Surprising causes behind rise in emergency cliff rescues
This summer has brought a record number of call-outs to Warwick cliff rescues and hiking accidents, leading emergency services to issue a warning to be vigilant.
Warwick local SES controller John Newley said most hiking accidents happened “through no fault of their own”, but an alarming number were also caused through inattention.
“I think it could be a little Covid-related,” he said.
“People aren’t travelling as far as before and they’re travelling closer to home, and of course, bushwalking is a great activity.
“But we’ve been to all sorts of matter of recoveries and the amount of times you see a sign that says ‘Do not walk past this point’, and they still walk past the point and fall off.
“The signs are there for a reason. It’s pretty simple.”
Not walking to conditions such as recent rain, and pushing your hike for that perfect shot were other routes to disaster, Mr Newley said.
He also said there were precautions hikers should learn to take before starting.
“We’re really fortunate now that a lot of the Main Range can get mobile phone access and GPS capabilities,” Mr Newley said.
“At Mt Superbus it was very, very difficult to spot (the patient) because the tree canopy was 100 per cent.
“Lucky he had a phone, was able to get police to send him a text message and he was able to return that ping.
“It narrows the coordinates right down and we were within 300,400m of him.”
MUST-DO STEPS BEFORE STEPPING OUT ON A HIKE INCLUDE:
– Tell people where you’re going:
Mr Newley said the only way a sure-fire way to keep safe was by letting someone know when you leave, the route of your hike, and when you return home.
– Over-estimate food and water:
On a recent call out, Mr Newley said hikers were faced with 40 degrees temperatures leading to severe dehydration.
To avoid this, bring excess water and food.
– Carry a power bank:
Mr Newley said what people mightn’t realise is that when phones are dropping in and out of service, they use battery faster.
To combat this, bring a small portable charger.
– Never walk alone:
Always have back ups on your trips, as Mr Newley said this is a major factor in call-outs.
-Stay where you are:
Once you’ve called emergency services stay put, preferably in an open area with something colourful (eg. hi-vis) to catch the eyes of rescuers.