Beyond any equipment or rules the most important part of safety is you. Make decisions on and off the field with everyone's well being in mind. Use your head and understand what your doing. Learn about your equipment and environment to comprehend what safety obstacles and situations you maybe presented with. Be prepared and well educated.
Do not buy a cheap mask period. A paintball mask is the most important piece of equipment, not only safety wise, but for your ability to comfortably play the game. Purchase a good thermal mask from a well know brand.
Weight and size/fit is just as important as thermal performance. Heavier masks tend to feel like they are hanging on your head or even like they are trying to fall off. When you start to sweat they tend to move around a lot and take your attention away from the game. Running with masks that don't fit is challenging in its self let alone needing a hand to adjust them.
Buying an anti-fog spray is no substitute for having a good thermal lens in a heat/moisture managing mask system. You may need to remove the visor, your headband/hat or install a specific mask model cooling fan to totally keep your lens vented and clear.
Keep a replacement lens in your bag and well wrapped to prevent it from getting scratched. Don't wear tinted lens in low light situations. Learn how to keep your lens clean without scratching them and clean them as needed.
If you wear glasses you may want to consider V-Force brand masks. They generally have a larger area behind the lens to fit your prescription glasses.
Use your head around your paintball gun
Paintball Barrels - plug/cover
Always honor the barrel cover signs and put it on before you get there. The Wolfpack policy is to keep it on up to the point when we are gathering at the start. After a player gets shot out or after the flag is hung we all put on our covers. Keep it on in the pits/staging area especially when performing gun maintenance or repairs.
Learn about the dates on your HPA tanks. Ask the field owners or people filling your tank how much longer your tanks certification is good for before it needs hydro testing. Be prepared to test it or buy a new tank. CO2 tanks should be replaced often, be aware of when you purchased it and ask when it should be replaced. Inspect your tanks and regulators for any thing suspicious. If you think anything is questionable talk to your field or Proshop about it immediately, don't take chances! If you have ever seen a tank or regulator breach you will understand how destructive it is.
Be sure to have a strong understanding of your gun. To service your gun, remove the paintball loader and air supply and be sure its powered down with no air or paint still in it. Just because the loader and tank are off doesn't mean there isn't a paintball in the breach or air still in the gun. Put the paintball barrel safety device on, point it in a safe direction and verify its truly empty. I have seen people rip their guns down with the air tank still installed. Ask for help if your unsure about anything.
Always follow the rules. The rules are there for everyone's safety. When your shooting projectiles at 200mph, it can become unsafe very fast. Don't climb things that aren't intended to be scaled, don't jump large gaps. I saw a leg bone sticking out through the pants due to someone jumping off a fence over a gap. It was one of the grossest things I've ever seen. Its easy to get yourself in trouble when your jacked up on adrenaline and trying to move quickly. Honor the ten foot rule for bunkering or calling people out and don't push over bunkers if someone is behind them. Jokesters beware, screwing around maybe funny sometimes but after it becomes an accident the common phrase, "I didn't try that" doesn't heal things.
Make sure you have health insurance cards and ID with you when you go to play paintball. Exchange emergency contact information with your teammates. It's a fairly safe game but stuff happens. Keep your self hydrated and rested. Know your limits and don't push yourself. If your playing in or around woods use bug spray and tick repellant. Check your self afterwards for ticks and other pests.
Stretch those muscles before first round and between rounds time permitting. Check your exposure to the sun and use sun block when needed. Dress in layers and add or remove as necessary. Keep extra clothing in your vehicle to add or change if you get wet and cold. Wear good shoes/boots. Your feet can make the difference between and happy day of playing or a miserable day.
Use your Head
The most important part of the game is you. You are in control of yourself, where and how you play. If someone around you doesn't follow the rules talk to them. If they still don't comply talk to the field owner/operator. If they still don't obey the laws, leave the field and play else where. Study the major paintball organization(PSP, NPPL) safety rules, understand them and incorporate them into your teams mission. Above all else use your head.
Posted by Redwood on 6/15/07