Staying Healthy and Safe Outdoors: Remember the 3 Ts
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Heading outside into nature is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies and minds. However, spending time outside—especially in wintry conditions, unfamiliar terrain or off-trail (which we never recommend)—can have its risks. No one ever expects to get into trouble outdoors. But a turn in the weather, mistake in judgment, unexpected injury, equipment failure or sudden nightfall could quickly change a recreational outing into a crisis.
Does anyone know where you have gone and when you expect to return?
Getting lost, injured, and exceeding ability are the three main reasons why people call for help during the winter season. That’s why it’s important to be prepared, make informed decisions and understand the risks of outdoor recreation before heading outside.
When planning outdoor excursions, always remember the Three Ts:
Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials.
Applying these safety tips can help ensure your outdoor adventures are safe and responsible.
To increase your chances of having an enjoyable and safe outdoor adventure, trip planning is essential. This will ensure you know exactly where you’re going, what the conditions and terrain are like, and the weather you can expect on the day. It will also allow authorities to quickly find you if anything does go wrong.
When you’re trip planning, always do the following:
- Plan your travel route.
- Know the terrain and conditions.
- Check the weather.
- FIll out a trip plan.
Preparing for outdoor recreation involves assessing your current knowledge, skills, and ability, and understanding your limits.
When planning your outdoor excursion, always do the following:
- Obtain the knowledge and skills you need before heading out.
- Know and stay within your limits.
TAKING THE ESSENTIALS
No matter how well you know the terrain or how experienced you are in an activity, always carry the essentials and know how to use them. These are basic survival items you should have in any outdoor situation when you’re venturing further afield.
The essentials are:
- Fire-making kit
- Signaling device (i.e., whistle)
- Extra food and water
- Extra clothing
- Navigational/communication devices
- First aid kit
- Emergency blanket/shelter
- Pocket knife
- Sun protection
- + Seasonal & sport-specific gear
The more you know, prepare and use good judgment, the safer you’ll be—and the more fun and healthy adventures you’ll enjoy in the future.
Find more outdoor safety education at AdventureSmart.
Sandra Riches is the Executive Director of BC AdventureSmart.
AdventureSmart is a national outdoor recreation safety education program dedicated to encouraging participants to “Get informed and go outdoors”. AdventureSmart helps reduce the number and severity of Search & Rescue incidents within Canada.