Are you ready for outdoor adventure in Squamish?
Consider this possible scenario as you enjoy the outdoors in the community: I am in the middle of the forest and on the wrong path. My phone just told me that I have 10% battery left and I’m out of cell service. I know I’m going in the wrong direction, but my Trail app isn’t loading. Luckily for me, I know these trails and how to orient myself. Immediately, I go over my mental checklist:
✓ It’s the middle of the day, and I have plenty of time to go home
✓ The weather is hot and dry
✓ I told my reliable child where I was going and how long it was going to take me
✓ My car in the parking lot will tell the search and rescue team where to start their search
✓ I have an emergency blanket in my pocket
✓ My dogs are with me and they can help keep me warm
✓ My dogs have a whistle on a leash and I can help searchers find me with whistles
✓ I have an emergency supply of gummy bears.
Getting lost, injured or stuck can happen quickly and for all of us! Sticking to the simple 3T rule (travel plan, training, essentials) will help us avoid or deal with an unexpected situation.
Plan your trip:
Tell a trusted friend or family member about your plan and stick to it. Short or long, and whether you’re running, hiking, biking or climbing, someone always needs to know where you are and what your journey entails. Also prepare and do your homework. Check the weather forecast, elevation and level of difficulty, as well as avalanche conditions in winter. It’s always a good idea to talk to a local resource and get the inside scoop on trails/roads and wildlife encounters.
Practice your skills on a regular basis. This includes reviewing navigation skills, first aid and fire making in all conditions. Know your limits on the trails in terms of difficulty level and distance. Avalanche training can be a lifesaver, so make sure you know how to use beacons if your activity is off the beaten path.
Carrying the essentials will keep you somewhat comfortable until the search and rescue team members join you. Staying warm, hydrated, dry and nourished are important parts of your survival in the outdoors. Another way to help searchers find you is to whistle in groups of three or turn on your flashlight. Plenty of lightweight options make it easy to carry the essentials.
Lost, stuck or injured outdoors? Dial 911 for your local search and rescue volunteer team. Stay put, stay warm and dry until we reach you.
I turn around and follow the path that takes me back to where I came from. Soon, I arrive at the intersection where I missed my track. Thanks to my preparation and my experience, I can now return to my car in complete safety.
List of Essentials (https://www.adventuresmart.ca/the-three-ts/#takingtheessentials):
Emergency blanket, emergency communication device/beacon, signaling whistle/mirror, food and water, headlamp, extra layers, knife, fire starter, first aid, map and compass, sun/insect protection, + personal medication/epi-pen, reserve pair of glasses (if you cannot see without). Snow/winter add-on: shovel, probe, transceiver.
Christine Strub is the prevention team coordinator for Squamish Search and Rescue.