Family Survival – Living Through Natural Disasters

If you are the kind of person who likes to maintain a safe distance from nature and the outdoors, you probably never gave a thought to survival situations and preparedness. However, no matter how sure you are that you will never be caught dead in hiking boots, you have absolutely no business ignoring survival skills and preparation for worst case scenarios. A little trouble you take today to learn survival skills can help save your family tomorrow, so it is surely worth it. The best reason why you should do this is natural disasters, which can strike absolutely anywhere and anytime, and turn even the safety of your home to the most dangerous survival situation.
Earthquakes, for example, can cause instant destruction of the region they hit. Buildings collapse and roofs cave in. People who survive may be trapped in cellars, injured, or made homeless and left scurrying for cover.  If you and your family are survive the disaster itself, the time that follows still poses serious threats to life. These may be in the form of serious injuries, loss of your home and possessions, earthquake aftershocks, and a myriad other threats that put a question mark over your lives. To stay alive and help your family live through this time, therefore, you must be well grounded in survival skills.
The most important skill here would usually be first aid. If you yourself are in pain, you cannot assist the rest of your family, so first you need to treat your own wounds. Keep an emergency first aid box in your car for use in such situations, and wash and dress open wounds immediately. If your car is inaccessible, you can always get first aid items from rescue teams that are sure to arrive at the spot. Once wounds are dressed, deal with broken or dislocated limbs by tying the bone firmly into place using a sling or a plaster cast. Basic first aid knowledge is fundamentally important in survival situations such as these, and you should ensure today that at least one or two members of your family be trained in this area.
Secondly, you need to get to shelter. In a large scale disaster displacing thousands of people, shelter will usually be scarce but at least try to get to a place protected from the elements, and where you have access to water and basic sanitation facilities. Learn about emergency shelters built in your immediate locality, so that you would know where to go.  Also, you should prepare “grab and go” bags for each member of your family. The advantage of these is that in case you need to leave the house in a hurry in the event of a flood or evacuation for any other reason, you can have all basic necessities within easy reach. These bags should contain, for each of you, warm clothes, first aid items, flashlights and transmitters, extra batteries, non perishable food items, water bottles, and any other thing that will be an absolute necessity (like bottles and dry milk in case of babies).
Once your immediate needs are taken care of, you must now focus on the psychological aspects of survival. A sense of togetherness and belonging as a family will help you all survive the trauma.  You may lose friends and relatives, so the first thing you need to ensure is that you stick together, and help each other through the rough spots. You need to motivate your children, your spouse or parents to strive for survival and to avoid panic, fear and despair. Once your family adapts to the survival mindset, it becomes easier to live through any danger and difficulty. Your job, therefore, is to ensure that no member of the family loses focus of the goal of survival, and that you all think, plan and take decisions as a family, so that even the worst danger cannot get the best of you.

If you are the kind of person who likes to maintain a safe distance from nature and the outdoors, you probably never gave a thought to survival situations and preparedness. However, no matter how sure you are that you will never be caught dead in hiking boots, you have absolutely no business ignoring survival skills and preparation for worst case scenarios. A little trouble you take today to learn survival skills can help save your family tomorrow, so it is surely worth it. The best reason why you should do this is natural disasters, which can strike absolutely anywhere and anytime, and turn even the safety of your home to the most dangerous survival situation.

Earthquakes, for example, can cause instant destruction of the region they hit. Buildings collapse and roofs cave in. People who survive may be trapped in cellars, injured, or made homeless and left scurrying for cover.  If you and your family are survive the disaster itself, the time that follows still poses serious threats to life. These may be in the form of serious injuries, loss of your home and possessions, earthquake aftershocks, and a myriad other threats that put a question mark over your lives. To stay alive and help your family live through this time, therefore, you must be well grounded in survival skills.

The most important skill here would usually be first aid. If you yourself are in pain, you cannot assist the rest of your family, so first you need to treat your own wounds. Keep an emergency first aid box in your car for use in such situations, and wash and dress open wounds immediately. If your car is inaccessible, you can always get first aid items from rescue teams that are sure to arrive at the spot. Once wounds are dressed, deal with broken or dislocated limbs by tying the bone firmly into place using a sling or a plaster cast. Basic first aid knowledge is fundamentally important in survival situations such as these, and you should ensure today that at least one or two members of your family be trained in this area.

