Here are some statements and videos to emphasize safety. Some videos may be difficult for some users to watch. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Gorge is a beautiful place with numerous hiking trails throughout. It’s a hot spot for all kinds of hikers, adventurers, photographers, and anyone wanting to just get outside for the day. From the views to the waterfalls to the crisp clean scent of the forest, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. However, with the beautiful coating that surrounds this almost magical place there is still many layers of danger involved when being outdoors. So many people get lost or spend the night outside unprepared because they were only "going for a day hike". Whether you are day hiking, backpacking, or camping for one night there are essentials you should always take with you into the forest. If you are prepared and stay on the paths, the chance of needing assistance that will take hours to get to you will be greatly decreased. There are always emergencies that come up and you can be ready and able to handle them, but simple things like getting lost or not making it off the trail before dark are very common problems with very simple solutions. You should always prepare to be out for at least an extra day, even if you are just going for a few hour hike. Here is a list of a few essential things you should always have with you.
1. Water- the most important item you can carry. Have extra water with you or know how you can get safe water.
2. Jacket and pants- even in the summertime you should carry a warm coat and pants to put on if you start to get cold. With wintertime hiking these items could mean the difference between surviving and freezing to death.
3. Flashlight- if it gets dark before you can make it off the trail, you will need a source of light to get out. Many people think that their cell phone is an adequate source of light in an emergency, however cell phone batteries die quickly and only provide light for a few feet in front of you.
4. Food- pack enough food for the day and and an extra day. Food, not snacks, can help keep you going and can increase your morale if you are lost. If you have energy and a positive attitude, any ordeal you face can be a lot less daunting.
5. A whistle- make sure it’s a good, loud one. This can make locating you if you get lost a lot easier. If you know people are coming for you, you can help by sitting still and blowing a whistle- three loud long whistles every 15 minutes.
Being prepared is the number one thing that can save your life in the event of an emergency. Have a map, know your location or at least what trail intersection you last passed and how long you walked passed it, carry a first aid kit and the items above, and tell someone where you are going, when you plan to be back, and your route you plan to take. Help us help you.
Creating defensible space around your home is one of the most important ways you can protect yourself and home in the event of a wildfire scenario. First, ensure that you have clear access to your home. No branches hanging over the driveway or your home and nothing blocking the driveway or cluttering up the yard. All this can fuel a fire and make your home difficult or impossible to protect. Second, clear at least 30 feet around your home. Make sure you keep the grass short, don’t have wood stacked against the house, no trees or branches close to the house, keep flowers and bushes in flower beds trimmed, and limit the use of bark dust. Bark dust holds heat and allows fire to smolder for hours to days before igniting. It also can spontaneously combust when in the heat for long periods of time. Finally, trim up trees on your property so there are no limbs within 10 feet of the ground. This prevents fire from climbing up trees and getting into the canopy. Clean up pine needles and dead vegetation from your property. Use fire resistant plants in your flower gardens and keep everything green. Use fire resistant home materials such as metal roofs and make sure there is no moss, pine needles, or other dead vegetation on your roof and keep the gutters cleaned out. If you have wood on your home, such as decks, siding, or roofs, be sure to regularly treat them to help keep them fire resistant. If you follow these tips, your house can survive a wildland fire with little to no help from firefighters.
Everyone knows that you’re supposed to have smoke detectors in your home. However, not many people know how many you’re supposed to have or how often you should check them to make sure they are functioning appropriately. There should be a smoke detector in every living space of your home. Every bedroom, living room, den, office, dining room, kitchen, stairway, hall, etc should have a functioning smoke alarm. Those alarms should be checked every 30 days and the batteries replaced everytime you change the clocks for daylight savings time. It’s proven that smoke alarms save lives. In a situation where every seconds counts, the more notice you have that there’s a problem, the better chance you have of saving yourself and your family. Be proactive in your household’s safety and keep working smoke alarms!
Seat belts are one of the top reasons people survive accidents. Make sure to wear your seat belts properly and ensure everyone in the vehicle is also wearing one properly. Children, especially those in car seats and booster seats should always be in the back seat behind the driver or passenger seat. NEVER remove a child from their safety seat while the vehicle is in motion. Not even to change a diaper or breast feed. It’s easy to justify not wearing your seat belt; “It’s just down the street.” or “My seat belt doesn’t fit me right.” are the most common excuses. Most accidents occur within five miles of home and most fatal accidents occur on rural roadways. If you don’t have a seat belt that fits right, there are after market adapters for seat belts to lengthen or shorten them as necessary and they can be purchased at most stores. AND no one wants a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. That’s a waste of your precious, hard-earned money on something so easily avoided. If you need any other reasons to wear a seat belt, look around you at your friends and family. Be safe, buckle up.