LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Southern Nevada has a vast range of beautiful hiking trails, but Craig McVeay knows how instant a simple hike can turn deadly.

“There are two things, they either underestimate Mother Nature or they overestimate their own capabilities,” said McVeay.

McVeay is the Public Information Officer for Red Rock Search and Rescue an all-volunteer and self-funded rescue team, helping local agencies across Southern Nevada find missing people.

“We’ve actually done a couple of searches right up through these trails. One of them, a young lady. She perished on the trail,” explained McVeay.

With the team taking on over 40 cases a year, he knows how precious time is during a rescue. He said the biggest mistake he sees among hikers is not being prepared.

“We’re at the call of Metro or whichever agency but we can typically in between an hour of a half to 2 hours get teams into the field,” he added.

McVeay said you should pack essential items such as a first aid kit, pocketknife, a flashlight, and an emergency beacon.

Staying hydrated is key and don’t wait to drink water before you get thirsty.

If you’re going out to even to one of these small peaks here, you’re talking 4 to 6 gallons of water throughout the day.

And if you get lost? Don’t panic.

The first human reaction is fight or flight, but we get scared, and we can’t help ourselves when we get scared. We start to do things and it may not be logical,” explained McVeay. “Just stop and sit down, take a moment, have some water. Maybe eat something because as we eat and drink that calms us. Look at your situation. Think through what you’ve done and where you’ve been.”

It’s not just enough to be prepared during your hike but before your hike too. That means knowing your body limits, stretching your muscles, and wearing the proper clothing and gear before you go.

“If you do not have a plan for what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go that you give to a responsible person who knows what to do, you have not set yourself up for success if something goes wrong,” added McVeay.

For more information on Red Rock Search and Rescue click HERE.

Red Rock Search and Rescue recommend 10 essentials items:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Matches and fire starters
  • Map or Compass
  • Sun Protection such as sunscreen and a hat
  • Rain Gear
  • Trail Food like granola bars or trail mix
  • Whistle
  • Pocket Knife