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Thread: How to survive a subzero stranding

  1. #1
    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default How to survive a subzero stranding

    How to survive a subzero stranding



    This Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 photo provided by searcher Lucia Gonzalez shows the vehicle belonging to a family who went missing after a trip to play in the snow near Lovelock, Nev. James Glanton, his girlfriend Christina McIntee, their two children and a niece and nephew of Christina McIntee, were missing since Sunday and were found by searchers on Tuesday. Their vehicle had overturned and they were stranded in weather that saw temperatures dip to 16 below zero. (AP Photo/Lucia Gonzalez)

    LAS VEGAS (AP) More than 200 rescuers feared for the worst when a couple and four children vanished this week in the bitterly cold Nevada wilderness. But two days after their ill-fated trip to play in the snow Sunday, the family was found in good condition. By Wednesday, the mother and a child were released from the hospital.

    Authorities said the family survived temperatures of 16 degrees below zero with warm clothes and ingenuity they started a campfire and warmed rocks to capture heat.

    Experts offer advice on avoiding similar situations, and how to respond when the unexpected happens.

    What should I do first if I get stranded?

    "Food helps, but it's not the top priority," said Steve Howe, a wilderness guide based in southern Utah. "In most winter survival situations, clothing and shelter are the most important things."

    The lost family hunkered inside their overturned Jeep, even though the heater wasn't working. If you don't have a car, huddling near a tree or digging a snow cave can provide a shield from the elements.

    AAA suggests tying a brightly colored cloth to an antenna to make the vehicle easier to spot.

    Should I go for help?

    The group in Nevada stayed in place, knowing crews would be looking. Rescuers said that was key to their safety and is recommended in almost all cases.

    "Continuing to move makes it very difficult for people to find you," said Bill Romberg of Alaska Mountain Rescue.

    If you feel you must venture out, consider whether you're prepared. Walking even a short distance in temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees below zero can lead to frostbite and amputations.

    What should I do with my cellphone?

    If you have service, send text messages to reliable friends to share your plight.

    Rescuers in Nevada were able to use cell tower data from the lost woman's phone to narrow the search area.

    But Howe cautions against relying on cellphones in the wilderness. While triangulation can help guide a search, the data probably won't provide the lost person's precise location because rural cell towers are so few and far between.

    "It's not a five-ounce rescue package at all, period," Howe said. "You're better off with a BIC lighter."

    What can I do today to avoid the situation?

    The Nevada family was wearing snow clothes something that travelers should keep on hand.

    "It's a really good idea to keep extra clothing and insulation in your trunk. Even on an interstate drive through the northern Midwest, it's entirely possible you could be stranded overnight," Howe said.

    He recommends bringing a shovel that's rugged enough to dig out a vehicle, a cigarette lighter and blankets. Pack water, granola bars or other high-protein snacks in the car. A small bottle of lantern fuel also could help start a campfire.

    Should I even take the trip?

    AAA recommends delaying trips if bad weather is in the forecast. If that's not possible, let others know your route, and be cautious about the road less traveled. Even though the family drove a Jeep, it flipped in soft snow and stopped running.

    "Consider how remote some of these places are consider the vehicle you're in and what can happen," said Howe.

    If a road looks sketchy, retrace your steps instead of forging onward.

    "When things start going sideways, retreat to a position of safety," Howe said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/survive-subzer...221452808.html



    Black Blade: We always carry a "winter kit" for ourselves in the western states.
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin


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    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Cold Weather Awareness

    ∙ During cold weather, the environment can directly affect an individual's health and performance. Cold can lower body temperature, resulting in cold injuries and impaired performance. Moreover, cold weather is often accompanied by wind, rain, snow and ice, which can worsen the effects of cold, as well as contribute to injury and performance.

    ∙ Operational problems often arise in cold weather, including restricted movement due to heavy clothing; equipment malfunctions; travel difficulties, etc.

