Risk Management

The club has prepared a document Prevention is Better than Rescue which provides information on the safety aspects of bushwalking and trip management.The club also has a Safety and Training Officer who regularly provides information and instruction of matters of safety, and the club encourages its members to participate in safety and training exercises organised by Federation Mountain Rescue Inc. FMR also provides up-to-date emergency advice on its website.

SAFETY TIPS

BEFORE A TRIP

  • Plan your route beforehand and get information from experienced walkers or people familiar with the area.
  • Do not undertake too much within the time available: recognise your limitations in relation to the country to be covered.
  • Get the best maps and always carry a compass. Learn how to use both of them. Remember all the conditions you are likely to encounter do not appear on the map.
  • Before leaving, always give details of your route to parents or friends, and be certain they are aware of the functions and telephone numbers of the police search and rescue organisation. Leave route details written down because memories are often unreliable in an emergency.

WHILE ON THE TRIP

  • The pace of the party should regulated to suit every member and the leader should not strain weaker members with fast pace over rough country. Rest periodically.
  • Every member of the party should take an intelligent interest in the route and should note physical features such as creeks and ridges. Look back regularly so you may recognise the route in case you have to retrace your steps. Don’t leave it to the leader to do this, as it may be you who becomes lost - not the leader.
  • Always try to be aware of progress and direction by frequent reference to map and compass or position of the sun. Keep progressive trip notes.
  • The party should be kept together at all times, and a strong experienced person should be stationed at the rear to ensure there are no stragglers. Check numbers fairly frequently, particularly when there is a river crossing, before resuming after a rest, and before or after a difficult section of country.
  • It is advisable to carry a waterproof coat and sweater on all trips, no matter how fine the weather may appear to be.

IF YOU DO GET LOST

  • Sit down for a while and overcome the natural tendency to panic. He who panics will probably perish. When you’ve calmed yourself, plan as logically as you can. By using map and recollection of the country traversed, decide which is the best route to safety.
  • Check your food/water supplies and ration them if necessary.
  • From the time you are uncertain of your location, mark the route taken by breaking green twigs, scratching arrows, placing stones on logs, making footprints in mud, dropping pieces of paper. Leave a dated note at each camp or fire site, indicating the direction you are going next, and the names and physical condition of the members of the party.
  • It is not safe to travel in rough bush country at night. Light a good fire in the best available sheltered position well before darkness overtakes you, and await the arrival of daylight, or searchers.
  • Watch the weather closely. Do not march in a blizzard, snow or fog - stay put, make as sheltered camp as possible and get a fire going before you are exhausted.
  • If you are bewildered and cannot find your way to safety, find a sheltered campsite with water and with an open area nearby to facilitate signalling aircraft. Then stay put. A smoky fire will always attract the attention of searchers in aircraft, or on the ground.