Take care in the great outdoors

Take care in the great outdoors


10 April 2001


With another long weekend coming up, Canterbury people are likely to be out enjoying the great outdoors. However after several recent incidents which involved major searches, Police Search and Rescue staff say that the public need to be constantly reminded about safety issues.

Sergeant Peter SUMMERFIELD says it is timely to remind anyone who is planning to go out tramping, kayaking, or white water rafting this Easter break that they should be following safety guidelines.

“The safety rules on land and water are very much the same,” says Sergeant Summerfield.

Let someone know where you are going, when and where you expect to come out. Be specific about this. Make a definite time and place and then stick to it. If a search can be mounted early it may mean the difference between life and death. Preferably go out with other people, a group of four is a good size.

Be suitably equipped. Have wet suits, life jackets, and helmets on the water.
On land preferably have too much clothing, a change and extra for extreme conditions. At any time of year conditions can rapidly change.

Always check local and alpine weather conditions.
While it may seem fine on the plains it may be raining heavily in the headwaters area. (As is happening today. It is pouring with rain at Arthurs Pass where there is currently a search, but it is hot and very dry on the plains).
Rivers may rise rapidly, which can be dangerous for those on the water and those tramping who need to cross them.

Ensure that the experience and ability of the group exceed the trip planned. On a river this means both the grade of the river and the conditions. Allow plenty of time and don’t be pushing the slowest to catch up. The pace for all to travel is the pace of the slowest person.

Be familiar with the area you are planning to travel into and seek advice if you're unsure. On river/ kayak trips seek up to date advice and learn the bailout areas. Get as much up to date information as possible.

Be prepared to stay put until conditions improve. Have extra food and don’t be impatient to leave.

Mountain radios can be hired for a few dollars from various outlets. Cell phones may be outside the coverage area.

If someone in your group is injured or a mishap occurs if you can, leave someone with person. The person going out for help should write down as much detail as possible about what has occurred, the injuries and where the injured person is located. The person/ people going for help should get to a place where Police can be contacted.