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Hiking Safety

Take the Essentials:

. Map

. Compass

. Water

. Food

. Raingear and extra clothes

. Fire starter and matches

. First aid kit

. Knife

. Flashlight (extra batteries/bulb)

. Sunscreen


Other Basics that could make the difference:

Cell phone (don’t depend on coverage)

Pen/Paper

Whistle

Extra necessary medicines

Wear decent hiking footwear!


Prevention

Avoid Injury - Injury or mishap along the trail usually happens as a result of one of the following:


Being out of shape or not conditioned for the activity

Dehydration

Being ill or Becoming ill

Muscle strain or sprain

Slipping on sandy/wet rocks (causing bruises, sprains, or fractures)

A sudden rain or snow storm (causing hypothermia, poor footing or poor visibility)

Downed trees

High water at stream crossings (the last two are common in spring and may render the trail impassable)

Animal encounter


Getting Lost Losing the trail occurs quite easily even for experienced hikers. The following conditions or situations can cause you to go off trail:


Inadequate maps and/or No compass

Sudden change in the weather

Rocky or sandy areas where the trail turns but you continue forging ahead

Following a trail to nowhere created by other lost souls

Erosion trails or runoffs at a switchback mistaken for the actual trail

Snow or leaves covering the trail

Downed trees blocking the path

A stream crossing the trail leading you off trail or being pulled by a current while crossing

Hiking in the dark without light(s)

Wandering off trail for the ‘perfect’ photo opportunity

Purposefully trying to take ‘shortcut’

Going ‘Cross Country’ without knowing the terrain

Consuming alcohol or drugs (even certain prescription meds) while hiking


Prepare for the Worst

Tell a friend or family member your plans, the route and your expected time of return and who or when to call if you don’t return.

Know what to do IF you get injured, sick or lost:

If seperated from your group - stop, yell, whistle & listen

Be sure to teach children to Hug A Tree if they get lost or seperated

Determine whether it is best to stay put or to move along.

If someone in your group becomes ill or injured, send for help with a clear report. The injured/ill’s age, medical background, condition and exactly what happened and their current location.

If someone in your group is missing search for him or her but do so carefully. Preserve any tracks that may lead to them, determine point last seen. If necessary, send for help with a clear report of point ast seen, appearance & clothing description and any known medical conditions.

If you can not get out on your own:

Stay near an open visible area (for visibility) as safety permits

Make a visible signal:

A noticeably apparent pattern such as tracks in the snow A signal mirror

A flashlight

Aerial flare

Fire at night, smoke during day (but watch the fire!!)



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