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Snake Safety Tips for San Tan Valley Residents as Temperatures Rise

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With rising temperatures inviting Pinal County residents to venture outdoors, Rural Metro Fire warns of increased snake activity during the early spring and summer months. To ensure residents can enjoy outdoor activities safely, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center have provided several safety tips to prevent dangerous encounters with snakes.

First and foremost, residents should familiarize themselves with the snake species found in their area. It is important not to kill any snakes, even venomous ones, as they play a vital role in the ecosystem.

To minimize the risk of encountering snakes at home, residents are advised to:

  • Clean up potential snake shelters, such as brush, wood, rock, and debris piles.
  • Maintain regular mowing and trimming of lawns and weeds.
  • Control rodent populations to prevent attracting snakes.
  • Always wear shoes outside and avoid placing hands in unseen areas.
  • Exercise caution when stepping over logs, rocks, or walking near creek banks and underbrush.

If a snake is encountered, individuals should:

  • Remain calm and keep a distance of at least 5 feet.
  • Avoid killing or throwing objects at the snake.
  • Alert others to the snake's presence and keep children and pets away.
  • Keep dogs on leashes during hikes or camping trips.
  • Listen for rattles and locate the source before moving to avoid stepping closer to the snake.

In case of a snakebite, it is crucial to:

  • Assume envenomation and call 911 or seek medical help immediately.
  • Attempt to identify the snake species while avoiding additional bites.
  • Keep the victim calm to slow venom spread and shock onset.
  • Be alert for symptoms of shock and initiate proper treatment if needed.
  • Clean the bite area with a disinfectant and remove jewelry or tight clothing before swelling occurs.
  • Reduce or prevent movement of the bitten extremity using a splint and position it below heart level.

Avoid the following actions after a snakebite:

  • Making incisions over bite marks.
  • Using a tourniquet or constricting band, unless properly trained.
  • Applying cryotherapy.
  • Drinking alcohol or using aspirin-based medications.
  • Employing the pressure/immobilization technique.
  • Administering antivenom in the field, unless properly trained or if medical help is delayed.

For more information on snake safety, visit https://azpoison.com/venom/rattlesnakes or https://news.arizona.edu/story/ua-expert-has-safety-tips-snakebite-season.
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Saturday, 18 May 2024

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