GEMA/HS Dispatch Sept 2018 - Page 11

and K-9s conduct Search and Rescue courtesy of the Georgia Department of ces. o hike with at least one other person. Photo Georgia Department of Natural Resrouces. and year of the car used to get there. Strength adds that even downloading an application that can display precise latitude and longitude coordinates could be helpful in communicating exactly where you are to searchers if you’re able to get a signal. Relying solely on your cell phone’s GPS often fails since that requires cell phone towers to triangulate a signal around the phone. That can be a challenge when hiking in mountainous or hilly regions. What seems to put hikers in danger the most is hikers themselves. While natural occurrences do pose a threat, it’s often the lack of preparation and practical consideration that causes a problem. One of the biggest operations Strength worked was searching for a long time hunter who experienced an unexpected medical issue while alone on the trail. “It happens more frequently than I think most people realize,” said Strength, a Northeast Georgia local and avid hiker himself, who encourages anyone planning to head outdoors to take time to make a plan and prepare appropriately. ■ For more tips on outdoor safety, visit the U.S. Forestry Service’s website at safety.shtml Keep your gear in working order and pack emergency signaling equipment. Watch Where You Are Going Avoid slippery surfaces and areas where you may lose your footing. Be Weather Wise Keep an eye on current and upcoming weather conditions. Dress Appropriately Wear appropriate clothing for the season and trail conditions. Learn Basic First Aid Be able to identify and treat injuries and illnesses, and always carry a first aid kit. Make Camp Before Dark Travel during the daylight so you can always see where you are going. Think Before You Drink Pack water or purify through chemical treatment, and remember that agility, balance and judgement are all affected by alcohol. Source: USDA Forest Service Photo courtesy of Georgia Deptartment of Natural Resources DISPATCH | 11