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Nerves

Geocaching Safety Tips

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Some of you are familiar with my broken leg saga so I won't go into the details again. To make a long story short, I broke the leg in three places while on a very benign 1/2 mile saunter through the woods.

 

So, this got me thinking about ways we can keep safe while geocaching. I thought it would be useful to carry a card with important medical and demographic information. This can either be placed in your wallet or around your neck like a dog tag (or travel bug...). If you end up in the ER you can just whip out the card and it'll answer about 20 questions you'd ordinarily be asked.

 

Bomber John - with his excellent graphics skills - designed the card which I will let him post here.

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Some of the 20 questions would be:

 

1. Have you ever had poison ivy/oak?

2. Thorns scratches?

3. Bug bites?

4. Insomnia?

5. Heat exhaustion?

6. Have you ever peed in the woods?

7. "An exactly how did you break your leg?"

 

Seriously, Everyone should have important contact info and medical ID on them regardless of geocaching or not. ... Kinda like having clean underwear on.

 

<_<

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Be sure to let someone know where you are going, so that if you are injured or lost you will be found quickly rather than die of exposure........ <_<

 

On a happier note have fun out there! Nerves I hope you recover quickly <_<

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Most authorities will tell you that if you are lost, you should sit down, and wait for someone to come and find/rescue you. We think that is pretty good advice in many cases, but...

 

If you take a minute or so before you head out to look at the map you have of the area you will be exploring, you will often find a barrier in one direction (N,S,E,W...this assumes you have a GPS unit or compass) that extends for miles (making it difficult to miss. This barrier could be a road, a stream, railroad tracks, a power line, or something similar. Fix the direction of your "escape route" in your head, and also think about whether you will turn left or right once you reach the "escape route" to continue out of the woods. A couple of minutes spent doing this before you go out in the woods can save you a miserable time once you get lost.

 

"Wait a second...can't I find the "escape route" by using my map once I am lost?", you ask.

 

"Don't plan on your brain working at peak efficiency when you realize you are lost, take the time ahead of time." I answer.

 

******************************************************************

 

Another freebie gained through forehead-slapping experience...start you GPS unit when you park your car, let it acquire satellites on the hood of your car while you get out all of your stuff, and set the parking spot as a waypoint...that way, if you get lost or just decide to quit for the day, you can easily find your way back to your ride home.

Edited by NFA

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I like NFA's advice. The key is to know something of the area you're in. Here in the Pacific NorthWET search and rescue occasionally follows folks downstream or in other random directions for 1-2 days when they could have parked and been found quicker. This area has lots of SAR teams and small roadless areas. Different rules apply to different situations, methinks.

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Uhhhh, as an EMT, I generally cut underwear off and after almost any accident, it didn't matter if it was "clean" or not.

 

:anitongue:

 

Another fib my mother told me....

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Can you post the log, its a members only cache.

Yes, I was wearing clean underwear :anitongue: and no one cut my clothes off until I was whisked into the trauma room at the ER. I was "directing my own care" which I'm sure drove the EMTs nuts but they were very nice about it. I wouldn't allow the EMTs to handle my leg or remove the shoe but did let them give me some morphine - but only half the amount they wanted to give. :anitongue:

 

You asked for the log - I was way too verbose but here it is...

 

The Saga of Benn's Border Cache:

 

I started out on a fine autumn day to do this cache after work. The leaves were brilliantly colored and reflected in the pond. It was wonderful to be out! I found the cache and dropped off the Lumberjack Beaver TB after seeing signs of live beavers around.

 

On my way out, I slipped on some pine needles and for a millisecond thought I had sprained my ankle but no...I heard the bones in the leg snap like dry branches. I looked down to see my leg flopping like a dead fish from the knee down. I couldn't walk on it and laid down in the dirt to call 911. I knew it was a serious break and the pain was quite excruciating. While rescue was on the line, I saw a man walking his dog and since I felt like I was about to faint I asked him to help me. He didn't want to approach me. I begged him for about 5 - 10 minutes and asked him to direct the rescue personnel to me in case I fainted.