    ∙ Humans protect themselves from cold primarily by avoiding or reducing cold exposure using clothing and shelter. When this protection proves inadequate, the body has biological defense mechanisms to help maintain correct body temperature. The body's internal mechanisms to defend its temperature during cold exposure include vasoconstriction and shivering. When these responses are triggered, it is a signal that clothing and shelter are inadequate.

    ∙ Vasoconstriction is the tightening of blood vessels in the skin when it is exposed to cold. The reduced skin blood flow conserves body heat, but, it can lead to discomfort, numbness, loss of dexterity in hands and fingers, and eventually cold injuries.

    ∙ Susceptibility to cold injuries can be minimized by maintaining proper hydration and nutrition, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, minimizing periods of inactivity in cold conditions.

    ∙ Humans do not acclimatize to cold weather nearly as well as they can acclimatize to hot weather, although repeated cold exposure does produce what is referred to as habituation.

    ∙ Following habituation, shivering is much less vigorous. This is advantageous because shivering is inefficient, and most of the heat produced is lost. Also, shivering can interfere with sleep causing fatigue.

    ∙ With habituation to repeated cold exposure, humans adjust mentally and emotionally.

    Cold Injuries

    ∙ Freezing cold injuries occur whenever air temperature is below freezing (32F). Freezing limited to the skin surface is frost nip. When freezing extends deeper though the skin and flesh, the injury is frostbite.

    ∙ Frost nip - involves freezing of water on the skin surface - skin becomes reddened and possibly swollen; painful; usually no further damage after rewarming Frost nip should be taking seriously since it may be the first sign of impeding frostbite.

    ∙ Frostbite - Skin freezes at about 28F. As frostbite develops, skin will become numb and turn to a gray or waxy-white color. The area will be cold to the touch and may feel stiff or woody. With frostbite, ice crystal formation and lack of blood flow to the frozen area damages the tissues. After thawing, swelling may occur, worsening the injury.

    ∙ First Aid for Frostbite

    ∙ Prevent further exposure

    ∙ Remove wet, constricting clothing

    ∙ Rewarm gradually by direct skin-to-skin contact between injured area and non injured skin of the victim or a buddy

    ∙ Evacuate for medical treatment (foot injuries by litter)

    ∙ Do not allow injury to refreeze during evacuation

    ∙ Hypothermia is a life threatening condition in which deep-body temperature falls below 95F. Body temperature falls when the body cannot produce heat as fast as it is being lost.

    ∙ Hypothermia can occur rapidly during cold-water immersion (one hour or less when water temperature is below 45F). Because water has a tremendous capacity to drain heat from the body, immersion in water considered even slightly cool, say 60F, can cause hypothermia, if the immersion is prolonged for several hours.

    ∙ Hypothermia is a medical emergency. Hypothermia may be difficult to recognize in its early stages of development. Symptoms include unusually withdrawn or bizarre behavior, irritability, confusion, slowed or slurred speech, altered vision, uncoordinated movements and unconsciousness. Even mild hypothermia can cause victims to make poor decisions or act drunk (e.g., removing clothing when it is clearly inappropriate).

    ∙ Hypothermia victims may show no heartbeat, breathing or response to touch or pain when in fact they are not really dead.

    ∙ If hypothermia has resulted from submersion in cold water, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be initiated without delay. However, when hypothermia victims are found on land, it is important to take a little extra time searching for vital signs to determine whether CPR is really required.

    ∙ Hypothermia victims should be treated as gently as possible during treatment and evacuation, since the function of the heart can be seriously impaired in hypothermia victims. Rough handling can cause life-threatening disruptions in heart rate. All hypothermia victims, even those who do not appear to be alive, must be evaluated by trained medical personnel.

    Individual Susceptibility

    ∙ Poorly conditioned persons are more susceptible to cold injury.

    ∙ Dehydration reduces skin blood flow. This increases susceptibility to cold injury.

    ∙ Persons 45 years old or older may be less cold tolerant than younger persons.

    ∙ Alcohol, and to a lesser extent caffeine, cause the blood vessels in the skin to open which may accelerate body heat loss.

    ∙ Nicotine decreases blood flow to the skin.

    ∙ Inadequate nutrition, illness and injury compromise the body's responses to cold.

