Be Prepared. It’s the old Scout motto and it should serve as a mantra for anybody who ventures into the Great Outdoors.
It should guide your outdoor activity planning any season of the year but it’s particularly relevant to winter outdoor recreation when cold temperatures, heavy precipitation and fewer daylight hours complicate survival many times over.
But there’s no reason to shy away from enjoying the outdoors, just because it’s winter. It just means being prepared is more crucial.
And getting prepared isn’t hard on Vancouve Island because of a plethora of information available dedicated to outdoor safety.
Besides being tasked with rescuing you, should you run into unforseen circumstances after venturing out (it happens), or, worse yet, venturing out unprepared, Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR) can also train you to be safe out in the woods.
Sue Bennett is the CRSAR AdventureSmart presenter, and offers a pretty clear and concise advice for being safe in the outdoors.
“Be prepared and always tell somebody where you’re going and when you expect to be back,” Bennett said. “Because then if the worst happens, we at least know where to start (searching for you).”
Being prepared is the easy part, contact CRSAR and arrange to take one of three notable training programs.
AdventureSmart: A national program dedicated to encouraging Canadians and visitors to Canada to “Get informed and go outdoors.” AdventureSmart combines online and on-site awareness with targeted outreach to try and reduce the number and severity of Search and Rescue Incidents.
Hug-A-Tree and Survive: An AdventureSmart program that helps lost children survive in the woods. It teaches children how not to become lost in the woods, and what to do should they become lost.
Survive Outside: Three easy steps that will significantly improve your chances of survival should you become lost or in distress – Trip planning; Training; and Taking the Essentials.
In the meantime, if you’re heading out into the woods, the AdventureSmart program recommends you follow the “Three T’s”: Trip Planning; Training; Taking the Essentials. The training is available from CRSAR. Contact them to arrange (250-923-2500).
- As for the other two, plan your trip by:
- Planning your travel route.
- Know the terrain and conditions.
- Check the weather.
- Always fill out a trip plan.
- Fire making kit
- Signalling device (e.g., mirror, whistle)
- Extra food and water
- Extra clothing
- Navigational/Communication devices (compass, gps)
- First aid kit
- Emergency blanket/shelter
- Pocket knife
- Sun protection
Put all these things in a personal emergency kit or buy a commercial one.
In addition, consider these Trip Tips:
Travel with a companion: A companion can give you a hand to overcome difficulties or emergencies.
Be prepared: Ensure everyone with you understands what to do in case of an emergency.
Don’t depend solely on technology: Equipment failure and lack of reception are very possible in the outdoors.