Many Australians have an ongoing love affair with nature. In 2018, the number of people that camped increased by 3.5% and over 51 million pitched tents or stayed overnight in campgrounds with their domestic caravans.
According to Roy Morgan, there was a 2.3% increase in people who bushwalked or hiked between the years 2010 to 2015. Meanwhile, around 5 million Australians engage in recreational fishing almost every year. Along with the popularity of the outdoors, there are also some imminent dangers. How can you keep yourself safe when out in nature? Here are four tips:
One essential for any hiker, camper, or angler is a personal locator beacon (PLB). It is a device that helps rescuers find you when lost, sick, or injured. Locator beacons work by emitting frequency signals that responders can receive. You can turn on the transmitter, or it may automatically do so when submerged in water. As soon as the responders can pick up the signal, they can then trace the ownership of the device and follow it.
Some of the best PLBs also include a global positioning system (GPS) feature. It sends information to the many satellites that orbit the earth so that the rescuers can pinpoint your location accurately. PLBs are also small and lightweight. Some may come with straps so you can wear them on your arms. Else, you can place them inside your backpack conveniently.
Accidents happen anytime. You can stumble upon rocks or fall to the ground and break your elbow. You may get sick while you are on a solo yacht cruise. If you are fishing or canoeing, you may fall off the boat or hit your shoulders with the oars. Wild animals may also hurt you. The problem with suffering from an injury in nature is help may not be available immediately. In times like this, first-aid kits are your best friend. They may even be life-saving.
You can make your own or buy a bag or pouch online. You can also get your supplies from pharmacies and hospitals. Keep your first-aid kit accessible. Place it inside your bag, and don’t go anywhere without it.
As they say, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. While you cannot predict what will happen to you in the outdoors, you can lower the risks and get help quickly with an emergency plan. This plan may include:
– Create a detailed itinerary. Include dates, places to visit, and contact people if you need help. These may be the embassy, nearest hospital and ambulance, or campground doctor.
– Tell your closest friends and family members where you are going. Send them your itinerary and update them regularly. Instruct them when to call the police or emergency.
– Learn first aid and, if you can, survival skills. These may include how to build a shelter, light a fire, send flares, or make medicines and food with plants.
– List everything you need to bring, such as the personal locator beacon and a first-aid kit. And consider bringing bear spray, you’ll never know. It could help protect yourself.
Travel insurance may mean more spending, but it may help you during a crisis. The most comprehensive plans can include an airlift to the nearest medical facility. They may also help in sending you back to your home. Travel insurance costs at least $187 each year, but it is measly compared to your potential spending from getting air-evacuated, for instance.
Remember the popular saying: with great power comes great responsibility. While you have every right to have fun in the outdoors, also be accountable to yourself. Always keep yourself safe.