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Cache Safety


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Went for a lovely day caching in Chester today but it almost ended in disaster. When searching for a cache in one of the parks I was millimeters from grabbing hold of a used syringe, luckily the barrel end caught my eye at the last minute. The hint for the cache was under pine needles so I was happily sifting through piles of needles. After I had screamed to my buddy Shineydave to stop putting his hands in things I had a good look round - used needles, empty lighters, tin foil, broken glass all hidden in the undergrowth.

 

So this made me think of 3 things 1) warn others through this forum to be aware of this particular hazard (gloves wont help, a needle would go right through) 3) in future have a good look round before delving 3) when placing a cache please consider this aspect, it may not be immediately obvious but have a look.

 

Sorry for a gloomy message, but I am Mrs Health & Safety and really felt I should pass this on.

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i guess one of the obvious questions is do Hiders consider such things when placing a Cache. The one in question was littered with empty bottles on the edge of an inner city park and whilst outwardly it looked a lovely area a closer inspection revealed all manner of ills.

Areas can change.

It may have been a nice area, but the local youth might have been 'moved on' from somewhere else.

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Sorry for a gloomy message, but I am Mrs Health & Safety and really felt I should pass this on.

Don't apologize. Helping others recognize a hazard through your personal experience is a very good thing. What you've basically done is file a near miss report and those are very useful to people like me.

 

A long time ago the was a thread called something like, "DON'T PUT YOUR HAND IN THERE." A guy posted pics of his thumb becoming necrotic (in stages) after reaching into a hole to get a cache and getting bitten by a brown recluse spider. The picture link didn't work anymore last time I checked. The pics themselves were not for the squeamish.

 

I carry gloves and several types of mirrors and probes for cache hunting as a result. I've encountered black widows and the occasional brown recluse, but I've never been bitten and partially due to the awareness of that one cacher's bad experience.

 

I'm a safety professional for a really big oil company and I've often considered posting some caching safety topics. I'm mostly concerned about people entering confined spaces and electrical safety though. Most falls and other hazard exposures in the geocaching context go under the common sense and Darwinism catagory, but after going through extensive training on confined spaces and and electrical safety, I'm amazed that there hasn't been any injuries or fatalities in the 10 years of caching.

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I usually rap on guard rails several times before reachint in to the "usual spot" Haven't been bitten by a spider, but I did get stung by a wasp once or twice. The geomobile now has a first aid kit that includes lidocaine wipes. For me the most helpful "safety information" would be a pictorial reference of poisonous spiders and plants. Not sure I'd recognize a brown recluse if I saw one, even though a friend of mone (not a geocacher) was bitten and on antibiotics for quite a while to deal with the results.

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I usually rap on guard rails several times before reachint in to the "usual spot" Haven't been bitten by a spider, but I did get stung by a wasp once or twice. The geomobile now has a first aid kit that includes lidocaine wipes. For me the most helpful "safety information" would be a pictorial reference of poisonous spiders and plants. Not sure I'd recognize a brown recluse if I saw one, even though a friend of mone (not a geocacher) was bitten and on antibiotics for quite a while to deal with the results.

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has extensive webpages for bites, stings, and poisonous plants including identification and prevention. Loads of good info for cachers.

 

Also, your local poison help center may be able to send a rep out to your local event cache for free if you can get together at least 30-40 people to attend. UTMB runs the local Poison Help Center in the Houston area. I've already had them out to talk to my fellow employees twice and the rep has an interest in geocaching, so I have been planning an event around this very topic.

 

One of my favorite bits of insect safety info is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The descriptions are funny, but very accurate. I have been stung by everything from 1.2 to 3.0 on that list and I know of a cacher that got hit by a Tarantula Wasp (4.0) while caching with a similar description came from him. I have encountered those on numerous occasions without incident, but mannnn those suckers are freakin' scarey.

 

tarantula-hawk-11.jpg

Edited by Snoogans
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Sorry for a gloomy message, but I am Mrs Health & Safety and really felt I should pass this on.

Don't apologize. Helping others recognize a hazard through your personal experience is a very good thing. What you've basically done is file a near miss report and those are very useful to people like me.

 

A long time ago the was a thread called something like, "DON'T PUT YOUR HAND IN THERE." A guy posted pics of his thumb becoming necrotic (in stages) after reaching into a hole to get a cache and getting bitten by a brown recluse spider. The picture link didn't work anymore last time I checked. The pics themselves were not for the squeamish.

 

I carry gloves and several types of mirrors and probes for cache hunting as a result. I've encountered black widows and the occasional brown recluse, but I've never been bitten and partially due to the awareness of that one cacher's bad experience.

 

I'm a safety professional for a really big oil company and I've often considered posting some caching safety topics. I'm mostly concerned about people entering confined spaces and electrical safety though. Most falls and other hazard exposures in the geocaching context go under the common sense and Darwinism catagory, but after going through extensive training on confined spaces and and electrical safety, I'm amazed that there hasn't been any injuries or fatalities in the 10 years of caching.

 

I am an industrial chemist, so know where you are coming from. Lets hope caching stays safe for all !

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I usually rap on guard rails several times before reachint in to the "usual spot" Haven't been bitten by a spider, but I did get stung by a wasp once or twice. The geomobile now has a first aid kit that includes lidocaine wipes. For me the most helpful "safety information" would be a pictorial reference of poisonous spiders and plants. Not sure I'd recognize a brown recluse if I saw one, even though a friend of mone (not a geocacher) was bitten and on antibiotics for quite a while to deal with the results.