 

My divine angel finally walked up to within 25 feet of me and asked if I wanted a cigarette. I thought that was a bit odd to ask a lone woman lying in the dirt clearly in distress with a leg splayed at an odd angle. It's quite interesting how your foot can turn completely around when it's not attached to anything...I told him I don't smoke and he replied, "now's a good time, ha, ha, to start" and he promptly left me in the dirt...What a good samaritan.

 

Well, finally, the rescue people found me by following my yells and there began my journey to RI Hospital ER followed by surgery for a fractured tibia, two fractures in the fibula and a dislocated ankle. I can't drive or work for four months and am typing from my brand new wheelchair. I'm not sure that I every want to geocache again.

 

At least I dropped the TB...

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I truly hope your leg heals well!

 

Injuries, and being stranded in a remote area, work on the psyche as well, and your experience with the @#$%&*^ that left you there can't have helped.

 

Despite it all, I hope you've had time to reconsider

I'm not sure that I every want to geocache again.

 

Hang in there!

Ed

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I know this has been brought up before but I will say it again. During this time of year you should at least wear some blaze orange. When out in the woods you never know when a hunter will be there. Sometimes you come across a hunter that thinks he is still on the correct side of the property line (I've done that), or is just plain poaching. Better safe than sorry.

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I was hiking alone last Sunday and ran into a hunter on the trail. I think I scared the young man more than he scared me . . . but I did say to him maybe I should have had an orange vest on. However, I think the only thing open to hunting in that area is quail . . .

 

Oh . . . and I'm very guilty of hiking alone all the time and I don't own a cell phone and rarely know where I'm going before I head out . . . so . . .

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Oh . . . and I'm very guilty of hiking alone all the time and I don't own a cell phone and rarely know where I'm going before I head out . . . so . . .

Miragee, please, please, please get a cell phone at the very least. I don't know where you live but in RI you can get a cell phone for $15/month at Verizon used for just emergency purposes.

 

If I hadn't had a cell phone I'm not sure what I would've done. I couldn't use my right leg and I probably could've dragged myself out of the woods but it would've taken an extremely long time and then what? I couldn't drive...no one was around and the one guy on the trail left me., I suppose I could've used my left leg to drive but I was in alot of pain and I think if I had sat up I might've passed out.

 

Please get a cell phone! And, yes - it would be good to let people know where you're going and carry a whistle.

 

I'd also like to suggest that you check to be sure you have cell phone coverage before you set out on your hike.

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I was hiking alone last Sunday and ran into a hunter on the trail. I think I scared the young man more than he scared me . . . but I did say to him maybe I should have had an orange vest on. However, I think the only thing open to hunting in that area is quail . . .

 

Oh . . . and I'm very guilty of hiking alone all the time and I don't own a cell phone and rarely know where I'm going before I head out . . . so . . .

Well then, start by carrying the Emergency Medical ID.

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I just downloaded it . . . now to print it out and take it somewhere to get it laminated . . . :anitongue:

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I just downloaded it . . . now to print it out and take it somewhere to get it laminated . . . :anitongue:

You can buy self-sealing laminate for business card at Staples, Office Max, ......

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The ALERT section on the card is for info such as:

 

I am a diabetic.

I have epilepsy.

I have a cardiac disorder.

 

or, whatever else you might want to put there.

 

Since space is limited on the card I'll provide some medical abbreviations that you can use for some disorders and understood by all medical personnel:

 

HTN - hypertension

IDDM - insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

NIDDM - non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

MI - myocardial infarction (heart attack)

CAD - coronary artery disease

SZS - seizures

OA - osteoarthritis

CA - cancer

CVA - stroke

CHF - congestive heart failure

A-fib - atrial fibrillation

 

Medications - you can shorten the info by putting:

 

qd - for medication taken once daily

bid - twice a day

tid - three times a day

 

So, for example, if you take Lopressor 10 mg twice daily for your HTN write:

 

Lopressor 10 mg bid

 

Hope that helps.

