Heading out to the trail? Read these tips from search and rescue - KPTV - FOX 12

Heading out to the trail? Read these tips from search and rescuers

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PNWSAR member Jerry King's backpack. (KPTV) PNWSAR member Jerry King's backpack. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Four people have been rescued in three separate searches over the last two days in the Portland area, and now search and rescue crews are weighing in with tips for people heading out to explore the great outdoors.

Monday night, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue crews were called out to two simultaneous missions: first, a day hiker from Welches became lost on Mt. Hood, and then two teens fishing near the Mollala River reported they were lost, too.

Sunday, a man from Vancouver was also rescued after getting lost on Mt. Hood.

“He was up into the snow and lost the trail,” said PNWSAR volunteer searcher Jerry King, of Monday’s rescue on Mt. Hood. “We were able to get close enough to make voice commands back and forth – whistle and voice – so we could say with certainty that he was there, [get] good coordinates, then the other teams were the ones who could physically get to him.”

Scott Houser, the Vice President of PNWSAR, said the organization has already been called out to nearly 20 missions since the start of the year. The average is roughly 40 calls per year.

Most are for people on day hikes, who are often alone and become lost or hurt.

But this time of year, trail conditions can be tricky. Especially, Houser said, because of the large snow pack we received over the winter.

“We see people get turned around all the time because they’re on a trail one minute and the next minute they’re in a snowfield and they don’t know where the trail is going to go,” Houser explained.

Houser and King said the most basic items every person should pack on an outdoor trip are a phone with GPS, food and water and a rain jacket to stay warm and dry.

However, they said a more extensive list of the “10 essentials” to pack includes: navigation (map and compass), sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen), insulation (extra clothing), illumination (headlamp and flashlight), first-aid supplies, fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle), repair kit (knife and tools), food and water (including extra rations), signaling equipment (whistle/mirror) and emergency shelter.

Other tips include always hiking with a buddy, and if you do get lost, remember this:

“Stay put,” Houser said, explaining that when a lost person wanders their search area expands exponentially. “Call for help if you can, but even if you can’t, stay put. It makes our job a lot easier.”

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