Secondly, you need to get to shelter. In a large scale disaster displacing thousands of people, shelter will usually be scarce but at least try to get to a place protected from the elements, and where you have access to water and basic sanitation facilities. Learn about emergency shelters built in your immediate locality, so that you would know where to go.  Also, you should prepare “grab and go” bags for each member of your family. The advantage of these is that in case you need to leave the house in a hurry in the event of a flood or evacuation for any other reason, you can have all basic necessities within easy reach. These bags should contain, for each of you, warm clothes, first aid items, flashlights and transmitters, extra batteries, non perishable food items, water bottles, and any other thing that will be an absolute necessity (like bottles and dry milk in case of babies).

Once your immediate needs are taken care of, you must now focus on the psychological aspects of survival. A sense of togetherness and belonging as a family will help you all survive the trauma.  You may lose friends and relatives, so the first thing you need to ensure is that you stick together, and help each other through the rough spots. You need to motivate your children, your spouse or parents to strive for survival and to avoid panic, fear and despair. Once your family adapts to the survival mindset, it becomes easier to live through any danger and difficulty. Your job, therefore, is to ensure that no member of the family loses focus of the goal of survival, and that you all think, plan and take decisions as a family, so that even the worst danger cannot get the best of you.

Top Five Survival Tips and Tricks

Survival situations are highly unfortunate twists of fate that just about anyone can fall into: be it a day hiker, an earthquake victim, or a serious nature enthusiast, everyone is equally prone to life threatening situations. While many people are aware of basic first aid, self defense, and even distress-signaling popularized by stranded-on-an-island movies, there are some interesting tips and tricks that are easy to understand and remember which would help you survive in potentially life threatening circumstances. Here I will present a selection of tips for various possible situations, and maybe someday one of these will save your life!

Water, of course, is one of the most obvious and most urgent needs in a survival situation. It is surprising how many people in such circumstances wouldn’t know what to do if they could not find a pretty little brook bubbling along for them. Well, did you know that you can actually survive on the water usually lost by plants everyday? Transpiration from plants can be collected by tying a plastic bag around a leafy shrub or tree branch, and leaving it for a few daylight hours. Enough water will gather in it to at least keep you alive, although it will probably taste like the plant it came from! Water can be obtained even if you are stranded at sea. Old sea ice can be melted to release water very low in salinity, although fresh ice is extremely salty. You can recognize old ice by its bluish tint, while fresh ice is cloudy white or grey.

When you do manage to deal with your immediate physical needs, your concern will be to get out of that situation as soon as possible. For this, you need to know signaling techniques. Many people realize the need for a signal fire to attract the attention of low flying planes or military aircraft; few know how to make the fire most effective. For this, you need to ensure that the smoke from the fire contrasts with the surroundings. For example, in a green jungle, you can add some green vegetation to your fire to make it give white smoke. Against snow, you can burn a tire from your car to raise a long column of black smoke.

One easy, sure-fire way to attract attention would be to improvise a bright, long tailed kite. If a pilot, flying his plane over apparently uninhabited wilderness, catches sight of a bright kite flying merrily about, he would be sure to realize that someone may be in very big trouble down there. Low flying plane pilots are usually trained to spot these things, so you would not go unnoticed.

In order to escape, you will need to travel at least some distance. One problem for people traveling in the wilderness is in marking the passage of time. You can actually make a rough estimate of how many daylight hours are left using this method. Extend your arm towards the sun and bend your wrist inward. Now hold out your fingers and place them immediately below the sun. The number of fingers between the sun and the horizon can show the time left before sunset, with each finger representing fifteen minutes.

However, if you are lucky and have an analogue watch, you can do much more than count the hours. By pointing the hour hand at the sun and then drawing an imaginary line that bisects the angle between the hour hand and the number 12, you can tell which direction is the north south axis. The angle bisector is a rough representation of this line.

Survival is no joke, and none of these situations are pleasant little adventures. However, since you may at anytime land in such a situation, it is best to read some survival tricks now and then, for they are easier to remember than in depth survival information, although that is certainly worth your time too.

