Use Vehicle Placard for Safety when Geocaching

October 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm (Geocaching, Personal, safety, security) (, , , )

I’m just putting out a little Public Service Announcement (PSA) today to encourage safety while geocaching.  Every year, we hear a couple of stories about folks who went geocaching and got lost or injured, and while things generally turn out ok, there are a few things one can do to ensure a happy ending to their day.  It’s mostly common sense, but crazy things still happen.  You don’t want to be one of the Darwin award winners for the year.  ((Note: for the uninitiated, the Darwin Awards are the annual awards given, often to surviving family members, for acts of incredible stupidity).  

It’s always a good idea to use the buddy system when geocaching, partly because it’s just fun to cache with a friend;  but for those occasional times when you just want to go it alone or no one is available to go with you, there are a few things you can do to make sure you arrive home safe and sound after logging those smileys for the day.  Always let someone know where you are, especially if you are going geocaching in a remote area.  Make sure you have your geokit with you which has geoswag, snacks, and water, in case you have a flat tire, car trouble, or an accident. An emergency battery pack for your cell phone is also a good idea, since we know having the GPS enabled on our iDevices runs the battery down much quicker.  I picked up a super little solar battery pack from Amazon for under $10 and it works great, giving me several hours of extra battery life.  It’s also a good idea to have at least a small first aid kit and an emergency whistle so you can let folks know where you are if your cell phone is lost, damaged, or dead. 

Geocacher Vehicle Placard

Another thing you can do is hang a geocaching placard from your rear view mirror.  I found a nifty placard design at the Geocacher University website.  It looks similar to a disabled placard, but it is green and has the familiar geocaching logo on it.  There are two large white spaces on either side.  One side is for vehicle and owner contact information. You can enter as much info there as you are comfortable with.  I listed my first initial and my last name. I didn’t want to list a phone number, knowing that police could easily verify my vehicle, and they could also access my phone number if needed.   The other side is for the geocache information.  You can enter the GC# for the cache, or even the actual geocache coordinates.  I printed a couple copies then took them to Kinko’s and had them laminated.  That way, I can use a dry erase marker to enter the GC# of the cache each time, and just erase it when I return to my vehicle.  

Sometimes, we think we’re going to just dash into a park a couple hundred yards off the road, so we leave all our gear in the car.  Then you trip over a log and end up with a badly sprained or broken ankle, and all of a sudden that quick trek into the park becomes a minor emergency.  I used to think it meant I was less independent if I had to let someone know where I was going.  Now that I’m older (and after working many years in the ER and ICU) I see that it is just the smart thing to do. This placard is a great addition to every geokit out there.  It lets folks know where you are, what you’re doing, and helps keep you safe at the same time.  That’s good for a smiley all by itself.  

Do you have any other ideas to promote safety when geocaching?  Let me know in the comments.  Until next time, be safe, and cache on!

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