Hiking tips

Don’t change your voicemail as rescue teams warn of misleading social media posts

DENVER (KDVRName) – Colorado search and rescue teams are responding to a viral social media post that they say perpetuates misleading information that could complicate their missions.

The post officewhich has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, among other platforms, encourages people who get stuck or lost while hiking to edit their voicemail message to include their location, time, date and status. .

The Colorado Alpine Rescue Team responded to the post on its own Facebook page, pointing out some issues with the information.

“The message that went viral just wasn’t the best message to put out there,” said Howard Paul, public information manager for Alpine Rescue Team. “If you find yourself in trouble somewhere in the backcountry, we don’t want you to waste battery power, we don’t want you to waste time calling your voicemail, calling a friend or a parent.”

Paul added that lost hikers will likely be without a cell signal in the backcountry and won’t be able to change their voicemails anyway.

What to do if you have problems in the backcountry

If someone is in trouble, Paul says they should only use their battery to call 911. He encourages people to use text messages when possible.

“You can very well receive an SMS directly from the 911 center. You might get a message from the search and rescue team“, said Paul.

Charles Pitman of the Summit County Rescue Group agrees that wasting a cell phone battery in the backcountry can be a costly mistake.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to the reporter and the very first words that will come out of his mouth will be something like ‘I’ve only got 3% battery on my cellphone so I need to talk. quickly'”, Pitman mentioned.

This, of course, can make it much more difficult for rescue teams to locate a missing person.

Backcountry safety tips as recommended by rescue groups

When venturing into the backcountry, lifeguards recommend the following safety tips:

  • Use SMS
  • Disable other apps
  • Keep your cell phone warm to save battery
  • Bring a satellite communication device that allows two-way messaging
  • Let someone know your plans before heading out into the backcountry

“The most important thing is letting someone know where you’re going and when you’re coming back, Paul said.