Edited by Nerves

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nerves,

 

Thanks for the additional info, I now know that I am a NIDDM and my daughter is a IDDM. My wife is a freak, is there a code for that? Sorry just had to add that

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On the cellphone issue...even if you don't want/need an actual cellphone plan, buy a used cellphone. You can't make regular incoming/outgoing calls on it, but 911 calls will still go through. There are several agencies that give out used phones to domestic abuse victims for this very reason.

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Tracphones...

 

I finally got one, tho' I about busted a blood vessel to do it - I don't WANT to be available all the time. And people did okay in the backcountry long before cell phones.

 

I've spent HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of hours in the woods and never needed one.....rant, rant, rant....

 

(big pouted lip, deep breathing....)

 

Okay, I'm done.

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On the cellphone issue...even if you don't want/need an actual cellphone plan, buy a used cellphone. You can't make regular incoming/outgoing calls on it, but 911 calls will still go through. There are several agencies that give out used phones to domestic abuse victims for this very reason.

One more thing on the cell phone issue. I don't recall if I read about this here or some other group, so I can't give proper credit.

 

In your cell phones, create at least one contact that begins with ICE (In case of emergency).

 

My cell phone includes these two contacts:

 

ICE - WIFE

ICE - MOTHER

 

I have been told that emergency personnel are starting to look on the cell phones for these entries so that they may know who exactly to call and what the relationship is. If you are ever unconscious....

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Speaking of safety...

 

Do you guys ever worry about general whackos in the woods?

 

Here on Long Island there's been more and more stuff lately about homeless camps and people finding bodies in the woods.

 

Most of the folks we run into are trail running or kids farting around but finding a crack-pipe type of device at our last attempt got me edgy. Does anyone carry pepper spray or anything too?

 

Thanks.

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Speaking of safety...

 

Do you guys ever worry about general whackos in the woods?

 

Here on Long Island there's been more and more stuff lately about homeless camps and people finding bodies in the woods.

 

Most of the folks we run into are trail running or kids farting around but finding a crack-pipe type of device at our last attempt got me edgy. Does anyone carry pepper spray or anything too?

 

Thanks.

I am a wacko in the woods! :D

 

In truth, I worry more about wackos in the cities. It is like anything else is these troubled times, pay attention to your suroundings, and if you feel in danger, get the heck out.

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Virgin Mobile is what I use. Gotta put $20 on it every 3 months, or when you run out. $.25 a minute for first 10 minutes in a day, $.10 after that. No other charges. I've used it all over, including Hawaii!

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I don't WANT to be available all the time. And people did okay in the backcountry long before cell phones.

 

I've spent HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of hours in the woods and never needed one.....rant, rant, rant....

ATMouse, I can understand your cell phone reluctance. I've also hiked miles and miles in the wilderness by myself. I used to go out backpacking for 1 - 2 weeks at a time and would never see another human.This was before cell phones. I was lucky...

 

I've always hated cell phones probably because it annoyed me to see people talk on them in public or while driving. I would've never had one but it was part of a package deal that someone else is paying for.

 

But, now...we have cell phones and they're a useful tool. When the package deal is done I'll buy my one cell phone because it's usefullness has been proven to me. I don't give the number out because I don't want to be accessible all the time either.

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Speaking of safety...

 

Do you guys ever worry about general whackos in the woods?

 

All the time...

 

For some reason, I'm a whacko magnet.

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Tracphones...

 

I finally got one, tho' I about busted a blood vessel to do it - I don't WANT to be available all the time. And people did okay in the backcountry long before cell phones.

 

I've spent HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of hours in the woods and never needed one.....rant, rant, rant....

 

(big pouted lip, deep breathing....)

 

Okay, I'm done.

Here's the thing....you turn a cellphone off, and magically, it won't ring. Even if it does ring, most phones have a button you can press to silence the ringer and ignore the call (for instance, if it rings during a meeting) *POOF* you're only accessable when you want to be, and have the conveniance of a phone with you when you need it.

 

Granted, the above practice annoys me--I generally have mine on me or within reach 24/7 and can almost always be reached on it, as does my father, while my mother and sister do not carry theirs, and frequently keep theirs turned off. Dad and I know we can reach each other almost instantly with the phones, or at least get a message through, where if we need to get ahold of Mom or my sister, we could spend hours making phone calls and trying various numbers.

