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Bushwalking safety a must this Christmas

Australia is home to some of the toughest terrain in the world and this Christmas Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and RACQ CareFlight Rescue are reminding bushwalkers and trail bike riders to keep a level head when they head outside.

QAS Critical Care Paramedic and Senior Clinical Educator Brett Rogers has seen his fair share of bushwalking and trail bike injuries and said there were some important messages for bushwalkers and trail bike riders to keep in mind this holiday season.

“Always tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return but don’t forget to let them know if your plans change before you leave. It is also important to be prepared with adequate sun protection and plenty of water,” he said.

“A small first aid kit is also useful, particularly if someone is bitten by a snake and an immobilisation bandage is needed.”

Mr Rogers said every year QAS responded to people who regrettably found themselves lost or injured while bushwalking or out on their trail bikes.

Common injuries range from heat exposure, dehydration, sprains and strains, broken bones or medical conditions such as heart attacks.

He also warned people not to overestimate their abilities or those of the others in the group, especially bushwalking in unfamiliar territory.

“It is important to plan ahead and ensure everyone in the group has researched the walk or trail,” Mr Rogers said.

RACQ CareFlight Rescue also wants holiday-makers and locals to stay safe when venturing out to remote areas this festive season after airlifting 11 bushwalkers from rugged terrain in 2014.

RACQ CareFlight Rescue Aircrewman Ryan Purchase said following simple safety measures would ensure bushwalkers and trail bike riders were prepared in case of an emergency.

“All bushwalkers and trail bike riders are urged to take extra care in the outdoors these holidays,” Mr Purchase said.

This year the RACQ CareFlight Rescue crews have been busy searching for lost bushwalkers in national parks, airlifting injured patients from dense bushland and winching people to safety off cliff faces.

“RACQ CareFlight Rescue will be ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the busy Christmas period, but we hope people are being safe and responsible while exploring the outdoors,” Mr Purchase said.

“We recommend packing appropriately with plenty of food, water, a charged mobile phone, safety gear, flares and a locator beacon.

“Locator beacons are really beneficial in isolated locations with little or no mobile reception – we are able to hone in on a person’s exact location very quickly.”

A free Emergency+ app is also available for download from the Apple store and Google Play and it can help determine your GPS coordinates to pass onto emergency services if an incident occurs.

“Knowing your location allows the call taker to dispatch paramedics to you quickly, which can potentially save a life,” Mr Rogers said.