Outdoor recreation is not like other sports because if you get hurt, lost or even delayed slightly, there is nobody to help you. Here are some tips to help you prepare for outdoor travel in BC.
- BE PREPARED FOR YOUR CHOSEN RECREATION: Being fit enough to go the distance takes physical preparation. Stick to your turnaround time. Take the proper equipment, have a trip plan and use reference and guide books.
- ALWAYS CARRY THE 10 ESSENTIALS: If necessary, be ready to stay out overnight. Carry a flashlight—many people become lost because of darkness.
- COMPLETE A TRIP PLAN LEAVE IT WITH A FRIEND: explain your destination, the route you are taking, who is in the group and your return time. If you do not return as planned, the friend you left the trip plan with can give the form to the police to initiate a search.
- NEVER HIKE ALONE: Hike with a group and keep together. Travel at the speed of the slowest person. If a person becomes separated by going ahead or falling behind, they are more likely to become lost.
- DO NOT PANIC: Maintain a positive mental attitude if you become lost. Being lost is not dangerous if you are prepared.
- STAY WHERE YOU ARE: People who carry on after they become lost usually get further from the trail and further from people who are looking for them. Also, going downhill often leads to natural drainage. Gullies which typically have very thick bush, expansive cliffs and waterfalls make travel and searching more difficult.
- USE SIGNALING DEVICES: Blowing a whistle, lighting a fire and staying visible will help searchers find you. Help searchers find you even if you are embarrassed or afraid. Remember that animals will not be attracted to your signals. Searchers may also use planes or helicopters—make yourself visible to them.
- BUILD OR SEEK SHELTER: Protect yourself from the rain, wind and excessive sun. Be as comfortable as possible, but when it is daylight, make sure you are visible to searchers in helicopters or planes.
- THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE: An individual’s belief that “it could never happen to me” is summed up as EGO. By being prepared, you can enjoy your trip outdoors regardless of what nature throws at you!
- CHECK WEATHER AND HAZARDS: weather forecast and hazards (e.g. snow conditions) are checked prior to departure.
- Extras: small lightweight ground insulation such as “insulite”, projectile-type flares, tarp.
- Note: training is required to develop efficient skills for use of a map, compass, and first aid kit, as well as to efficiently light fires. However having these items with you can make all the difference in a survival situation.
Why a large orange plastic bag? It’s actually one of the most valuable items on the list. Crawling into the bag helps keep you warm and dry. The orange colour is also highly visible and helps attract attention, particularly from the air.