Winter Survival Techniques
Winter Survival Techniques: These tips will keep you alive if the weather turns severely cold.
We've been fighting the cold since the beginning, so we've had plenty of time to perfect survival strategies in subzero conditions.
We've also had plenty of opportunities to spread myths and misinformation about winter survival. Before you sort fact from fiction the hard way – and become stuck in a winter storm or buried in an avalanche – here is some winter survival rules everyone should know.
If you do not have proper outdoor clothing, you are doomed to hypothermia.
The right equipment can make a huge difference in comfort and survival in the untamed outdoors. If the weather unexpectedly changes and your clothes is inadequate, you should use one of the oldest survival tactics.
Stuff your clothes with natural plant insulation like our Stone Age forebears. Scratching up leaves and tucking them into your clothes generates a dead air space and makes you feel warmer.
Grass, moss, ferns, leaves, pine needles, and other alive and dead plant materials can be placed inside trouser legs and shirts.
Don't worry about the materials smelling destructive or harbouring pests; they will. This isn't about being at ease. It will make you feel and look stupid, but it will be warmer. If it keeps you from becoming cold, that's a fair trade-off.
Rubbing your hands together when cold is natural, but it's not a good idea if your tissues are frostbitten. Rubbing frozen skin together will not generate any heat.
Worse, contacting ice-crystal-covered skin will result in further tissue damage.
When you move these razor-sharp ice spikes, they harpoon more tissue and cause more harm than if you left the skin alone. If additional frost damage can be prevented, gentle rewarming is the best treatment for this scenario.
Begin by determining the problem. Light frostbite appears waxy and drab. Deeper frostbite is pallid and hard. Begin rewarming with pain medicine (thawing frostbite is painful).
Ibuprofen is an efficient pain reliever that should be used immediately.
Place the frostbitten tissue on warm skin or in warm water to thaw it up. The final steps are to prevent the thawed tissue from freezing again and to monitor the individual for hypothermia and shock.
Dehydration is a risk in the winter.
In many regions, the winter air is dry. Because sweat evaporates quickly (or is absorbed by clothing), you may not notice any sweat, but it is a mistake to believe that “no sweat” indicates “no dehydration.”
Your skin reveals the truth. The drying effects of winter's low humidity are indicated by dry, cracked skin on hands, feet, and lips. You can avoid this painful side effect of dehydration if you monitor your water balance.
The simplest method is to keep track of your urine output. You are dehydrated if you are not making “yellow snow” every few hours.
Urine is the best hydration indicator since it considers your activity level, humidity, injury, illness, and other factors.
You should not be concerned about dehydration if you drink enough to urinate at an average rate and frequency.
Avalanche Survival Tips
Flatlanders who aren't travelling should be unconcerned, but going into an avalanche zone is one of the most dangerous threats in snowy mountains. Being caught in an avalanche may feel hopeless, but a little planning and awareness can go a long way. Here are three products that are useful on snowy slopes.
Make sure that someone is aware of your presence. A responsible person (or two) should know where you're going, the route to take, and when you expect to return. This is sensible advice in avalanche zones and a general strategy.
Always have an avalanche transceiver on hand.
This device is capable of routing searches to you. Learn how to use and transport it before you go out.
Swim for your life.
Although it travels similarly to water, flowing snow does not move in the same way. If an avalanche starts, you must abandon your equipment (you cannot swim while wearing skis, snowshoes, or a snowmobile).
Try to “swim” across the snow, avoiding solid objects like trees and stones. Push, kick, and swim' as hard as you can to stay on the surface of the snow. If you can't stay on top, stay close to the surface and cover your mouth with your hands to get some air.
Drinking alcohol causes a drop in body temperature.
You've probably seen a St. Bernard with a miniature whisky barrel slung around its neck. This timeless piece of art depicts a true story.
These rescue dogs occasionally brought alcoholic beverages, although drinking alcohol in extreme weather is not a good idea. It is a myth that a drink of alcohol will warm you up.
Here's a vital winter survival tip: Alcohol can make you feel warm because it dulls the sensation of cold exposure and provides a flushed feeling as more blood rushes to the skin.
However, the diversion of blood flow away from the body's core and the “feeling” of being warmer is not as important as the actual rise in body temperature.
This apparent warmth caused by more blood reaching the surface causes your body to cool down faster. Drink something warm instead of alcohol, such as hot chocolate, which provides both calories and warmth in cold circumstances.
Thrive In Cold Water.
An unlucky outdoor enthusiast falls into freezing water and sinks. Divers may need some time to find the victim in the murky water, but if you've drowned in cold water, don't despair.