Outdoor Survival: Myth-Buster

For all outdoor survival researchers out there, the internet, newspapers, and nature magazines are all a virtually unlimited supply of information, advice, and wilderness do’s and don’ts. If you are planning to learn some serious survival techniques before undertaking an expedition to the wild, you do not want to believe everything you read. The number of myths out there is astounding – as is the number of people who firmly believe in them. Let us go over some of the most commonly held beliefs that, if accepted as fact, might seriously impair your chances of survival in life threatening circumstances.

Ever heard how much water a cactus holds? Desert survival would be a piece of cake if the barrel cacti really were reservoirs of water as claimed by various web articles. Myth number one, a cactus really does not hold much water. The few drops you can squeeze out of it are likely to be bitter and acidic, and could even induce vomiting, diarrhea or cramps – causing further dehydration that can even be fatal. You should search for congregating birds or areas with vegetation if you want to find water in a desert instead of dismembering cacti!

Myth number two, when trapped outside in the dead of winter, you can eat snow or ice in order to live. Actually, eating snow will cause a dramatic reduction in your body temperature, increasing the chances of the already probable hypothermia. Secondly, it might actually make you sick if it is contaminated or polluted, in which case you are better off not eating at all.

Another common myth is that you should, if bitten by a snake, cut an X over the wound and suck out the venom. In reality, by doing this you would be removing only very minute, negligible amounts of venom, and in fact you could not only badly infect the wound, but could also take in some of the poison through your mouth. If you have cuts around your lips, this would lead to even more rapid spread of the venom. The right way to treat a snake bite is to wash the wound with soap and water and to keep it below the level of the heart. Do not apply a tourniquet to it and tightly bandage the parts two inches above and below the wound. Get medical help as soon as possible and keep still while you wait for help.

Some people claim that drinking your own urine can help you survive at sea. This would be a big mistake and may be your last one. Urine actually contains salt which would dehydrate you, and it may contain harmful materials which were supposed o be excreted from your body. Instead, drink rainwater, turtle blood, or the liquid around the spine and eyes of fish.

Finally, there is a ridiculous idea that should you ever come to grips with a shark in a sea survival situation, you can punch it on the nose. This is very, very likely to be your last mistake too, when you punch it on the nose, your hand would likely hit its teeth, which would be exactly like pushing hard against a set of blades. The teeth of a shark are razor sharp; your hand will bleed immediately, and you would become a shark feast within seconds as its companions are attracted by the smell of blood.

Therefore, the bottom line to this discussion is that do not go blindly following everything you have ever read about outdoor survival. Many of these are speculations by people who have never set a foot outdoors; hence they are more than likely to fail when applied in a real survival situation. Do not take your safety lightly; make sure you educate yourself carefully and using credible sources before you start planning any travels in the great outdoors!

The Importance of Surviving Skills

When we talk about survival skills, we consider ways in which we can fulfill our most urgent needs in any situation: in the wilderness, in urban environments, in war zones or any other life threatening circumstances. One of the most difficult and dangerous situations, however, is extreme cold weather. Taking care of needs like food, water, warmth and shelter automatically becomes harder in a cold place. If you are planning a mountaineering expedition to a cold, snowy place, make sure you are well versed with the survival techniques you are likely to need there.

Your first and foremost need in a cold environment is to keep warm and dry. For this you need to build a shelter that can give warmth as well as keep out the snow and wind. If you have sufficient skill to build an igloo and the situation allows it too, then that is the best option. It stays much warmer than any other kind of shelter. However, if that is too much for you, then use a snow tent which will protect you from the wind and snow. Cover the floor with dead branches or plastic bags, because any shelter that gets damp is a bad idea. Use extra blankets to keep warm because a tent will not retain any warmth. Similarly, you can use natural cover if you do not have even a tent. Select a place with an outcrop of rock above it, or where tree branches create a natural roof. Build your shelter in as dry a place as possible and preferably on higher ground.

For warmth, you can try using waterproof matches to kindle a fire, or light a stove if you have one with you. Keep your body heat intact as much as possible. Staying dry is also a great help. Wear plastic bags on your feet inside your shoes to keep feet dry. Always wear woolen clothing because it will keep you warm even if it does get wet. Do not over exert yourself to the point that you start sweating, because your sweat will freeze and make you colder, risking hypothermia.

