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TIP #1: Always be Adequately Prepared!
When going on even a small outing into the wilderness, it is
very important to prepare for a longer outing than planned
and unexpected circumstances. Never go out without a
pack equipped with at least the 10 essentials:
1) plenty of water
2) extra food
3) extra clothing
4) fire starter
8) first aid kit
10) beadless storm whistle.
Being properly prepared could mean your life. Be safe, not
Also remember, when hiking with friends do not split up
unless you absolutely have to. If you do separate, be sure
that each person has the 10 essentials.
TIP #2: Inform Your Friends/Family
Before ever going out into the wilderness, make sure
someone knows where you are going and when to expect
you back. This simple action could save your life - time is of
ultimate importance in your survival if you become seriuosly
injured or lost in the woods.
TIP #3: What to Do When Lost
If you become lost during a wilderness outing:
1) stay calm and relax - don't panic.
2) take time to access your situation.
3) eat and drink something.
4) don't wander around.
5) if possible, travel downstream or down a canyon.
6) if deciding to remain in the same place, place a
bright-colored article in a clearing and remain nearby.
7) listen for call-out by a search team and be prepared to
8) look for ways to protect yourself from the environment and
TIP #4: Lightning Do's & Dont's
If caught in lightning in a wilderness setting, remember:
1) stay away from isolated trees.
2) squat down with your feet close together.
3) avoid overhangs, caves, ridges, and summits.
4) spread out if with others.
5) if metal objects begin to make a buzzing sound or your
hair stands on end, immediately descend.
6) be aware that lightning can strike from a cloud several
7) lightning storms can approach with extreme rapidity.
TIP #5: Firebuilding Techniques
If you need to build a fire for survival:
1) clear the area down to bare dirt.
2) start the fire small and slowly build it - begin with small
twigs, leaves, needles, and/or sap, then add small sticks
and build to larger pieces of wood.
3) for best heat advantage build your fire near a large
rock-face and sit between the rock-face and the fire. The
rocks will reflect the heat back toward your body.
4) in wet weather dry twigs are found on trees, not the
TIP #6: Preventing Hypothermia
Hypothermia can occur surprisingly quickly in our climate
area, even at Taos' lower altitudes and at temperatures of
95 or less. Hypothermia usually occurs more often in
warmer weather than in severe cold because people are
often not prepared for the dramatic change of
temperatures when a sudden storm moves in or once
nightime arrives in Taos. The following preventative
measures could save your life:
1) Make sure to use synthetic clothing in all your outdoor
adventures. In a rainstorm, cotton clothing does not wick
moisture and can quickly lead to hypothermia.
2) Always pack extra clothing, to include extra socks, extra
inner layer, extra middle layer, and a jacket for outerwear.
3) A space blanket is an unnoticeable addition to your
pack in terms of weight, but a very noticable addition to
your warmth factor if stranded when temperatures drop.
4) If cold, keep exercising by maintaining moderate,
continual movement and eat foods high in sugar content.
TIP #7: Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness can occur rather suddenly and even to
those of us who live in Taos or similar altitudes. Altitude
sickness is serious and can even lead to death. To help
prevent altitude sickness or in the case of altitude
sickness, please observe the following measures:
1) keep hydrated by drinking more water than normal.
2) climatize at lower elevations before climbing and
3) if traveling to Taos from a lower elevation, begin
drinking more water than ususal two weeks before your trip
and continue drinking extra water until you leave Taos.
4) stay aware of altitude sickness symptoms for yourself
and others - headache, nausea, insomnia, poor appetite.
5) if you develop altitude sickness, the cure is to lose
For a complete animated tutorial on important knots for
wilderness outings, go to the following website:
Animated Knots by Grog
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Follow These Simple Wilderness Tips...
In an effort to better serve our communtiy, Taos Search & Rescue is publishing this vital page of Wilderness Tips. It is our hope
these tips may contribute in keeping you, a friend or loved one more safe during outdoor wilderness activities and outings.
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