Utah’s wilderness has a lot to offer. The forests of the Uintahs and the red rocks of Moab draw thousands of visitors each month. But with the opportunities to venture out and explore, there is also the opportunity to end up injured, or worse.
Dr. Joseph Bledsoe, critical care physician with Intermountain Medical Center, encourages people to enjoy the outdoors, but cautions that skipping proper preparation and precautions can put you and others in danger.
Here are a few things Dr. Bledsoe reminds those who have plans to venture out and enjoy everything Utah’s wilderness has to offer.
ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN – AND TELL IT TO SOMEONE
Before heading out on the trail, or even a road trip, have a plan of where you are going and how long you will be there. Those details help determine the supplies you’ll need, and specifically, how much water you’ll need to have with you for each person in your group.
Once there’s a plan, it’s important to tell it to someone who isn’t going with you. Share it with a family member and let them know what time you anticipate returning. If something comes up and you don’t return when you said you would, they can alert authorities and guide them to your approximate location.
HAVE PLENTY OF WATER
Proper hydration for those outside is vital. There are countless stories of people who ventured out without enough water, became dehydrated and disoriented, and died. Canteens, water bottles, or CamelBaks are great to have with you. Tools to help purify water would also be helpful.
PLAN FOR THE WEATHER – DRESS ACCORDINGLY
The heat of the day can be dangerous. But so can low temps at night in the higher elevations. It’s important to dress in layers so you can adjust as needed. For example, if you start hiking in the early morning, you may need a light jacket or long-sleeve shirt. But as the day moves on and things heat up, you may want to dress down to a T-shirt. But if you end up lost, or get caught outside overnight, you may want those extra layers to help keep you warm. Having layers with you can help you adjust as needed – because weather in Utah can be somewhat unpredictable. Sunscreen would also be important to help protect your skin from overexposure or sunburns.
HAVE A FIRST AID KIT WITH YOU
When you go hiking, do you carry a First-Aid kit with you? You should. You never know when you, or another hiker, may need some basic medical attention.
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