Wilderness Safety

Hurt or Lost? Call 9-1-1

It takes a 9-1-1 call to activate King County Search & Rescue. If you need help, don’t heistate to make the call.

IF HURT

Stay safe; prevent more injuries.
Perform the necessary first aid.
Make a plan; then follow it.

Call 9-1-1 right away.
You will not be charged for a rescue.

 

 

IF LOST

Stop stay together; stay calm.
Think about what you know and when you last knew it for certain.
Observe what is around you, resources available, possible options.
Plan – make smart decisions; don’t make the situation worse.

Be Phone Smart

Your phone can be a life-saving tool if you use it wisely. Even if you can’t call out, we can sometimes still use your phone’s “digital handshake” to triangulate your location. Always follow these tips.

Bring a Backup

Your phone may become your only lifeline. Always bring a backup battery when you hike.

Text or Tell

Before you start, message or call a friend and tell them where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Snap the Map

If there is a map board at the trailhead, take a picture of it so you have a backup map if you get lost.

Refrain from Drain

Always maintain your phone’s charge. Use a separate device for navigation. Bring a dedicated flashlight.

Call if You Fall

If you get hurt or lost, call 9-1-1 right away. If your call does not go through, text 9-1-1 and include your emergency and your location. Texts can sometime go through even when calls can’t.

The 10 Essentials

Many of our rescues are of people who were just out for a day hike.
Always carry the 10 essential systems whenever you travel in the wilderness. They could save your life.

Hydration

Always carry a water bottle. Bring purification tablets or a filter on longer outings.

Navigation

Always bring a map. A GPS system and a compass are smart. Do not rely on your phone.

Insulation

Always bring extra layers and rain protection. Hypothermia is a real life threat.

Illumination

Always carry a dedicated flashlight. Headlamps are great. Do not rely on your phone.

Combustion

Bring weatherproof matches or a lighter. Know how to build a fire.

Communication

Shortrange: whistle and mirror. Longrange: cell phone or satelite message device.

Repair

Bring the tools needed to repair essential gear or craft replacements in the field.

Sun Protection

Sun screen, chapstick, and sun glasses are important, especially in the snow.

Shelter

On short trips a mylar blanket works. Bring a tent or tarp for longer trips.

First Aid

Be sure your kit can stop serious bleeding. Always carry your life-saving prescriptions.

During this public health crisis, spending time in outdoor spaces has become more important than ever. The Recreate Responsibly (recreateresponsibly.org) guidelines offer a starting point for getting outside to keep yourself healthy and to maintain access to our parks, trails, and beaches.

Tips on Staying Safe in the Wilderness