Questions tagged [safety]

Questions that discuss about precautions need to be taken for ensuring the safety in various outdoor activities that are in scope of The Great Outdoors should be tagged with this tag.

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81
votes
11answers
35k views

Should I run if I see wild dogs?

Feral dogs appear to be dangerous. Should I be running if I come across one, or should I stand fast and defend myself? They are a social animal, so they will be in a pack almost all the times.
76
votes
9answers
25k views

What's wrong with swimming out far?

I swim decently - no pro but I can do a couple of km, resting once in awhile. Many times, both in day and night, in the warm, summer, Mediterranean sea, friends have cautioned me to "not swim so far ...
62
votes
5answers
29k views

Can I safely eat grass?

A recent comment Cows eat grass, doesn't mean you can! got me thinking. Corn, wheat, rice, etc are all grass that we eat regularly. I am not sure the human race could survive on the planet ...
61
votes
15answers
29k views

How can I take keys with me while swimming?

I was recently crossing a lake that is commonly used for swimming and recreation. When I was swimming back to the shore, I was constantly nervous that my bag would be stolen, along with the keys in it....
60
votes
10answers
13k views

What is the safest way to purify water?

There are a number of ways to purify water, off the top of my head we have filters, iodine, and boiling. Clearly each has some advantage/disadvantage (iodine tastes terrible, boiling takes time). ...
59
votes
10answers
23k views

How does water depth affect swimming safety? Why do signs, especially in the UK, say "DANGER: deep water"?

In many UK lakes, I see signs prohibiting swimming with the explanation DANGER: Deep water. This link contains an example. I don't understand those signs. Why is a 30 metre deep lake more dangerous ...
58
votes
11answers
7k views

How should I remove a tick?

If I find a tick on myself or a friend, what is the best way of removing it? I've heard some people say that singeing the tick with a match makes the tick detach and fall off. However I've also ...
55
votes
7answers
10k views

Is it dangerous to rope together on an ascent of hard packed ice?

This image has recently come under considerable criticism on social media for dangerous mountaineering practices. The location is unknown as the qualified mountain guide observer wanted to maintain ...
54
votes
10answers
19k views

What are the dangers of walking barefoot in towns/cities?

I've walked barefoot practically all summer for every summer I can remember. However now that I'm a teenager my Mum is saying I need to wear shoes because of glass, needles, worms and diseases. I have ...
53
votes
4answers
34k views

Is drinking urine safe?

We've all heard stories about how people saved their lives by drinking their urine. Is drinking urine safe when there are no other water sources available? Can I filter it with a water purifier?
52
votes
7answers
16k views

How to safely rescue someone drowning as an untrained bystander?

Motivated by a comment thread in this question here. As far as I know the consensus basically boils down to: It is very hard rescuing someone who is drowning. It can be very dangerous rescuing a ...
49
votes
3answers
22k views

Is it possible to rappel with only a rope? (No harness, Prusik cord, or other gear)

There may be an emergency situation where I find myself needing to lower myself but with no or damaged equipment. Assuming I only have a rope, can I lower myself to safe ground?
48
votes
5answers
22k views

Can I use a bicycle helmet as a climbing helmet?

I have a bicycle helmet that fits well. Can it be used effectively as a rock climbing helmet? Most climbing helmets have a hard shell that the bicycle helmet does not. However, one of the more ...
47
votes
16answers
31k views

How can I tell if I am dehydrated or have low electrolytes (need salt, etc.)?

How can detect, in the outdoors with minimal equipment, if I am dehydrated or need electrolytes? Update Some background: I get overheated very easily, possibly because I don't sweat as much as most ...
44
votes
8answers
46k views

How to react to cattle charging towards you?

Cattle may get aggressive when threatened, or they might just imitate to be aggressive. I have seen cattle charging towards a person when irritated. How should one react if a cow or bull comes ...
42
votes
7answers
21k views

How do people drown while wearing a life jacket?

Recently, I heard of three tourists from Germany drowning in a lake in Alaska. Their boat overturned and they ended up in the water. All three of them were wearing life jackets. This is what I don't ...
42
votes
4answers
6k views

How to treat a severe allergic reaction while hiking?

