Hikers tend to be an adventurous breed of person often underestimating the power and control of Mother Nature, especially in the rugged outdoors.
As summer temperatures heat up and hikers of varying abilities and experience continue to hit the local trails, the Palm Springs Fire Department is recommending residents and visitors take extra precautions to ensure everyone comes home safely.
“It is critical that hikers take extra steps during the summer months, when the temperatures rise above 100 degrees,” Palm Springs Fire Chief Kevin Nalder said in a news release.
Here are a few important tips for hikers, whether they are residents or visitors , who plan to hit the trails in the heat:
- Start Early. It is best to hike between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. when it is cooler.
- Hike with a Buddy. Never hike alone. In case of emergency, it is always best to have a friend with you.
- Cover Up. Long sleeves are your friend. The more your body can shield from the sun, the better. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and remember to shield your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses and apply sunscreen.
- Stay Hydrated. Bring more water than you think you’ll need and drink often!
- Bring snacks.
- Remember to rest. Take frequent breaks and find shade so your body can cool down.
- Know the signs of heat stroke. Common signs are headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, disorientation. If you experience these symptoms turn back or call for help. Don’t hesitate to call 911.
- Take your cell phone. Make sure it is fully charged.
Keep in mind that while the exact number of hikers nationwide may be an unknown, the National Park Service reported 3,582 search-and-rescue incidents in 2011 and 2,876 in 2012.
More recently, the National Park Service reported 2,348 in 2013 and 2,658 in 2014. On average, 35 search-and-rescue incidents resulted in a hiking-related fatality.
Hiking injuries overall totaled 817 in 2011; 922 in 2012; 826 in 2013; and 829 in 2014. These are only the figures for the National Park Service and does not include statistics from the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forestry Service.
- Hiker: Image by Ales Krivec from Pixabay