#trailheadselfie: Help or Hindrance?

SAR experts debate whether a hashtagged selfie can be a useful precaution for hikers.
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SAR experts debate whether a hashtagged selfie can be a useful precaution for hikers.

Selfies are here to stay, but can they save your life?

Michael Coyle, a Canadian search and rescue professional, is working to build support for the hashtag #trailheadselfie, which hikers could deploy on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Coyle told The Georgia Straight that posting a selfie before hitting the trail could help victims be rescued faster in the event of a backcountry emergency.

Coyle says that geotagging a social media post in advance can help narrow a SAR effort tremendously. Coyle also says that a selfie can help identify what a missing hiker looks like, what equipment they are using, and other useful details.

Not everyone is in favor of such a measure. Curtis Jones, a member of North Shore Rescue, believes that these social media posts could lead to a "false sense of security" for hikers and worries that it could be seen as a replacement for actually telling people where you are going. Jones also says that these posts could lead to a over-reporting or under-reporting of missing hikers.

Coyle and Jones both agree on one point: hikers should always carry the 10 essentials and let people where they are going and when they expect to be back. Whether #trailheadselfie will gain traction as an extra precaution remains to be seen.

Read more: The Georgia Straight