View Full Version : Emergency contact

07-16-2011, 17:36
I will be hiking in Georgia on the AT . I plan to leave a detailed itinerary with my family. In the off chance something should happen to me on the trail, who should my family contact to initiateSearch & Rescue? Where might I find phone numbers to give my family?

Lone Wolf
07-16-2011, 17:44

Lone Wolf
07-16-2011, 17:48

07-16-2011, 21:35
And this is the response I got


After three more years of experience, my basic conclusion is that, in the event of any serious problems, people on the trail are going to see you in trouble long before anyone at home misses you. If dialing 911 becomes necessary, it'll be someone right on the trail (probably you!), not several hundred kilometers away.

My general advice on the topic presently is:

1) Make certain people have a general itinerary of your trip.
2) Carry a cell phone, and call these people often (I call my wife a few times a day) to inform them of where you've gotten to. No need to be specific, just say, "I've just crossed Highway 6; I'll call you from Overlook Mountain."
If you only turn on your cell to make these short calls, it'll last several days without needing to be re-charged.
3) An added way to call for help is a whistle around your neck. Three whistle blasts in the wilderness will get people's attention immediately. Not the same as 911, but at least SOMEONE will be there, and that person can call the authorities.
4) Write your name into every trail log and shelter book as you go along.
5) Spend each night at a communal camping area, and make certain at least a few people know your trail name and how you're doing.
6) If your cell phone goes bad and you know your family will panic if they don't hear from you, feel free to ask to borrow a cell FOR A COUPLE MINUTES. Then tell your contacts that you'll be unable to reach them with your cell.

If your family still concludes that a search for you is necessary, the local trail club would be the best place to start. With the information you've been leaving by doing the above the club can rapidly determine the best place to start a search, and then the best agency to contact for any needed search.
I do **NOT** want to start a discussion about this, but please make certain that your family is aware that cash-strapped agencies are becoming increasingly reluctant to not charge for search and rescues when the need is not there. If your family initiates a search because your cell phone battery has died, they may have to pay for that search! It's thus best to let a local club make an informal search before going into full-scale rescue mode.

If your family doesn't want to wait even a few hours of "no contact" before "calling the cavalry," then something like the SPOT Locator
may be your best bet. It gets down to how much worry your family can handle versus how much they want to spend to reduce that worry.

07-16-2011, 22:01
GoldenBear that is as sound advice that anyone could give. I give the wife my itinerary and try to stick to it as close as possible, if there is a major change in plans, I let the home front know as soon as practicle, hopefully ahead of time. The biggest thing to remember is COMMUICATION, without it no one knows.

Wise Old Owl
07-16-2011, 22:39
There is a $50 rebate for SPOT II right now, I suggest you read the website carefully, and then read the REI website also.


07-17-2011, 12:57
On Golder Bear's List I would modify #2 to include text messages. I had to retrain my girl friend to tolerate the "I'm not dead communication" via text, as there are lots of stretches where you simply can't make a cell phone call, but there is enough signal to get out a text message.....

07-17-2011, 13:25
Rather than telling your wife you'll call her from "X mountain" you're much better off waiting until you get to town. What if there's no cell service or your phone went dead? Even then she should wait a day before calling in the troops. What if you needed to slow down, tweaked an ankle and couldn't keep pace. Of course, you could give her a bonus call but she shouldn't expect one from the trail. If you have to call 911 that's another matter entirely.

Del Q
07-17-2011, 13:33
Ditto on texting, on my last hike in SW Virginia, VERY little cell coverage, texts went through most of the time. I have each states State Police number in my cell phone.