 

If someone else calls that I don't particularily feel like being bothered by at the moment, I look at the caller ID and note who's calling, press the ignore button and make a mental note to call them back later--and I've been in several instances where having the phone at that precise moment outweighed any possible inconvenience it may have caused in the past--overheating car 10 miles from home, or the night Grandpa's house burned down--we were all standing in the driveway (rural house) when we realized noone had called 911 yet. Phones in the house weren't an option anymore, house was engulfed.

 

A sidebar to keep in mind--the new systems are getting better at locating a cellular 911 call and routing it to a local call center, but in yet-to-be-updated areas, a 911 call on a cellphone will be routed to the STATE 911 dispatch center. In the case of the fire, the state dispatcher took my number and had the local dispatcher call me back for the information. Good idea to program the local NON-911 numbers for your emergency services into the phone for quicker response. Our dispatch center has a local 7-digit number that when dialed, rings through on the 911 lines.

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I can't help it, I hate cell phones.

 

I hate that technology seems to be more important than the human experience. I hate the stupidity I see in the backcountry sometimes by people who don't RESPECT the power of nature, the blind arrogance of folks who are too lazy to get a bit of knowledge and experience and treat wild animals like Disney characters and vote down every law that protects some wild place because it might deprive some moneybags a sheckle.

 

And we're gonna leave NOTHING untouched, undeveloped and unspoilt for our kids and grandkids. More towers in quiet small places, more roads into wilderness.....

 

Deep breath.

 

I know I'm ranting and I know people should carry cell phones for their safety...please forgive me.

Edited by ATMouse

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...and vote down every law that protects some wild place because it might deprive some moneybags a sheckle.

 

And we're gonna leave NOTHING untouched, undeveloped and unspoilt for our kids and grandkids. More towers in quiet small places, more roads into wilderness.....

 

The rape of our forests and wildnerness areas is a tragedy.

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Speaking of safety...

 

Do you guys ever worry about general whackos in the woods?

 

All the time...

 

For some reason, I'm a whacko magnet.

A wacko magnet, huh? NOW you tell me! :D

Edited by BomberJohn

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Speaking of safety...

 

Do you guys ever worry about general whackos in the woods?

 

All the time...

 

For some reason, I'm a whacko magnet.

A wacko magnet, huh? NOW you tell me! :D

Oh geez...I guess I wrote that wrong. I'm not the whacko (maybe some people would disagree :D ) but anyway, THEY'RE the whackos - you know - the people off their meds or hallucinating or lookin' for trouble or just plain weird...they seem to find me and stick to me like I'm a magnet...happens all the time...then again, I also get the short people in supermarkets who want me to reach something for them...people asking me prices in stores like I work there or something...and the people in wheelchairs who need help getting to the toilet...what's up with that?

 

But, I digress...this is about safety, right? We're stayin' safe, right?! :D

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Nerves,

 

I received my new sassafras walking stick the other day (complete with carved whistle). I ordered it after reading what you went through.

Now I guess I'll try Ben's Border Cache.

 

Get well soon, :D

 

Mustcache

 

Sassafras walking stick.

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Thanks for the Medical ID...I'll carry it, but sure hope it doesn't come in handy :D

 

I hope your leg heals correctly and that you get full use and feeling back. Won't say what I think about the guy that left you there in the dirt.....................

Regards,

Bill

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Nerves,

 

I received my new sassafras walking stick the other day (complete with carved whistle). I ordered it after reading what you went through.

Now I guess I'll try Ben's Border Cache.

 

Get well soon, :D

 

Mustcache

 

Sassafras walking stick.

Watch out for those pine needles on the flat, level terrain at the cache :D:D

 

Thanks for the get well wish!

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I can't help it, I hate cell phones.

 

I hate that technology seems to be more important than the human experience. I hate the stupidity I see in the backcountry sometimes by people who don't RESPECT the power of nature, the blind arrogance of folks who are too lazy to get a bit of knowledge and experience and treat wild animals like Disney characters and vote down every law that protects some wild place because it might deprive some moneybags a sheckle.

