Thursday, May 24, 2012

ATV enthusiasts urged to ride safely and responsibly

Sheriff’s Office Reminds ATV Enthusiasts to Ride Responsibly, during the Memorial Day Weekend

Flagstaff, Arizona – Sheriff Bill Pribil and the men and women of the Coconino County Sheriff’s office would like to remind Northern Arizona ATV enthusiasts to ride safely and responsibly this upcoming holiday weekend, and any time they ride an ATV. More than 35 million riders will be operating approximately 10 million ATVs over Memorial Day Weekend in the United States .
Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies will partner with Search and Rescue personnel and members of the Coconino County Community Emergency Response Team to distribute safety information and enforce motor vehicle laws applicable to off road travel. 
ATV safety information contact points will be set up at strategic locations throughout Coconino County .  Deputies will assist with this two pronged approach of education and enforcement.
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors. As a result, the Sheriff’s Office strongly recommends that all ATV riders follow the warning labels on each vehicle. Finally, all ATV enthusiasts, no matter their age or experience level, can further minimize their risk by simply adhering to the below listed ATV Safety Rules.
  1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
  2. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  3. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
  4. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
  5. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  6. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
In addition to the enhanced Memorial Day Weekend Education and Enforcement Project, Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue personnel on horseback will be on and around the San Francisco Peaks to inform outdoor enthusiasts of some simple and important hiking safety tips. 
Never hike alone. Keep your hiking party together by hiking only as fast as the slowest member of your group. Always take into account the ability level of everyone in your group before choosing a hike.
* If you're hiking with children, keep them in your sight at all times.
* Give a family member or a friend your hiking itinerary and your estimated time of return. Make sure you check in with this person upon your return.
* Always stay on the designated trail.
* Don't hike too quickly. Pace yourself so you'll have enough energy for the home stretch.
* Start your hike early so that you'll have plenty of time to enjoy it. This will also give you time to head back early enough so that you can finish your hike well before dark.
* Check the weather forecast before heading out. Count on temperatures being cooler, and expect it to be windier in the mountains than in the lower elevations.
* Take a map with you. Use the map to keep track of your progress so that you know where you are at all times.
* Take plenty of water with you, especially in the summer.
* Liquids such as water or sports drinks are best for you. Drinking soda or alcohol while hiking will dehydrate you.
* The best snacks for the trail are ones that will provide you with high energy, such as fruit, granola, peanut butter, bagels, power bars, fruit bars, beef jerky, or even candy.
* Learn First Aid and carry a first aid kit. Know what to do in case of an emergency. First aid training will teach you how to react and deal with specific types of injuries.
* The San Francisco Peaks can be very hot and humid in the summer. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion.
* Wear sunglasses during any season of the year, especially at the higher elevations.
* Carry a small flashlight or headlamp.   Darkness arrives much quicker in the mountains.
Sheriff Pribil and his staff wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.

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