Southern Highlands Bushwalkers Inc
Follow these few tips for safe bushwalking.
The Southern Highlands
Bushwalkers are quite willing to accept intentions (times/destinations) of
private outings to all bushwalkers, members or not.
- Give complete route details of WHERE you are going to close relatives or
friends, police or a local club (an intentions form from a club is a good
- Tell them WHEN you are LEAVING and RETURNING and anyone's SPECIAL
medical conditions eg diabetes, asthma, heart condition etc.
- Notify them of your. SAFE RETURN.
- Take the correct MAP, COMPASS, GPS, and PLB and know how to use them.
- Take appropriate clothing/footwear, always take a WINDPROOF or
WATERPROOF jacket and clothing that can keep you WARM WHEN WET eg wool and
definitely NOT jeans. Your First Aid kit should include a space blanket.
- Take waterproof MATCHES and some SPARE cold food eg Sultanas, sweets,
- Over estimate your abilities and always ALLOW TIME for the unexpected eg
thick scrub, cliff lines.
- Go faster than the slowest member of your group. At regular intervals do
a HEAD COUNT of your group.
- SPLIT up your walking group (except for below) during the trip, there is
SAFETY IN NUMBERS.
- Leave an injured person ALONE in the bush. A walking group of THREE or
more will allow one to look after the injured while the other goes for help.
- KEEP MOVING WHEN LOST, find a campsite nearby with water that will be
visible from a helicopter. Wave vigorously at any helicopters - they are
probably looking for you!
- Forget if you are OVERDUE to PHONE home as soon as you get mobile
reception or from the FIRST phone box/police station you come to.
EXPERIENCE and the trip LEADERSHIP and EQUIPMENT.
Every trip must include
at least ONE experienced bush walker to every THREE inexperienced walkers.
- Bushwalking exposes participants to several inherent risks.
- Walking over rough ground and through vegetation can lead to trips and
falls, lacerations, abrasions and injuries from bumping into branches or
- Rocky areas and above cliffs carry risk of falls off rocks or cliffs.
Walking below cliffs incurs risk of being struck by falling rocks, branches
and other objects. In bushland, a risk of falling branches or trees is
- There is the risk of snake-bite,insect stings, stings from plants such
as nettles and stinging trees, injuries from animals, native and domestic.
- In hot weather, the risk is cramps, dehydration and heat stress leading
to heat stroke if allowed to continue. Also the risk of bushfires.
- In cold weather, the main risk is hypothermia.
- There is the risk of being lost in the bush, generally due to parties
splitting up. There is also the risk of participants with conditions such as
diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, heart problems and blood pressure problems
especially if the walk leader is not informed.
- Some walks may not have all the risk factors listed here, but most walks
will have many of them.
- Most risks are avoidable by due care of the participant and avoiding
conditions such as fire danger and extreme weather conditions.
- The leader should inform the participants of any unusual risks likely to
be encountered and should attempt to obtain information as to and medical
conditions likely to affect a persons ability to complete the walk. Many
people are reluctant to impart this information.
- In the event of injuries occuring, the leader will use first aid
qualified members to manage the injury by applying the appropriate
treatment. First aid equipment is normally carried by qualified people and
others are advised to carry first aid items. Rest and protection must be
provided to casualties who are no longer able to continue. This one reason
why a group must not separate during a walk.
- If the injury or condition requires more advanced treatment than can be
provided by first aiders, then help must be sought by calling emergency
number (000). If no service ,then send two people to a higher place to see
if they can obtain communication. If this cannot be obtained then two
experienced people must be sent for help at quickest house to reach in order
to phone for help. The message must give the location, the number and
description of casualties and the nature of the injuries or condition of the
casualty or casualties. When you are walking in remote areas you must use
the club PLB which may activate the rescue helicopter.
- If an individual or group is missing, the leader will organise for the
group to return to where the missing party was last seen and search any
alternative route that they may have taken, calling out or blowing a whistle
from time to time. If this search is ineffective, then check the finish
point of the walk. If the missing party does not appear, then more help must
be sought by contacting the club 0490 803 576 or 0427 864 251 or ringing the
emergency number 000 and the operator will activate police who coordinate
all bush search and rescue.
- If caught in a bushfire, stop and think. Don't run uphill or away from a
fire. Look for a clear area or a sheltered spot and cover yourself. Get into
a creek or dam but not an above ground tank. .
The Bushwalker's Code.
- Minimal Bushwalking Means Do nothing and leave nothing that shows where
you have been
- Take nothing but happy memories and photographs
- Leave nothing but footprints Be self reliant.
- Tread Softly. Keep walking parties small, four to six is ideal. In
trackless country spread your party to reduce damage to the environment. Use
existing tracks, don't make new ones.
- Become proficient at bush navigation.
- Pack it in, pack it out.
- Be properly trained in first aid.
- Light your fires on bare sand or soil and don't surround with rocks.
- Give snakes a wide berth and leave them alone.
- Don't feed birds and animals around campsites.
- If you open a gate, close it!.
- Wash cooking and eating utensils well away from water systems. Prevent
soap, detergents and toothpaste getting into water systems.
- Fire doesn't destroy aluminium foil and plastics, take them away with
you. Douse your fire thoroughly with water when leaving. Keep your fire
small, the bigger the fire, the bigger the fool. Have a fire only when you
are absolutely certain you can light it safely. If the ground under the
coals is too hot to touch, the fire isn't out. Light fires away from stumps,
logs, living plants and river stones. Avoid fire lighting in many rainforest
and alpine regions.
- Be at least 50 meters from campsites and water when going to the toilet.
- Except in rough country, wear lightweight soft soled shoes or joggers.
Carry clothing for the worst conditions you are likely to encounter. A
lightweight trowel or large aluminium tent peg makes digging easier. .
- Carry a mobile phone, and use it only for emergencies.
- This is part of the code, get a complete copy. At Bushwalking NSW and
Bush Search and Rescue via the links on the Links page.