Going bush these holidays? Here’s how to enjoy it safely

A distress beacon could save your life.

Stay safe, get a distress beacon and check out some good advice below

Everyone wants Kiwis to have a fun and safe festive season, especially New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC).

They are both encouraging sound planning for any outdoor adventure, be it camping with the family or tramping our beautiful environment.

A recent increase in interest for the outdoors has the police and MSC predicting a high number of people will hit the outdoors this holiday season.

Senior Sergeant Matt Wheble, Acting National Coordinator for Search and Rescue at Police says there are a few things you need to take seriously when planning your tramping or camping trip.

“Tell someone where you are going and let them know when to raise the alarm if you don’t return.

Beware of the weather: It’s very unpredictable and can deteriorate quickly.

Check the forecast and expect changes.

Don’t go out in poor weather and don’t attempt to cross flooded rivers.  Consider having a contingency plan in the event of it turning bad.

Know your limits: Don’t push your physical limits and experience – if you are new to tramping, be easy on yourself.

Take the right supplies and equipment and make sure you have the right clothing for the conditions including emergency rations for the worst-case scenario, says Senior Sergeant Wheble.

Take appropriate means of communication and location devices such as a distress beacon:
If you get into trouble, can you call for help? Who knows where you are? Do you have the right outdoors clothing, enough food and equipment to stay safe until help arrives?

MSC chief executive Mike Daisley says with international travel off the cards and numerous marketing campaigns encouraging Kiwis to explore their own backyard, there will be a lot of new users taking to the hills this summer – for some, this will be something new.

“If you are planning to get out and explore, it is a really good idea to take some time to learn about your destination and prepare yourself using some of our free online resources,” he says.

“If you’re new to tramping, it’s good to ease into it, start small, and ask for advice.

It’s fantastic to see such an interest and hopefully this will lead to life-long participation in outdoor recreation, he says.

“But as we see this surge in interest, we are also encouraging those users to think about their personal safety and take a few simple steps to ensuring they have a great, safe experience, and make it home,” says Daisley.

For anyone headed outdoors, a registered distress beacon is the lifeline that can summon help to your location in a life-threatening situation.

Take one with you when you go.

It could save your life or someone else’s.  You can rent or buy a distress beacon and take it with you.

You can register your distress beacon at www.beacons.org.nz
It is fast, easy and free to register.

It gives searchers essential information that will help them get to you if you are lost or injured.

So, remember these few tips to keep yourself safe:

• Choose the right trip for you: It pays to learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it
• Understand the weather: It can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed
• Pack a change of warm clothes and extra food: Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected extra night out
• Share your plans and take ways to get help: Telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life
• Take care of yourself and each other: Eat, drink, rest, and stick with your group and make decisions together.

For more helpful information on staying safe in the outdoors you can visit the following websites:

https://mountainsafety.org.nz/land-safety-code

https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/know-before-you-go/land-safety-code/

www.adventuresmart.nz

To kickstart your planning, head to the Mountain Safety Council website and explore it’s useful tips, how-to videos and online resources for your favourite outdoor activity.