Outdoor recreation: Avoid being in peril for the thrill

By Puteri Balkish

When the news of three students who drowned at Lubuk Jepun waterfall made headlines recently, it was no surprise that this incident is a wake-up call for us to take extra precautions before heading out on an adventure.

Whether it’s hiking, jungle trekking, camping or kayaking, at times, even when you expect the best, you end up finding yourself in the worst situations and that is why being prepared for the worst is essential.

Frankly, cases of drowning teenagers are already making headlines like an inevitable routine. It seems that we find ourselves in unforeseen circumstances and fail to deal with it correctly, leading to injuries in most cases and even worse, death.

As we are all aware, safety measures are to be taken beforehand. Being in unprecedented circumstances like horrendous weather condition, harsh terrains, and deteriorating body conditions may or may not be anticipated. Preparing adequately for the activity may avoid unwanted incidents.

First things first, travelling in a group already reduces the risks if you were to be involved in a dangerous circumstance. Group members may be of assistance in cases of emergencies. Be wary to inform a person at home regarding your itinerary and your estimated time of arrival to make sure that you are contactable.

Carrying a satellite phone may help in areas with phone line reception, but hilltop areas are often unreachable. Bringing a person along with you that is familiar with the area would help in terms of navigation.

Next, learn some basic first aid to be able to treat any minor injuries or illnesses. Knowing ways to deal with things like heatstroke and dehydration may be an advantage. Wearing appropriate clothing helps to retain comfort.

Make sure that you are fit enough to go through these activities, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you are suffering from a serious health condition, it’s best that you avoid tagging along. Know your own capabilities, if you are suffering from asthma, avoid areas with higher altitude or activities that drain your energy. If you cannot swim, do not make your way to waterfalls or rivers.

Furthermore, bringing sunscreen with you may help you beat the weather, regardless of the sun kissing your skin or the chill seeping through your spine. Also, having a backup emergency plan is vital in cases of medical emergencies or if one of the group members find themselves lost.

In situations where one of your group members find themselves lost, tell them to keep their cool. By being alert of the surroundings, following directions on the map and navigating using a compass, they would most probably find their way out. If to no avail, following a river downhill would definitely lead to a road.

Most importantly, before heading out for any type of adventure at all, make a point to check on the weather. Monsoon seasons are best to be avoided if you are planning on an adventure outside, being stuck in a torrential downpour would be potentially dangerous. Look at the sky, the formation of clouds, every slight change may signify whether the weather is going to be rain or shine.

Generally, these things are of utmost importance to ensure safety during outdoor recreational activities. Bear in mind of your well-being in spite of getting yourself outdoors because life is such that there is no turning back when death comes knocking at your door. ***

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