This page presents some basic information on seeking help in a backcountry emergency as well as a listing of some local phone numbers for emergency services.
If you are in a park, contact any park employee, such as a park ranger, a campground host, or a maintenance person. Many park rangers are trained emergency medical technicians. Law enforcement rangers can investigate vehicle accidents and handle other police matters. They can also take reports of lost hikers, fires, or other emergencies.
If you can, get to the nearest visitor center. If it is after normal business hours and the building is closed, use the pay phones that can generally be found in front of the buildings. Dial 911 (no coin is needed).
If you are too far from the visitor center, go to the nearest campground. Often there is a campground host or a telephone near the campground entrance. If you are in a true emergency situation, gain assistance from one of the nearby campers. They may be able to help you directly, or give you a ride to a telephone or the nearest tow.
If all else fails, dial 911 on your cell or mobile phone. You will most likely reach a county sheriff's office. They will in turn contact a park ranger or other assistance as necessary.
- American Red Cross Standard First Aid and Personal Safety
- Camping and Wilderness Survival: Ultimate Outdoors Book
- Forgey's Wilderness Medicine
- New Complete Walker
- Scout Handbook
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