The biggest mistake bushwalkers make, says Sgt Ian Colless, Coordinator of the Blue Mountains (NSW) Police Rescue Unit, is inadequate planning and preparation. “They don’t take enough equipment, don’t know where they are going, and don’t have basic navigation skills.” Essentials for safe bushwalking.
“Walkers should wear high visibility clothing,” he adds. Because hikers who wear blue, grey, black and similar hues are almost invisible to on-ground and aerial search parties. So I hereby thank Sgt Colless for endorsing my years of hiking in rainbow stripes!
You’ll find comprehensive bushwalking safety information on-line, so essentials only here:
• Carry water and basic first-aid kit;
• Check weather, fire danger warnings and track conditions before departure – and be prepared to cancel at short notice;
• Carry a whistle for attracting attention;
• When doing all-day or longer walks, tell someone your plans and estimated return time;
• Buy or hire an emergency Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for multi-day treks;
• Stay on marked trails, thereby reducing erosion and your risk of becoming lost;
• And if you lose your way, stay put and blow that whistle.