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November 2016 Issue
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Avoid an unexpected night out

Don't leave it to chance. Photo: Supplied
Nick Kingstone from the Mountain Safety Council shares advice on how to stay safe on your next day-walk

There have been several instances of  the ‘unexpected night out’ this year, typically arising from a day walk that goes wrong. Even if you’re a few hundred metres from the car park, once it gets dark and you’re lost or have an injury with no torch, shelter, food or communications, you’re in a potentially very threatening survival situation.

But by following some basic safety practices, an unexpected night out can be avoided completely, or, at the least, the risk to your health can be significantly reduced.

In almost all ‘unexpected’ cases, there is a distinct lack of planning. Having simple things like a rain jacket, a survival bag, a torch and some extra food may make all the difference. It’s also vital someone knows you’re out there and can raise the alarm when you haven’t returned by your specified time.

The Outdoor Safety Code encourages people to ‘tell someone your plans’ along with four other simple things to help you make it home safely: plan your trip, be aware of the weather, know your limits, and take sufficient supplies.

Avoid an unexpected night out:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the Outdoor Safety Code, and follow the five step process as a checklist each time you go out
  2. Download the ‘Day Walk’ outdoor guide from
  3. Learn how to make it home by making good decisions. Head to Facebook and search #MakeItHomeNZ