Stay safe as you embark on your next hiking adventure

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 4:29 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As the weather is getting warmer, and you think about hitting the trails – local first responders are asking that you properly prepare before going on the adventure. Here are some tips on staying safe.

As hiking season is underway – Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Community Outreach Coordinator Brian Clingenpeel says they already answered two rescue calls this year. One of them was just this past weekend. They say most calls come from this trail– McAfee’s Knob.

“I think some people don’t realize like how far it is, how long it’s going to take,” said Clingenpeel. “Some of those kinds of things, and they come very unprepared.”

How exactly can you prepare? Officials recommend remembering the 5 F’s of hiking safety: Suitable footwear, a flashlight that isn’t your phone, food, fluids- about 1 Leiter of water per person, and making sure your fitness level is equal to the difficulty of the hike.

“I think the biggest thing is just (to) plan ahead – let someone know where you’re going and when you think you’ll be back,” explained Clingenpeel.

In case of an emergency, you can dial 911 – but make sure your phone is charged so that you can notify first responders that you need help.

“We would suggest either leaving your phone off until you need it, or you have an emergency or keeping it on airplane mode to conserve that battery, because communication with you in an event of an emergency is going to be huge for us,” added Clingenpeel.

From 2020-2021, officials said they answered 55 hiking rescue calls. It takes about 15 to 20 first responders to rescue one person.

“If you will stop when you have an emergency, stay where you are, call us let us come to you then we can take care of that,” said Clingenpeel.

The last tip first responders want you to remember is to decide whether your pet will be able to make it through the hike.