Are you prepared? Hiking Safety Tips

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SPRINGDALE (ABC 4 Utah) – It’s the busiest time of the year for the National Park Service. Unfortunately, that also means more search and rescues (SARs). This last Friday, a man was injured after falling while canyoneering at Zion National Park.

Now, park officials want to make sure you’re prepared.

“A rescue here is not the same as calling 911 at your house,” said Alyssa Baltrus, the spokesperson for Zion National Park.

In 2014, there were 80 SARs at Zion. 3 of them were fatalities, 56 injuries and the rest walked out unharmed.

Officials say most SARs at Zion have to be done by hiking to the injured individual.

“Some of our search and rescues can take hours or even overnight. If people were more prepared that in case something happens that they might actually still be there overnight,” Baltrus explained.

They found that the most common contributing factors to SARs include an error in judgement, fatigue, falls and hiking when it’s too dark.

“We find that it tends to be more men than women that get to be in trouble and between the ages of 20-40 that get into trouble,” Baltrus told ABC4’s Tasmin Mahfuz.

Washington County Search and Rescue told Mahfuz that they’ve already had 35 call outs to date this year. All of last year, they had 44 searches.

“Be prepared for those unexpected things to happen, getting ledged up, getting lost, staying late,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin of Washington County Search and Rescue.

So how can you prepare?

Aaron Colledge from Lehigh said he and his wife prepped before they started their hike.

“We brought plenty of water, we got snacks with protein and we had a good breakfast.” he said.

Other tips?

Be cautious and stay on the trails.

Make sure you have the proper equipment and training.

Have a plan – be familiar with the area before the hike.

Carry a light jacket/sweater

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