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Monday, June 27, 2011

Survival Skills - From Camping to 2012

Here's an excellent article I've come across from Survival-Goods. Thought I'd share this with you all.

There’s a lot of chatter about 2012 these days. Everyone seems to have an opinion. Some are dismissive, viewing apocalypse prophecies as a ruse drummed up by ancient calendars that don’t perpetuate beyond December 12, 2012. In the other camp are individuals who are greatly apprehensive, even fearful, about prospects of solar flares, planetary collisions and cataclysmic events.
The point missed by many in these extremes is that we all should be ready for any crisis. Maybe we won’t face catastrophes of the “world-ending sort”, but perhaps, more of the common “garden variety” disaster. Floods, tornados, hurricanes, raging wildfires, nuclear threats, bioterrorism, and epidemics- we humans already have more than our share of mini-cataclysmic events, even apart from 2012 mayhem. Any one of these events could significantly alter life as we know it for an undisclosed period.
In history, nearly everything is finite. Mighty dinosaurs and many powerful cultures that once ruled the Earth are no more. Of those who do survive- from animal to mankind- the sole characteristic that seems to perpetuate the species is the ability to adapt.  How adaptable is the typical, urban modern man anyway?  How likely would he be to survive for an extended period without normal comforts?
Even in a minor calamity (like a few hours without power) many of us wouldn’t fair well if we weren’t prepared with adequate food, water and warm clothing. But survival is more than attaining the right supplies. It means having a problem solver mentality, lacking rigidity and possessing the will to live. Along with this come certain technical skills survivors must acquire.
Whether stranded in the wilderness on a backpacking adventure gone awry, facing a natural disaster, or even in the midst of a catastrophic global crisis, you’ll need some skill to withstand the event.
Survival Skills:
  • Shelter:  Understanding the importance of shelter is paramount.  If exposed to extremely cold conditions, a human body can perish in as little as three short hours.  Wandering around until fatigued in extreme temperatures instead of creating a shelter remains one of the biggest mistakes made by those in peril.  Know how to build shelters in all climates, with a variety of items. This also includes realizing the necessity of staying in an existing shelter, such as your vehicle, if stranded in bitterly cold weather.
  • Fire: Creating fire is the single most versatile and required survival skill. In addition to providing heat, fire also cooks, purifies water by boiling, melts snow into drinking water, keeps dangerous wildlife away and can alert rescuers.  Have a backup plan or two on items that can start fire in the event of a major emergency. Keep extra lighters or waterproof matches on hand. In addition, learn how to build a proper wood fire if out in the wilderness. (There is a special set of skill required to build a fire). Be aware of flammable, everyday items (like Vaseline or petroleum based lip balm smeared on cotton) that can be ignited to start a fire.
  • Water: In survival, you’ll hear references to the rule of 3’s. It’s a bit of information to tuck your brain for times when the going gets tough. While it’s stated that death can occur in as little as 3 hours without shelter, the second part of the rule of 3’s relates to water. 3 days without water can be lethal, especially in arid weather or when the body is suffering great exertion. Maintain at least a 72 hour store of water. Know how to purify water, both from boiling a minute and by using plain household bleach for when reserves run out or are unavailable. When in the wilderness, remember, water is usually found in low places. Go downhill toward valleys to find streams. Emergency Food Supplies
  • Food: The last of the rules of 3’s is about food. Even though hunger can be excruciating, adults can survive for up to 3 weeks without food. This means if you have to choose between finding water or food, make sure you have adequate water first. However, food is a viable way for the body to maintain warmth, as burning calories creates heat. In addition, food keeps energy levels higher. Keep a food store of high calorie, long shelf life non-perishable food products on hand. Consider items like 3600 Calorie Mayday Bars, which take up little room and last for years. In the wild, a general rule of thumb is that furry mammals and insects with 6 legs are food. Plants are risky. Unless you are very familiar with botany, don’t attempt consuming vegetation.
  • First Aid: Today’s response time for emergency medical teams is very impressive. In most of the United States, dialing 911 brings relief in moments. But in the event of a disaster, workers may be overwhelmed, cell phones may not have signals and you could suddenly be quite alone with a major injury. Take classes now and research means to identify and treat the following:
o        Dehydration/Heat stress
o        Broken bones
o        Cuts, scrapes
o        Severe bleeding
o        Stroke
o        Heart Attack Symptoms
o        Concussions
o        Sprains
o        Choking
Learn CPR. Buy the best first aid kit you can for your home or car and tuck smaller ones in various places. Too often we skimp on this. In the event of a major illness or injury, apart from quick response of health care providers, your training and products in your first aid kit might be all you have to depend on. 
  • Navigation: Without GPS, many of our brains couldn’t locate a building across town; much less navigate in the wilds. Remember, if a sudden disaster struck, familiar landmarks may be eradicated. Even a well traveled urban area may seem like foreign territory. You should have a map of the area handy, know how to find vital points, such as community shelters and possess a compass. Consider how you would find shelter, food and water on foot if transportation were not available. Learn at least one other means to find directions, such as using a watch to center the sun. (Hold analog watch horizontally. Point hour hand at sun. 1/2 the distance between the 12 o’clock position and the hour hand is south. For example- if the hour hand is on 8, half the distance to 12 o’clock is 10 (or south). From this you can easily figure other directions).
  • Other Necessary Skills: Depending on the length of a disaster, skills that will carry survivors through to recovery might be as varied as learning to use firearms, grow food products, hunt, and fish and preserve foods. Building and mechanical expertise, such as carpentry, auto repair, electrical or plumbing capabilities would be of course needed techniques. But long before recovery, the adaptive, skilled and prepared individuals must first survive. 

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1 comment:

Steveo said...

Great actionable summary!

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