Avoid being the victim of an emergency. The Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership AFPEP), a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy, provided a guest essay on the Adirondack Almanack addressing basic planning factors to be considered before you embark on your winter outing. New York State Forest Ranger Julie Harjung, a Lead Instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates and contributor to the AFPEP, presented a few cardinal rules:
- Don’t go alone… If you do go alone, let someone responsible know where you are going and when to expect you back.
- Do your homework… get a map of the area and plan a realistic route.
- Be prepared for the unexpected… always bring a flashlight, extra clothing and extra food.
- Carry at least a minimal first aid kit that includes hand warmers, band-aids and your blister treatment of choice.
- Watch the weather.
- Hypothermia and frostbite are real probabilities if you are injured or lost during winter travel.
- Don’t think that a cell phone is a substitute for being well prepared.
- Everyone should carry something they can use or make into a temporary shelter.
- An individual immobilized by injury with no food or water is at a much greater risk for hypothermia and frostbite. Bring extra food and stay hydrated.