Headed on a hike? Don’t forget to take a selfie – it could help search and rescue find you if anything goes wrong.

The Georgia Straight first introduced us to the #TrailheadSelfie campaign, a suggestion from Coquitlam Search and Rescue volunteer Michael Coyle.

The idea is simple: take a selfie at the start of your trail and add #TrailheadSelfie to your post. Add basic information like start time, destination, and when you expect to return. Post it onto Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram before you get out of cellphone range – like this:

Search and rescue teams would have a current photograph of you that includes what you’re wearing and who you’re with, along with basic information to guide them.

As Coyle mentions in a blog post, search and rescue teams aren’t necessarily investigating into all uses of the hashtag; a report must be filed first. Posting a trailhead selfie can only aid ongoing searches.

Some believe this campaign has its flaws, as Curtis Jones of North Shore Rescue discusses with the Georgia Straight. The information may not find the right people, considering privacy settings on social media, or cause hikers to feel that they don’t need to take any other precautions. Jones mentions some, especially teenagers, may feel a “false sense” of safety by posting online without also telling an adult.

Bottom line: Posting your #TrailheadSelfie shouldn’t replace other safety precautions, but it can become another step in the process.

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