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Red Cross Urges Preparedness for Summer Activities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      

Contact: Katherine Boury
Media Relations Officer
206-726-3547

June 11, 2008

Hiking and Camping Safety Tips

(Seattle, WA)  The American Red Cross knows that summer is a great time
for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and swimming. Since
unexpected things happen, however, the best way to help guarantee a good
time for all is to plan ahead carefully and follow common sense safety
precautions. (The safety tips are also available on our web site at
www.seattleredcross.org.)

"The weather is colder than it is normally this time of year so it is
even more important to be prepared when out hiking or camping in the
Northwest," said Carol Dunn, Community Disaster Educator.

Hiking & Camping Safety

  • If you have any medical conditions, discuss your plans with
    your health care provider and get approval before starting out.
  • Review the equipment, supplies, and skills that you'll need.
    Consider what emergencies could arise and how you would deal with those
    situations. (What if you got lost, or were confronted unexpectedly by an
    animal? What if someone became ill or injured? What kind of weather
    might you encounter?) Add to your packing checklist the supplies you
    would need to deal with these situations.
  • Make sure you have the skills you need for your camping or
    hiking adventure. You may need to know how to read a compass, erect a
    temporary shelter, or give first aid. And practice your skills in
    advance.
  • If your trip will be strenuous, get into good physical
    condition first. If you plan to climb or travel to high altitudes, make
    plans for proper acclimatization to the altitude.
  • It's safest to hike or camp with at least one companion. If
    you'll be entering a remote area, your group should have a minimum of
    four people; this way, if one is hurt, another can stay with the victim
    while two go for help. If you'll be going into an area that is
    unfamiliar to you, take along someone who knows the area or at least
    talk with those who do beforehand.
  • Some areas require you to have reservations or certain
    permits. If an area is closed, there's a reason, so don't go there. Find
    out in advance about any regulations -- there may be rules about
    campfires or specific guidelines about wildlife.
  • Pack emergency signaling devices and know ahead of time the
    location of the nearest telephone or ranger station in case an emergency
    does occur on your trip.
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person.
    Include such details as the make, year, and license plate of your car,
    the equipment you're bringing, the weather you've anticipated, and when
    you plan to return.
  • Get trained in American Red Cross First Aid before starting out.
    For First Aid and CPR classes, in King County please call (206)
    726-3534, or visit our web site at www.seattleredcross.org.
    In Kitsap County please call the West Sound Service Center at (360) 377-3761.
  • Always allow for bad weather and for the possibility that you
    may be forced to spend a night outdoors unexpectedly.
  • It's a good idea to assemble a separate "survival pack" for each
    hiker to have at all times. In a small waterproof container, place a
    pocket knife, compass, whistle, space blanket, nylon filament, water
    purification tablets, matches, and candle. With these items, the chances
    of being able to survive in the wild are greatly improved.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to
helping make families and communities safer at home and around the
world.  For more information, visit www.seattleredcross.org