Suppose you are out hiking, many hours from the trail head and someone has a severe allergic reaction (ie, anaphylactic shock or Anaphylaxis). In this case, what is the best course of treatment to ...
40
votes
8answers
9k views

Can a kid ever dive too deep while snorkeling and breath-hold diving?

My son has recently discovered snorkeling and diving (by holding his breath, not scuba diving or anything). He can go at least 4m (13 feet) deep to pick up nice shells he sees on the sea floor. My ...
40
votes
7answers
7k views

Had to drink untreated water: Any immediate action to avoid getting sick?

In the wilderness yesterday I ran out of water and did not think I could hike out safely at my level of hydration. Lacking a treatment method, I drank 1.5 liters of water directly out of a small, ...
40
votes
6answers
3k views

Backpacking or hiking in areas open to hunting

A lot of areas that are good for hiking or backpacking are also popular hunting grounds. I am an avid backpacker and hiker, but I do not know much about hunting. How do I find out what is the ...
40
votes
1answer
46k views

How much sea water can I safely drink?

Anyone who has played in the ocean knows getting a little sea water in your mouth and swallowing it will not kill you. Seawater contains salt. When humans drink seawater, their cells are thus taking ...
38
votes
4answers
4k views

If I have to cross an icy, flowing river, what are some ways I can cross safely?

If I'm alone in a survival situation and I have to cross a very cold river that's still flowing, how should I accomplish this safely?
37
votes
9answers
534k views

How far would you need to fall for it to be fatal?

A little grim this but I was discussing free soloing with a non-climber in work and I said "Well once you get over a certain height you're not going to survive a fall anyway so anything over this ...
36
votes
10answers
8k views

What should I do to avoid ticks other than wear particular clothing?

Today I've learnt that one can't vaccinate against Borreliose, also known as Lyme Disease. I've thought that I can't get that (yeah, that was stupid) and so didn't really care about ticks. However, ...
35
votes
4answers
1k views

Can I sail a raft on a European river with commercial traffic?

I'm thinking about sailing a part of the Danube, alone, on a self-built raft. I have no experience sailing rivers on any serious basis. I'm considering a raft for a number of reasons: It's cheap. ...
34
votes
6answers
102k views

How dangerous are kangaroos?

After watching this video of a man punching a kangaroo to rescue his dog, I am wondering how dangerous a kangaroo is to a human on foot? I am sure that there are a lot of other things in Australia ...
34
votes
7answers
145k views

How dangerous is a band of coyotes to a lone, unarmed human?

There's a delightful thrill to the call of a band of coyotes when you're alone in the dark woods. Do they present a danger? That is, have healthy coyotes (that is, not rabid) been known to attack or ...
34
votes
9answers
22k views

When back country camping, how do you avoid being attacked by a mountain lion in your sleep?

I'm looking to camp in SE Oregon. At minimum, my girlfriend and I will have sleeping bags. We're open to adding a tent, fire, and other stuff as recommended. Our goal is to be able to hike around ...
34
votes
6answers
7k views

How bad do circumstances need to be before activating a PLB?

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be carried during outdoor activities to use in case of an emergency. But are there any guidelines on what exactly constitutes an "emergency"? For example, what ...
32
votes
6answers
5k views

What precautions should I take to protect myself and my camp from bears?

Most of my prior hiking experience has been in areas that are not home to bears, so what precautions should I take to protect my camp (and myself as I am hiking) from bears. I am aware of a couple of ...
32
votes
7answers
7k views

When will a rattlesnake strike?

There are a few questions about how to avoid rattlers, and what to do if you're bit, but at what point does a rattler actually strike? I had my first rattler encounter ever yesterday, just out in ...
32
votes
10answers
141k views

What are areas of the body which lose heat more quickly, and how can I reduce that loss?

What are the higher heat loss areas of the body and how can I reduce heat loss in those areas?
32
votes
7answers
12k views

Where in the Alps is it safe to drink the water without filtering?

