Rescue workers urge preparedness for those hiking

It takes upwards of 30 personnel to adequately staff a search and rescue mission

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager
Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved

FINCASTLE, Va. - A lack of preparedness has caused two incidents in a two-week span on the Appalachian Trail, according to Botetourt Fire & EMS.

“Every year, we try to do our part to encourage preparedness when hiking the trail, urging those that are not familiar with the terrain to better prepare for taking on the aggressive trail system,” said Search & Rescue leader Daniel Murray.

Murray said it takes upwards of 30 personnel to adequately staff a search and rescue mission just to get to some people deep in the woods. These personnel are men and women from both volunteer and career organizations in Botetourt.

Each year, fire and EMS organizations throughout Southwest Virginia respond to numerous incidents along the Appalachian Trail.

“These incidents can be very taxing on our already limited resources for emergency calls,” says Fire & EMS Chief Matt Britt.

Preparedness is crucial to a safe and fun experience in the outdoors.

Botetourt Fire & EMS offers these tips for anyone planning a hike:

  • Plan - Research your route and know how long it takes to make the journey.
  • Hydration - Remember this: Have at least enough water to ensure a quart of water per person for every 2 miles you plan to hike.
  • Map - Make sure to get a map of the trail you plan to hike and be familiar with reading it.
  • Flashlight - Make sure to have a fully charged light and spare batteries.
  • Cellphone - Having a cellphone with you can be important in calling for help, so please make sure it is fully charged and that you prepare for recharging it. Cellphones, when there is service, can help responders better pinpoint your location.
  • Clothing - Make sure you know what the weather is expected to be and know what the temperature is forecast to be. Do not forget about a rain jacket and a pair of clean, dry clothes.
  • Communicate your plan - Make sure you let a dependable source know your plan, when you are expected to return, the route you intend to travel and even what color clothes you are wearing.

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