Getting Lost in the Wilderness

Getting lost in the outdoors is a possibility. Proper planning and action can keep you safe. Here are a few tips that may help you in this situation.

  • Planning and preparation.
    • Learn how to use a compass and a map or GPS
    • Thoroughly review a map and other guidebooks of the area. Learn about the trails, streams, mountains, nearby roads and other features around the area.
    • Tell someone of your plans and the time that you expect to return.
    • Pack the proper equipment and supplies. Carry essential items in your pockets for use in an emergency.
    • Sign in on trailhead registers and stick to your planned route.
    • When hiking always use a map and compass. Stop occasionally to note your progress on the map and always pay attention to landmarks as you hike. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you do get lost, stay calm. Do not panic.
    • S.T.O.P. (stop, think, observe and plan).
    • Try to return to a familiar location if within a reasonable distance. Do not go too far off your original route.
    • If still lost, stay put. Rescuer will most likely find you within 24 hours.
    • Blow your whistle to signal that you are in trouble and you need assistance.
    • Stay warm and dry. Put on extra clothing to avoid hypothermia.
    • Build a fire to keep warm and to help with your rescue.
    • Drink plenty of water. Do not let yourself get dehydrated. Purify the water from natural resources.
    • Seek some sort of shelter for protection and comfort.
    • Eat foods to keep your energy. Some berries, plants and insects can be eaten safely. Learn which ones by making this part of your trip planning and preparation.
    • If injured, first aid should be administered as necessary.

 

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