- Let someone know your trip route, destination, and return date
- Leave a map or written directions with someone dependable
- Be sure to tell them if you change your plans
- If you get lost, we will need a location to begin searching
- Never go alone!
- Always take a companion, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area
- Make sure you have sufficient food rations and water
- One gallon of water, per person, per day is the absolute minimum
- Dress for it: wear light-colored, loose fitting clothes
- Wear layers of clothing for the cooler temperatures
- Always pack a hat!
- Take shelter material, sunscreen, proper clothing, and a first aid kit
- Take a first aid/CPR course— it could save a life, possibly your own
- Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged
- Always include any medications with your emergency supplies
Never take a vehicle that is not meant for desert terrain off-road. Even if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, make sure you have the skills to maneuver it. Avoid going cross-country. Even if it appears safe, soft sand can quickly sink a vehicle up to its axels. Even 4-wheel drive vehicles can become easily stuck.
- Make sure your vehicle is in good running condition
- Check belts, hoses and connections
- Check tires and fill up before you leave the pavement
- Stay on dirt roads-- do not try to cross desert terrain
If your vehicle gets stuck…
- Don’t spin your tires—if possible, jack the drive wheels up and place solid materials under the tires for traction
- Boards, sticks, rocks, floor-mats, or vegetation may help regain traction
- Raise the hood if your vehicle won’t go further— It’s a universal distress signal that rescuers can easily spot
Should you leave your car and go for help?
You may need to decide whether to stay with your vehicle or try to walk to safety. Before you take that risk, ask yourself:
- Do you know your location?
- Can you easily walk to safety?
- How long will it take to reach help?
Stay with your vehicle!Your vehicle can provide you with shelter from the heat and cold. It’s also easier for searchers to detect a car from the air than a person. Remember, the heat of the day can easily exhaust you. Before you leave your vehicle, consider:
- Do you have sufficient water?
- Are you in good enough shape to safely hike out?
- What time of day is it?
If you feel you must leave your vehicle…Only leave your vehicle if you are certain of your location. If you decide to hike out, leave a note for rescuers with the day, time, and direction you are heading.
If you are unsure of where you are going, stay where you are.
Survival experts agree that a positive mental state is integral to survival. Stay busy and keep your mind focused. Stay calm and stay alive. Think rationally and affirm to yourself that you will survive. Follow these tips to protect yourself from the dangers of the desert sun:
- Limit activity to conserve energy in the heat of the day
- Stay under cover— your vehicle can provide shade and protection
- Drink water if you are thirsty. Don’t ration water. Stay hydrated!
- You can survive a long while without eating, but only a few days without water
- Avoid eating if possible— digestion uses valuable water
- Do not smoke, talk, or eat anything salty
- Do not drink alcohol, which can cause dehydration
- Do not substitute sodas for water, which may dehydrate you
- Stay clothed for protection— your clothes will insulate you from heat
- Never lie or sit on the earth—it can be up to 30 degrees hotter than the air temperature and you may encounter dangerous insects or snakes.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses if you have them
- You may be able to improvise a sunshade from cloth, a hat, even cardboard