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Outdoor Adventures Aren't Without Dangers
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The news this week of the death of a hiker at a local conservation area made me think about what we do for fun. Anytime you head outdoors to exercise or play, it’s important to keep a few fundamental safety tips in mind. The first responders involved in the rescue and recovery of the group of hikers want us to think about it too.

Hiking, walking, backcountry running, and rock climbing, can be invigorating and a great way to spend time outside. Being ready for the adventure is a crucial part of the planning process. Countless rescues are made every year in the province by first responders. People strain and sprain joints, fall and break bones, slip and fall on ice and mud, succumb to exhaustion or stupidity. Dehydration and hypothermia, heat stroke and frostbite, they all take their toll on the outdoors adventurers.

Key things to consider anytime you are wandering outdoors include:

  • Are you prepared physically for the activity you are doing? Don’t wander out on a 100 km multi day hike if you haven’t been around the block in years.
  • Do you have the equipment you’ll need? Appropriate clothing, a safety whistle, and first aid equipment are all recommended anytime you head into the woods. PFDs are a must for water adventures, and you may need a wet or dry suit depending on the season.
  • Are you appropriately dressed for the conditions? Wandering out for a ‘hike’ in your flip flops might look cute to you, but to the others it just looks stupid. Sturdy shoes/boots, layers of clothing, hats and sunglasses are all required summer or winter.
  • Do you have sunscreen or bug spray? Many a fun day out has been ruined by serious sunburn, or bug bites.
  • Do you have adequate water and nutrition on board for the day? Know your needs and be prepared with drinks and snacks as required.
  • Are you on public or private property? Don’t think that just because a property looks nice, and there doesn’t appear to be anyone there that it is public land. Trespassing is illegal.
  • Is it hunting season? It’s best to know this before you wander onto lands ‘in season’. You could be putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
  • Are you really going remote? Take a SPOT or Satellite phone in case you are in trouble.

Whatever your adventure you should always tell someone who know you well what your plans are so that if you don’t come back then they will notice, and the police have an idea of where to begin looking. If you are going backcountry hiking or camping register at the trail head as required and leave details about your expected return day and a description of your pack and tent.

Once you are outdoors, be aware of your surroundings. It can be very tempting to try and get the perfect picture but not look around at the danger you are putting yourself in. Many people have fallen off cliffs while stepping backward for the perfect shot. Keep an eye out for wildlife, rapidly rising water, and severe weather.

Most importantly get out and enjoy yourself.

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 - 09:12:00 AM EST
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