Friday, April 29, 2011

Preparing to Survive a Flash Flood

Flash floods are named that because they can happen almost instantaneously! (NASA photo)
Flash floods are the number one weather-related killer in the United States! Here are some of the things to look for if you know you are in an area that might have a flash flood! To read more about it, click here!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Winter Survival Blankets and Vests That Work

The Blizzard vests work well!
Blizzard Products – vests, blankets and sleeping bags. I had actually come across these products several years ago but didn’t pay them much attention to them because of my bias against anything made from “space blanket” material.
To read the review, click here.

Injury and Illness in the Wilderness

As I have analyzed stories of survivors and the survival situations they found themselves in I have come to the conclusion that there are two underlying causes for the difficulties the survivors experienced.
First: There appears to be a lack of understanding of the physiological threats to the human body and the body’s reaction to the threats.
Second: Survivors, lacking specific survival training, appropriate clothing and survival equipment are left to cope with the situation as best they can relying on their will-to-survive, their ability to improvise and luck!  Not a good situation.
This article will look at some of the physiological threats to the body and suggest ways to minimize the impact of the threats.
Click here to read the entire story!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Flashlight Versus Night Vision

Prairie Chickens.

Flashlight versus Night Vision.  This past week Mary and I had the opportunity to photograph Lesser Prairie Chickens in Kansas.  The first morning went well.  The blind, situated on the edge of a lek, (the strutting ground where the male and female chickens get “hooked-up”) was located about one hundred and fifty yards from the road where we left our cars.   So as not to disturb the birds viewers must be in the blinds before dawn.  When the sun crept over the horizon, and even a bit before, we were able to see about sixteen males “strutting their stuff” to four females.  It was very entertaining and I managed to get some great pictures.

The next morning was a bit different.  The weather forecast the night before had predicted high winds, cold temperatures and rain.  When I awoke at 4am the next morning guess what?  The wind was howling, the temperature was about 30° F. and while it was not raining yet the sky looked ominous.  Despite the forecasted weather we had agreed the night before to go out.  This was our last chance to photograph the prairie chickens and the first chance for two “Brit” birdwatchers who had come over from England specifically to see the chickens do their thing!  We parked as we had done the previous day beside a barbed-wire fence, loaded up our gear and in the face of some very nasty weather, (it’s raining now!) led by one of the guides, we started off across the prairies to the blind.

We were just at the point where I was saying to myself “We should be there by now” when I looked off to my right and there about fifty yards away silhouetted against the dim skyline I could see the shape of the blind.  Our guide in the meantime is plowing ahead with the two Brits behind him, looking for the blind with his flashlight.  Rather than use a flashlight I was using my “night-vision” to navigate.

The problem with flashlights is that they limit your vision to the area that is illuminated and, as our guide found out, it is very easy to overlook what you are looking for.  Night vision, the use of your peripheral vision on the other hand enables you to see better than you might expect.  Rather than looking directly at an object look slightly off to one side of it.  It takes about thirty minutes for your eyes to adjust to the low levels of light at night but once adjusted and using your “night vision” it is amazing, even on a moonless night how much you can see.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stranded In an Urban or Wilderness Emergency: Now What?

The very word “stranded” brings to mind the story of Robinson Crusoe’s lengthy stay on his tropical island or the plight of the Donner Party. Or the experiences of the Uruguayan rugby team who survived a crash landing in the Andes as told in Piers Paul Read’s book “Alive” also come to mind.
If the truth be told, you can become stranded in far less exotic places!  You can become stranded, and find yourself having to survive, in the woodlot behind your home.; You can become stranded when driving to work or as a result of other scenarios where suddenly you are unable to continue - or to return to safety.
Unless you have experienced the emotions of finding yourself stranded a long way from help it is difficult to explain in words: The gut wrenching fear felt when you realize you can’t get back, you’re cut-off, you’re alone without anyone to help... YOU MIGHT DIE!
Let’s look at “becoming stranded” objectively, find  the problems faced by the victim and then identify some practical solutions to those problems. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wilderness Survival Skill: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark!

Many people are “scared of the dark,” or more accurately, they are afraid of what they can’t see because it is dark!  These people, when precipitated into an emergency, and finding themselves having to spend an unplanned night out, are incapacitated by their fear. They panic and do things that make a bad situation even worse!
Here are some ways to conquer those fears!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

STOP! You May Be Lost!

Past articles have defined the word survival and have discussed the importance of being prepared as opposed to trying to manufacture what you need from materials at hand.
Now, we need to look at some of the situations that people find themselves in where their knowledge of how to survive, combined with a basic survival kit and good clothing, can bring about a positive ending to their experience – or the lack of knowledge, equipment and clothing could result in tragedy.
To read the compete story, click here. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Preparing to Survive in the Wilderness

Will you be able to improvise a shelter during an emergency?
One of the most important lessons I learned during my survival career is: “Those who are prepared to survive an emergency usually will, and those who are not prepared probably won’t!”
We don’t want to admit we might be the one faced with a life or death situation or some other equally disagreeable circumstance.
Denial leads the list of the coping methods that people use — we deny anything bad is ever going to happen.  It’s often easier to deny than to prepare for a difficult situation and, as a result, we find ourselves totally unprepared when disaster strikes.
Consequently the vast majority of people find themselves facing a cold night out without adequate clothing, without basic survival equipment and without having practiced building a fire, erecting a shelter or signaling for help.
To prepare, potential survivors need to consider three areas: Physical, mental and spiritual preparation.
 Click here to read how to start that preparation to survive.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What is Survival?

The word “survival” conjures up a mental picture of a horrendous situation in some remote part of the world where the “survivor” has to “survive” under extreme conditions, without food, with only limited (or no) water while fending of the onslaught of predatory animals!
Let’s get real!  While some survival experiences do occur in such places, many more occur in the woodlots of Wisconsin; while duck hunting in Louisiana, or while tracking deer in Washington – in short, anywhere we recreate.While there are many book definitions of the word “survival,” none adequately describe the difficulties that outdoor people sometimes find themselves in. To learn more click