Winter Safety in the Outdoors

A re-posting of the article Life Saving Tips for BC's Backwoods posted today at castanet.net.  Tips 8 and 9 are regional in nature, the details may be different in your local area.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue would like to remind you to stay safe while exploring the backwoods this holiday season.

Here are some tips to remember before heading out with your skis, snowshoes or snowmobile.

  1. Tell someone responsible when you expect to return, where you are going and stick to that plan. If appropriate, once you are there, leave a note on your vehicle telling us what direction you took.
  2. Don’t go alone.
  3. Make sure you have a basic understanding of the new equipment you will be using in the backcountry.
  4. With the shorter daylight hours, it’s extra important to start and finish early.
  5. Make sure you are carrying the basics that will help you survive at least 24 hrs in the woods: tools to build a fire, extra food, extra clothes and a container to melt water.
  6. Don’t drink alcohol or use illegal drugs while in the backcountry.
  7. If you are travelling in an area with cell coverage, start with a full battery and leave your cell on. We can use your cell phone to “ping” your location and get to you sooner.
  8. Call 911 for help. Do not call friends and family to come and get you as they may get lost or stuck just like you.
  9. MOST IMPORTANT: Do not wait 24 hrs to report anyone missing or overdue. If your loved one has not returned at the time they mentioned and it is unusual for them to be late, call the RCMP {or your local police} and report them missing. The RCMP will contact Search and Rescue. The sooner we start searching, the better the chances for a positive outcome.

Also remember Central Okanagan Search and Rescue are available at any time, and will come to get you free of charge.  {may not be the case in the area in which you live}