Camping is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty of the great outdoors while taking a break from the hectic pace of daily life. Airing out your tent and sleeping bag or pointing the RV toward the furthest horizon allows you to reconnect with nature and explore sights more awe-inspiring than your dreams.
Emergencies – of any type – are never welcome, but arming yourself with the right emergency tools and knowledge equips you to handle one or more until professional help arrives.
The First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit should be at the top of your supplies list – whether sleeping in your RV, in a tent or under the stars. This simple safety precaution will prepare you to handle many types of injuries or medical issues while waiting for help. Always include the following:
- Prepare a list: Print multiple copies of local emergency numbers and keep one in the emergency kit, your RV or vehicle and everyone’s backpack.
- Take one or more classes: in addition to learning how to use the items in your emergency kit, many of these classes include instructions on how to administer CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver and other life-saving measures.
Also, make the effort to enroll in classes that may address emergencies common to the area in which you plan to camp. For example, check into emergency procedures for hyperthermia or snake bite if going to the desert or hypothermia treatments if planning a winter or high-elevation camping trip.
- Bring extra medications: pack extra doses of prescribed or daily medications you take, especially allergy meds, epi pens and injectable meds and supplies. If you become stranded due to a natural disaster or emergency, you’ll have the ability to address your daily or emergency medical needs.
- Share medical issues and treatments: if you or any other campers have chronic medical problems, make sure everyone knows it and knows what to do in the case of a medical emergency. It’s vital that all campers are informed and prepared to help each other, if necessary.
While most people go camping just to unplug and escape from the white noise of daily life, your cell phone can be a lifesaver during an emergency. In addition to storing local emergency numbers, some mobile phones can make emergency calls even if you’re in an area that’s out of range from your provider’s cell towers. Always make sure your phone is fully charged before leaving your campsite for hikes or other activities.
Satellite phones are an excellent investment if you plan remote trips. They’re GPS-enabled, which means they can track your movements and pinpoint your location. You can also use a satellite phone to broadcast SOS messages or to check in with family or friends on a pre-arranged schedule. These phones are also invaluable during natural disasters or emergencies when normal communication options are down.
If you plan to camp in an area without electrical services, don’t forget a vehicle charger for your cell phone or a power bank for a satellite phone. Including a battery-operated emergency radio can also come in handy, especially during natural emergencies.
Know Where You’re Going … and Tell Others
The consequences of getting lost in the wilderness can be deadly. First, learn to read a map and use a compass. At the very least, these skills can help you find your way back to camp or to help. Second, if you plan a long or overnight solo hike, leave behind your route, destination and an estimation of when you should return. Any delay will alert your friends or family where to look for you.
There are countless ways campers can become sick or injured. In addition to health-related emergencies, you can become stranded due to weather emergencies, drink contaminated water, suffer from insect bites, burns, broken bones or even animal attacks.
Even the best-prepared campers can’t predict the future, but the better prepared you are, the better chance you have of successfully dealing with emergencies.