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Hikers urged to have an emergency plan

By John Palminteri, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Senior Reporter, johnp1250@aol.com
Published On: May 02 2013 08:50:16 PM CDT
Updated On: May 02 2013 09:24:20 PM CDT

There are many hiking trails that can take you deep into the front country or Santa Ynez valley hills, but once you're on your way, you need to know what to do if a fire breaks out or you have another emergency.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

With the nice weather, many people are hitting the hiking trails, but you are urged to have a safety plan before you take off.

In the Santa Barbara hills, along Tunnel Road, many hikers say they usually have water and a cell phone but officials say they also need to be aware of weather conditions, and possible risks if it's a "red flag" day.

The Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue Team has released this "top ten" list for hikers.

1. Take  plenty  of water  for yourself and any pets that you bring with you.  One quart (32 

ounces) per hour is a good rule of thumb. 

2.  Bring  food. Don’t forget that a hike or backpacking trip is exercise that requires fuel. 

Granola or protein bars are small in size and enough to keep you fueled for a short hike. 

3.  Be  familiar with  the  area  before  you  go.  Bring  a  map,  and  remember  that  trails  can 

become  overgrown  with  brush.  For  this  reason,  we  also  recommend  bringing  a  compass 

and GPS device, and learning how to use them before you set out. 

4. Tell someone where you’re going, when, and how long you plan to be out. If no one 

knows you’re gone, then no one will know you’re missing if you don’t return. 

5. Bring a buddy. Hiking alone seems appealing – until you become lost or hurt. Bringing a 

hiking partner will give you an extra hand for help if you need it. 

6.  Take  extra  layers,  even  if  it’s  warm. Don’t forget that 4,000’ elevation gain  can  have 

significant  effect  on  weather  and  temperature;  just  because  it’s  warm at  the  beach  doesn’t 

mean it’s not freezing in the mountains. 

7.  Bring  a  cell  phone. Don’t rely on it since Santa Barbara County’s backcountry has 

famously  poor  cell  reception,  but  if  you  become  lost  or  injured  and  have  a  signal,  you’ll 

need a cell phone to dial 9-1-1 for help. 

8. Bring a flashlight. If you stay out later than you’d planned, or if you go on a sunset hike, 

you won’t be able to see where you’re going (or which trail you’re on) without a flashlight. 

Smartphone flashlight applications are a great way to minimize the weight you carry. 

9. Wear sunscreen and lip balm, and bring some extra with you. Even if it’s cloudy, your 

skin can still burn. Remember that children burn faster than adults. 

10. Hug a tree. If you get lost, then stay put; don’t make yourself more lost or risk injury.  If
you become lost or injured, then don’t wait: immediately dial 9?1?1 for help.

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