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Be prepared for the outdoors

When you’re dealing with the outdoors, anything can happen. Some Pocatello hikers learned the hard way when they needed a search and rescue team to find them Monday night.

As director of Idaho State University’s Outdoor Adventure Center, Justin Dayley is no stranger to the outdoors, but even he’s not afraid to say, “It’s pretty easy to get turned around.”

That’s what happened to five hikers on the city’s City Creek trail system. One of the hikers dialed 911 at 8:23 p.m. after they couldn’t locate a member of the group. All five were located by a search and rescue team between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

For whenever you go on an outdoor trip, Dayley recommends creating a comprehensive plan. He said to let a trusted source know where you’ll be going, when you expect to be back, and to designate a time for that trusted source to initiate search and rescue if needed.

“Once you’ve filed that plan with somebody back home, stick to it,” he said. “That way if they do send help out to find you they’re looking in the right area.”

However, Dayley said typically when people get lost it’s very easy to make the situation worse.

“Many times, we start to panic when we get disoriented and think, well, if I just go a little farther (I’ll find my way back)– what you effectively do is increase the search area,” he said.

If you do find yourself in a bad situation, local sheriff’s offices are equipped to help. From all-terrain vehicles to stretchers, they are ready to handle many different kinds of search and rescue calls in the outdoors.

“Whether it be being lost, finding (yourself) in a situation that you can’t get out of, give us a call. We will do what we can,” said Sheriff Lorin Nielsen of Bannock County.

Dayley said a great tip is to prepare as if you’re spending the night. Bring extra clothes, food and water, first aid, even fire supplies– you can never be too sure.

Navigation tools like a map or a compass are always important to have when you’re doing outdoor activities.

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