Nature Escapes

Learning How to Observe Jungle Hazard Signs to Avoid Accidents and Emergencies




Hazards and accidents are inseparable. Keeping a watchful eye on jungle hazard signs prevent many a mishap.

Learning what to do in case of a jungle emergency is best done before you get in trouble, not after. Here are some initial points to think over:

  • Who has proper experience to take charge and make decisions?
  • Who does the group think can take responsibility and do they respect his judgement?.
  • Who has the skills to give first aid or who can find someone lost in the jungle?

Rainforest River Rainforest Snake

Understand that even a chosen trip leader or jungle guide can make mistakes. Others can take the lead or make strong suggestions based on sound reasoning and assessing safe and unsafe situations. Don't let dominate personalities lead you into a tight spot; leadership takes many forms and more than one person.

Not every hiker is cut out to be a leader, but everyone can identify hazards and help make jungle habitat enjoyable. Of course a certain amount of risk is accepted when trekking deep in the jungle.

The main goal is to recognize hazards to prevent accidents from occurring; whereas unpredictable incidents come without warning.


Jungle Hazard Signs: Environmental, Equipment and Human

Think of hazard signs as an unsprung danger.

Jungle Tent

And more hazards increase the potential for accidents to spoil your trip. So focus on identifying hazards that can cause big problems (broken limbs or body punctures) and don't fuss over the small ones (blisters and bites).

The great outdoors offers 3 categories of hazards to watch out for related to environmental risks, equipment failures and human frailties.

And any combination of the three can lead to severe accidents if not dealt with appropriately.

Hazard Common Types
Environmental rocky trails; slippery slopes; swelling water; poisonous plants and animals; lightning strikes; bee and wasp stings; snake, spider and leech bites; rattan thorns; overexposure to wind, rain or sun; cold and wetness; tainted or no water.
Equipment improper jungle clothes; faulty torchlights; ill-fitting backpacks; missing equipment parts; poor footwear; worn out tents and gear; too heavy gear; lacking food and water supplies
Human jungle experience; physical condition; medical needs; fatigue and fear; poor communication; lack of cooperation; poor judgement; disinterested participants


Jungle Hazard Signs: Safety Protocols and Practices

Jungle safety Rainforest Trailstarts at home, follows you on the trail and then returns when the excursion is over. That's right ... safe habits never leave.

Think about what you already do that helps to make nature outings a success: check the weather; inspect your gear; change the batteries or buy new equipment.

All of these pre-trip actions reduce the risk of facing potential hazards during rainforest activities. Some other safety factors to consider include:

  • Having adequate equipment, food and water for the jungle trip
  • Instruct each person in the proper use of equipment
  • Practice good communications and maintain a positive attitude
  • Assess the group's jungle experience level
  • Assess the fitness level of each person
  • Have a plan for emergency situations

Safety protocols are just sound practices. If you only do one thing to ensure your personal safety:

Leave your trip itinerary with a friend, a forest ranger, a camp mate, tacked to a timber tree, glued to a tortoise, or dangling from a jungle vine.

Take the guess work out of the search and rescue equation.



[Disclaimer: The above information was adapted from The Backpacker's Field Manual, Three Rivers Press (2005) and buttressed with personal jungle experiences. Always rely on your own resources, discretion and instincts in any jungle emergency situation.]




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