a designated adult in charge of making sure the kiddos aren’t venturing near the pool alone. Swimming alone is also not recommended. Be sure there is someone else around to help in case of a fall or any other accident where you may be unable to help yourself out of the pool.
Just Say NO to Grills on Decks
All grills, and especially charcoal grills, should never be used on a wooden deck and should be located as far from a structure as possible. Grills should only be operated on a level, stable, non-combustible surface. Be sure gas is turned off or any charcoal is disposed of properly in a metal trash bin before leaving the grill area. On a windy day, those embers can easily blow around and quickly catch your rental property or another property on fire. Citronella or other candles should be fully extinguished before leaving them unattended.
Be sure children are not allowed to play in or near the elevators. All elevators should be equipped with safety features to prevent children from becoming trapped, but it’s best to have the children avoid playing in them altogether. Adult supervision only.
Be Weather Aware
During the summer especially, afternoon thunderstorms can pop up on the Outer Banks. If you hear thunder, seek shelter indoors until you no longer hear thunder for 30 minutes. Lightning can travel up to 10 miles, so even if you don’t see the lightning or if it’s not raining, it’s best to stay inside until the storm has completely passed. While on the beach, be aware of rip currents, stay hydrated, and try to swim near a lifeguard if possible. Be sure to sign up for weather alerts and beach conditions at OBX Alerts.
Please, please while on the beach, do not dig deep holes, or allow kids to do the same. Holes any deeper than the shortest person’s shins or knees can be dangerous. Sand can collapse and cause injury, even death, and emergency vehicles may not be able to safely navigate along the shore to get to a call. Holes are also dangerous for our nesting sea turtles, and for anyone who likes to walk the beach in the evening. If you do dig small holes or tunnels, or even sandcastles, please be sure to fill them in or level them down when you leave the beach.
Don’t Forget the Insurance
Travel insurance is recommended no matter what time of year you plan on visiting. Not only does travel insurance protect your vacation investment should you need to cancel for a covered reason or for a named storm, but it also provides protection for accidents that may happen while you’re here on vacation. Hospital stays, transportation, or if the worst happens and there is a death in your group, travel insurance can take just a little bit of that stress off yours and your family’s shoulders.
We want everyone to have a fun vacation, filled with lots of family memories. Hopefully these quick tips will arm you with the tools to be prepared in case something were to happen while visiting. Be safe and have a fantastic vacation!