A little prep goes a long way this snowmobiling season

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Snowmobiling season is upon us, and the Swan City Snowmobile Club and STARS Air Ambulance have teamed up to make sure everyone rides safely.

Lou Maffret President of the Snowmobile Club says the first thing to do is make sure your machine is working well.

“And also you need to have proper equipment out there. You need tools, spare belts, a small kit like that. You should have a plan with family, friends of which direction you’re going, when you plan on getting back, and make those calls; again have a little itinerary with everybody, that’s an important thing.”

He also advises having communications equipment like a SPOT or Delorme satellite messengers, as cell phones stop working when you’re too far out.

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STARS Flight Paramedic Mark Woods echoes that sentiment, saying most of the rescue missions they go on are preventable.

“The less you follow the safety guidelines, the more alcohol and things involved, the more likely you are to be injured and that we end up coming out there. So, it’s a good idea to avoid that sort of stuff and make sure you are prepared. We don’t go when people follow all the safety practices to a tee and nothing goes wrong, right?”

STARS in Grande Prairie has run 12 missions related to snowmobiling so far in 2014, and with the season back underway, they could be on track to pass last year’s numbers.

Maffret says last year, 11,000 people rode the Kakwa Trail back and forth, which he estimates leads to a million kilometres of sledding.

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