How many people do you think that get lost during wilderness excursions, expected to get lost? Obviously, no one knows for certain, but i would venture a guess that none of them expected or purposed themselves to get lost. One of our good NRS community members, Tiffany Conway, who is also a dedicated and well-trained Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer, wishes everyone would know that. Tiffany has been on countless searches and thinks that advice is one of the most important things that people should know when going on outdoor trips….that it is possible for anyone at anytime to get lost.
While doing research for book on the topic of survival, I was not surprised at how many people’s deaths were so easily preventable. I discovered that many of the deaths and serious injury that require a Search-and-Rescue crew were often times only a day or two late to the tragedy. Had they been notified in a more timely fashion of the general area and time someone was lost, they could have easily saved many more lives.
That is why the text in the photo attached could easily save your life. Not actually the text itself, but the information that is found in it. This is an actual text I sent my wife one day as I decided to go on an impromptu hike to do some tracking.
There are two things that you could text someone if you are going hiking, hunting, vacationing, (basically any sort of outdoor travel) to get help to you if your plans are unexpectedly changed. Those two things are:
- Tell someone where you are going.
- Tell someone when you expect to return
You might also notice that I told my wife what I was wearing (so others could possibly see me better) and what shoes I was wearing (so trackers could track me more easily).
It really is that simple. Think of one of the following events happening to you:
- You rent a jeep for the day to explore the Rocky Mountains and the GPS unit (that you are unfamiliar with) takes you down the wrong road and you get stuck in deep snow.
- You go duck hunting in inclement weather and your boat capsizes and your phone is soaked and no longer functions properly. Even though you would have had cell coverage it is now unusable.
- You go on a hiking trip in an unfamiliar area and get lost, and break your ankle unable to walk out.
Each of these incidents are stories that I read and studied while doing my research. Each one of these stories ultimately led to the death of someone involved. Each of these deaths could have been prevented had they told someone where they were going, and when they expected to return.
Let’s assume for moment that you do that. If you do not return, then First Responders, SAR or similar personnel will be able to have a smaller search area and will know about it more quickly so they can get activated sooner. Both of which leads to an increased probability that you will be brought out healthier, and alive.
One of the arguments I hear to doing texts and calls like this are is that it limits the person. Meaning they can then not explore or go somewhere else other than what they state in the text. Nothing could be further from the truth. This allows you to do more of that. Again, should SAR be needed, it simply dwindles lag time between you becoming lost and SAR being activated. It should also dwindle their search area down considerably.
You just have to do it!