Before you go…

There’s been a spate of rescues lately all across the country which makes me think…

  • Does anyone know what your intentions are?
  • What gear you have taken with you?
  • Where you are going for your trip?
  • If they had to speak with Search and Rescue could they answer those questions?
  • If you have a PLB, have you spoken about when you would use it?

Before you go:

  1. Let someone know you are heading out.
  2. Let them know your intentions: who is going, the gear that you have, where you are going, and your estimated time back. Be sure to fill these out in the Department of Conservation books as well.
  3. If you can find out track conditions prior to setting out that would be handy too. Sometimes if there’s been heavy snow, slips and or tree fall it can make a massive difference to timings.
  4. Check the weather forecast and make sure it is suitable for your trip.

What should you have on you?

This is of course dependent on where you go.

A basic one, especially for mountains (even in Summer) would be…

  • A pack to contain below items
  • PLB
  • GPS
  • Map of the area (if you can use your watch to get co-ordinates off you prob don’t need a compass).
  • Emergency bag
  • Whistle
  • Headlamp (a lot of people carry a small one as a spare just in case). A common scenario where people get caught out  is when a runner misses a turn, and  it gets dark. Few runners carry cell phones, maps, and light sources.
  • Spare warm clothes thermals etc
  • Jacket (hardshell to prevent windchill)
  • More food than your trip will require (have a reserve)
  • Water
  • Phone
  • First aid items

What should your family or friends know?

  • Your destination and planned route, or backup routes.
  • Clothing and items carried
  • What type of runner you are, the distance you normally run and what your training has been like over the past few months, as well as the greatest distance ever run
  • Starting point of your run
  • Planned end point
  • Familiarity with the area
  • People in group, who you are with
  • It could be worth your family or friend having a Strava (Garmin/Suunto) account even if you aren’t a runner yourself so that you can share info with others if needed and it is accessible for them to check.

All of these things can help build a picture for Search and Rescue services.

Have a conversation with your family or friends about when they should make the call re deploying search and rescue. For example it is normal for me to be an hour or three overdue but I’d be definitely be home by X time.

What should you do if in a stressful situation?

If in doubt push the PLB button, it’s better to do it early rather than have the situation rapidly deteriorate.

If you have become lost or injured set your PLB off and stay in a place.

Things that warrant a PLB being activated are:

  • completely lost
  • asthma
  • impaired movement
  • fractured/broken bones
  • concussion/head knocks
  • hypothermia
  • heart attacks
  • if you or a buddy are immobilized

Every situation is different but normally the best advice is if you have activated your beacon, to sit and stay in a position (if you are not in immediate danger).

Hopefully this blog encourages you to rethink your safety on the trails. Be prepared and have fun!


Mountain Safety Trail Running Guide:

This is a great video shared by Big Sunday Run Group. There’s heaps of GREAT information in here and is well worth the watch.