 

And we're gonna leave NOTHING untouched, undeveloped and unspoilt for our kids and grandkids. More towers in quiet small places, more roads into wilderness.....

 

Deep breath.

 

I know I'm ranting and I know people should carry cell phones for their safety...please forgive me.

"I hate that technology seems to be more important than the human experience."

 

Are you overlooking that bit of technology with the coordinates loaded, and the pointer-thingy in it that leads you to the cache?

 

Seems a bit hypocritical when our hobby relies so heavily on technology.

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OK - so our gc safety list goes something like this:

 

1) cell phone - check coverage

2) medical ID card

3) whistle

 

you can add to this...

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OK - so our gc safety list goes something like this:

 

1) cell phone - check coverage

2) medical ID card

3) whistle

 

you can add to this...

Well, when it comes to backcountry travel, other than the clothes on my back, the absolute first thing I pack with me is a GOOD knife. Personally, I recommend a fixed-blade, but a folding knife--WITH a locking blade would do as well.

 

With some practice, the side of the blade can double as a signal mirror in a pinch as well.

Edited by dkwolf

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So I guess my list would go:

 

Map, eye protection, tape, extra clothes, headlamp, food, water, phone, a friend/neighbor/coworker/family member who knows where you are, and maybe swag to trade. That's my usual minimum on solo hikes.

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Well, when it comes to backcountry travel, other than the clothes on my back, the absolute first thing I pack with me is a GOOD knife. Personally, I recommend a fixed-blade, but a folding knife--WITH a locking blade would do as well.

 

At the risk of sounding completely ignorant, under what circumstances would you use a knife?

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Well, when it comes to backcountry travel, other than the clothes on my back, the absolute first thing I pack with me is a GOOD knife.  Personally, I recommend a fixed-blade, but a folding knife--WITH a locking blade would do as well.

 

At the risk of sounding completely ignorant, under what circumstances would you use a knife?

You could be pinned between two bolders and need to hack off a limb like that guy did last year. :lol: Or, you could slice up that apple you brought for a snack. :lol:

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At the risk of sounding completely ignorant, under what circumstances would you use a knife?

Or you can use it to cut branches for a splint. Or 100 other uses I can't thin of, and wouldn't think of until I needed it.

 

Before they stopped letting me take then on airplanes, a alwats carried a small folder with a serrated edge. I also always had a Gerber multi-tool in my briefcase.

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I agree with the knife as part of your kit. As a multi-tasker, it has few equals. On our long hikes, where every ounce is scrutinized, we ALWAYS carry some sort of bladed tool - even if it only 2" long.

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  • a leatherman multi-tool
  • duct tape
  • somebody who knows where I'm going and when I'll be back (not in my pack, but still useful)

Edited by NFA

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I have a pendent with the medical symbol and a microfilm inside with MUCH more history than can go on a piece of paper. Also have a card with the same microfilm in my wallet, along with a regular card with vital information. The microfilm can be read with a magnifying glass. It had allergies, medical history, doctors names/numbers, contact info, etc, etc...

 

If you're serious about wanting your medical information with you, I would suggest looking into it.

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At the risk of sounding completely ignorant, under what circumstances would you use a knife?

 

That question certainly doesn't make you sound ignorant, but does indicate that perhaps you might not be a real experienced camper!

 

I can't imagine camping or geocaching without a knife; I use mine for everything from whittling a marshmallow stick to loosening tight knots, from cutting fishing bait to cutting my dinner steak!

 

On topic, a number of injuries require a splint, a serious injury to another hiker might require a jury-rigged stretcher. These things can be made from vines and sticks, but all of this requires a knife.

 

On the other extreme a knife-point is handy for removing thorns and splinters, roll gauze and other bandaging materials often need to be cut.

 

One of the better Boy Scout, Swiss Army or simular multi-tool knives offers a knife, fork, spoon, scissors, punch, phillips and standard screwdrivers, branch saw and more.

 

Caveat: a multi-tool is generally worth what you pay for it. A $2.95 multi-tool found on a convenience-store counter will fail quickly - buy a good one for your first-aid kit.

 

The idea of a quality knife as first-aid tool isn't far-fetched at all.

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