Help us help you.‬ That’s the message BC AdventureSmart is sending out.

The organization has released an online survey to better understand what it can do to make sure British Columbians are staying safe when heading outdoors.

Executive Director for the BC AdventureSmart Program, Sandra Richens, says the main goal of the survey is to aid in reducing the number of search and rescue calls throughout the province. 

“They respond to over 1700 calls a year, and this summer is unique, it’s very active. The call volume is higher than normal. There are lots involved in that equation due to the pandemic and so were trying to educate outdoor enthusiasts about incident prevention, backcountry travel, wilderness preparedness, and eventually incident prevention, but reducing the severity of a call is also a success,” Richens said.

“This will help us concentrate on where we can direct our efforts specifically in the province. We have a great synopsis of the (search and rescue) call volume in British Columbia. We can put it all in one big pot with our survey results and figure out where people are going, how are they getting there, are they doing it safely, do they have the knowledge, and how can we target our message more efficiently to all of the user groups out there.”

Richens says another important part of the survey is to see how many British Columbians are actually prepared.

“In British Columbia, we love to play outside and that’s awesome, our tagline is ‘get informed, and go outdoors’ and that’s what we want here too, but we need everyone to really consider their safety,” she adds. 

“We need everyone to follow our three T’s; Trip plan, Train, and Take essentials. Following those three T’s can really help you form great habits every time you go out, whether it’s an hour hike on your local trails in your community or if it’s a three-day adventure into the backcountry, the same process and habits need to be applied.”

Richens says to help make sure you know your stuff before heading out on a hike, bike ride or paddleboard session, BC AdventureSmart hosts weekly information sessions with a focus on outdoor safety and personal preparedness.

Those sessions can be found on the organization’s Facebook Page, and a link to the online survey can be found here.

For more outdoor safety best practices and tips, visit the BC AdventureSmart website