Posts Tagged ‘winter survival’

Winter is approaching and it is time to consider preparing for those emergencies that come with winter travel. The “normalcy bias*” should definitely be considered and overcome when it deals with winter storm emergencies and the concept of being prepared for this type of common emergency.  With little effort, this plan could save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Putting together an emergency bag for your vehicle is not expensive and the security and safety it provides is limitless. 

Emergency Items for Traveling

    • windshield scraper and small broom

    • flashlight

    • battery powered radio

    • extra batteries

    • water

    • snack food

    • matches

    • extra hats, socks and mittens

    • First aid kit with pocket knife

    • Necessary medications

    • blanket(s)

    • tow chain or rope

    • road salt and sand

    • booster cables

    • emergency flares

    • a shovel

    • fluorescent distress flag

Prepare your car

  • Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:

    • Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.

    • Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.

    • Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.

    • Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes andrepair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.

    • Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.

    • Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.

    • Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.

    • Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.

    • Thermostat – ensure it works properly.

    • Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.

  • Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

*The normalcy bias refers to an extreme mental state people enter when facing a disaster or an emergency. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and also its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster or an emergency, and on a larger scale.


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With major storm systems racing through the country, we find that people are not prepared and that some of these people died.  Since the storm that dumped the paralyzing snow in New York City, we have heard people tell about being “trapped” in their homes, while some more hardy souls tell of surviving for hours, being stuck in their vehicles.  An NFL game was canceled due to the storm, and air travel shut down for days.  Now, this was only a snow storm.  What would it be like if it was something serious?

The bottom line here is; survival during an emergency.  Problem is, very few people are prepared for any emergency, and when given the opportunity to learn, disregard the lessons as a waste of time.  The mentality of “It always happens to the other guy.” dominates the human’s thought process, but the problem here is that you are the “other guy” from their point of view.  This may be a good thing for those of us who know how to survive emergencies and are prepared for them.  Less people surviving means more resources for those of us who have the strength and wisdom to continue on.

It is thought that 80% of the US population is not prepared for an emergency and if the circumstances were of cataclysmic proportions, most of these 80% would die.  That is 8 people out of 10.   These are pretty bad odds to bet against and not to sound self-righteous, in most emergencies, I will be one of the two who make it.   I will make it because I am prepared and have the basic skills/equipment needed.  I have put together numerous free resources so you can be the other one of the two people who will survive.


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Whether or not you believe in the doomsday idea of December 21, 2012, or the idea that what is happening is a natural planetary cycle, the fact that something is changing in our climate is a given.  We are experiencing an increasing number of severe disturbances in our weather patterns.  As a global community, we are integrated with a technology that benefits us in uncountable ways.  The internet.  Every aspect of our lives is connected and directed via the computer.  Our finances, our health, our entertainment, our communications and our ability to function on a day to day basis is computerized.  Take this technology way and chaos will follow.  Any disruption of this single item will disrupt everything from accessing our money to obtaining our medications.  The flow of resources, such as food and water will slow, our cell phones will cease, and even the simple routines of work and play will be affected.  Everything is tied to the world wide web.
So what happens if we lose this tool?  In effect, your life will change.  Of those of us who grew up in the non computer age, we will be better prepared for such an emergency, but of those who never knew a simpler lifestyle, you will have a more difficult time.
We can look at this phenomenon in several different ways.  We can choose to ignore and deny that this scenario can happen and in the event that you are right, you can become smug and tell everyone, “I told you so.”  You can also go to the extreme in the opposite direction, and develop a survivalist mentality, and stock pile for Armageddon so that when we live in a post calamity “Mad Max” world, you will be prepared to fight off gangs of mercenaries.  OR, you can begin to think about what it would take to survive an emergency, whether post apocalyptic or natural disaster.  In any event, you will be the one who actually decides your future. And thinking is free, though becoming a lost art form.
For myself, I do not know what the future will bring.  I do know that knowledge is valuable, and that this knowledge is free for those who are not in denial.  I do know that it does not just happen to the other guy or other country because someday, I will become  that “other guy.”  I do know that in an emergency, I will need to fend for myself and my family because everyone around me will be doing the same.  I know that government emergency response will be limited or non existent, at least in the beginning, if at all.
I think the first thing one needs to do is accept the fact that disasters happen.  The second is to gain the knowledge needed to overcome any event that can be life threatening, and the third thing to do is prepare.  All simple tasks.

survival quarterly


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The past several weeks has shown us that winter weather is dangerous.  During these major storms, many people became snow bound, and several people died due to bad decisions and not being prepared.  Making a bad decision is human, but not being prepared for an emergency is unwise and unnecessary.  Having spent time in the Arctic, where my primary function was to drive in all sorts of inclement weather, I can attest to the fact that “being prepared” will save your life.  Making or purchasing an emergency kit for your vehicle is simple, inexpensive, and can save your life.  To make your own emergency kit, you need the basic items and knowledge.

1.  Always check the weather before you leave and tell someone where you are going.

2.  Always keep your gas tank full when driving in cold weather.

3.  Stay in your vehicle and allow for refresh air.

4.  Do not eat snow for hydration.  Eating snow lowers the body temperature.  Let the snow melt first.

5.  Carry a winter survival kit in your car to include:

blankets, flashlight, extra batteries, brightly colored cloth, sand or a bag of cat litter, shovel, candles and matches, non perishable high calorie foods, (nuts, raisins, and candy bars), newspapers (for insulation), a first aid kit and jumper cables, small, sharp knife, large plastic garbage bag, cell phone adapter to plug into lighter, shovel, tow cables or chain, sleeping bag or blankets, road flares and reflectors.

This kit is simple to make and could save you life.

Beautiful but deadly...

For information and resources on emergency preparedness, check out:

Ryeder…survival quarterly

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