    ∙ Being in places where movement is very restricted and individuals remain inactive for long periods of time will greatly increase the risk of cold injury.

    ∙ Individuals who have experienced a cold injury in the past are at greater risk of experiencing a cold injury than other individuals

    ∙ Activity: Too much or too little activity can contribute to cold injury. Over activity vs. Immobility.

    ∙ Wind increases heat loss from skin exposed to cold air.

    PREVENTING COLD INJURY

    How to survive a subzero stranding-image002.png

    When Using Cold-Weather Clothing,
    Remember C-O-L-D
    keep it -------- Clean
    avoid ---------- Overheating
    wear it -------- Loose in layers
    keep it -------- Dry

    Wear or carry adequate clothing for the weather to be encountered.

    Wear clothing in loose layers to permit layers of air to provide good insulation and permit good circulation of blood to all parts of the body.

    Keep hands well protected.

    Avoid immobilization in the cold.

    Remove excess clothing when near a fire or in a warm enclosure.

    MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR WINTER WEATHER DRIVING

    Blankets

    First aid kit

    A can of waterproof matches (to melt snow for water)

    Windshield scraper

    Booster cables

    Road map

    Compass

    Tool kit

    Paper towels

    Bag of sand or course cat litter (for added traction)

    Tire chains (in areas with heavy snow) or snow tires

    Collapsible shovel

    High-calorie canned or dried food and a can opener

    Flashlight(s) and extra batteries

    Canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair)

    Brightly colored cloths

    A change of clean clothes, including socks.
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin


