Search-and-rescue organizations are reminding outdoor enthusiasts to be prepared when they head into the wilderness this spring.
Ian MacDonald, Search Manager with Coquitlam Search and Rescue, says the main priority is to leave behind a trip plan.
WATCH: Happy ending to search for two lost children
“The number one thing more than anything else is to let someone know what they’re doing. We call it a trip plan. It doesn’t need to be a four-page essay, it’s just, ‘Where I’m planning on going, what time I’ll be home, please call for help if I don’t check in with you by that time.'”
MacDonald says while he encourages hikers to bring cell phones, he advises against relying on them in times of trouble.
“People run out of battery and the bigger problem is that in a lot of wilderness areas there is no cell coverage. You can’t text, you can’t use voice functions, so cell phones do give people a false sense of security. Even if you’re taking your cell phone with you, and I do encourage people to do that, still make a trip plan.”
WATCH: Two children rescued after spending night in woods
On Sunday, a father and two children became lost while hiking on Burke Mountain.
They hit patches of snow and lost the trail before falling down a creek bed. A seven-year old boy and his six-year old sister waited alone overnight, while their injured father hiked to find help.
Members of Coquitlam Search and Rescue and Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue brought the pair to safety Monday morning.
MacDonald says it’s not uncommon to find snow at higher elevations at this time of year.
WATCH: Kids rescued from Burke Mountain in Coquitlam
“The best decision you can make is to turn around, retrace your footsteps and leave the trail for another day. But very often, people forge ahead, and so they lose the trail, the snow slows them down and the next thing you know they are having to call 911.”
Safety experts recommend checking the website of search and rescue organizations for a description of ten essential items to bring on hikes. They include things like a flashlight,emergency shelter, extra food and water, navigational aids, a fire starter kit and first aid kit.
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