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Better preparation could reduce need for search and rescue

Better preparation could reduce the need for search and rescues, university expert says

June 20, 2014

The time, effort and emotional energy spent on searching for people lost in the outdoors bush could be reduced with the help of better preparation and modern equipment, a University of Canterbury outdoor education expert says.

LandSAR, the national volunteer organisation which provides land search and rescue services to police and the public, carries out almost 1000 searches or rescues each year.

Canterbury outdoor and environment education lecturer Chris North says good preparation, modern technology and a calm, measured response could reduce the cost and number of rescues annually.

North is a keen adventurer, member of Education Outdoors New Zealand, the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association and the New Zealand Alpine Club. He lectures about 80 students at the University and many go on to become outdoor education teachers in schools.

North will give a public lecture on campus about surviving in the outdoors next Wednesday, June 25. View a preview interview here:

``It’s fantastic that New Zealanders love the outdoors and tramping or hunting in our bush. But people do get lost. The first thing they usually do is panic.

``People usually get feelings of fear, apprehension and anxiety. They can have a surge in adrenalin and that can be dangerous as people who are lost want to do something to get themselves out of there and that’s often the worst thing to do. It’s much better to stay put at first. The best advice is to take your time and look around and see what they know and what resources that can be used such as shelter, clothing equipment to help survive.

``Before heading into the outdoors leave intentions what is planned with someone else. Modern equipment is really helpful but they are not without their problems which is just one of the things I’ll talk about next week,’’ North says.


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