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Good Samaritans assist blueberry pickers lost in McCrea Heights area

Greater Sudbury Police issues safety tips for those venturing into the bush to harvest berries

Greater Sudbury Police are issuing safety tips for community members after three blueberry pickers became lost in the McCrea Heights area Sunday.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m. July 14, Greater Sudbury Police received a call regarding two lost blueberry pickers in the area. 

The caller had gone blueberry picking with two friends when she became separated from the other two.

The woman made her way to the shore of Whitson Lake, where a boater saw her in distress on the shoreline, picked her up and drove her back to the area where she had parked her vehicle. 

Once on shore, another community member provided her with a ride to her vehicle, where she contacted police.

Officers arrived in the area a short time later and began to look for the other two women. 

Just as officers began their search, they were informed that the same boater and the other community member went to look for the missing berry pickers, and they had found them and were transporting them to the end of McCrea Heights Avenue.

The three women were reunited, assessed by paramedics and found to be in good health.

Police extended “sincere gratitude to the community members who provided assistance to these individuals, ensuring their safe and timely return.”

The following are a few safety tips to keep in mind when preparing for an outdoor excursion:

  • Always tell someone where you are going and include the date, time of departure, the number of people in your party, direction of travel and estimated time of return.
  • Always have a GPS and/or communications device. Ensure that they are in good working order and that you know how to use them. Also, ensure that all communications devices are fully charged and that you have a means of recharging the batteries.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the terrain and weather conditions you expect to encounter.
  • Have a first aid kit on hand. If you require prescription medication, carry at least a week’s supply in case you get lost.
  • Pack water and snacks.

While you are in the bush, consider the following:

  • Go slow. Heavy exertion burns extra calories and makes you sweat heavily, which can cause dehydration. Fatigue, dehydration and damp clothing increase your chances of succumbing to hypothermia.
  • Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it produces it, often when exposed to rain, wind and cold without proper, dry clothing or shelter. Your most important task if you become lost is to stay warm and dry. Build a shelter and a fire if you can. Always carry matches in a waterproof container.
  • If you get lost, fear is your worst enemy. It is impossible to think logically if you panic. Stay where you are. Do not try to walk to safety unless you have the skills and equipment to survive. Staying where you are increases your chances of being located in a shorter amount of time.
  • Making a fire is one of your best survival tools. It can keep you warm, dry your clothes and serve as a signal for help.
  • If necessary, use natural formations, such as caves or fallen trees, for shelter. Other materials, such as cedar or spruce boughs, can be used to construct a temporary shelter.
  • It is important to know that the universal distress signal is three blasts of a whistle or three burning fires.