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Lava is always dangerous
There are a number of dangers around any sort of lava. Obviously, you do not want to get to close to running lava and you absolutely must not touch it. For solidified lava, it is easy to break through a thin, overhanging crust of lava or trip on a crack and fall on the abrasive surface. Near the shore you have to be careful of lava benches collapsing which cause violent steam explosions and ocean surges. Overall, just pay attention to the signs and listen to park rangers.
- National/State Park
Safety on the Volcanoe
The picture shown are the items that the National Park advises taking when visiting the lava-flow field. They are arranged from the essential ("very important") items at the top to recommended items at the bottom.
No services are available at the end of Chain of Craters Road. Purchase any needed items before you drive to this area.
Most injuries are not directly due to the eruption. Intense sunlight and high temperatures can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, or sunstroke. Take sunscreen and a hat and drink more water than you think you need. Air temperatures near lava flows can exceed 120°F (49°C), depending on cloud cover and wind conditions. At higher elevations, wind and rain can chill you and lead to hypothermia (low body temperature).
Injuries from falling are common. It is easy to break through a thin, overhanging crust of lava or trip on a crack and fall on the abrasive, glassy surface. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists always wear long pants, sturdy boots, and sometimes gloves when working near the flows-never shorts and slippers!
Before trying to visit the lava field, check with Park Rangers for current conditions there and for the best approach route. Park Rangers do not recommend that you attempt the hike to the coast if you are unprepared or uninformed. The area is remote, has no shade or water source, and is seldom patrolled.
Be aware that this area is made up of hot steamy lava & heed all park rangers' instructions & obey all off limit signs.
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Travel Guide
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