Trail and Wilderness Safety

Anything can happen in the outdoors, and wise leaders take precautions to prevent accidents and injuries from happening in the first place. Wise leaders ask questions and try to identify potential risks. Once risks are identified, devise a plan to minimize the risks, and manage a crisis should one occur. Involve the entire troop in this process so that everyone is aware of potential dangers and how to avoid them. Most trail and wilderness safety is largely common sense. When everyone in a group understands the reasons for safety rules, they obey them more willingly.

Obviously, the best way to stay safe in the wilderness is to not get into trouble in the first palace. This requires planning, leadership, and good judgement. Alertness and care, and staying within the abilities of the group are also important to avoid accidents. The most common outdoor injuries are blisters, cuts, sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures. Hikers may also become lost or caught in storms, and panic as a result. Avoidable tragedies happen when campers lack the skills and knowledge to deal with problems encountered in the outdoors.

The following precautions are recommended for all groups hiking or camping on High Adventure activities:

  • stay together on trails
  • avoid loose rocks (especially on descent)
  • avoid dangerous ledges, cliffs, and areas where falls might occur
  • at least one person each group should be currently certified in first aid through the Red Cross or another recognized agency

Accidents can occur when hikers kick and roll boulders down steep hills. Remember that wilderness trails have no caution signs for loose rocks, nor guard rails on cliffs.

Copyright 1999-2004 - Southern Sierra High Adventure Team