Planning to get outside? Here's what you need to know to stay safe

It's important to be prepared for bad weather before you head outside. /Source: (WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Being safe while outside all starts with planning ahead to be prepared in the event of bad weather.

Rangers with Great Smoky Mountains National Park said it starts by checking the weather. They said to ask a few questions like do we have a chance for storms today? How hot will it be? All important factors before you take a hike, go boating or simply working outside.

Rangers say if you are in the higher elevations you need to be concerned with pop-up storms so that if you are caught in a storm you can go to the nearest shelter or at least find a low place to protect yourself. A valley or depression will make you safer than standing tall.

"Be willing to turn around, the make a change in your plan, to reevaluate it constantly. Just like you're reevaluating the weather reevaluate what's going on with the people you are hiking with," said Christine Hoyer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "In the lower elevations, you also want to watch for water. Anytime those storms pop-up the water level can rise pretty quickly."

Storms could pop-up miles away and you may not even know it. That rain could lead to creeks and streams to rise quickly.

They also worry about people who maybe aren't experienced hikers going off trail. They say it's important to stay on the set route because the brush makes it difficult for someone to find their way back. Ultimately they say it's a plan, but don't be afraid to turn around if you need to.

'It's hard to know that so being aware of what your route is whether you have water crossings, start in the higher elevations, it's all going to help you at that moment to know what your best move is."

They remind people to always tell someone where they're going and what time frame they expect to be back.