North America Outdoor Institute


Safety Tips

Water Safety  | Ice Safety  | Respect the Outdoors  | Dangerous Moose


Things You Need to Know and Remember about Outdoor Safety

  1. 1. Choose the right activity for the day.
  2. 2. Use the Buddy system – Always go with a friend.
  3. 3. Always tell someone where you’re going and don’t change the plan without telling someone.
  4. 4. Be observant - Avoid past avalanche zones.
  5. 5. Stay away from uncertain ice.
  6. 6. Dress in layers and carry safety equipment: water, food, extra clothes, shovel, probe,
    transceiver and cell phone.
  7. 7. Don’t just own safety equipment – Know how to use it. Practice, practice, practice.
  8. 8. Travel one at a time through exposed, risky areas while others watch from a safe zone.
  9. 9. Never stop on or below steep slopes or cornices.
  10. 10. Avoid terrain traps (dips, gullies or below cliffs) where snow can pile up.
  11. 11. Travel on ridges and high points.
  12. 12. Always plan an escape route.
  13. 13. If your friend gets caught or injured YOU become the rescuer – Most times you don’t have time to go for help.
  14. 14. Remember you can never know too much.

Water Safety:





•  Water in Alaska is COLD! Wearing a PFD when on or around water can save your life even if you know how to swim! Just make sure it fits properly.

•  Practice safe boating habits by always keeping the deck clear of gear or hazards you might trip over.

•  Learn to read a compass and know your location. If you get in trouble, you’re not likely to get rescued unless you can tell someone where you are.

•  Remember Rivers are the most dangerous water because it’s always on the move. Stay alert and cautiousanytime you are near or around a river or stream.


•  In an emergency the most important thing you MUST do is STAY CALM

•  Often it is the rescuer that ends up becoming a victim. Know your limitations and have a PLAN before you try to save your friend.

•  If you friend wants you to do something that you think is risky, stand your ground or you could end up becoming the person that needs rescue.

Ice Safety:

Follow the rule - there is no such thing as safe ice. Many unseen factors contribute to dangerous ice.


A general ruse is that ice must be a minimum of 3" thick to support a person. 4" for a group, 5-6" for a snowmobile, 8-10" for a car or small truck, 12-15" for a medium size truck. Keep in mind that clear blue ice is generally the safest ice. Read more...

Other Safety Facts:


Did you know? - Information provided by Alaska Safe Kids


1. From 1981-2002, 135 children and adolescents (age 0-14) died in Alaska due to drowning (CDC). Alaska's drowning rate for children and teenagers is almost two and a half times the national average and significantly higher than that of any other state.

2. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children in Alaska. 3. Last year, over 40,000 people were taken to hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. because of injuries from riding scooters. Most of the injuries were to kids under 15!

3. What’s round, geeky and dorky? A kid riding a scooter, ATV or bike without a helmet. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) A helmet worn correctly can protect your brain and reduce head injuries by as much as 85%.


4. To keep riding areas open requires good relationships between public land managers, private land owners and others who share the land such as riders, campers and hikers. In most cases common courtesy and consideration of their interests is all that is necessary to ensure that everyone can enjoy the area.


Wear the helmet straight on top of your head, not pushed back from your forehead

Respect the Outdoors:


Information courtesy Alaska Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Awareness of environmental concerns has been growing for decades. It has affected how we relate to the outdoors. It affects those of us who use off-road vehicles, and it affects those of us who manufacture and sell off-road vehicles. We all have a stake in safe, responsible riding and land use.

•  To keep riding areas open requires good relationships between public land managers, private land owners and others who share the land such as riders, campers and hikers. In most cases common courtesy and consideration of their interests is all that is necessary to ensure that everyone can enjoy the area. Here are a few tips to consider when you ride: Learn about the area you will ride in. Contact the public land manager or private property owner to ensure that you understand area restrictions and have permission to ride there. Get maps of the area, and stay on trails if they are provided.

•  Keep your ATV quiet. ATVs are designed to be relatively quiet while still delivering maximum performance, smooth engine torque and spark suppression. Excessive noise stresses wildlife, and annoys property owners and other recreation users. It also contributes to your own riding fatigue. Less noise means you can ride farther more comfortably. Obey trail markers and closure signs. There are many reasons why an area may be closed to ATVs including the existence of fire hazard, refuge to wildlife or plant life and safety hazards for ATV riders. The reasons may not be obvious. If it is posted as closed, stay out.

•  Always leave gates and fences the way you found them. This is especially important on private lands where livestock may be kept.

•  Leave the area as clean as you found it. If you see litter, pick it up and carry it out on your ATV. Carry a rolled up plastic trash bag and a couple of bungee cords on your ATV. Why not leave the area cleaner than you found it?

•  Be courteous to others you may meet on the trail. Always give right-of-way to hikers and horseback riders. Pull off the trail and stop your engine for horses. In most areas, horses are not permitted on trails unless they are accustomed to vehicles, but don't take a chance. The rider will likely talk soothingly to the horse. It doesn't hurt for you to do the same to assure the horse you are no threat. Horses respond very positively to a calm, human voice.

•  Approach livestock or wildlife on the trail slowly. In some parts of the country, range cattle pass the afternoon under shade trees along a trail. If you startle them, they may run directly into your path. Give them time to react and give them as wide a berth as possible.

•  Whenever you talk to a landowner, take your helmet off. The helmet can make you appear to be intimidating and unfriendly. Be friendly and honest in all your discussions with the landowner & you are there as their guest.


The Dangerous Moose


Moose, the largest members of the deer family, can be very dangerous. With males weighing 1,200 to 1,600 pounds, and standing over seven feet tall, these animals could easily kick the life out of you.

A seven-year-old boy was recently cornered in his own back yard and butted by a cow moose recently in the Anchorage city limits.

"I just turned around and the moose was there backing me in a corner by the fence. I couldn’t get away…."

The boy received bruises and a possible fractured rib. Also, a snowmachiner was killed north of Anchorage after colliding with a moose on a trail. The moose was also killed because of the injuries it suffered in the impact.

Moose are very large and powerful. So if you happen to be walking outside and you see a moose, get behind something! If you get behind a tree, you can run around it faster than the moose can. Never get in the way of a mother and her calf. If you see a moose lay back its ears, or the hair on its hump stand up, the moose is angry or afraid and may charge.

Moose will also kill sled dogs or pets. At Jeff Studdert Race Grounds, a moose killed a sled dog recently. Its musher, Stan Bearup, saw two moose and did what he was supposed to. He stopped about 50 feet away from the moose and started yelling at them. He was hoping they would run away. Instead of running away though, the moose approached the team.

"It just lowered its head, and the hair on its neck went up, and it charged at the team." As you can see, when you encounter a moose, you might not want to yell at it because it may feel threatened. Whenever you are snowmobiling in moose country, watch out and be prepared to take evasive action. There is some excellent information in a State of Alaska Wildlife Conservation web page called "What To Do About Aggressive Moose."