Day Walk Leadership Program

Designed for club leaders, teachers and small business.

Multi Day Bushwalking Leadership Program

Designed for Teachers, Tour Leaders, Club Expedition Leaders

Bushwalk Leader Stages of Accreditation

With 5 stages courses can provide skills and qualifications to potential leaders.

Sometimes things go wrong: you get lost, injured, or suffer from hypothermia or hyperthermia.

What to do when your group gets lost when bushwalking

Lost group

Okay, so you have gotten yourself lost…. Don’t panic! There are things you can do.

  • Stop, don’t go getting more lost! (yes, it can be done)
  • Don’t panic
  • Begin working out where you are
  • Do not split up
  • Go to a high point with your map, compass and mobile phone (if service is available) and endeavor to recognise features
  • Can you retrace your steps? This could be a way to return to a recognisable place
  • Think about what you are going to do before you call in the emergency services
  • If still completely lost, your task changes to surviving until you are found. Help your rescuers by staying together, building shelter and conserving energy
  • Create a signalling system with a torch, mirror or by maintaining a small fire (NOT a bushfire!). But make sure its only after contacting emergency services
  • Use your whistle to signal for help…3 blasts for the victim, one for the rescuer

Lost group member

Okay, so you have lost a group member. Don’t panic! There are things you can do.

  1. Stop, and think
  2. Don’t panic
  3. Begin working out when they were last seen and where they possibly went
  4. Return to the last point where the person was seen
  5. Organise a small group to set themselves up for an extended wait where the lost person was last seen
  6. When calling for group members, use your whistle or call, and then be quiet, so you can listen for a response. Set a timeframe for the search
  7. Think about what you are to do before you call in the emergency services
  8. Write down all relevant information, including the individual, times, names, group size, resources, location last seen, action taken and action to be taken
  9. If necessary, Send out 2 competent people, with details of incident, casualty & last location seen, for help. Ensure they are carrying minimum safety gear themselves
  10. Stay calm, look after yourself and fellow bushwalkers
  11. Follow emergency services directions from contact. If you are the lost group member, stop, go to a high point, and listen. Stay calm and conserve energy. See details on lost group!
Dealing with injury when bushwalking


Occasionally, things do go wrong and people may get hurt. Making good decisions in these situations will limit the severity of the situation.

  • Stop, and think
  • Don’t panic – have we covered this already?
  • Appoint a person to administer first aid
  • Appoint a person to take notes/reassure
  • Ensure first aid is administered calmly and in a reassuring manner
  • Establish if the injured party member will need assistance or evacuation
  • Think about where you are and what you are to do before you call in the emergency services
  • Call emergency services
  • If necessary, Send out 2 competent people, with details of incident, casualty & location for help. Ensure they are carrying minimum safety gear themselves
  • Stay calm, look after yourself and fellow bushwalkers. Follow emergency services directions from contact
Dealing with Hypothermia when bushwalking


Hypothermia, or exposure, is when the body’s core temperature cools by 2 degrees or more. If this cooling continues without treatment, death is possible. Hypothermia is always a concern. Good management and attention to people, their equipment and the environment (weather) will minimise the likelihood of hypothermia.


Symptoms can resemble fatigue and may be hard to recognise. Signs of clumsiness, exhaustion, irritability and uncontrolled shivering may be seen. Casualties may not recognise their own condition.


  • This is a preliminary guide only, do your first aid course! Minimise further heat loss!
  • Remove casualty from elements, out of the wind and rain. The sheltered side of a ridge, in a gully or behind some rocks are all places of potential shelter.
  • If one person appears hypothermic, at least one other person in the group probably is as well, so get the entire group covered, with coats and beanies, and out of the elements.
  • Do not have people sitting directly on the ground, as heat loss will be rapid. Get them to sit on their packs or sleeping mats.
  • Organise some sweets or chocolate, and a warm drink, to keep the internal fire burning.
  • If condition is serious, set up overhead shelter and prepare for an extended stay. You will need to assist in the warming of the casualty.
  • Put on warm dry clothes over existing clothes, and get into a sleeping bag. You may want to put a fit person in the bag with them, or crowd a tent to warm up the area around the casualty.
  • No alcohol, rubbing or rapid reheating, including hot drinks if severe symptoms are present.
  • Keep casualty awake. If they become unconscious, turn on side, clear airway, monitor vitals, and get help urgently!


Hyperthermia, or heat stress and, in severe cases, heat stroke, is an overheating of the body’s core temperature. Again this is potentially lethal, and especially relevant to our hot dry conditions. Good management and attention to people, their equipment and the environment (weather) will minimise the likelihood of hyperthermia.


  • Heat Stress – Tiredness and fatigue are key signs, as are excessive sweating, weakness, nausea, headache, flushed face and a rapid pulse. Hyperthermia is usually not recognised by the casualty.
  • Heat Stroke – Weak irregular pulse, vomiting, no sweat, hot dry skin, the body’s internal cooling system has broken down and it is a medical emergency


This is a preliminary guide only, do your first aid course!

  • Heat Stress – A person in this situation needs to be moved to a shady area, cooled and given ample water, in short sips.
  • Heat Stroke – The body temperature is very high and needs to be quickly cooled. Place casualty on their side, in the shade, and keep them still and calm.
  • Cool the casualty with a wet cloth on forehead and armpits, fanning is also helpful. Loosen clothing.
  • Treatment needs to continue until casualty feels cool.
  • Medical attention should be sought regardless of recovery as this condition is life threatening.

First Aid

Enroll in your senior first aid course today. The course will provide you with handy skills for all your adventures. Courses are reasonably priced, and are run at enough different times to be available to all. Red Cross, St Johns and Royal Life Saving run courses.

Disclaimer to Guide to Better Bushwalking

A Guide to Better Bushwalking: Disclaimer

Bushwalking Leadership SA

Bushwalking Leadership South Australia, in putting this information together, does in no way suggest that this is the ultimate guide and STRONGLY recommends anyone interested in bushwalking to educate themselves in the dangers involved with this activity.

Bushwalking Leadership SA STRONGLY advocates first aid training and recognised outdoor leadership training before leading groups of any sort of bushwalking.

This information is intended as a prompt or introduction to some of the basics of enjoyable bushwalking.

National Parks/Government Trails

Trails are provided for your enjoyment and should only be used in accordance with the Code. Trail users must be adequately prepared and obtain relevant information and maps. The trail conditions may vary from time to time, and trail users are advised to check weather conditions prior to leaving. Persons should use caution at all times when using trails in South Australia.


This information was originally published in 2004. View credits.

Bushwalking Leadership SA