  3. #3
    Gunco Member trickyrick's Avatar
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    JUST A QUICK STORY ON THIS. ok, it is long but it will show how a series of little things can lead to big trouble. drawn for elk in an area above payson az for 11-29 thru 12-5. temps were in mid 50's during the day and low 30's-high 20's overnight. my buddy and i had arrived late on thanksgiving night, at the cabin, (2000' house) of a friend who was hunting w/ us. tim was asleep when we arrived.we set our alarm for 5am after unloading our vehicles, and went to sleep. when the alarm went off, we awoke to find tim ready to leave and showing great consternation at having to wait on us. my first and biggest mistake was trying to accommodate tim. we dressed and through our stuff on atv's. tim left and said he would wait at the turn off where we park the atvs. about ten min. behind , we pulled out of the cabin, only to have the shift lever fall off my quad. was able to drive it back to cabin and w/o tools and not wanting to make tim wait, tried to pound lever back on shaft. found out later i drove shaft through the other side of the block knocking out a 2"square of housing w/ it. throw all my shit on kevin's quad and we rode out together.
    we arrived at the turn off and, no tim. after taking two wrong turns, eventually ended up at parking area. running late, i had not been able to combine my 3 packs worth of stuff into one carry pack for this hike. consequently, i had much stuff w/ no need of, and did not have things i did need and would miss later on. fast forward to about 10:30 and 2 miles up into rim country, (look up mogollon rim). i shoot a 5x bull elk. elk steps as i fire and it ends up severely wounded but able to run another 2 miles up further along the rim. worked up a sweat(mistake) hiking and tracking bull for 2 more hours. kevin finally gets a shot and we bring it down. at this point i realize, no lic., no hunt lic., no elk tag...left it all in my truck.(mistake). kevin tags it and we spend 2 hours quartering it up. tim had hiked up to where we were after hearing that we indeed had a kill. while quartering, i realized i had no bone saw, (mistake, left in pack at quad), had no game bags,(mistake, left in pack at quad also). i used my only extra long sleeve shirt to carry back strap, one in each arm, and the front quarters. tim carried those out ahead of us. we used another shirt and windbreaker of kevin's to carry the hind quarters.at 3pm kev and i started down from the rim. we were soaked and we were out of water having both drank our 4 bottles through out the day. no life straw, (back at quad). carrying an extra 50 lbs on day packs not designed for it, through vines w/ 1" long thorns that ripped and tripped us at every step, in 3' tall grass that hid bowling ball sized boulders on a 60* slope. about an 1/8 of a mile into our trip back, we had stopped and noticed tim had hung his meat. he had been hurting pretty bad in his knees and got to the point he would use his hands to lift left leg, throw it over a log, toss meat over, finish pulling the other leg over, go 3 ft and do it all again. he got worried that he would not get to the trail, a 9" wide swath through 3" tall grass, before dark, and he might get lost.
    the extra weight on the packs w/ the trip hazards made it a horrible trip down. we opted to follow a creek as the thistle bushes were less, but soon, the vines and hidden boulders drove us into the stream bed that had a solid bedrock floor....w/ water in it. (mistake!) while the walking was easier, it was wet, and so were we. soaked from the knees down. our plan was to follow the stream until the trail crossed it. it was longer, but easier walking. about a mile from the kill sight, we hung our meat as it was after 5 and the sun had pretty much set. we knew tim was at the quads so we just needed to head that way. the trail where it crossed the stream had been washed away and in the dark, there was no way to see where we needed to go. no phone service and tim wasn't getting our radio calls. but surely he would be there waiting, possibly directing us into the quads. after all, it was he who knew the area, not us. (mistake) it became evident, in full darkness, w/ just 2 head lamps, that the trail crossing at the stream had been destroyed and only noticed by a reflector on a piece of wood entangled in a tree. we had no map. (in truck) we had no compass, (in other pack at quad). no moon so the only way to get bearings was to shut of lights and let eyes get used to the dark. then i could see the outline of where we needed to head towards. unfortunately, kev didn't see it that way. he thought that if we followed the stream, we would hit the road we came into the parking area on. it took quite awhile to get him to understand that we had not crossed this, or any other stream on our trip from the cabin to the parking area. i still don't think he believed me, but i asked him to put his trust into me after giving him my reasons for the direction i wanted to head. we walked for about an hour in the pitch black taking bearing points every so often in the dark so i could see my mountain. the terrain was tough w/ hills, valleys, canyons and the ever present manzanita bushes to push through as well as the aforementioned vines, grasses etc.
    about 7:30 i told kev we should stop. he was very unhappy at the thought of staying out over night. i explained that we were both wet, cold, no clothes to put on, no water. we needed to build a fire and get and stay warm. the trail we are looking for was only 9" wide, buried in 3' of grass. he couldn't understand why we didn't take this elusive trail in this morning. i explained that we had and it hit him how easy it was gonna be to miss it and keep on going. he hadn't even realized we had followed a trail in, in the morning. no gps, (don't own one), no phone service. can't get a hold of tim on phone, text or radio....tim had gone back to cabin and went to bed after dinner and a hot shower. never waited for us at all. when hit w/ the reality of the situation, kev mellowed out and we set to work. we pulled the tufts of grass and made a blanket on the ground to isolate our asses from it. i dumped out my back pack and no matches, no lighter and a broken magnesium stick w/ no ferro rod. but, thanks to my wife, (soon to be ex), i had a sardine can emergency kit. in it were matches, fire starter cubes, tea bag, bullion cubes. we were gonna be miserable, but we would survive. i had a small hand sanitizer bottle and put it on a cube, lit it and added small bits of the grass. almost everything was wet from the melting snow from an earlier in the week, storm. we found enough twigs to stoke it till we got some good logs burning. we were backed up against some big pines. we filled the empty water bottles w/ snow as well as a beef jerky bag, and put them by the fire to melt. kevs boots were water proof so he wasn't as bad as me, and that helped w/ his decision to stop for the night.i got my boots and socks off and dried them over the fire. we drank some tea and bullion soup like liquids, ate some beef jerky, pop tarts and fruit snacks. kev decided to try and get a signal one last time to let tim and his girl know what we were doing. in 20 mins he was back and threw a bottle of water at me. i was like wtf, then realized....it's a bottle of water. i had gotten us with in 150 yrds of the quad. he had stumbled across a washed out trail, followed it about 75 yrs and upon looking up, while stopping to rest, his light hit a reflector on the quad. tim had left us 2 bottles of water and 2 granola bars at the quad. anyways, after getting lost on the quad for 2 more hours, we finally got to the cabin at 11:30 pm.
    it just shows how one bad choice can lead to so many more. overnight temps were 18 that night.