Hypothermia and frostbite are both very real dangers in extreme cold. If hypothermia occurs, try to get dry and warm as soon as possible. Drink something hot but never anything with caffeine in it, as it can dehydrate you, and never alcohol either. With frostbite, immediate medical attention would be needed. But if it is not possible then submerge frostbitten body parts in tepid water. Hot water will cause burns. Rubbing the frostbitten areas will cause more damage so only pat them. You may see blisters appearing, and in that case, do not pop them as that increases risk of infection. The affected areas should be covered with dry, loose sterile dressing, but no pressure should be applied.

Finally, food and water will also be needed. These needs come after those of warmth and shelter because a human can survive without food for up to three weeks, and a few days without water. However, starvation will cause unnecessary and unhelpful stress, so food and water will have to be procured. Water can be obtained easily from melted snow or ice. Food is harder to get, so make sure that you have extra supplies of non perishable food items, especially concentrated energy tablets and high sugar foods.

Expeditions in cold weather can be very dangerous if something goes wrong, so you must prepare yourself for all possible hardships well in advance. Efficient preparedness will go a long way in helping you battle dangerous elements and ensure survival against the odds.

Using a Survival Kit

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. Today and forever more, Benjamin Franklin’s words stand just as true as they were when he uttered them. Most people who live ordinary, safe, comfortable lives do not attach too much importance to the idea of preparedness. Yet it is preparedness alone that can ensure survival in unexpected or dangerous situations. The most important of these are natural disasters: they must be prepared for at all times. Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes have massive potential for causing destruction, and it is very much possible that despite preparations and warnings, people will be injured or even lose their lives. However, in general, you can maximize your chances of survival and also the possibility of saving your dear ones if you keep disaster survival kits handy.

The time to prepare such a kit is not after you see the flood warning on television – the time to prepare it is today and right now, because a good survival kit is meticulously planned and well stocked with all possible items of need. Let us go over a few disasters that can occur and how to prepare for them.

The most dangerous of possibilities is an earthquake, because there is no foolproof earthquake warning system in place anywhere in the world that can caution the population in time for them to be evacuated. Hence you must keep earthquake survival kits in your home, office and your car, so that it would be close at hand no matter where you are when disaster strikes. A basic earthquake survival kit would include, most importantly, first aid items and a first aid manual. You must be well stocked on bandages, sterile gauze, pain killers, sharp scissors, safety pins, alcohol swabs, tranquilizers to deal with trauma and shock, disinfectant wipes and cold compresses. Furthermore, severe earthquakes may cause temporary homelessness for many people as buildings cave in. Therefore, non perishable food items o r those having long shelf lives should be stocked along with first aid items.

For volcanic eruptions, since you would probably have to leave your house in a hurry, vehicle kits are the best option. These include all the items that the earthquake kit should have, and apart from those, at least two changes of clothing should be there and there should be greater focus on food and water supplies. A radio transmitter with extra batteries should be kept too, in case you get trapped somewhere or need to contact the rescue services at any time. For floods and hurricanes too, the survival kits are similar. You will probably be evacuated very quickly in case of one of these, and hence you should have an overnight bag ready to load into your car and first aid items in case of injury, as well as food and water to last at least 72 hours in case you are unable to escape your house or a shelter.

How should we prepare for all such possibilities at once? The answer is not as difficult as it looks. Many of the items to be included in kits are similar, so you can stack them once in your store room, in an easy to carry bag, and replace them periodically if they need to be replaced. As far as toiletries, extra clothes, and water supplies are concerned, you can simply keep your things organized enough that in case of an emergency evacuation, it would be easy and quick to pack up and leave.  Such precautions would give you a far less stressful time in case of disasters, and also ensure maximum chances of survival in such times.

Urban Survival – Street Smarts

Survival skills are useful in all kinds of situations, not just associated with the wilderness or if you’re stranded at sea. Urban survival is all about using the best of your ability on ground, among people, in and around your neighborhood.

This also requires skills and knowledge of managing tools and equipment that are acquired, along with various food and water supplies which are equally important for sustenance and survival. Given the rising political tension globally, and the ever increasing unrest within the developed world too owing to economic downturn, there is an increasing need to be prepared to face any unforeseen and disturbing circumstances.

