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Outdoor Safety

Outdoor Safety

No one ever expects to get into trouble outdoors. Unexpected weather, mistakes in judgement, unexpected injury, equipment failure, or sudden nightfall can quickly change any outdoor outing into a crisis. Thinking about safety may not be the first thing on your mind when you, your family and friends head outdoors and into the mountains. Prepare for an emergency and take a little extra with you, just in case. Suggested essential items to bring with you on outdoor activities:

Light

Flashlight or a headlamp with extra batteries (and light bulb if not LED). Green cyalume stick or small turtle lights as emergency backup.
Signalling device
Whistle (such as Fox 40 whistle with a lanyard), bear bangers, pencil flare
Fire starter
Matches (waterproof or in plastic bag) or lighter, commercial firestarter and/or a candle.
Extra clothes
Hat, toque, gloves, mittens, fleece jacket, gortex jacket, polypro underwear, good quality hiking socks and gortex overpants.
Pocketknife
Although a multi-tool is preferred, a good pocketknife with a quality blade will suffice. It may also be worth carrying a small pruning saw for cutting branches when building a shelter or fire.
Shelter
Large orange plastic bag and thermal tarp.
Water
A water purification stick is useful for natural water sources in case your supply runs dry. Gatorade crystals offer electrolytes and will help keep you hydrated for a prolonged period.
First-aid kit
Should include pocket mask; SAM Splint, bulk dressings, protective gloves, bandage, scissors and blister dressings.
Navigation
Good quality compass with built in declination adjustment and both topographical and interpretive maps; GPS unit as an adjunct to compass and map.
Communications - mobile phone
Bring mobile phone with a fully charged battery. It is advisable to keep the phone turned off and stored in a ziplock bag to keep it dry and fully charged. Many people manage to call 911 initially but their phone dies before their location can be relayed. If you have a smartphone, you should also know how to get GPS coordinates to give to search and rescue if you become lost or injured. Depending on the terrain, it may also be worth considering satellite based communications devices.

References and Links