of people enjoy the beautiful mountains and deserts
of the southwest every year. Some of these people
become needlessly injured, crippled or even die.
Deserts and mountains can be very unforgiving
environments and are not places to be careless
or unprepared when visiting. In addition, if you
plan to engage in technical or specialty sports
such as climbing, mountain biking, or backwoods
hiking, then you need to seek competent instruction
before setting out on your adventure.
for the Unexpected and Emergencies
is an old saying: Failing to prepare is
preparing to fail, and it holds especially
true in the environments of the desert southwest.
Pleasant conditions and clear trails can lead
to overconfidence and danger when the situation
or weather suddenly changes. Think about possible
emergencies before you leave home and take positive
steps to prepare for them. If you find yourself
in an emergency situation, do not panic! If possible,
sit down, think things through before you take
action, and consider all of your alternatives.
Allow yourself to rest if you become fatigued,
dont press on to the point of collapse
this can be very dangerous. Plan an extra margin
of safety into your activities and youll
enjoy them even more!
Carry Plenty of Water
desert environment can be extremely hot and dry,
and can extract tremendous amounts of water from
your body very quickly. You will need at least
one gallon of water per person per day when temperatures
are above 90 degrees, and even more when they
get above 100 degrees. Light cotton clothing covering
your body and a hat will also help to slow evaporation
and protect you from the sun exposure. If you
are caught without sufficient water, then shade
and rest will be critical for your survival when
temperatures soar. Studies have shown that there
is no point trying to ration water; drink what
you have when you get thirsty.
Beware of Flash Floods
actually causes more outdoor deaths in the desert
than falls, heat, or hypothermia. The desert soil
absorbs so little water; even a short rain can
produce a massive runoff resulting in widespread
flash flooding. Roadways, culverts, and even bridges
can be totally submerged by water in a matter
of minutes. Moving water is very powerful and
a strong adult or even an entire automobile can
be carried away by rushing water that is only
shin-deep. Do not try to drive or wade across
a flooded area. Stay out of swiftly flowing streams
and washes and do not stand or allow children
to play on the banks of washes as these can collapse
suddenly. If you do become stranded in a vehicle,
try to stay with the vehicle until rescue personnel
arrive to help you.
Do Not Hike Alone
it can be tempting to strike out on your own on
the spur of the moment, this practice leaves you
helpless in the event of sudden illness or injury.
Even minor injuries can turn into life-threatening
situations if you have no one else to help you.
Tell Someone Where You Are Going
matter how large your party, it is important to
tell someone reliable WHERE you are going and
WHEN you plan to leave and return. This will allow
rescuers to be dispatched in the event that an
emergency occurs and you are unable to summon
help yourself. A cell phone is not enough to ensure
safety in areas away from cities.
Avoid Cliffs and Waterfalls
kill and injure thousands of people each year;
a vertical fall of 35 feet or more is usually
fatal. Loose rocks and boulders can also cause
fatal accidents. Hikers frequently do not realize
that scaling a cliff or waterfall is often more
dangerous and time-consuming than simply going
around. The easiest and fastest routes through
the mountains are on trails even if they do seem
to be longer.
doesnt weigh an ounce and is always there
when you need it.
Be Prepared for Cold Weather
southern Arizona is generally mild, hikers should
not underestimate the potential for weather extremes.
The combined effects of wind and cold can kill
in a matter of minutes, especially if you are
Carry Proper Equipment and Use It
equipment to support you in the event of an emergency.
Never discard your equipment if you become tired
of carrying it. Instead, rest until you are able
to continue. If you are a climber, wear a properly
fitted helmet at all times and inspect technical
equipment frequently in accordance with the manufacturers
recommendations. Specialized training is always
essential before you engage in climbing and rappelling
Learn Key Outdoor Skills
doesnt weigh an ounce and is always there
when you need it. The conveniences of modern life
allow us to live day-to-day without many of the
basic skills that were well known to earlier generations.
Instructional courses in first aid and outdoor
skills are available from many community colleges
as well as local recreation clubs. Take the time
to learn outdoor skills.
Source: http://www.sarci.org and
the Doves Nest (La Paloma Property Owners Association