Following the rescue of three hikers who became stranded in the Organ Mountains earlier this week, the Las Cruces Fire Department would like to provide tips for those who venture into the great outdoors.
LCFD suggests following these and other safety tips:
• Know your capabilities and the terrain for which you will be hiking.
• Plan your trek carefully and take into consideration weather reports, the expected duration of your trek and other conditions which may be faced during your adventure.
• Never hike or backpack alone.
• Follow all signage and refrain from straying from established trails.
• Carry a fully charged cellular or satellite phone in case of an emergency. Avoid depleting a cell phone’s battery by overusing the camera function.
• Tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you expect to return. If you have not returned by the designated time, they should know to contact authorities.
• Take plenty of water and food to sustain you during the trek.
• Keep in mind, warm daytime temperatures and relatively high elevations expend energy quickly.
• Wear proper attire for the trek. It’s best to dress in layers that can be easily removed – or added – depending on conditions.
• Wear a hat or proper head covering.
• Wear boots or hiking shoes that are comfortable and suitable for the terrain to be covered.
• Be aware of changing weather conditions and the potential for flash floods from rains that occur upstream from your location.
• Beware of snakes that are more active during warmer weather and as daytime temperatures rise. Snakebite victims should seek help immediately.
• Beware of wild animals that are known to frequent the Organ Mountains and other areas nearby: bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, deer and African oryx. Never approach or attempt to handle a wild animal.
• If hiking with a dog, taking into consideration its needs and safety requirements for the trek.
• Dispose of waste properly and use the “Pack it In, Pack it Out” motto to help keep wild areas pristine.