Staying safe on hiking trails
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Black Hills are riddled with hiking trails and scenic views, making it the perfect activity for a summer of social distancing.
With that said, it’s also important to go prepared and know what to do if you get lost.
“The best you can do is stay on trails,” said Tiana Shuster, of the Pennington County Search and Rescue. “That’s where we’re going to look first if we don’t know exactly where you are, and next to that, take enough water. Water is so important. Especially since its been so warm out.”
Keep a cell phone on you, for emergency communication, just in case you veer off the trail.
If you find yourself lost in an area without any cell service, try to make your way to an area where you can find service. From there, dial 911.
It’s imperative that you listen to search and rescue’s advice and stay in the exact location that you called them from.
“We actually get a cell phone ping and it gives us exact GPS coordinates to be able to come and find them,” says Shuster. “That is extremely accurate, within 20-feet”.
If you don’t stay put, your phone might lose service or run out of battery, making it a lot more difficult for them to find you.
“We do have some resources, like our tracking dog that hopefully we can get some type of scent article and be able to track them,” Shuster said. “Otherwise, we have to look at the terrain and see if we can figure out where they might have gone. Then we’re just looking for a needle in a haystack.”
If you call them and somehow find your way back, to the trail, it’s important to notify search and rescue, because they will bring out their resources to locate you.
Lastly, tell people where you’re going and when you expect to be back, so they know when to call for help.