Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us
by Dave Robinson
Originally published October 30, 2012
Southwestern Oregon has its fair share of hunters. We also have our fair share of deer and elk to help keep the hunters coming back. Whether you cruise the back roads or hike the trails in search of your quarry, sooner or later you will run across someone who needs help. Some slide off into the ditch, others have a dead battery or some simply need directions, the trick lies in making sure it’s the OTHER guy that gets in a pickle.
Just last week a hiker in Central Oregon got himself in trouble through a series of missteps. Hiking across the sagebrush-covered flats he somehow lost his water bottle. Seeing the river at the bottom of the canyon, he decided to hike down to get himself a drink. About halfway down he found himself in the proverbial pickle. He discovered he couldn’t go down any farther but couldn’t get back up either. He was on a ledge described as two feet by three feet in size. Conditions were such that rescuers were unable to reach him. After spending a chilly night on the ledge wearing jeans and a tank top, an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter plucked him from his predicament the next morning.
As it is with most ‘pickles’, the problem actually began hours before when he decided to take a hike. His choice of what to take and what to wear, coupled with his lack of good judgement added up to a precarious, life-threatening experience that didn’t really have to happen. His choice of clothing offered little in the way of protection from the chilly night air. Then he lost his water bottle. He had used his cell phone to call for help, but accidently dropped it during the course of the evening. A question I would ask is, “Was it all that important to get a drink?” Even if he made it to the river, that’s not exactly potable water.
When hunters or hikers get in trouble, their situation can be greatly lessened with just a little planning. Cell phones are great and most of us carry one these days, but there are still a few hundred square miles in our region that have no coverage. Most of those square miles are where we like to play, hike, hunt, camp and otherwise recreate. Here are some suggestions. Pack like you’re going to spend the night, even if you have no intent to do so. The kit I always carry in my pickup includes a jar of peanut butter, a couple of MREs, and some other snack food. Fire starting implements are a must and I also have a small tarp that could be fashioned into a shelter if the need arose. Then let someone know where you’re going and what time you plan to return. These items, among others would go a long way toward keeping a person comfortable should you find yourself in that pickle.
As always direct your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.
additional columns by Dave Robinson