Summer Hiking and Canoe Safety – Know Where You Go!

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Summer is here and that means we are in the outdoors more often. We often respond to emergencies with hikers, horseback riders and those on boats or canoes. One of the biggest challenges is being able to provide our 911 Dispatch Center with your location when you are out in the wilderness and need an emergency response. An example is that Shoal Creek meanders through our fire district for about 21 miles. Persons who become lost or injured often can only tell us where they started on the river but often don’t have a concept of how far they have traveled. That creates a large search area which can take precious time on land or water.

One thing that can help is using today’s smart phone’s with GPS capabilities to help you understand where you are and also send responders your location. Many apps are free and others cost less than $5 that can give you the capability to send your location to responders in an emergency. A simple one is called Glympse for iPhone and Android. This app can let you send your location via text and request a location from others. You can add multiple people to your map and send location updates for a set period of time. This app would allow a searcher to send a request to your cell phone and almost instantly be able to know where you are. Using technology means having a cell phone that is with you and charged while out of doors, and there are a lot of inexpensive on the go chargers and waterproof phone cases that might be worth having in an emergency kit in a backpack or dry bag. Our area has a lot of beautiful places to explore and enjoy. Just make sure you have a way to help us help you while your enjoying it!

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