Getting lost in the woods is scary, and is generally a good thing to avoid. But if it happens, make sure to learn how to get found, and to teach kids the same. Create a game plan and stick to it, and carry a "get found" kit at all times.
Common sense can prevent getting lost outdoors, and can get lost campers and hikers found more quickly. Make especially sure that any children in the camping party know the get found techniques outlined here.
What You'll Need:
- Aluminum foil
- Waterproof carrying bag
- Large plastic garbage bag
- Mylar emergency blanket
- Extra sweater or jacket
- Unbreakable mirror
- Granola bars
- Water bottle
How to Get Found:
Step 1: Before leaving on an outdoors excursion, press aluminum foil against the soles of everyone's hiking shoes to make impressions of the tread. Search parties use impressions like these to find a missing person's footprints.
Step 2: Study a map of the hiking or camping area and learn the route. Give a copy of the map and a schedule to someone at home.
Step 3: Make a "get found" kit to carry in a waterproof bag. Include a large plastic garbage bag with a ten-inch hole in one corner, a mylar emergency blanket, a whistle, an extra sweater or jacket, an unbreakable mirror, granola bars, and extra water.
Step 4: Keep a map and compass in hand or in a convenient pocket. Check the map frequently, keep the group together at all times, and ALWAYS stay on the trail. When camping, make sure kids don't wander from the campsite.
Step 5: If you get lost, stay calm, stay in one place, and let rescuers find you. Establish a base camp. Choose a tree and stay close to it. Blow the whistle from the get found kit often, and flash the mirror in all directions to attract attention.
Step 6: If it's cold, put on the extra sweater or jacket. Sit by a tree and pull the garbage bag over your head. (Your face should stick out of the ten-inch hole in one corner.) Wrap the blanket around for extra warmth and visibility. Blow that whistle.
Step 7: If campers become cold they should move around, but stay near the tree, which can be a windbreak. If it rains, stay dry in the trash bag.
A compass can help rescuers find lost campers. Keep reading to learn how to use a compass to get found.