  4. #4
    Gunco Veteran stalker1's Avatar
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    You ever hunt with tim again?

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    Gunco Member trickyrick's Avatar
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    lol, this was just 2 weeks ago....but no, i'm thinking not. granted it was my response to his actions that caused most of my issues, but to leave someone in unfamiliar territory, when he himself realized the peril for himself if not finding the trail before dark, just isn't someone i want to be depending on anytime soon.

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    White Cracker 4thIDvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalker1 View Post
    You ever hunt with tim again?
    I was thinking the same thoughts, geez thanks Tim. That was a good survival story and could have turned really ugly.. That small survival tin saved yall, good for you..
    Interesting about hypothermia BB... People think it has to be cold winter to die from it, not so.. Human body temp. is 98.6, normally give or take a few.. But even on a cool autumn day turn evening, hypothermia can set in if one is not prepared..
    Even a mild drop in outside temperature gets the body to chilling.. Oh we can survive, uncomfortable, but survive.
    But go hiking in the mountains, get all sweated up due to not wearing layered clothing. Temperature drops. Whoops, problems.. Key is layered clothing. Do not sweat if possible.. Oh fine on hot summer days exercising, but not if your in very rural unfamiliar A.O.s not planning on spending the night. Which as the great story above explains, you just might be.
    Be prepared and when you think your prepared, bring more little items that seem foolish, until they become needed. Then they mean the difference between life and death..
    Good post, very interesting..
    "Man needs but two things to survive alone in the woods. A blow up female doll and his trusty old AK-47" - Thomas Jefferson 1781


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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    LOL just a normal vacation in kimchacka--

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    Gunco Regular Big Don's Avatar
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    The first rule in sub zero weather is to think smart. Why would any person take little kids out in that kind of weather? Let it warm up and then go play. Stupid is as stupid does.

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    White Cracker 4thIDvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Don View Post
    The first rule in sub zero weather is to think smart. Why would any person take little kids out in that kind of weather? Let it warm up and then go play. Stupid is as stupid does.
    Well not really Big Don.. One never knows.. Living out west it was quite and experience.. O.K. traveling in Wyoming, The Dakotas, etc... Geez you may be from the cities, any city and not think.. "Take little kids?" Geezz for sure any normal human would not put them in danger. I understand what your saying and do not mean do be rude.. Nobody wants to hurt kids.. I know what your saying. But... Big "But."
    I lived out West.. Loved it.. One has to understand, their are people to many people out there Don, who just think they call AAA and their problems are solved.. Pick up the cell phone and help is on the way.. Yeah o.k. sure..
    "The wild West" "Our National Forest and Swamps Here." Folks, their are places you can still use your 4 wheel drive and get lost.
    Don. Sadly, their are people who buy a boat, get a 4 wheel drive and think help is just around the corner. Like, call AAA and their on the way.. Well sadly, wake up call is when their dying of thirst and hunger.
    BBs posts are the best.. Having been around the world and been to two State Fairs. Be prepared. My living God, especially if your traveling with a family or kids.. Extra worry and responsibility..
    Good God, I do not care if I die. But the thought of family or kids dying because of MY mistakes.. Nah, I could not live with that..
    "Think Smart" If not for yourself, follow BBs survival tips.. Save others if nothing else.. Happy Holidays. God Bless America and BBs great survival tips..
    He is our main go too for survival info.. Good Man he is, Yes Sir.. Thank You BB...
    BB
    "Man needs but two things to survive alone in the woods. A blow up female doll and his trusty old AK-47" - Thomas Jefferson 1781


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    3/6 Infantry mtdew's Avatar
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    We just push the jeep right side up and keep going! I rolled my bronco on its top once. We rolled it back over, but we had several strong young men. Have a plan. Survive.
    "NA BEAN DON CHAT GUN LAMHAINN"
    Clan MacPherson
    "CREAG DHUBH"!

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