There are several articles, books and online resources available to give you a heads up on urban survival, and you can definitely focus on developing strategies to ensure survival and protection for your family. However, you might also want to attend survival courses to improve on whatever skills and expertise you have, along with experiences of trainers to ensure that you are more than just ready physically and resources. More than anything, you will need a straight head to get you through any of the toughest situations that you possibly come across.

Here are a few essentials of urban survival.

Self Control

The core skill that you should need at any time and in any condition is the ability to control your mind and not be succumbed to negativity. Your control and your ability to manage your own mental condition and those of others can make the difference between being alive and being one of the fallen. It is your intention that will drive you to a successful survival campaign for yourself and that of your fellows.

Basic Skills

You need to gear yourself up with basic tools and equipment to fetch and store water, start a fire to keep warm and cook food, find shelter to stay hidden away from any rowdy elements, or the weather. You also need to know how to get hold of edible food items to maintain energy levels, and a first aid and medical kit to keep your companions away from sickness.

Self Defense

Along with tactics adopted for surviving in the wilderness, you will also need to know how to deal with riots and other street vandalism and crime, that could hamper your life and that of others. You need to know how to use firearms and other weapons, should you find yourself in a situation to use them for self defense.

Home Preparation

So once you are prepared with the basic necessities and knowing your surrounding elements, you also should prepare to safeguard your family and home itself. Though the probability of a nuclear fall out or a several natural disaster is not severe, being ready for it is absolutely necessary. Especially if we know how the political situation has been changing over the last few years, acts of terrorism are common and the constant threat of chemical and armed attack on key locations remains a high risk.

Contingency

Always have a contingency / back up plan in place. Always confirm that all your equipments, tools, bunkers and other arrangements that you’ve made are always in working condition. You can never be too sure, as in most cases just when you need them, things don’t work as you had expected. You will need to maintain your gear to keep it working. Give your family members a thorough training on emergency situations and managing themselves through such disasters, so they don’t fall prey to unwanted situations, and lose hope unnecessarily.

Do you have any other urban survival tips or techniques?

Water Survival – Escape from an H2OhNo!

Everybody loves the wide open seas, but water survival is no laughing matter. Well, not everyone, there are many who get seasick each time they go further into the deep. But there are various ways of enjoying and making the most of the natural beauty and pleasure of sailing across the waters. But there are definite dangers, and surely getting lost at sea and being a survivor can make a pleasure trip into terrifying experience.

You could get stuck at sea for many reasons, the most common of all are that your ship broke down, or you went through a plane crash. Both are equally torturous, resulting in an absolute state of panic and distress for all survivors. Even more trouble if the weather is out of control, resulting in more loss, of the mind and possible supplies that could have been relied on.

The fact is that no matter how many shows or training sessions on survival you go through, there is nothing comparable to facing the situation first hand. But at such a time, the best for survival is will power and efficient use of resources. Gathering will power, the determination to make it out alive through this ordeal is a tough quest, especially if you have soft hearted people along with you, or you don’t have the strength to get along by yourself. Though there are certain resources that you can always count on and in any condition, which equally come handy in a water survival situation, the sheer power of the mind to make you and your companions useful is the best thing you can count on. You need to focus on preserving energy, creating a positive environment, reducing stress and keeping everyone busy in helping each other out.

First aid is an absolute must, regardless if you’re stuck on land or water. You can never underestimate the need for proper emergency medication like pain killers, antibiotic ointments, antiseptics, bandages and any specific medication that would be necessary for certain survivors with a particular problem. You should also make sure you have the right survival kit available. Things you thought would only work on land actually works on sea quite well, in fact even better.

Make sure your clothing is right to travel on sea. Wearing jeans or other slightly heavier clothing actually helps you more than you think. Wading in water is only possible if your clothes help in creating air pockets around you, and thick and heavy material is the best available. If you haven’t worn any, try to find as much clothing as you can to keep yourself warm. Of course, nothing beats a life jacket, which by the way could be the ultimate survival tool while your trying to get to shore or finding floating debris to use. Either ways, you need to float on water and stay as dry as possible to avoid hypothermia, as you never know how the waters will react to sudden change in weather patterns and for how long your own body will be able to tolerate the temperatures.

