Here are some of the tips we regularly tell people:

  • Hike with someone! (Most of our searches are for people who went hiking alone).
  • Have a plan of where you’re going and when you expect to return.(LA Sheriff Hiking Plan – PDF). Fill out this form and leave a printed copy on the dashboard of your car.

TELL SOMEONE YOUR PLAN and have an agreed time when someone should consider you missing and call for help.

Take the ten essentials:

  • Navigation:  Map, compass, GPS device and/or emergency beacon.
  • Headlamp and flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Sun protection.
  • First aid.
  • Knife.
  • Fire starter.
  • Shelter (can be a tent or simply an emergency blanket).
  • Extra food.
  • Extra water and purification tablets. (1 liter per hour while hiking).
  • If you are hiking with your hiking K-9 partner, consider bringing more water.
  • Extra clothes. (Layers with NO cotton).

Regarding the use of cell phones:

  • When going into the mountains either turn off the phone or put it in airplane mode.
  • DO NOT HESITATE to call 9-1-1. Calling 9-1-1 automatically sends your current position.
  • IF YOU BECOME LOST: STAY WHERE YOU ARE!  Search teams will be looking for you based on your plan.
  • Create a shelter.  Either what you brought, or use natural resources (branches leaves, etc).
  • Make yourself visible from the air. Helicopters will be looking for you.
  • Use brightly colored fabric.
  • Create a large “X” with rocks or tree limbs.
  • Ration your food and water.


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