As hopes fade for missing Dunedin tramper, David Charles Palmer, the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council are reminding anyone venturing into the outdoors to plan and prepare well to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Palmer has been described by his family as an experienced tramper, but everyone regardless of experience needs to remember the Outdoor Safety Code and follow the five simple rules for staying safe in the outdoors which are: plan your trip, tell someone your plans, be aware of the weather, know your limits and take sufficient supplies.
Telling someone where you are going and when you expect to return is not only common sense but also provides vital 'insurance', should something unexpected happen.
The AdventureSmart.org.nz website provides mechanisms by which you can leave comprehensive 'Outdoors Intentions' information with someone you trust before setting off on your trip. You can print out a form, complete the details by hand and leave it with a loved one or even complete the details online and email it to a friend.
'Providing detailed information such as where you are going, what track you intend to follow, where you are planning to stay and what equipment you have with you can be invaluable to search and rescue teams and can vastly improve your chances of being found and rescued quickly,' said Chris Owens, Bushcraft Manager for the Mountain Safety Council.
It is especially important, if tramping alone to make sure you take an appropriate means of emergency communication which could include a personal locator beacon (PLB), mountain radio or satellite phone. Most people also take their cell phones with them in the outdoors, but these should not be relied upon in the backcountry as coverage is often non-existent.
'Our thoughts are with Mr Palmer's friends and family at what must be an incredibly worrying time and we commend the many search and rescue personnel, many of whom are volunteers,who are continuing this challenging search,' added Mr Owens.
THE NEW ZEALAND OUTDOOR SAFETY CODE
1. Plan your trip thoroughly Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.
2. Tell someone Tell someone your plans and complete your Outdoors Intentions at ww.adventuresmart.org.nz At the very least, process and leave a date and time for when to raise the alarm if you haven't returned.
3. Be aware of the weather New Zealand's weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Check track and hut conditions. Beware of rivers - if in doubt STAY OUT.
4. Know your limits Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.
5. Take sufficient supplies Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication, such as a Mountain Radio or a Personal Locator Beacon and know how to use them. Take spare medication if required.
For further information about safety in the outdoors, courses and training, information on intentions forms or communication devices, please visit www.mountainsafety.org.nz
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