Hike Safely: Hazards & Mitigation Strategies–General Safety Considerations Before Setting Out

Generally, before venturing on a hike with a group, or individually, you ought to be briefed on, or/conceptualize the:

  • Plan.
  • Hazard(s).
  • Risk(s).
  • Preparation Opportunities.

To support safety of each individual, and the group as a whole, before embarking on hike(s) or similar excursion(s).


Hiking Hazards Categories

Specifically, hiking-hazards can be grouped into the following categories:

  1. Humans (blockades, shoot-out, stampede, dangerous drivers, harassment; and adrenaline/anaphylactic shock response of hiker).
  2. Exercise-Induced Stress Response (asthma attack or other respiratory distress triggered by moderate-high intensity exercise; sprains, strains…)
  3. Human-Environment Interaction, Stress Response (Pollution; and distress triggered–cardio respiratory; heat-stroke, hypothermia).
  4. Physical-Environment Stress Response: altitude, degree slope incline or decline; weather–temperature, humidity, wind; vegetation; earth–soil, rock…).


General Human Hazards To Hikers & Mitigation Strategies


As you hike, the human-hazards you come into contact with include:


*Harassment–verbal, touching, walking down, path-blocking. It’s critical to note that at a split second, harassment can switch into an attack (hands-range to gun-range confrontation)*

*Blockade: angry mob/protesters blocking roads or road sections due to a criminal event, economic event, geopolitical event or similar; and security forces maintaining a presence to neutralize/de-escalate the situation. Its important to note that in a split second, a blockade can become a stampede/shootout.

*Dangerous Drivers: as pedestrians, at any moment’s notice, you can experience situations where speeding drivers, can force you to take evasive measures, to avoid being hit–particularly when walking on non-sidewalk, available roads.

General Human-Hazards Mitigation Strategies


Don’t walk with excessive valuables. For valuables you must carry, conceal, and/or hold with firm grip. When strangers are near, generally attain & maintain minimum 3ft-6ft distance between self and strangers, where feasible. Ensure clothing and footwear support agile movement. As a group, maintain 1ft-6ft between each other, and maintain single-double file for support protection measures. Listen & Watch for group leader instructions, where applicable. And ensure body language and energy is relaxed (not panicking), yet ready to take evasive or defensive action.



Where applicable, get to cover/concealment. Execute evasive emergency plan. Cover is anything you can put between you and the trauma-causing agent (projectile, gases) that can stop or neutralize the said agent(s). Concealment is the usage of elements in your environment that hide/mask you from the view of the attacker, who is the source of the trauma-causing agent.


Dangerous Drivers

Face incoming traffic, especially at non-pavement locations. Have eyes & ears available. Maintain single file as a group (most ideal). Wear bright-colored or reflective (night) clothing.


Listen & Watch for Group Lead Instructions (phone call, verbal commands, hand signals)


Generally, you should not hike alone. With the many hazards you face as a hiker in the environment, you stand a greater chance being safe, hiking in a cohesive–strong understanding and complement of individual strengths & weaknesses–group


Next Post:

Exercise-Induced Hazards To Hikers & Mitigation Strategies.


About The Author

Oshane Bryant: BSc Geology, Geography Minor; ACE CPT since 2012; Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Graduate-2018 cohort; Licensed KUKIBO Martial Arts & Self Defense, Senior Instructor; OB Fitness Founder & Managing Director.

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