How to remain safe whilst out and about in the countryside
It’s safe to say that we are blessed with some wonderful scenery around our operational area, and now the summer holidays are in full flow we hope you are making the most of the great outdoors. There are many ways to explore the stunning countryside, and whether you're walking, climbing, running or cycling, the landscape is inspiring, but can also be hazardous. Here are several tips to keep you safe whilst you’re out and about, and before you even set off from home.
Before you start and throughout the day, eat well and remain hydrated to keep your energy levels high.
Carry a map and compass, and have the ability to use them! Plan your route carefully. Consider the time of year, terrain and the nature of your trip and choose your route accordingly. Leave details of your route including start and finish points, estimated time of return and contact details — and leave your note in a reliable place in case of emergency or with family and friends at home.
Carry a headtorch with spare batteries, a whistle to attract attention if you need help and carrying a basic first aid kit and an emergency survival bag/blanket. If you take regular medication, make sure you’ve had it or have it with you to take during the day.
Check the weather forecast. Wear suitable clothing and footwear, and carry extra layers in case you get into difficulty. Keep an eye on the weather whilst you’re out and about. Be prepared to turn back if conditions turn against you, even if this upsets a long-planned adventure. Watch for signs of hypothermia: disorientation, confusion, shivering, tiredness, pale complexion and loss of circulation in hands or toes. Children and older people are especially susceptible.
Keep the party together and allow the slowest in the party to determine the pace and take special care of the youngest, weakest and least knowledgeable in dangerous places. If you go out alone, let people know your route and when you expect to finish and then stick to it as far as you can. If your plans change, let them know that too.
Obviously we want you to enjoy yourselves but staying safe is more important. In the unfortunate event you require urgent medical assistance, alert the authorities immediately.
Dial 999 or 112, ask for Police and then Mountain Rescue. The days of running down the hill to the nearest telephone box to summon help appear to be over - that said, mobile phones are not 100% reliable and batteries can run flat and network coverage cannot be relied upon in the more remote areas.
Before you set out, charge your mobile phone. Many accidents occur towards the end of the day when both you and your phone are low on energy. Register your phone with www.emergencysms.org.uk - an emergency SMS service in the UK that allows you to send a SMS text message to the 999 service (UK) where it will be passed to the police then mountain rescue or ambulance, fire rescue, coastguard.
Be prepared with the following information to aid your rescuers:
• Casualties – Number, names, type of injuries
• Hazards to the rescuers – Swiftwater, rock fall etc.
• Access – Description of the approach terrain and weather conditions
• Location of incident – A grid reference is perfect (please say if this is from a GPS device)
• Equipment – What safety equipment you have with you
• Type of incident – Mountain, crag, moors, etc.
Keep injured/exhausted people safe and warm until help reaches you.
Think!! Most dangers, hazards and incidents can be avoided with the correct preparation, forward thinking and using your common sense!
For more info: www.cvsrt.org.uk