First Aid & Safety

There are a number of first aid and safety issues to consider when leading walking groups or simply heading out for a walk. As a result, it is important to plan appropriately before heading out individually or as a group. Please review the information below as well as the documents developed by SportMed BC.

Set a Time

  • Consider the time of year and schedule the time of walks appropriately (i.e. temperature, amount of daylight).
  • Consider what time is convenient for the target audience of your walking group.

Set a Place

  • Consider the wakling path, its width, its incline and whether or not it is a level surface.
  • Consider whether or not the route can be used by people with disabilities.
  • Ensure that the starting and ending points are accessible (i.e. parking, public transportation)

Set a Route

  • Use existing walking routes or maps if they are available
  • Make sure that the walking route is an appropriate length of time.

Watch Out For

  • Inaccessible locations
  • Poor surface conditions
  • Busy roads
  • Unsafe surroundings

Other Tips

  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Tell someone where you are going
  • Wear reflective gear if you are walking at night
  • Carry a cell phone

It is also beneficial to have walk leaders who have first aid certification. There are many agencies around the province that conduct first aid training. Furthermore, it may be important for walk participants to be have their health screened before they participate in a walking group. Consulting a doctor before starting a walking program is essential for individuals who:

  • have been told they have heart trouble
  • have pain in their chest
  • have pain in their chest or on their left side
  • often feel faint or have dizzy spells
  • feel extremely out of breath after being physically active
  • has had a health care provider tell them that they have uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • are over 50 and are not used to a lot of physical activity
  • have a health problem or physical reason not mentioned above that might prevent them from starting a walking program

*Active Communities, Walking Program Walk Leader Handbook

Related Resources