Have you heard about all of the deadly fish, snakes, spiders and sharks in Australia? It’s almost like going there is a certain death sentence! We’re so happy to live in Delaware, where nothing is ever out to get you, and you’re safe from all of those deadly snakes, spiders and – wait, there are things in Delaware that are deadly and terrifying, too? Ugh! Okay, let’s take a look…
1. Yes, there are black widow spiders in Delaware.
There are plenty of claims of brown recluse spiders in our state, too. Be careful digging around dark, isolated areas like garages and basements. If you're bitten by either one of these spiders, get to a doctor immediately.
2. Okay, so let me stay out of my dark basement. I'm going to head out to a bright, sunny, state park.
... and just really hope I don't step on one of these! The Timber Rattlesnake and Copperhead are the only two venomous snakes in Delaware, but both can be deadly. Watch where you step!
3. Um... maybe hiking isn't for me.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases are a huge problem in Delaware. Recent studies show that Delaware is one of the top states for Lymes infection, and beyond that you have to worry about Bartonella, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and more. Tick diseases can be deadly, so be sure to use appropriate bug spray and check yourself regularly after being outside. I heard ticks don't like water, so I'm going to head to the beach...
4. Are you kidding me?! The beaches aren't safe, either?!
Rip tides are deadly currents that can be hard to spot if you don't know what to look for. They can pull you under the water and drag you out to sea quickly. Be sure you know how to escape a rip current - don't swim against it, swim out of it and along the shoreline until you're in calmer water. Get more tips from the lifeguards before you swim.
5. Fine! I'll ask the lifeguards and only swim when there are no riptides!
I'll try my best to avoid the sharks in the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, too! While Delaware has never had a fatal shark attack, sharks do live in these waters and occasionally snack on more than just fish. In 2014, a 16 year old was swimming near Cape Henlopen when his arm was bitten by a young sand shark, causing the boy to need 23 stitches. Ouch!
6. Okay, so what if I stay out of the water?
In 2015, several deadly Portuguese man o' war jellyfish washed up on Delaware beaches, causing them to close. A sting from one of these guys is incredibly painful and can be fatal. Watch where you step!
7. Forget it! I'm walking home.
Or maybe I should call a cab. Turns out that Delaware is America's deadliest state for pedestrians. Nearly all of the deaths occur at night along high speed roadways, and 2/3 are in New Castle County. Less than half of the pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol. In 2012 and 2013, Delawareans were almost twice as liekly to die walking as a pedestrian than in any other state, and it's gotten worse - with 2014 being a record year (28) and 2015 breaking that record by the middle of the year. The lack of sidewalks, number of large highways, and number of people needing to catch public busses that only stop on one side of the highway are contributing factors.
8.Even if I do find a ride home, I better hope it's not on a stormy day.
One of the worst natural disasters in Delaware occured when the state flooded for two weeks in 2006. Storms and high tides brought about flash flooding, which makes roadways extremely dangerous. Remember, never drive through water on a road! Turn around, don't drown.
9. And, of course, the storms themselves bring danger.
Who can forget the tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Irene, or the times that the ocean met the bay during the freuquent, large Nor'Easters in the 1990s? Older readers will remember the dangerous Ash Wednesday storm, and nearly everybody can tell you how Superstorm Sandy affected them. Stay safe from these large storms, Delawareans!
10. Let's remember, too, that not all dangers in Delaware are natural.
Delaware, particularly New Castle County, has not been safe from the heroin epidemic sweeping the northeast. As death rates are rising, treatment options are expanding. New Castle County has launched a $500,000 advertising campaign to get addicts help, and Sussex county is home to the state's first detox center. Good Samaritan Laws were passed to allow users to report overdoses without being arrested, and Narcan became widely available in the state. If you know someone who needs help, point them to any of the resources that Delaware has began to offer to fight this epidemic.
So, please, Delawareans. Be safe out there. Watch out for spiders, snakes and ticks when you hike. Don’t underestimate the power of water, whether it be in the ocean or blocking the road on your drive home. Be aware that crossing major highways can be deadly, and please, seek help if you’re struggling with addiction.