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Going out into the back country

Whether you are hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, backcountry skiing/Snowboarding, or ANY singular outdoor activity, being aware of simple common sense rules will help keep you safe and bring you back.

Plan Carefully. Plan your backcountry trips, thoroughly, before you leave home. Be as knowledgeable about what lies ahead as physically possible, and you will be much better positioned to achieve and maintain a healthy attitude, perceived and actual security, as well as a darn good time. Even as a member of SafeCheckIn, it is always suggested that you communicate your plans to Friends & Family. Make a hardcopy of the destination and timetable for your trip and give it to friends or family.

Know When to Turn Around & Go Back. Follow your knowledge, training, and gut instincts (the "sixth sense"). If you are unsure about a traverse, climb, run, a new trail, or exposure to weather--whatever--back off, live another day, and contemplate your alternatives. Select a different route; Pitch your tent and layover until the storm passes; Wait till morning when the river's water level is lower, before crossing, etc. Keep in mind, ignoring your "sixth sense" and pushing forward into a questionable situation might be challenging and macho, but it can also have deadly consequences. Remember, many of the climbers, hikers, boarders and skiers who've been killed or injured were the victims of their own inability to turn around when their guts were telling them to do so.

Listen to Your Body . Undress Before Overheat, Dress Before Chills--Drink Often--Eat Regularly. Hypothermia is a real concern in the backcountry. It's a condition resulting from your body's core temperature dropping below normal. The symptoms you'd likely experience are lack of coordination, chills & shivering, slow speech, and acting out of character. It's important to recognize and even anticipate these early warning signs, and respond to them, accordingly. For mild hypothermia, get into warm, dry conditions--clothes, tent, sleeping bag and provide and encourage consumption of warm drinks.

Hyperthermia is also a problem in hot, dry summer temperatures, when your internal body heat can't be released fast enough and you overheat. Many of the symptoms are similar to Hypothermia.

Drink a lot of fluid and eat food at regular intervals. The point here is that it is critical to replace the fluids that are gushing out of your body, as you exercise, as well as a steady supply of nutrition, via snacks & meals, in order to maintain health & energy.

Carry Gear That You Perceive Will Maintain Your High Level of Security .Determine the gear that YOU NEED to maintain your personal level of security and then seek out the smallest, lightest, highest-quality manifestation of that gear. Don't be overly influenced by "lightweight gear freaks", but, also, for your own safety, avoid the "everything but the kitchen sink syndrome". Decide what makes you feel safe and comfortable, and then start out with that as a baseline. As you become more experienced, you will discover that your gear configurations will evolve toward more efficiency and, hopefully, lighter weight.

Rest occasionally . Whenever you or someone in your group gets weary, it's important to stop and rest. It's actually best if you rest before anyone gets weary

Best advice-Stay Found . Carry & know how to use map & compass. You can climb to a high place pick out some outstanding land features then find them on the map (or vice versa) in order to approximate where you are. With this knowledge you'll have an easier time finding your way back. If you know how to read the compass--which you should-- you'll have an even better chance of finding your way back. No matter how careful you are, if you're out there long enough it will happen to you, too. Be prepared.

Be familiar with & Pay attention to, the terrain you're in . Before you venture into an area, become familiar with the terrain by studying your map. As you travel, pay attention, stay aware of where you are--don't just blindly follow the trail. Periodically, stop, turn around and look behind you. See if you can approximate where you're at on the map. Stay alert, don't space out, and you'll stay found.

If lost, don't panic. Once you realize that you're lost, stay calm, relax, and evaluate the situation. Stay where you are at, continuing on may just take you farther from help. It is easier to find a stationary target than a roving one! Start thinking of nearby higher ground, or open space so you can be spotted from the air if necessary.

First Dates or meetings

SafeCheckIn can be used for any time you are meeting with others in public or private. Regardless of your feelings of trust for the other person involved, you should at least apply these safety rules when meeting anyone for the first time.

1) Once you've agreed to meet face to face, don't ask the other person to pick you up. Get yourself to and from the date, even if you have to beg a ride off of a friend or take a taxi.

2) Before you go, “Check Out” and just to be safe, make sure that several friends and family members know where you're going, whom you're going with and when to expect you back..

3) Always meet in a public place. A public place does not mean a parking lot - they are not monitored closely enough to be considered safe. Make your first meeting a lunch or coffee date. If the sparks don't fly, it's much easier to say that you have a meeting or some other commitment that requires you to end the date prematurely.

4) Stay in a public place. If they pressure you to go elsewhere, say NO. If they pressure you, they obviously don't care about your feelings - don't spare their feelings. End the meeting and leave. If they start to follow you to where you've parked, stop and hail a cab. Come back later for your car with a friend or family member.

5) Bring a cellular phone. If you need help or feel a little nervous, excuse yourself to the bathroom and call for back up! Put together an instant, "accidental" meeting with a friend. They're also good for emergencies or in case you think your online love is an offline stalker who's following you home. Use the cellular phone to call the police - just don't head back home. Keep the person far from there. Drive to a police station if you feel it's necessary.

6) Never leave your personal belongings unattended. A purse or wallet contains all your personal information. In your jacket pocket could be your keys. Just don't take the risk.

7) Do not leave your beverage unattended. If you do, nonchalantly ask for another drink.

8) Stick with non-alcoholic drinks or drink light. Being drunk is not a good way to be safe.

9) If all goes well, set-up another date before the first one comes to an end. Use your best judgment and gut instincts to determine whether or not the other person worthy of a second date. Be sure that this second date (and any others thereafter) incorporates all of these safety tips (including Checking Out and Checking In). You're worth the effort! If the other person truly cares about you, they'd expect nothing less.

College campus Safety tips

To help protect college students, offers a few safety tips to help keep students safe in the residence halls (dorms), on campus or whenever they are alone. In the residence halls . . .
  • Keep your dorm room door locked whenever the room is unoccupied, if you are in the room alone or if you are sleeping.
  • Take care of your keys. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to duplicate them and never leave a key over the door or nearby your room.
  • Don’t leave valuables, like your wallet, checkbook or jewelry, in open view.
  • Keep drapes closed when changing clothes.
 While walking on campus . . .
  • Should you find yourself walking alone at night, avoid secluded or dimly lit areas. Stay away from wooded areas or locations where shrubs or buildings might provide cover for assailants.
  • Never hitchhike or offer rides to strangers.
  • Have your car or house key in hand and ready as you approach your vehicle or home.
  • Take advantage of college escort services that walk you to your car or dorm.
 Protecting yourself . . .
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.
  • Always be alert to your surroundings.
  • Learn to communicate the message that you’re calm, confident and know where you are going. Stand tall, walk purposefully and make quick eye contact with people around you.
  • Have your cell phone handy and the battery charged.

Use when you go out alone on or off campus.  Make sure your contact information is up to date and you check out and in regularly.


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