Wilderness Safety

In Case of Emergency, Dial 911

Hurt or Lost? Call 9-1-1

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 portable charger 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 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.


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


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


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


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


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


Short range: whistle and mirror. Long range: cell phone or satellite message device.


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.


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.

Tips on Staying Safe in the Wilderness