Outdoor Enthusiasts: Wherever You Go, Stay Safe!

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Outdoor enthusiasts: Wherever you go, stay safe!

For many, fall is the best time of the year to spend time outside enjoying the beautiful colours and fresh air. Whether you go hiking or go for a ride on your mountain bike, in case your outings take you too far off the beaten path, it’s best to be prepared! A bad fall, collision or sports injury…

No matter how skilled and careful you are, you can still have an accident or fall ill. Take the time to read these few tips before setting off.

Be well prepared and well informed!

Know where you’re going, and figure out how long you’ll be gone.  Before moving on to the scenic trails, you should know the distance and how much time it will take you. Don’t forget: The sun sets earlier in the fall. So, it will be even darker in the woods if there are still leaves on the trees! Take along a map, if you decide to explore a new site, and look for potential shelters and risks in the area. (For example, it would be good to know in advance if you’re venturing into bear country!)

Check the forecast before you go, so that you’ll be dressed appropriately and have any items you may need.

Use the buddy system! You should always go hiking with at least one other person. If one of you becomes injured, the other can go for help.

Know the basics on survival in the woods.
Just one misstep or misplaced tree root can result in an injury that can have you pinned to the ground. It’s good to know what to do if something like that happens! A number of outdoor groups offer tips for hikers.

Find out about available rescue services, in case you wander too far off roads that can be accessed by car. You can be assured of assistance in the event of a medical emergency (accident, allergic response, heart attack, etc.). In Quebec, there is only one firm that provides emergency medical transportation by helicopter: Airmedic. Purchasing Airmedic coverage gives you peace of mind, because you know that you and any family members who reside with you will receive speedy service in the event of a medical emergency. The services are available all year round, anywhere in Quebec. Did you know that you can get Airmedic family coverage free or at a reduced rate with La Capitale?

Take along a means of communication that will work at the place where you are going. That way, you can call for help in the event of an emergency.

  • If you have a cellphone, make sure there is mobile phone service in the area where you’re going. If not, take along another means of communication.
  • If you often go hiking in the wilderness or in areas where there is no mobile phone service, it might be worth your while to invest in a satellite phone. You may pay a hefty price, but a satellite phone could really come in handy. You could also get one as a short-term rental for about $100 a week.
  • At a lower cost than a satellite phone, you could get an effective GPS or a SPOT Satellite Messenger. Such devices allow you to program an emergency number.

Make sure you have everything you might need!

Before setting out, make a list of the items you want to take along, keeping in mind the fact that you’ll be carrying them. Select only items that are lightweight, compact, functional and sturdy. The same applies to your backpack! The folks at Mountain Equipment Co-op have prepared a backpacking checklist to guide you.

Food and water

Drink before you’re thirsty to stay well hydrated. It’s recommended that you drink about 3 litres of fluid for every 4 – 5 hours of hiking in cool weather. Boost your fluid intake in more challenging weather conditions (when it’s damp, hot, etc.). If you do, you’ll avoid cramps and headaches during your activity and muscle aches in the days that follow.

Even if you’re not going for long, always take some food along in case your energy level drops or you have to lengthen your hike for an unexpected reason. You can manage a slight dip in energy with some soda crackers or cereal or candies containing honey. Chocolate, peanuts and raisins can keep you going for longer.

Clothing and gear

The temperature can change very quickly in the fall. Even if the weather is nice when you set out and the forecast is good, wear clothing that is comfortable, waterproof and lightweight. Take along a hoodie and a hat.

Make sure you have everything you might need.

  • Always take along a first-aid kit that contains all the items needed to treat minor injuries.
  • A good pair of hiking boots is highly recommended to prevent ankle injuries.
  • If you’re riding your bike, wear a helmet with protective pads, and take along a pump and repair kit, in case you have any mechanical problems or get a flat tire.

Enjoy the great outdoors this fall season!
Sources
www.explore-mag.com
www.gnb.ca 
www.canada.com
www.airmedic.net

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