Make sure you have plenty supplies of food and drinks. Check for available stock from the wreckage, or your own, if you planned your trip and packed your necessities well enough. You need these to keep energy levels balanced, for all your companions.

Also check for life rafts and boats available, which have not yet been damaged, and can be used to get everyone out of the water. This is highly necessary, the chances are that any search for survivors will also be able to spot rafts and life jackets and people outside water easily.

If everyone is aboard the raft or is relatively dry, there are still a few things to watch out for. Since the seas are quite salty, and the intensity of heat from the sun is more than on land, the chances of having rashes and sores are higher. If anyone does get into this situation, have them relax and avoid the urge to scratch their skin, which only damage the skin more and increase the pain and lower resistance levels. If you have medical supplies, you can treat the affected area quickly, and reduce their activities to a limit, to avoid any further harm.

Another important factor is the availability of drinking water. Rationing your existing water supplies is the first option, and it must be understood by all companions. The general consumption level is 1.25 liters of water per person, you need to ration well if you aren’t sure how long you will remain on sea, without being rescued.

There is no best way to survival. Most people learn from experiences and share them accordingly. However, your best would obviously be sufficient preparation to match any challenge that comes your way. As said before, being mentally ready for any such eventuality is the best way to make it through this tough situation.

Do you have any other tips or experiences for water survival?

Island Survival – What would you do?

The chances of desert island survival begin not with you crashing onto it, but even before you begin the journey. Here are a few precautionary measures that you can take and be prepared for what marooned on a deserted island can be like.

When planning your journey, pack a small back with some vital stuff, like flint and steel and a compass. Little survival tools like these can go a long way when the actual survival takes place. A pocket mirror can be used to attract attention from great distances, such as a boat from the shore. Keep a survival knife with you, these days most airlines will forbid all forms of weapons on planes but ask your airline if it allows survival tools, including knives.

Keep a survival guide with you at all times. You can’t possibly remember what kind of plants to eat and how you can start a fire without flint and steel. Also these manuals come with ingenious ways to filter and purify water. Also, these books will help you recognize what kinds of plants, insects and bugs are edible. The guide will tell you about dealing with medical emergencies if you have no previous skill in this area.

Pack extra medicine like pain killers and bandages, preferably a first aid kit with all the basic amenities. It always helps to keep them handy and at the same time, read up on how you can use natural elements to your medicinal needs. Also, getting marooned on a deserted island usually the result of a horrific and violent crash from which one can receive lots of injuries. Though some injuries may be fatal, there are many injuries which can still be treated immediately.

When boarding a ship or an aircraft, be sure to check where all the emergency lifejackets or rafts are and where the survival kits are kept. Familiarize yourself with its contents and make sure you know how to access it. Make sure you know where to go and who to speak to in cases of emergency. Similarly, learn to how to use your lifejacket once you land in the ocean, that’s the only thing that’ll keep you from drowning.

When starting on the journey, talk to the cabin crew. Ask them about their emergency procedures. During such an emergency, where you have been stranded, they are the people that will take control. Follow their instructions and do not break the chain of command. If you follow their instructions, you’ll be setting a good example and hence others will follow as well. It’s bad as it is that you’re stuck on an island, its best not to get involved in any negative actions, making the situation even worse.

Research a few survival stories. People have survived instances where they’ve been rescued from marooned islands and it’s good to read up on how they’ve dealt with the whole thing. Read about their experience and learn from it. Most people who have survived have done so because they did things in a certain way and it’s not because they’re different than you or me.

Do you have any other tips for island survival?

Surviving the Wild

The wilderness comes in many shapes and sizes. The desert, mountains and the jungles are all varying extremes of the wild that you can experience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for all kinds of survival experiences.

General Tips

  • Before setting out on your journey, inform your friends and family where you’re going. If possible leave them a copy of your trail and map. If something goes wrong, they can notify search and rescue who will then have a good idea to where to look for.
  • Get your maps in order. Know the basic geography of where you are going and familiarize yourself of the local hazards and predators. Also be sure to have the right supplies with you.
  • Stay focused and positive throughout the trip. Things go wrong that’s just the way the penny drops; sometimes you can do something about it, in others you can’t. Make the best with what you have and continue to thinking happy positive thoughts.

