Unforgiving Weather

mountains, lost, day hike syndrome

“On a nice day, she would have  been fine.”

Those words by Fish and Game Lt. James Saunders described the unfortunate death of Kate Matrosova, who succumbed to extreme weather conditions in the mountains of New Hampshire.

The story of Matrosova’s ordeal brings up several important issues about outdoor survival. She was an experienced hiker and, according to Saunders, was well equipped.  In an interview with the Union Leader, Saunders mentioned that 32-year-old Matrosova was “properly equipped for what she had planned. She had down clothing and wind guards.” But that was not enough.  Continue reading

Earthquake Survival

EarthquakeA new study by released the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that more than 143 million Americans area at risk of experiencing an earthquake. And of that 143 million, about 28 million could suffer what the USGS calls “strong shaking.”

These statistics are up nearly double from previous studies, and the reason is because so many people have moved into quake-prone regions, such as the West Coast.

But it isn’t just the West Coast that’s at risk. This latest report also updated the national earthquake map, indicating that there is quake danger for a full one-third of the continental United States. This report didn’t even include Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

A quote from USGS contractor Kishor Jaiswal claims, “The distribution of earthquake risk is much broader and wider beyond the West Coast.” Continue reading

Off The Grid

generatorPeople interested in survival often talk about living “off the grid.” That means living without outside support by utility companies, municipal water systems, etc.

Depending on advance preparation, life off the grid would range from living caveman style to living like Little House on The Prairie. If you’re doing it voluntarily, that’s one thing. But if life off the grid is suddenly forced upon you, that’s an entirely different situation.

In an escalating scale of life off the grid conditions, the situation would look like this: No electricity (heating, refrigeration, cooking, lights). No running water. No toilet facilities. No communication devices (radio, TV, phone, computer). No transportation (gas stations unable to pump fuel). No commercially available food supply (stores closed due to no electricity and no transportation). No pharmaceuticals. No hospitals. No police and fire departments.

In a worst-case scenario, after a short time you would be pretty much on your own.  Continue reading

Survive Kidnapping

parking lotThe man came out of nowhere, grabbed Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, and dragged her into his car. She’d been kidnapped.

It’s the kind of story that happens all too often, sometimes in broad daylight and in public places. Most of the victims are women, sometimes grabbed from a parking lot and dragged into a vehicle adjacent to the victim’s car.  And most of the time the victim ends up dead.

But this time there was a happy outcome — Carlesha was found alive, and her kidnapper was taken into custody.  So we should take a look at what Carlesha did that helped her survive.  Continue reading

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