Backcountry adventures are becoming more and more popular as people are trying to escape the stress of the daily grind and get back to nature. That being said, it is important to be prepared before you head out in case something unexpected happens and you need to be rescued.
Know Before You Go
Technology in the Backcountry
If the worst happens, and you find yourself in a situation where you need search and rescue, it is important to stay calm. We highly recommend investing in a GPS or satellite communicator if you are preparing to venture into the backcountry, as cell service is usually sparse.
We talked with the Pitkin County 911 Commander about a new way for people to get in touch with emergency personnel – should they find themselves in need of help in the backcountry:
Essentially, anyone in the backcountry with an inReach or Garmin-type satellite communicator can email Pitkin dispatch directly for help. This feature can be used in Pitkin County and the surrounding county’s backcountry areas.
However, he reiterates that you should always try to call 911 first, then text to 911. If both fail, this is when you should use your satellite device by pressing the SOS button while also sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will speed up the notification to emergency officials that someone needs help. The SOS goes to a national call center, which then has to determine what 911 center to forward the message to. The email will go directly to Pitkin dispatch.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is to stay calm and assess your surroundings. If you are able to, try to get somewhere easily accessible by rescuers. It’s important to stay where you are once you’ve contacted SAR so they know exactly where your location is and will be able to locate you as quickly as possible.
When and How to Call SAR?
How to Prepare for SAR to Arrive
We hope that you never find yourself in a situation where you need to call SAR, but we are big advocates for being prepared for any type of situation. Having a comprehensive understanding of backcountry elements and how to handle any situation could mean the difference between life and death. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your friends at the Carbondale Fire District.