Thursday, October 22, 2009

Strategies for Winter Survival

  1. If you can help it, don’t go out alone.
    1. If you are injured, you’ll have someone nearby who can help you.
    2. Hypothermia brings on poor judgment, so having another person with you increases the chance that if one of you loses your mind the other one can help protect against deadly mistakes. 
  1. Maintain communication by having a cell phone and a two-way radio. Start out with everything charged up, and also carry spare batteries.
    1. Before heading out, let people know where you’re going and when to expect you back.
    2. Be there – don’t deviate from your plan. If you do deviate, contact the people who were previously notified about your plans and tell them about the change of plans.
    3. Carry an emergency signaling system that consists of signal mirror, whistle, and electronic device such as a PLB (personal locator beacon) or SPOT satellite messaging system. Know how to use these things before you need to use them — you don’t want to have to read the instructions in the middle of an emergency.
  1. Dress appropriately. Remember the old adage, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Your clothing is your primary shelter and is the first line of defense against the elements. With the appropriate clothing, and by following proper techniques, you can survive extreme conditions.
    1. The best clothing for the elements – wool or synthetics that don’t absorb and hold moisture against the skin.
    2. Layers that can be easily added or removed to prevent perspiration from building up in the fabric.
    3. Stay dry. It’s impossible to get warm once you’re wet, so staying dry is absolutely critical to staying warm. Vent body moisture out – prevent outside moisture from coming in.
    4. Mittens instead of gloves. Warm boots. Gators. Facemask. Neck warmer. Total head covering. UV protective sunglasses or goggles.
  1. Shelter and Fire. Be prepared to stay longer than you planned – overnight or over several nights. Carry emergency shelter (emergency blanket, bivvy, etc.). Be prepared with several methods of staring a fire. Practice so you are confident you can start a fire under all conditions.
  1. Hydrate and feed the furnace. That means eat and drink often. Dehydration helps bring on hypothermia and frostbite by thickening the blood and inhibiting circulation that delivers warmth to the extremities. Eat and drink warm foods and fluids to help maintain body core temperature. High calorie food and plenty of non-alcoholic beverage (alcohol actually promotes hypothermia and frostbite) will help keep the internal fire burning at a time when you’re consuming large amounts of energy just to stay alive. 

No comments:

Post a Comment