Leah Hainey, “Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue” Facebook Page Administrator
Having a good hiking plan is one of the most important things you should do prior to heading outdoors. At the very least, include what trail you are going to be on and what time you should be back in cell service by. Additional pieces of information we like to have when deployed on a mission are: names and cell phone numbers of all members in your hiking party, the type of car you drove to the trailhead, a list of gear you have packed and the type of boots you were wearing. If you’d really like to go above and beyond, keep a roll of aluminum foil in your vehicle and before departing on the trail, step on it to provide your boot print. Our man trackers can do AMAZING things and this would give them a great head start!
Be sure the person you have shared your plan with understands that they will be responsible to call 911 if you miss your check in. This would likely deploy search and rescue to come to your aid. And remember…the second most important part of your plan is sticking with it!
If you become lost, sit down and have both a snack and a drink of water. Once calm, try to remember where you were not lost. If you have any doubt, find a clear and quiet spot not too far away and stay there! This minimizes our search area to help find you faster, and this makes it easier for you to hear our voice checks as we call out your name during our search. If you can, signal for help by calling out, making noise, starting a fire, or using a radio if you have one. Lay out anything bright or reflective you have for our helicopter team to spot. And most importantly, keep a positive attitude; we are on our way!
Lastly, always pack the ten essentials:
- Navigation: map & compass
- Sun Protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat
- Insulation: EXTRA clothes, space blanket, poncho
- Illumination: headlamp/flashlight
- Emergency Kit: first aid, signal items
- Fire: spark source, tinder
- Repair: knife, duct tape, paracord
- Nutrition: EXTRA food
- Hydration: EXTRA water or purification source
- Shelter: can be a light emergency bivy or tarp
A little planning ensures a safe trip, and it ensures your safety should you need to call on us!