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CAMP SMART

CAMP SMART THIS SUMMER
TAKE CARE TO PREPARE FOR THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Keep it smart to keep it safe when hiking and camping this summer. Since unexpected things can happen in the woods, planning and commonsense precautions can help keep you safe while enjoying the great outdoors. Here's how you can Camp Smart this summer:

  • Take an American Red Cross course in First Aid and CPR before you go.
     
  • Review your equipment and supplies. Consider what emergencies might arise, such as getting lost, becoming ill or injured, bad weather or being confronted by a wild animal and the ways you could handle those situations. Add all the supplies you would need to your hiking checklist.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Assess your outdoor skills. Are you prepared for an outdoor adventure? You may need to read a compass, put up a temporary shelter or give first aid. Practice your skills in advance.
     
  • If you have any medical conditions, discuss your plans with your healthcare provider and get approval before you go. If you are planning a strenuous trip, be sure to get into good physical condition before setting out. Remember to be prepared to acclimate to high altitudes if you are planning to climb or travel up mountains.
     
  • It's safest to hike or camp with at least one other person. If you are 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 the other two go for help. If you'll be going to an unfamiliar area, take along someone who knows the ropes or at least speak with those who do before you set out. Always allow for bad weather and for the possibility that you may be forced to spend a night outdoors unexpectedly.
     
  • Some areas require reservation or permits. If an area is closed, don't go there. Find out in advance about regulations--there may be specific rules about campfires or guidelines about wildlife.
     
  • Pack emergency signaling devices, and know ahead of time the location of the nearest landline telephone or ranger station in case of emergency.
     
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person. Include details of your car, the equipment you are bringing, the weather you anticipate and when you plan to return.

What to Bring: A Hiking Checklist
What you take will depend on where you are going and how long you plan to be away, but any backpack should include the following:

  • Candle and matches
  • Cell phone (and extra charged battery if possible)
  • Clothing (always bring something warm, extra socks and rain gear)
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Food (bring extra)
  • Flashlight
  • Foil (to use as a cup or signaling device)
  • Hat
  • Insect repellent
  • Map
  • Nylon filament
  • Pocket knife
  • Pocket mirror (to use as a signaling device)
  • Prescription glasses (an extra pair)
  • Prescription medications for ongoing medical conditions
  • Radio with batteries
  • Space blanket or a piece of plastic (to use for warmth or shelter)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Trash bag (makes an adequate poncho)
  • Water
  • Waterproof matches or matches in a waterproof tin
  • Water purification tablets
  • Whistle (to scare off animals or to use as a signaling device)

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