Summer weather has finally arrived and with it comes an increase in long awaited outdoor activity from cyclists, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The RCMP would like to remind citizens about the importance of planning ahead before heading out on an adventure at this time of year.
Please consider the following safety tips:
· Do Not Head Into the Woods Alone – If you are going to hike or cycle into the forest or a more hazardous area, you should never go alone. Traveling in the woods with a partner has many advantages. You are less likely to become anxious when confronted with a problem or setback. You can also assist each other on getting up steep inclines or across streams that could prove dangerous if you were alone. There is also the consideration that if one of you get injured the other will be there to help or go for help.
· Plan Ahead – Make sure you know as much as you can about the area you will be traveling. Study the latest guidebooks and maps. Make sure you check the weather for the area on the planned day.
· Leave Word of your Destination and Schedule – This is very important. This can help in locating you in an emergency. Make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.
· Exercise Caution – Do not get over-confident when on the trail and do things that are risky or foolish.
· Dress Appropriately – Make sure you dress for the season and wear the right hiking shoes or boots. Layered clothing is the best to meet changing weather conditions. If cool or wet conditions are expected, it is recommended that you avoid cotton clothing, which insulates poorly when wet and dries slowly.
· Take Along the Right Equipment – A day pack containing rain gear, extra warm clothing, high energy food, water, first aid kit, pocket knife, matches in a waterproof container, and insect repellent are recommended. If you can, take a fully charged cell phone with you so you can advise others if you are lost.
· If you get lost keep calm, stay dry, keep warm and if possible – stay put. If you have to stay overnight, build a campfire for warmth, light, and safety. If an aircraft is used in a search, the smoke of a campfire can be spotted. If the weather is cold or inclement and you must spend the night, build a small shelter. You can use dead branches and leaves. This will shelter you from the elements. Set up camp before darkness falls if possible. If you feel you can find your way out of the woods, remember that following a stream downhill will usually lead you back to a civilized area.