Hiking Safety

SUMMER-SAFETY-Hiking-Safety-6The Great Outdoors is one of the most appealing family activities that you can engage in. You get to spend time with your children, get a good workout and enjoy nature at its finest. Hiking is a great activity and with some preparedness and a few hiking safety tips you’ll be ready to get out there and enjoy.

A number of hiking safety measures can be implemented to protect your family from injuries in the outdoors.

Plan ahead before you leave for your hiking trip~Ensure you have the basics with you even before you set out on your hike. It’s a great idea to have a hiking checklist – just go through it each time and you’ll know you’re all set. Get maps, compasses, food, water, a First Aid kit, flashlight and the latest weather report before you leave your house.

Tell someone that you will be away for the day~This is an extremely important tip. Inform a family member, close friend, or neighbor your whereabouts and general hiking plans so that in the case of any trouble or accident, someone will know where you are. You will be making it easier to be located and rescued should you and your family need help.

Never drink water from ponds or streams during the hike~Preparing for the trip will mean that you will have plenty of treated or boiled water in your backpack, which will be enough for everyone to last the entire day. Water from streams and ponds is unsafe even if it looks clear and fresh. As an extra precaution, you can pack water purification tablets in your backpack just in case you become stranded outdoors for longer than expected.

Have a hiking preparedness session with your family~Before leaving your house for the hike, make sure that every member of your household is aware of where you are going, what you will be doing and how to handle emergencies and importantly everyone must understand it is important to stick together throughout the trip.

summer safetyKeep to the hiking trail and do not deviate from it~The woods can be intimidating if you get lost in them and every year there are a number of avoidable accidents and injuries primarily caused by people deciding to leave the marked trail. Familiarity with the route you will be taking is a part of maintaining hiking safety and this will reduce any chance of getting lost. Also, it is much easier to get help and in the case of injury to you and your family by rescuers if you stick to the main trail.

Be familiar with the environment of your hike~Even if you are planning to hike in your local area, preparedness and safety are important even though you may feel very comfortable. Understand the types of plants, animals, and geographical make-up of the hiking trail area to get the most out of the trip.

Stay calm if someone gets injured~You do not want to panic if your spouse or child gets injured. Stay calm and in control so that you can think fast, call for emergency help and/or administer basic First Aid techniques for the injury. In a stressful situation, your calmness will also help children to remain calm. An excellent strategy is to give a child an age appropriate job to do. For example, if you are tending a wound, they can hold items for you. Tell them very specifically how they can help. Even simple things like unpacking water and the First Aid kit or making a pillow for the injured family member will give them something to focus on and they’ll feel as if they are helping.

Know how to start a campfire before you go for the hike~A fire can be handy especially if you find yourself lost in the outdoors or if someone in your family gets hurt along the way. You may be hiking during the day and have no need for a fire but this skill and preparedness item can really help if you find yourself in an unexpected situation. Many hikers have set out for a lovely day of hiking only to find themselves having to spend the evening or an overnight outside awaiting rescue. Having a fire will keep your body warm, heat up a meal, and in some cases ward off wildlife. Make sure your pre-planning includes having the necessary supplies to start a fire and knowing how to do it.

Have a communication system in place during the hiking trip~Have a working mobile phone or radio device to inform the authorities about your exact location if you are lost or injured. Have more than one type of communication devices for the sake of hiking safety and always including extra batteries. The best arrangement would be to have a phone that is fully charged and is within the network range, as well as a walkie-talkie that will work on a different frequency and use batteries.