Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hiker's and Hunter's Trip Plan

Do you leave enough information with friends and family when heading into the back country?  All too often SAR teams begin a search with scarce or inadequate information.

When a hiker or hunter goes missing and 911 is called, it is not uncommon for a Search and Rescue (SAR) team to put 30 people in the field looking for the lost subject.  Generally, the reporting person can only provide generalities such as “they went to the Devil’s Lake Trail Head” or “Uncle Bob is hunting off the 5 Road in the Ochocos.”  That kind of information is not enough to plan a search.

With summer in full swing and the hunting season right around the corner it’s time to take a look at our pre-trip planning.  This is the time to prepare a trip plan.  A plan that is similar in concept to the plan that a pilot files.  It is essential to give the SAR team the information needed to plan a search to accomplish the rescue.

The first step is to identify someone who will call for help when needed.  This can be a family member or friend whom you know can be decisive and make a judgment call.  If you tell this responsible person that if you aren’t home by 9:00 to call 911 for SAR support, you know that at 9:01 that person is on the phone making a very difficult call.  

Secondly, help that responsible person and the SAR team by giving them something to go by; this is your trip plan.  On my web site I provide what I call the Hiker’s Trip Plan;  This plan gives the searchers the basic but critical information needed to plan a search and assign resources (e.g., the horse team, ATV’s, air assets, etc.).  For example, the plan asks the hiker to identify the who, what, where and when of the trip.  The details are critical.  Location information (Latitude & Longitude, UTM grid) gives them a starting point.  Let them know if someone in the party has a medical condition.  Consider attaching a marked up copy of the map you’ll be using in the backcountry.  Identify where your car is parked, the camp site and intended route.  The plan expands on all of these items.

Make this process a key part of your trip planning.   

No comments:

Post a Comment