Hiking safety tips

April 25, 2010

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Apr. 25, 2010/ Troy Media/ — There is no telling what is going to happen in the wilds. What happens during a hike is as unexpected as a sighting of a rare bear cub.

A shower of loose rocks, a broken ankle or a snake bite can easily turn an exciting hike to a disastrous trip if you are caught unprepared. It helps to be ready for any eventuality when taking a hike and a basic knowledge of hiking safety is indispensable.

Take a virtual tour

Avoid all known dangers. If you know what is waiting for you out there, you will be better positioned at avoiding it. Before you leave for your destination, a virtual survey of the area should be carried out. Research online, read hiking guides or talk to fellow hikers experienced in the area.

Find out the known dangers in the hiking vicinity, be familiar with its flora and fauna and keep updated with the weather forecast in the area. Heed the warnings learned from your research and be ready for it. Know the fastest and easiest remedy to poisonous plants or animals found in the area and carry safeguards to repel wild animal attack.

Know the weather forecast for the days you are planning to stay in the area and make sure to organize your gear and clothes to accommodate changes in the weather.

You don’t want to leave for the trail without a good and reliable first-aid kit. Be sure to know how to use what’s inside the kit. They are not just for show; they can actually save lives if you know how to utilize them when the situation calls for it.

First-aid training is invaluable but if you don’t have the chance to take it, some written instructional materials should be sufficient to give you a working knowledge of the most basic manoeuvres. To maximize your knowledge of first-aid, make sure to focus your attention on the most common injuries that can happen during a hike.

Always bring a buddy with you. It will not only make the hike twice as enjoyable, it’ll also ensure that someone will patch you up and call for help in case you accidentally fall off your feet. If the need for quiet and meditation far outweighs the need for a friendly presence, at least inform a family member or a friend where you are going and when you are expected to return. If something happens out there, you’re sure that somebody will call the alarm if you didn’t go back home on time.

Take a mobile phone along, if possbile

Finally, bring along a means of communication. A buddy waiting for your return is a good thing, but it is always better to call for help when you most need it. A mobile phone is most convenient unless your destination doesn’t have a mobile phone signal. A device that emits a radio signal, a flare, a signal mirror or a whistle – any of these will help you call attention to yourself in the event of search and rescue. So, always carry one along with you when going somewhere remote such as a hiking trip destination.

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