Desert Wilderness Tips

  • If you’re lost in the desert, try and find a shade as quickly as possible. Do not attempt to walk around or stay in the sun too long, the biggest killers here are heatstroke and dehydration which come on very quickly. While you’re in the shade, keep drinking as much water as possible, stay hydrated.
  • Finding water is your most important goal. If you spot any nearby vegetation, chances are there is water nearby. Canyons provide the much needed shade and water sources too.
  • Remember, try and find running water only. Still water will be filled with disease, parasites and wastes from dead animals.

Rain Forest Wilderness Tips

  • Just the thickness of the forest and the close proximity of trees will make a jungle extremely difficult to navigate. Climb one of the trees and get your bearings right, see where you are headed.
  • Watch your step and watch what you grab for support, you don’t want to step into a bog or marsh and grab a snake for support.
  • Familiarize yourself with the vegetation; there are some plants that you can probably eat.
  • Always camp in a clear ground. Camping near trees is not safe as falling branches or tree dwelling predators can attack you in your sleep.

Mountain Wilderness Tips

  • Avalanches are a huge threat to hikers, skiers and campers. Be on the lookout for any changes in weather which can lead to avalanches or land slides.
  • Always carry a beacon with you. This is a GPS device that transmits emergency signals in times of distress.
  • Try and read the snow. If the snow is compacted and packed, then it should be fine. If it suddenly drops off, it indicates it’s in layers and that’s dangerous.
  • Follow glaciers, they will lead you out of mountainous terrain.
  • Be wary of frostbite and keep your extremities as warm as possible. An indication if you’re getting frostbite is if your skin goes a waxy, red color, then black.

Outdoor Survival Gear

In a recent article by Popular Mechanics Magazine, over a hundred different items were listed as part of an all round Survival Gear Kit. What is the rationale for such an extensive list? “When disaster strikes and there’s no time to think, you won’t have to.”

Similarly, when you’re in the outdoors, and you don’t have the appropriate gear for your need, chances are that’s a disaster in the happening already.

Here are three basic groups of survival gear that you will need no matter where you are or what you prepare for.

First Aid

This can include anything from as advanced as scalpels to as simple as bandages. You should always consider first aid as your first line of defence against the harshness of natural disasters. Whether it is the injuries are the result of an accident or the illnesses that we can suffer. Here’s a list of a few important first aid items:

  • Analgesics
  • Intestinal sedatives
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamine
  • Water sterilizing tablets
  • Anti-malaria tablets
  • Potassium permanganate
  • Surgical blades
  • Butterfly sutures
  • Adhesive bandages

Nearly all of these are available over the counter from your local pharmacy. In addition to these items, keeping an outdoor medical emergency handbook handy can also help you to create measures on the spot.

Food

Not all the food you find in the outdoors will be safe to consume, In fact, clean water could be the most difficult to find. At the same time, hiking and constantly moving around will require a lot of energy, so its good to keep a small reserve of energy bars around for replenishing your energy. Here’s a list of food items that you can have in your survival gear.

  • Energy bars
  • Fishing kit
  • Chlorine dioxide tablets
  • Emergency filter
  • Metal container for boiling water

Shelter

This is by far the most important gear for survival. You’ll spend nearly half your time here, whether it’s sleeping or eating, so it’s important that you’re at a safe point where you can rest and relax. Here are a few items that you can have in your survival gear.

  • Survival blanket
  • Heavy duty garbage bags
  • 550 cord
  • Tarp
  • Candles
  • Tinder
  • Waterproof matches

Again, it’s not necessary to have all these items, but things like waterproof matches can come in hand should the weather take a turn for the worst. Garbage bags are also important because you don’t want to leave your waste behind. Mother Nature won’t clean it up and they might be toxic for the environment, so make sure you dispose of your waste accordingly.

Miscellaneous Items

Here’s a list of tools that don’t fit into any one category, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. In fact, tools like the knife are the most important tools of survival.

  • Knife
  • Multi-tool – the proverbial Swiss Army knife.
  • Knife sharpener
  • Compass
  • Survival manual
  • Aluminium foil
  • Duct tape
  • Cyalume light sticks

It’s like the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared.” You never know what’s going to happen.