A drowning victim may experience “suspended animation” due to the dangerously cold water. Delaying and cooling all systems delays brain injury and reduces cell oxygen demand.
Victims have been retrieved and revived after being submerged in near-freezing water for up to 40 minutes. In such a circumstance, never stop resuscitation efforts until the body has fully warmed up and is still not responding to therapy.
With Intense Heat, Avoid Overheating.
While tossing someone in a hot tub to warm them up again may appear to be a good idea, this type of heat exposure is not the recommended treatment for hypothermia.
Immersion in hot water is not only painful for the victim's skin; it can also result in shock or a heart attack. Professionally executed active external rewarming is the correct prescription.
If this is not possible, surround the individual with warm items. For example, hot water bottles can be placed in the groyne, armpits, and around the neck. Never submerge the sufferer in a hot bath, use a steam bath, or expose them to excessive heat.
It is only occasionally possible to consume what the animals consume.
On a chilly landscape, a few stray berries can look to be a feast for a hungry survivor. They may not be known to you, yet the animals eat them.
Is this to imply that they're okay to eat? Not. Other species are not a good model for human foraging. Squirrels and deer often consume natural plants that would harm people if consumed.
Birds are an even worse role model for humans. Their digestive mechanisms differ from mammals, allowing them to absorb a vast range of plants that would both nourish and kill us.
To discover which wild plants are edible and which are poisonous, you must conduct extensive research and avoid shortcuts.
It is dangerous to become stranded in the snow with your truck.
It's a double-edged sword when your vehicle becomes stuck in the snow during a snowstorm. On the one hand, you are protected from the storm. This defence, on the other hand, has considerable limitations.
At subzero conditions, all of the metal makes a very cold shelter, sucking the body heat out of the cabin. The only option for heating is to leave the engine running, which can be a costly mistake.
Starting the vehicle with the heater can be beneficial if you keep the tailpipe open.
Exhaust fumes can go back into the vehicle's interior if the tailpipe is buried by snow, slush, mud, or water, causing carbon monoxide poisoning and death.
Keeping vehicle engines running during snowstorms has saved lives while also saving people from hypothermia.
Light a Fire in the Snow
You've likely attempted to start a fire in the snow during outdoor adventures. Usually, if you tried, it all started. The kindling caught fire as the fuel burned.
However, as soon as the embers began to form, they fell into the snow and were extinguished with a hiss. Then you realise that a fire directly on snow will only last briefly.
There are, thankfully, alternatives. If there is only a thin layer of snow, dig into the frozen ground and build your fire there. If the snow is too deep, try option two: create a snow-covered fire platform.
The most basic approach is to build a wooden “raft” on top of the snow. This raft can be built with damp, decaying wood, freshly cut live wood, or a combination.
Assemble the pieces so that there are no holes through which the embers can fall into the snow. Start a fire on this raft just as you would on land.
Depending on the moisture level of the wooden raft, it can burn for an hour or many hours. It can also be altered if necessary.
What To Do And What Not To Do In The Winter
Make seeking shelter your primary survival goal. Use insulation and other heat sources as much as possible. This may include tearing up your car's upholstery for insulation or putting hot pebbles on the floors to keep it warm. Do whatever you think is necessary to survive.
Do not leave your refuge. Snow, fog, darkness, and other factors can make it challenging to find your shelter after you've left it to communicate or forage. Mark the shelter with a homemade flag, something reflective, or any other signal you have. Not only will you have an easier time finding refuge, but your rescuers will also have a better chance of finding it.
Do Not Sleep In The Snow Or On The Ice. Even in a snow cave, having something beneath you would be beneficial. Collect some evergreen branches, tree bark, leaves, or anything else that can be a barrier between you and the icy surfaces.
Stay hydrated. The colour and quantity of urine you urinate are the most accurate markers of your hydration status. If you haven't urinated in several hours and the colour is dark yellow or amber, you are severely dehydrated.
Keep snow and ice out of your mouth. Even though it is safe to drink, it should never be consumed in its frozen solid form. This will rapidly cool your core, resulting in hypothermia. Put the snow or ice in a bottle under your coat instead of on your skin. The heat from your body beneath your garment will liquefy the frozen material, allowing it to be swallowed safely.
When travelling in cold weather, bring plenty of kindling and lighting sources. Matches, lighters, and matches are all possible possibilities. Use cotton balls dipped in Vaseline or fire starter kits to light, cold, damp wood.
Never try to start a fire in a windy or snowy location. These are two terrible recipes. If you must build a fire outside, construct windbreaks. Make a fire platform out of green wood if you're building a fire over snow.