Backcountry Hazards

Getting Lost
If you are lost, take it easy and keep calm. Sit down and figure out where you are. Take out your map and try to get oriented. Look for familiar landmarks such as visible mountain peaks or trails. If you canít figure out where you are, stay put and wait for help. Remember, three of anything (i.e., shouts or whistles) is a signal of distress.

Hypothermia is a rapidly progressive mental and physical collapse due to the chilling of the bodyís core. It is caused by prolonged exposure to cold, and is greatly intensified by wetness, wind, exhaustion, and lack of food. Hypothermia can, and often does, strike in temperatures above freezing.

The signs and symptoms of hypothermia are progressive and the onset is rapid. Watch for early signs in members of your group. Victims are usually unaware that they are becoming hypothermic.

Treat hypothermia by:

In Case of Serious Injury
STOP IMMEDIATELY! Treat the injury if you can and make the victim comfortable. Send or signal for help. If rescue is delayed, make an emergency shelter and be sure to keep the victim as comfortable as possible. Donít move until help arrives, unless remaining where you are poses more danger. Use extreme care in moving the injured person. Do not attempt to move the victim if he or she has taken a significant fall, has lost consciousness, or if a head or spinal injury is suspected. Keep calm, reassure the victim, and document what you can about the nature of the injury and any changes you observe over time.

Cell Phone Coverage
While a cell phone may help in an emergency, do not rely on your cell phone. Cell coverage in the backcountry may be poor or unavailable across large areas. Be prepare and follow other recommendations to insure a safe trip.