Would you know how to survive on your own in the kind of extreme environment faced by the Ice Road Truckers every day? Cold weather survival is a challenge now matter how you slice it, but this cold weather survival guide, prepared by survival expert Greg Davenport, will get you moving in the right direction.
First things first: Knowing these three key steps to survival will give you the best possible chance of staying alive.
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1. Avoid Exposure Injuries
How well can you meet basic survival needs with frostbitten fingers, swollen painful feet or hypothermia? Odds are, not very well. You must avoid exposure injuries at all cost. Staying dry and creating a barrier between your body and the wind and cold is essential. Wearing appropriate layers of clothing (a base wicking layer like silk or polyester, an insulating layer like wool or fleece and an outer protective layer like Gore-Tex, as well as a hat, insulated gloves, wool blend socks and boots); seeking shelter (using your vehicle or creating one with a tarp or from trees, tree boughs and/or snow); and buildling a fire (to warm up by, dry clothes or create a warm drink) are the foundation of avoiding cold injuries.
2. Stay Hydrated
Without water, you’ll die in approximately two to five days. In addition, dehydration will directly affect your ability to make logical decisions and handle any problems that may arise. In cold weather, fluids are lost when the body works to warm itself. Prevention is the best way to avoid dehydration. To accomplish this, drink at least 2 quarts of water per day during minimal activity and 4 to 6 quarts per day during more intense activity. Obvious water sources include surface streams, lakes, ponds and precipitation. Remember that eating snow will cause your body to lose heat, so melt and warm it up before drinking. To do this, use a fire or put it in a container (preferably with some water already in it) and shake the container or put it between the layers of your clothing to warm it.
January 11, 2010