Outdoor Safety Tips:
The Cherokee Country Search And Rescue Team encourages everyone to be prepared when they venture into the outdoors. Part of this preparation includes ensuring that you have received a basic education about your adventure.
Cherokee County consists of beautiful and diverse terrain and features. Much of our county can be found in our parks and trail systems as well as our WMA’s. Outdoor activities include river rafting, boating, hiking, horseback riding, ATV, hunting, rock-climbing, and much more.
Before you begin to enjoy the outdoors that Cherokee County has to offer, please take a few minutes and review some common sense suggestions. These tips will be beneficial anywhere you might travel.
- Never go alone.
- Leave a plan: tell relatives or friends your destination and expected time of return; place a note on your vehicle at the trailhead with this information
- Take the 10 essentials: Fanny pack or day pack will hold these
- Map of area your hiking
- First Aid Kit
- GPS or Compass
- Proper clothing (jacket, pants, hat, dress for the changing weather of Geogia)
- Snacks, food and water
- Matches/ Fire starters
- Rain Gear (Jacket and Pants)
- Pocket Knife
- Be realistic about your physical condition. Check with your doctor to see if there would be any concerns about strenuous exercise.
- Dress in layers. You can take away or add as needed Weather in Georgia changes quickly at dark
- Find out the local weather reports and prepare for extreme conditions
- Know the terrain
While you’re out
- Don’t be afraid to “turn back”. While the excitement of reaching a goal carries a strong persuasive emotion, ambition is a bad reason to place yourself and others in a dangerous situation. Reasons to “turn back” include:
- Sudden change in the weather
- Unexpected conditions – high water, icy conditions, etc.
- Fatigue – General rule: your pace should be set by the slowest hiker. If that hiker is unable to continue, everyone “turns back”.
- Running out of daylight – especially in the winter months
- Never change your route. If you do not return on schedule and your relatives or friends who have your plans notify the authorities, the search and rescue effort will begin where it is presumed you are located. If you change your route, you may delay your rescue and place the search and rescue personnel in danger.
Injuries on the Trail
- Common injuries can include:
- Falls – sprains, broken limbs, concussions
- Heat exhaustion (Hyperthermia)
Injuries can occur just a few feet from the trailhead or miles into the trail. Being prepared to rescue yourself can also assist in helping others who may be injured who are with you. Know the terrain, have the proper gear, and learn basic first aid.
If you cannot rescue yourself
- STOP! Stay put and stay warm and protect yourself from the elements.
- Drink water and stay hydrated.
- Put on bright clothing.
- Blow your whistle at regular intervals.
- Do not lie on the bare ground. Use whatever equipment you have brought to protect yourself from the elements.
Using common sense while enjoying any wilderness is your best way to avoid an unpleasant outing.
Ask yourself these questions BEFORE you head out:
- Do I have the right clothing and the proper equipment?
- Do I have appropriate skills and experience for the terrain?
- Am I taking enough food and water?
- Did I leave my plans with a relative or friend?
- Have I checked the weather?
All four seasons in Cherokee present wonderful outdoor activities. Please respect the wilderness and be prepared while enjoying them.
Have fun and be safe! Do not make us meet by accident.
If you would like more information or would like someone from Cherokee County Search and Rescue to come speak about outdoor safety, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.