With warmer, longer days, folks are heading outdoors more. Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue wants to make sure you have pleasant, safe hikes in the front or backcountry, and so suggests the following safety tips: Know the name of the trail you’ll be hiking; tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back; don’t hike alone; prepare appropriately—bring enough food, water, and clothing for unforeseen situations; and bring a whistle and a cell phone.
Clothing tends to be your friend when hot days turn to night. Layering of synthetic clothing is your best bet, as it wicks moisture away from your body; cotton items tend to stay soggy. A nylon/Gore-Tex shell is also recommended. These days, outdoor wear is made lightweight and is easily stashed into a small backpack.
Water (1 quart per hour)
Map and compass
Hiking plan left with a friend or in your car
Extra clothes (not cotton!)
Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm
If you do get lost, try not to panic. Sit down and think calmly. Find an open area where you can be spotted from the ground and air. If you are in the front country, call 9-1-1 on your cell phone and ask for the Santa Barbara County Dispatch Center. Request that Search and Rescue be called to find you. And then stay put.
If you take your dog(s) on the hike, remember to bring extra water and snacks for them. Also, they overheat faster than humans, so be sure to rest the dogs often when it’s hot. Don’t rely on your pooch to let you know when he’s had enough—many dogs will go until they drop from heat exhaustion.
For more hiking tips and safety information, visit sbcsar.org.
Emergency Info Planner
Fill out, print, and post this near your phone before leaving for your trip.
Where I am going:
My destination is:
Who I am with (names and phone #s):
When I’ll be home (date and time):
Vehicle info (make, model, year, lic#)
Emergency medical info (medications, medical conditions):
IF I DO NOT RETURN WHEN INDICATED PLEASE CALL 9-1-1