Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 06, 2019 (RSCNPF): Residents and visitors are urged to have a guide and take proper security measures to ensure their safety when hiking.
Fire Sub-Station Officers Rommel Williams and Timothy Martin, while appearing on a recent “Policing With You”, made this appeal to the public as a result of recent incidents that have taken place involving hikers.
FSSO Martin said that it is important that hikers inform at least one other person when they are going hiking.
“The specifics are important…it would be important that you let persons know which trail you are taking…If traveling in groups, be sure that at least one person knows basic first aid. This is life-saving knowledge and it would be good that at least one person knows,” implored FSSO Martin.
“We mainly respond to missing persons reports and hikers who would have gone on the mountain trail who would have gotten injured or fell ill somewhere along the route…It is important to walk with a guide. Too many times we have seen visitors or even persons who are from here, go up into the mountains not having a qualified guide with them and then we have to go and rescue them,” he said
Officer Martin commended a local guide for his practices when taking persons hiking and encouraged other guides to adopt the same.
“We have a guide and whenever he goes to the trails, he informs us that he is going and how many persons he is taking with him and what time they are expected back…if his plans change, he will also notify us of change of plans so I want to commend him very much.”
FSSO Williams noted that rescues can be difficult. Factors that pose a challenge to first-responders include the terrain, the topography of the land, and the weight of the person.
“We would want to consider the time of day that we receive these calls…When it comes to the evening, it gets really dark so that will hinder our rescue operations. We also have to consider weather conditions, if it’s raining, you know that it becomes really slippery, so it poses another challenge for stability in venturing down or up these trails.”
He added that, “We believe that hikes should be done early [in the] morning, so it gives you the opportunity to get down in a reasonable time and not let night fall on you while you are up there… If you know you have a particular ailment that requires specific medication, walk with your medication…you never can tell when you will be affected up at these trails.”