GFD Urges Residents to Follow These Tips for Safe Hiking

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Guam – The Guam Fire Department has issued the following safety tips to island residents in light of the recent emergencies involving hikers.

Tips on Safe Hiking from GFD

To: All media
From: Fire Chief Joey C. San Nicolas
Date: August 13, 2014
Subject: News Release

In light of recent emergencies related to outdoor hiking events, the Guam Fire Department reminds those who frequent and enjoy the outdoors to take precautionary safety measures during their activities.

Our island has many beautiful and pristine locations for residents and visitors to visit, experience, and enjoy. We encourage everyone to take part of our island’s natural beauty, however GFD reminds
everyone to consider the following safety instructions when hiking outdoors.

Preparation
– Research the area you will be hiking to determine the difficulty and the terrain. Not all hikes are kid friendly or easy enough for beginner hikers; certain hikes require some level of cardiovascular
conditioning.

– Research the area via Google maps or similar programs and plan for alternate exit routes should weather conditions change or obstacles arise; if compromised, exiting the trail may have to be
altered.

– Know the common name and official name of the location you will be going to.

– Know the major landmarks associated with the location you will be going.

– File a hike plan with a friend or family member that is not participating and list important information such as; how many in your group, ages, and if any medical conditions exist.

– Be aware of weather conditions prior to and day of hike.

– Be well rested and hydrated the night before your hike.

– Plan for a longer hike than what is anticipated.

– Dress and pack appropriately based on terrain / area.

– Pack water, food items, and safety supplies.

– Pack flashlights, sounding devices, battery packs for cell phones, and a GPS device.

– Do not rely on other trail markings unless you are certain they are accurate. Obtain surveyor tape and mark your own path.

During hike
– Be aware of hiking trail and weather conditions once hike has begun.

– Any sudden or abrupt change in weather can cause hiking conditions to worsen.

– Look for key environmental indicators; wind, rain, dark clouds.

– If compromised, don’t wait too long or hesitate to call 911.

– Get to a safe area and stay put, consider elevated spots, never separate from your group.

– Stay calm, don’t panic.

– Waive or flag down anyone in your area who could be of assistance to you.