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COVID-19 prompts increased activity in OC’s remote areas; here’s how to stay safe

Hiking, mountain biking and exploring Orange County’s remote areas remain favorite summer outings for many local families. In recent months, we’ve seen increased activity on local trails as families find socially distanced activities in light of COVID-19 guidelines.

Every summer, the OCSD Aviation Support Bureau partners with the Orange County Fire Authority to respond to approximately 100 remote rescues throughout the county. These calls include serious injuries, heat-related illnesses, lost hikers and other medical emergencies.  

This summer, we are anticipating an increase in calls for service and we want to ensure you stay safe.

Here are some things you can do to be prepared and ensure, if you need us, we can find you.  

Summer Trail Tips:

Plan your route – Always map out where you’re going and research the area for any potential safety hazards you may encounter.

Venture with a buddy – It’s always best to have a partner on your hiking or biking adventures. If you prefer the solitude of recreating alone, make sure you share your plans and route with a family member or friend.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Always bring more water than you think you’ll need. The general recommendation is to have a half-liter of water for every hour you plan to be on the trails. Give yourself a hydration cushion of an additional liter in case your route takes longer than planned.

Heat-related illnesses can quickly cause disorientation, dizziness and muscle cramps. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, find shade, rest and drink water. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms worsen.

Know your wildlife – Do some research where you plan to hike to better acquaint yourself with what kind of wildlife you may encounter. Follow recommended tips for how to handle spotting creatures ranging from a poisonous snake to coyotes to mountain lions. Visit for more information on wildlife preparedness.  

Stay connected – Although many escape to remote areas to unplug, it’s important to take your cell phone and an additional charger, should you need to call for help. Solar-powered external chargers are a great option in sunny weather.