Advice for Getting Lost in the Woods from Washington County’s Search and Rescue
To say this Summer has been a busy season for Washington County Search and Rescue would be an understatement.
On top of being deployed to extract those too injured to move in more rugged areas of nature, Search and Rescue also responds to plenty of calls regarding lost hikers throughout Southern Utah.
For instance, Search and Rescue responded to three separate calls of lost hikers in Pine Valley on September 9, with one of the hikers suffering from a serious knee injury.
Those hikers were only a few of the many who have gotten lost throughout the season, and plenty more are sure to come.
If you’re planning on heading out for one of Southern Utah’s famous trails from Zion National Park to Pine Valley, then you may want to heed some advice from Sgt. Darrell Cashin of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Cashin assists with Search and Rescue efforts, and he has some choice advice for those looking to get "lost in the woods."
Sgt. Cashin said, “One of the things they can do is make sure that they can research the route they’re taking so they know it well. Even if they haven’t been there, just using mapping and topography, you can kind of tell where you should be going.”
Even if you get off the trail, if you know the topography of the area, then you should be able to find your way to the main trail.
Sgt. Cashin also emphasized the need to be over-prepared when you go out for your planned hike into nature.
Sgt. Cashin said, “Have plenty of supplies including water and a little bit of food. You can last three weeks without much food, but you can’t usually go more than three days without water, so that’s your primary thing you want to have.”
Now let’s say you do end up getting lost out in the wilderness, and you manage to get a hold of Search and Rescue for assistance. What can you do to help Search and Rescue find you as fast as possible?
There are several things you can do to help Search and Rescue get a fix on your location.
Sgt. Cashin said, “Having a separate light source is really important, not using a cell phone for lighting your way. Because that’s really your lifeline if you get service to get help. Having a GPS spot-type of device, and there are a multitude of them out there to send a signal if you are lost or are in trouble. Once you do [send a signal] stay put at that GPS, don’t keep moving.”
According to Sgt Cashin, one of the biggest issues when locating lost hikers is when they keep moving after requesting help from Search and Rescue. So if you ask for help, stay put and wait for the responders to reach your location.
Hopefully this helps anyone looking to get lost in the woods, and it will certainly help Search and Rescue locate those needing a bit of guidance in nature.