Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
Outdoor Safety Tips at Georgia State Parks

For a fun, safe day in the great outdoors, follow these safety tips:

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Check for ticks after being outdoors. If you find a tick attached to your body for more than a day, look for symptoms of Lyme Disease.

Hiking Safety Tips
  No one ever plans to get lost, but it does sometimes happen. Each year, Georgia’s park rangers spend numerous hours searching for hikers who did not return on time, slipped on waterfalls, got off the trail or encountered other problems. Follow these tips from the pros for a fun and safe hike.
  Avoid hiking alone because the “buddy system” is safer during any type of activity. If traveling with a group, never stray from the group.
  Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.
  Stay on marked trails. Making shortcuts and “bushwhacking” causes erosion and greatly increases your chance of becoming lost. As you hike, pay attention to trail blazes (paint marks on trees) and landmarks. 
  Never climb on waterfalls. 
  Always carry quality rain gear and turn back in bad weather. If you become wet or cold, it is important to get dry and warm as quickly as possible, avoiding hypothermia.
  Dress in layers and avoid cotton. Today’s hikers can choose from numerous fabrics that wick moisture, dry quickly or conserve heat. 
  All hikers (especially children and older adults) should carry a whistle, which can be heard far away and takes less energy than yelling. Three short blasts is a sign of distress.
  Carry plenty of drinking water and never assume stream water is safe to drink. 
  Don’t count on cell phones to work in the wilderness. Also, don't rely on a GPS to prevent you from getting lost. Batteries can die or the equipment can become damaged or lost.
  Wear bright colors. Don’t dress children in camouflage.
Carry An Emergency Kit
Each hiker should have these items:
  First aid kit
  Small flashlight with extra batteries
  Energy food
  Brightly colored bandana
  Trash bag (preferably a bright color, such as “pumpkin bags” sold in autumn). Poke a hole for your head and wear it as a poncho to stay warm and dry.
Especially for Children
  Attach a whistle to their clothing.
  Talk to children about what to do if they become lost, no matter what the location (city or wilderness).
  Teach children that they won’t get into trouble for becoming lost.
  Reassure children that people (and possibly dogs and helicopters) will look for them if they become lost. Do not hide from searchers; answer their calls.
  Do not run. Instead, “hug a tree” and make a comfortable “nest.” This prevents wandering even further.
  Do not be afraid of animals or strange noises. If something is scary, blow the whistle.
  Come up with a password that a child will respond to if a stranger needs to pick them up. Searchers can use this password.
What To Do if You Are Lost
  Stay put.
  Make shelter.
  Stay warm and dry.
  Be visible and heard.
  If helicopters are searching overhead, seek an opening rather than thick tree cover. Lie down so you look bigger from the air.

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