A how-to guide to avoid dying #ownsafety

According to the Canadian Institute for Health information, “more than 5,600 Canadians are seriously injured every year from winter activities.” Want to avoid being part of those 5,600? Here’s how.

1. Plan ahead

Know where, when and the conditions before you go. No matter what your winter activity of choice is, always know where and when to go and plan your route ahead of time. Are there any obstacles that might hinder your trek? You know, like railway property? Getting caught on a train bridge could get you killed, like Nick was. And train tracks could bring your snowmobile adventure to a deadly halt. Knowing these things in advance will allow you to plan an alternate route to get to where you’re going safely. The last thing you need is to be stuck in a jam and doing something that could change your life forever (or even end it). [caption id="attachment_9204" align="alignright" width="300"]WillGadd11 Photo credit: carryology.com[/caption]

2. Be prepared

Lock and load proper safety protection. This is pretty much a no brainer: always pack helmets, a first-aid kit, proper outerwear for the activity etc. Think about it. You wouldn’t go out on the ski hill without winter attire for a day of snowboarding in -15°C weather, right? Enough said.

3. Use caution

Be smart about the adventure you’re embarking upon. Do you know what the sport or activity entails? Are you deathly afraid of heights, but you’ve decided to join your buds on an ice climbing adventure, something you’ve never done before, and at a location for advanced-only climbers? Might want to reconsider and pass for now. Take a lesson and build your skill level and confidence before you head out with your experienced friends.

4. Listen to your gut

Know when to walk away. That 100-foot cliff you guys want to jump off into a glacier-fed raging river looks pretty death defying and awesome. Imagine the bragging rights! You climb all the way to the top when you realize that the current could be really strong. You just don’t know. You start to second-guess this quest… especially once that inner voice starts to speak up. Do yourself a favour—listen to it. Don’t let something totally preventable ruin your life forever—live to tell the story of your adventures for many years to come. You can start by planning ahead, ensuring you’re properly equipped, and acknowledging when the risk is too great so that you are able to walk away. Check out last week’s blog post for more tips on how to make sure your adventure doesn’t lead to your death.