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DOC is joining other outdoor recreation organisations in reminding people heading into the backcountry to make sure they tell someone where they are going and when they expect to be back.
The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council is introducing an on-line visitor intentions service this summer, developed in collaboration with NZ Police, NZ Search and Rescue, Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand, Land Search & Rescue and DOC.
The system has been designed to ensure there is a consistent approach to co-ordinating intentions information across New Zealand and to provide more certainty for search and rescue responses.
Gavin Walker, DOCs Visitor Services Manager, said, “One of the key messages of the Outdoor Safety Code is to ‘tell someone’ your plans before you go into the outdoors.”
“The online service is a simple way of encouraging people to take these steps. It should make it easier for people to plan their trips in the outdoors and quickly connect emergency services with those overdue.”
The Outdoor Intentions System features a new website along with up-dated online services and advice to enable visitors to nominate a ‘Trusted Contact’ they can notify when they return safely from the trip.
Over time the new system will replace written visitor intention forms collected at some DOC Visitor Centres. In addition to the system people are encouraged to carry communications systems such as personal locator beacons, cell phones and mountain radios in case they get in trouble.
DOC says it will be referring visitors to the new intentions system this summer and will continue to provide a range of safety information and support services at its visitor centres.
Visitors can access the improved system on the Adventure Smart website: http://www.adventuresmart.org.nz/Outdoors-Intentions/Default.asp