Ebola — The Hard Reality

Hasmat SuitOne of the biggest survival issues to come along in nearly a century is the Ebola virus outbreak.

There hasn’t been a potentially global threat to survival as serious as this one since the Spanish Flu pandemic that ran from January 1918 to December 1920, and is estimated to have killed up to 100 million people worldwide. That amounted to a death toll claiming up to 5% of the world’s population. Continue reading

Learn From The Experiences of Others

storm comingSurvival situations never announce their intrusion into your life. They just show up all of a sudden, and you have to play the hand you’re dealt.

The hand Charlie Putman was dealt caught him by surprise. He was out for a solo ride on his ATV on his 15,000-acre ranch in Wyoming when suddenly his world got turned upside-down — literally.

The accident left Putman lying in the dirt with a bunch of broken ribs and a couple of fractured vertebrae. He also had injuries to his head, lungs and kidneys.

When he didn’t return home on schedule, his wife called 911. But Putman had to lie there on the ground through a dark, cold and lonely night, wondering if this was the end. It wasn’t until the following afternoon that he was found, after an extensive search and rescue operation. Continue reading

Life In a Disaster Zone

Forest fireI recently received a letter that was written by a smoke jumper who is describing conditions of life in an area of Washington State where a disastrous wildfire has turned life upside-down. There are vital lessons to be learned from this information, and I urge everyone to take stock of where you stand in your preparation to survive a disaster. Here’s the letter:

Hello All,

We have had many inquires as to how things are going here in the Methow Valley of Washington State in reference to the fires, so I am writing a quick letter to all.

For the last couple of weeks it has been very hot. About 100 degrees every day. Nearly two weeks ago we had an intense lighting storm and multiple fires were started, mostly on public lands. A few days later, VERY strong winds arrived and ultimately all the fires became three large ones, and eventually one large one. The largest in the history of the State of Washington. The fires burned about 200 homes, many outbuildings, vehicles, cattle, horses, etc., and destroyed the electrical distribution system. The fire burned down the valley for a distance of nearly 70 miles, all the way into the Columbia River Valley east of us. We found ourselves without power, telephones, cell phones, or internet service. All the stores and gas stations were closed except for Hanks in Twisp, about 13 miles down the road. It is a large store and the owner had installed back up power years ago. Continue reading

Make Fire Straws

CampfireWhen it’s time to build a fire, the most important component is the tinder. Without it, the attempt to build a fire will fail.

The job of tinder is to catch a spark and turn it into a flame that is vigorous and long-lasting enough to ignite the kindling. Along that same line, the job of kindling is to catch fire and burn hot and long enough to ignite the fuel wood. The process works up from very fine flammable material, to wood that is a little heavier (maybe the thickness of a pencil), and from there to wood that is the size of your wrist or even larger.

But it’s the tinder that gets the whole process started, assuming you have a method of igniting the kindling. That can be accomplished by many techniques such as with a spark from a “flint and steel” kit, or from an electrical source such as a battery, or a hot coal created by friction, or the heat of the sun focussed through a “burning glass,” or a small flame from matches or a lighter.  Continue reading

Five Critical Questions

Evacuation Route SignA disaster is looming!

Maybe it’s a wildfire that threatens your  region, a hurricane, an earthquake, tsunami, pandemic, flood, or perhaps a chemical/biological/nuclear attack. Whatever it is, it’s got you thinking seriously about evacuation to a safer area.

But before you decide to evacuate, there are five critical questions that you need to ask yourself. And unless you can come up with the right answers, now’s the time to start getting more prepared.

You’ll notice that each major question contains sub-questions that are directly related. If you use these questions as prompts, they can help you make your disaster preparedness plans ahead of time, including the issue of potential evacuation. Continue reading

Survive A Lightning Strike

lightningAlthough lightning can strike at any time of year, even during a snowstorm, summer is the season when it poses the greatest danger for people.

That’s because this is the time of year when we’re outside hiking, fishing, boating, playing golf and placing ourselves in an environment where  lightning can be a problem.

Dr. Mercola (www.mercola.com) presented an excellent article about lightning strike on his website, and gave permission to share it.

From 2003 to 2012, nearly 350 people died from being struck by lightning in the US.  Many more are struck by lightning and survive, as only about 10 percent of lighting-strike victims are killed (though many do suffer from serious long-term effects).

Contrary to popular belief, what you do during a lightning strike can make all the difference in the outcome, helping you to survive and potentially suffer only minor injuries.

You might think this will never happen to you, but when you consider that the Earth is struck by more than 100 lightning bolts every second, it doesn’t sound so far-fetched, does it? If you live in the US, you have a 1 in 3,000 chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime. Knowing what to do if it happens can save your life.

Continue reading

Survive The Predators

There is a correlation between survival in the wilderness and survival in civilization.

GrizzlyIf you were camping in grizzly bear country, it wouldn’t be wise to encourage the bears to come into your camp looking for their next meal.

How would that happen?

The rule in camp is that you don’t leave food and garbage lying around in the open, because that will attract predators such as bears.

So, to keep from doing that, all food and garbage needs to be stored in bear-proof containers, or strung up on bear wires high above the ground where the bears can’t get to it. But in any case, you keep the containers or bear wires a good distance away from your camp, so even if the bears find those things at least they won’t be in your camp.

So that’s how it goes in the wilderness. But what’s the correlation between this and survival in the city? Continue reading

Search & Rescue

Emergency vehiclesRecently, there was a devastating landslide in Washington State that wiped out an entire community.

So far, the search and rescue teams have discovered 41 victims who died. There are still members of the community who are missing. Even though a month has passed since the landslide, the search and recovery effort continues. And it will continue for a long time to come.

When something like this happens, lots of people want to jump in and help in some way. That’s understandable, and it’s admirable that so many folks want to volunteer to lend a hand to relieve the suffering of people who have gone through a disaster.

But timing is everything. Continue reading

Core Essentials For Outdoor Survival

TentIt’s that time of year when people start abandoning their couch and TV and heading outside in search of adventure.

It doesn’t matter whether your brand of adventure is hiking or camping or fishing or mountain biking or river kayaking.

No matter what you like to do when you leave civilization behind and head into the backcountry, you should stop and think — “What if something forces me to stay longer than planned? What do I need to survive?” This is a key concept, because you never know when you will unexpectedly end up in an emergency situation that turns into a survival incident.

It’s so easy for that to happen. All it takes is a simple injury, like a twisted ankle, on some remote trail. Or getting turned around and not knowing the way back to camp. Or a sudden storm that strands you a long way from your shelter.   Continue reading

Giardia, Cryptosporidium & Other Bad Stuff

water faucetGiardia and Cryptosporidium are waterborne organisms that make the water unsafe to drink.

Some people think that giardia and cryptosporidium are only found in rivers and lakes in the wilderness. But the bad news is that the worst outbreaks of these water contaminants in the U.S. happen right in our city water supplies. Continue reading