Spring is here, and with summer around the corner, more Oregonians and visitors to our state will be out and about enjoying what Oregon has to offer. With that in mind, State Search and Rescue Coordinator, Scott Lucas, would like to remind Oregonians to stay safe. Lucas says the search and rescue community in Oregon stands ready to respond when needed, but with that said, being safe and prepared should always be a priority when getting out to enjoy nature.

He says a lot of accidents can be avoided by being prepared and knowing where you’re going, the weather conditions, what you need, and by bringing extra supplies like water and high protein or other snacks.

“If you are going out you should plan accordingly for safety and the unexpected,” says Lucas. “This year will be particularly dangerous in certain areas because of last year’s historic wildfire season so be careful and don’t attempt to hike in closed areas.”

The U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation Trails say many parks and roads remain closed due to the impact of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. These areas are still dangerous and will not open to the public until they are safe. More information can be found at http://ReadySetGorge.com.

Lucas added that part of a successful State Search and Rescue Program is raising awareness about how to be safe in the wilderness, and that the Oregon Office of Emergency Management Search and Rescue program supports the broad spectrum of search and rescue operations in Oregon. That mission includes coordinating activities of state and federal agencies involved in search and rescue, liaising with the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and other organizations, and providing on-scene search and rescue coordination when requested.

“Search and Rescue is a needed asset, especially in Oregon. We live in a large state with so many recreation opportunities,” Lucas added. “No one goes out with the intent to get lost or injured so preparing in advance can keep you safe.”