In some places, the Swedish Lappland for example, it's perfectly fine and even recommended to drink water directly from streams. Is it also recommended whilst hiking in the Alps, and if so is it only ...
31
votes
13answers
11k views

Knife as defense against stray dogs

Some places I travel to have stray dogs in the city. Can a knife be used effectively if attacked by one or more of them? I've had creepy close encounters.
31
votes
8answers
10k views

How would you help a snapping turtle cross the road?

Regardless of why they would want to cross the road, doing so is dangerous for turtles, especially since a certain percentage of the population will try to run them over. However, snapping turtles ...
31
votes
9answers
141k views

How to warm up your cold toes and fingers?

In winter your hand and feet (especially toes and fingers) may get painfully cold or you may even stop feeling them. How can you warm them up? This usually happens, when it's below 0°С or when it's ...
31
votes
3answers
3k views

Surviving a forest fire by starting another fire

Awhile back I heard on CBC radio about a man who got trapped in a forest fire (surrounded on all sides) and survived. The way he survived was so ridiculous that he was brought to court and almost ...
30
votes
5answers
7k views

What to do if you are above timberline and your descent is cut off by a large forest fire?

The situation: you are backpacking and are above timberline. Streams are ubiquitous, you are well equipped so exposure is not a problem, the entire party is uninjured and healthy. But a large, ...
30
votes
2answers
4k views

What makes certain mountains more dangerous than others?

Why do mountains like K2, Nanga Parbat and Annapurna (36 successful attempts, 47 failed) have higher fatality rates than, say, Everest or Cho Oyu (79 successful attempts, 28 failed)? (source) Can I ...
30
votes
2answers
4k views

At what angle should an ice screw be screwed into the ice?

Recently we were climbing up a glacier with the ice at an angle of around 80°. We were placing the ice screws angling slightly upwards with respect to the slope of the ice wall. However, one from ...
29
votes
5answers
10k views

Modern equivalent of a flare gun?

This summer I will be taking a rather inherently dangerous multi-day hike by myself. I was considering buying a flare gun since I will be out of cellular range unless there is something more modern ...
29
votes
9answers
12k views

What is the best way to cross streams while backpacking?

I'm curious of a good technique to cross a stream while backpacking that's above the boot's waterproof line but no higher than the knees. I typically face upstream and use my hiking poles for ...
29
votes
3answers
9k views

What should one do when climbing if someone above you yells ROCK?

Hearing someone above you yell ROCK when climbing is a scary experience because that means that an object (usually a rock) is plummeting down to the route towards you. Hopefully you are wearing your ...
28
votes
13answers
7k views

Are there any tips for preventing a vehicle from being broken into while parked at a trailhead?

It is fairly common practice to drive to a trailhead, park your vehicle and then go backpacking for a while. It would be a real bummer to come back from a trip and find that your vehicle has been ...
28
votes
7answers
34k views

How to check if a fence or cable has electricity without having special tools?

You run across a wire cable, or wire fence in the wild, with which you would have to interact in some way. How to check if electricity runs through it without having special tools? EDIT: As the ...
28
votes
7answers
4k views

How safe is it for women to hike alone?

Should a woman legitimately fear to be assaulted or raped on popular backpacking trails in the US when hiking by herself? How common are attacks of that nature? How does it compare to residential ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

What to do if the second seems stuck and absolutely no communication is possible?

Backstory: A few months ago, I experienced the following situation: We (two people) were climbing the last pitch of a multi-pitch route. Near the end, there was a cave-like chimney. Basically a ...
28
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do shin splints happen?

I've gotten shin splints on long hikes - once 2 weeks into a hike, and another time 2 months. I wasn't able to determine how I got them though, which has really annoyed me! I get that I could ...
27
votes
14answers
9k views

Are there any situations while backpacking that would require a watch?

One of my favorite things about backpacking is the absence of time constraints, you eat when hungry, sleep when tired and sort of track how much time is left until dark. Would there be any situations ...
27
votes
5answers
7k views

Will Black Bears actually follow you up a tree

I always see it pointed out, when discussing how to handle/avoid bear encounters, that black bears can climb trees. Granted, but does that matter? Has there ever been a case of a black bear pursuing ...

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