Search and Rescue offers tips to avoid an emergency while hiking

Wherever a Search and Rescue (SAR) member goes; they are trained not to leave home without a 24-hour pack. The pack contains everything they need to stay out for 24 hours including water, flashlight, snacks, extra clothing and maps.

Many of the searches conducted by SAR could have been prevented if the hikers had carried a map of the area; those venturing out need to know where they are going and be familiar with landmarks and places around them. A map can be a life-saver if a trail sign is missed or a trail intersection is confusing.

It’s important to plan for changing weather conditions; it might be warm at the trailhead and a jacket seems like extra weight, but what if the hikers are still out after dark and the temperature is near freezing or a storm moves in and it starts to snow?

A light source is also important. Mountains are rugged with cliffs and thick brush. Trying to walk in the dark is not smart even if the lights of a town can be seen in the distance. What if there is a cliff between the hikers and the lights?

The need to have enough water cannot be stressed enough. Keep an inconvenience from becoming an emergency by being prepared. Plan for what could happen, not just for what is happening now. Take no less than two quarts of water per person and more if it’s hot.

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