Vernon Search and Rescue offers tips for safe outdoor fun this long weekend

Have a safe long weekend

The first long weekend of summer has arrived, and throngs of people will be making the most of their extra day off.

It also tends to be one of the busiest weekends of the year for Vernon Search and Rescue.

Search manager Trevor Honigman says there will a lot of people out on area waterways and heading for the hills for activities ranging from hiking to camping.

The longtime VSAR volunteer says there are some simple things people can do to make their weekend a lot safer.

Honigman strongly advises people leave a travel plan with someone if they are heading into the backcountry.

That simple piece of information can be a life saver because if the adventure seeker is in trouble, someone will know what area they are in and can alert authorities if they don't return when expected.

Having an idea of where to search is vital information for VSAR, says Honigman.

“It's difficult when we don't know where to start looking,” he said, adding the more people who are in the backcountry, the odds increase that someone will need help.

“This weekend is usually very busy for us. The more prepared we can get people to be, the less of an emergency it will be for them and us.”

Honigman also recommends people take communication tools with them. Just about everyone has a cellphone, but in the hills there may not be service, so Honigman recommends carrying a device that can be used as a GPS beacon and SOS signal at the push of a button.

“That tells us exactly where they are,” he said.

Extra batteries and lots of water are also good ideas.

Honigman recommends adventuresmart.ca as an excellent resource on how to venture out safely.

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