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Showing posts with label Cold Weather Injuries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cold Weather Injuries. Show all posts

Friday, February 4, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Winter Storm Lessons

There's a good chance some of you are in geographic location that is or recently experienced a pretty bad winter storm. Winds in excess of norms; temperature lows 20 to 30 degrees colder; maybe some sleet and/or snow. Maybe you experienced power outages. Maybe the power authority in your location conducted rolling electrical backouts due to the large surge in power needs. Maybe you attempted to get kerosene or electrical heaters but Wal-Mart, Target, etc., but they were all out.

All the above just happened to me. Power outages throughout the day; and with normal low temperatures for this time of year of 30 degrees and highs in the high 40's or low 50's,......the drop to a low of 5 and a high temp of 12 was quite a change. Been that way since yesterday and supposed to continue for a couple days.

Getting back to the house today I thought I was sitting pretty. Had extra wool blankets; military three piece sleeping bags; LED lantern kit powered by rechargeable batteries; plenty of food to get through even a long period of vehicle immobility due to bad weather; and, 80 gallons of stored water.

But like probably most of us believe, we prepare and are better off for it, but we will never really be satisfied with our preps. Always something we missed.

I used this opportunity to look at my preparations for the coming collapse and wargammed several additional stressors. What I wrote down for my preparation tasks list (you do have one don't you?) is the following:

No matter how good your foot wear is, sitting in one place such as in an LP/OP or on security for your Survival Site, just ain't good enough when the temps are 5 degrees F and the wind is honking at 12-15 mph. I am going to look into battery powered heating socks and have my friend make some canvas cover wool snuggie type half sleeping bags so the person in the static position can put his/her feet and legs into it but quickly get out of them.

Water froze in my Camelbak in my truck. I recently saw some surplus military artic no-freeze canteens which I have used before in a past life and in a place I want to forget.

Although I have watch caps galore, I think some fold-able behind the head ear muffs that can be worn underneath the knitted wool watch caps is in order. The wool and cotton variant watch caps just don't cut the wind.

Gloves. I have some pretty damn good gloves but a second and third pair, per person, of the Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) design is on my list as is several pair of military wool inserts, both the five finger and mitten w/ separate trigger finger type.

I have a pretty good stock of hard wood to burn in my fireplace. I am going to add to that significantly and place a 3/4 inch steel plate I have laying around in the fireplace so it can get hot and radiate heat. It was actually pretty comfortable going without power for 3 hours at night and sitting in front of the fire place reading a book bu LED lantern light.

Although I only had enough of the AA rechargeable batteries charged to run five LED Lanterns. Note to self: more rechargeable batteries and keep more charged. Although no power in the house, I could have charged them from my truck with the 12v adaptor, but sitting in front of the fireplace, with a book and two ounces of Woodford Reserve Whiskey was pretty comfortable. Not that I think the real collapse would permit much of this activity.

Not that I needed any, I called Wal-Mart and Lowe's to see if they had any electrical or kerosene heaters in stock. Both told me they were bought out. One of the sales people told me flashlights are going quick. Oh, a word about flashlights. Love the Surefire line of flashlights; I have several models from hand held to weapons mounted lights, however those CR123 batteries sure lose power quick. Knew this was not the best bet for long term survival a couple of years ago and started to procure LED flashlights, like the excellent Pelican brand (and others), that use AA or AAA batteries so I can re-charge them. So if you only have non-rechargeable battery powered flashlights, then maybe consider some AA or AAA powered flashlights.

Lastly a friend called me on cell and told me his lost power and couldn't use his electric stove. No problem for me, I have gas and when the electric is out, you can still light the burners with a match. Anyway, he has a gas grill and extra tanks, like I do and I'm sure most of you do as well, now he knows knows he needs a gas camp stove or the burner and hose element so he can cook in the house or the garage with it. Heater elements are also available for these portable gas tanks - I've used many of then inside of tents in shitty locations to stay warm.....okay, maybe not warm, but at least to keep from freezing.

Did this massive storm prompt anybody else to think of something new?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Urban Survival Skills – Recognizing and Treating Cold Injuries

The ability to recognize and treat cold injuries can often mean life or death for you or anyone who is in your survival group. Obvious the best way to avoid having to deal with cold injuries is to prevent them from happening by implementing precautions. One of the best methods for this is to utilize the buddy team concept where everyone is responsible for one other.

One of the lesser injuries incurred during cold or extreme cold weather is dehydration because thirst is reduced during cold weather. Dehydration can cause constipation because people may eat more in the cold weather as they are burning more calories to produce body heat. A preventive measure would be using the mandatory drink rule where every so often, say 30 minutes, everyone drinks X amount of water, say 4-6 ounces.

Frostbite is a common cold injury resulting from frozen skin, usually digits such as feet, hands or sometimes ears. Mild frostbite is where only the skin that takes on a whitish pallor and will be cold to the touch. Severe frostbite is where the skin freezes to a deeper level below the skin. The skin will be frozen. Symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling usually in your hands, feet, nose and ears. You may experience “tingling” before you actually lose feeling. Tingling would indicate a pre-frostbite condition.

Preventive measures are, of course, wearing adequate clothing including gloves, suitable footgear and watch caps or coverings for your ears. A scarf around your mouth and nose would also be good for extreme cold weather. Moderate movement in extreme cold, providing adequate footgear will usually prevent cold injuries associated with frostbite.

Treatment of frostbite includes re-warming a mild frostbite, use your hands or mittens to other dry pieces of cloth to warm your face and ears. Place your hands under your armpits. Place your feet next to your buddy’s stomach. A severe frostbite injury, if thawed and refrozen, will cause more damage to the skin and circulation and that patient would have to be hospitalized soon.

Hypothermia is the more dangerous cold injury and is caused by the lowering of the body temperature at a rate faster than the body can produce heat. Causes of hypothermia may be significant exposure, sudden soaking from water such as falling into a river or being doused with other liquids.

The initial symptom is shivering. This shivering may progress to the point that it is uncontrollable and interferes with an individual’s ability to care for themselves. This begins when the body’s core temperature falls to about 96 degrees F. When the body core temperature further falls to 95 to 90 degrees F , incoherency and irrational behavior may occur. A core body temperature of 90 to 86 degrees F will usually result in muscle spasms, rigidity, and unconsciousness. A body core temperature below 77 degrees F results in death.

Without the ability to access professional medical help using conventional medical treatments such as warm water baths or enemas, the Urban Survivor will have to resort to wrapping the victim in sleeping bags and heavy clothing for insulation. Warm sweet liquids such as cocoa would be good, but be careful of warming too fast as it can cause circulation and even heart problems.

Again, the best way to prevent cold injuries is to be prepared for it with adequate clothing and planning. Your Survival Bug Out Bag should have the small sleeping bag, a tarp or ground cloth and fire making devices so there will be no excuse not being able to treat cold injuries is your clothing, planning or actions failure you.