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has extensive webpages for bites, stings, and poisonous plants including identification and prevention. Loads of good info for cachers.

 

Also, your local poison help center may be able to send a rep out to your local event cache for free if you can get together at least 30-40 people to attend. UTMB runs the local Poison Help Center in the Houston area. I've already had them out to talk to my fellow employees twice and the rep has an interest in geocaching, so I have been planning an event around this very topic.

 

One of my favorite bits of insect safety info is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The descriptions are funny, but very accurate. I have been stung by everything from 1.2 to 3.0 on that list and I know of a cacher that got hit by a Tarantula Wasp (4.0) while caching with a similar description came from him. I have encountered those on numerous occasions without incident, but mannnn those suckers are freakin' scarey.

 

tarantula-hawk-11.jpg

 

Oh man, that thing makes me feel faint. How I love my safe and boring UK where wasps are normal and spiders don't kill you.

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that's Mahoooosive. if one of those flew at me i think the sting would be the least of my worries. there's not enough toilet paper in the world............

 

They are generally solitary, but I ran into a bush that had hundreds if not thousands of them in Laughlin, Nevada. Musta been havin' the national terantula hawk convention or sumthin'. The temps were in the 120's and they had all sought shade. It was one of the most evil sounds I had ever heard with all of them fanning their wings and hissing.

 

Seeing them out hunting in New Mexico, they are very deliberate and seemingly mean spirited they way they go about their business.

 

My first ever experience, I hit one just outside of Amarillo. I was doing about 65mph. It wedged under my wiper blade and got stuck. It kept biting and trying to sting the wiper. My next stop was Albuquerque, 4 hours away. It wasn't moving when I got gas so I lifted the wiper and it took a run at me before flying off. I had thought it was dead after 200+ miles wedged under my wiper. They earned my respect.

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It's the travelling that concerns me. Going to a new area, that has new dangers that I am unfamiliar with. It would be nice to have a thread for a region that names the dangers in an area. Then we could take it upon ourselves to check out in more detail.

 

There are very few species of poisonous/venomous snakes, insects, spiders, and scorpions in north america. If you look at the CDC/NIOSH links it shows the ranges of the different species overlaid on a map of north america.

 

I have yet to find as good a resource for the rest of the world. Maybe someone else knows a site. :unsure:

 

That thing on your hand, OMG

 

Not my hand. I googled that image. Pictures of wild Tarantula Hawks just don't do them justice in scale. That one picture says it all though. Believe it or not the one I hit with my car was BIGGER. (Not by much though.)

Edited by Snoogans
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@__@..... The pic of that wasp is enough to make me want to hide under the carpet for the foreseeable future; I'm deathly allergic to the things. I already have a first aid kit, but I think it's time to see about renewing my Epi-pen prescription! Out here in Tucson we have scorpions, tarantulas, all kinds of smaller spiders, and of course snakes. The biggest threat for a hide under a rock would probably be pigmy rattlers, I'd say; most rattlers aren't aggressive, but if you reach under a ledge and grab one of 'em by the head, well..... yeah.

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@__@..... The pic of that wasp is enough to make me want to hide under the carpet for the foreseeable future; I'm deathly allergic to the things. I already have a first aid kit, but I think it's time to see about renewing my Epi-pen prescription! Out here in Tucson we have scorpions, tarantulas, all kinds of smaller spiders, and of course snakes. The biggest threat for a hide under a rock would probably be pigmy rattlers, I'd say; most rattlers aren't aggressive, but if you reach under a ledge and grab one of 'em by the head, well..... yeah.

 

If you look at the range for the Pepsis Wasp aka Tarantula Hawk, you will see that you live in its home territory. It is the official state insect of New Mexico right next door. I believe my log on The Thing, not far from Tucson, tells of being surrounded by them on my car. I didn't know what they were at the time.

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If you look at the range for the Pepsis Wasp aka Tarantula Hawk, you will see that you live in its home territory. It is the official state insect of New Mexico right next door. I believe my log on The Thing, not far from Tucson, tells of being surrounded by them on my car. I didn't know what they were at the time.

 

Thanks for the info Snoogans - that is the scariest looking wasp I've ever seen. We have tarantulas out here, I wonder if we get these wasps? My son is deathly afraid of stinging insects - I think he would have a heart attack if he saw one of these. I can't imagine encountering a bush full of those things.

 

BTW, when being stung by multiple bees once, I wanted to say something like:

 

"My goodness dear wife of mine, you have pulled up next to a beehive on my side of the car, and opened my window. I realize that you want me to check the mail, but could you please roll up the window and drive away?"

 

What actually came out though:

 

<bleep> <f-bomb> <bleep> <bleep> BEES! <bleepity bleep bleep> <f-bombity bomb>

 

It is possible that I didn't get the word "bees" out though. I find it surprisingly hard to communicate in a coherent manner while being stung. And those are only a 2.0 on the pain scale. My goodness.

 

Oh, if you are out caching, and see one of these things:

 

177px-Io_moth_caterpillar.png

Avoid it - it is an io moth caterpillar, and they are quite painful, I can speak from personal experience.

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Invest in a pair of "search gloves" They are thinner leather gloves that the police use, thin enough to handle and feel normally, but enough protection from an accidental brush of a blade or bump of a needle.

 

And for bites...Benadryl. Take it if your neck/mouth/throat is stung and develops a rash or swelling. I have seen it first hand take down swelling that was choking someone. Works faster than anything the hospital gives.

Edited by T.D.M.22
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