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Survival in a Michigan Upper Peninsula Snowstorm This is not my story, but my Father's.
My wife and I just returned from our out-of-state vacation with one day left before I had to go back to work. Statistically, you have an 80%-85% chance of being rescued within 72 hours here in the lower 48. Because you can’t count on others for your safety and security, I recommend seeking formal survival training and carrying a basic survival kit that has been cleverly thought out and stocked with practical components. Fire is a simple chemical reaction called oxidation in which the oxygen in the atmosphere reacts with the molecules of a substance to produce energy in the form of heat and light.
Jerry Ward is the owner and operator of Ozark Mountain Preparedness, LLC located in Berryville, Arkansas. Blogging about all things survival and emergency preparedness, including experiences with DIY projects and ideas, gear reviews, living frugally, cooking in unconventional ways, and more!
An aviator's survival vest (SRU-21P), worn by helicopter crews, also contains survival items. This 15 inch survival knife with drop point blade features a thick quality stainless steel blade with serrated top edge. By Jason KnightUnderstanding how to create effective wilderness survival shelters is one of the most important outdoor skills. The type of shelter you choose depends on many factors including what materials are available, environmental conditions, choice of heat source, and whether it will be a personal or group shelter. When planning a trip think about which types of survival shelters would be the best options for the season and environment you will be in.
To make the aboveground still, you need a sunny slope on which to place the still, a clear plastic bag, green leafy vegetation, and a small rock (Figure 6-6).
Fill the bag with air by turning the opening into the breeze or by "scooping" air into the bag. Close the bag and tie the mouth securely as close to the end of the bag as possible to keep the maximum amount of air space. To get the condensed water from the still, loosen the tie around the bag's mouth and tip the bag so that the water collected around the rock will drain out.
To make a belowground still, you need a digging tool, a container, a clear plastic sheet, a drinking tube, and a rock (Figure 6-7). Select a site where you believe the soil will contain moisture (such as a dry stream bed or a low spot where rainwater has collected). Anchor the tubing to the container's bottom by forming a loose overhand knot in the tubing. Put more soil on the edges of the plastic to hold it securely in place and to prevent the loss of moisture. If polluted water is your only moisture source, dig a small trough outside the hole about 25 centimeters from the still's lip (Figure 6-8).
One of your first concerns when you find yourself in a survival situation is to communicate with your friends or allies. If in a noncombat situation, you need to find the largest available clear and flat area on the highest possible terrain. Whatever signaling technique or device you plan to use, know how to use it and be ready to put it into operation on short notice.
A radio is probably the surest and quickest way to let others know where you are and to let you receive their messages.
You will find descriptions of other signaling techniques, devices, and articles you can use.
In a desert environment, smoke hangs close to the ground, but a pilot can spot it in open desert terrain.
To have the pen flare ready for immediate use, take it out of its wrapper, attach the flare, leave the gun uncocked, and wear it on a cord or chain around your neck. Red is the international distress color; therefore, use a red star cluster whenever possible. These flares reach a height of 200 to 215 meters and descend at a rate of 2.1 meters per second. Wear the signal mirror on a cord or chain around your neck so that it is ready for immediate use.
Do not flash a signal mirror rapidly because a pilot may mistake the flashes for enemy fire. Haze, ground fog, and mirages may make it hard for a pilot to spot signals from a flashing object. Note: Pilots have reported seeing mirror flashes up to 160 kilometers away under ideal conditions.
If you lack other means, you can use natural materials to form a symbol or message that can be seen from the air.
In snow-covered areas, tramp the snow to form letters or symbols and fill the depression with contrasting material (twigs or branches). In any terrain, use contrasting materials that will make the symbols visible to the aircrews.
All Army aircraft involved in operations near or over water will normally carry a water survival kit that contains sea dye markers. Radios, whistles, and gunshots are some of the methods you can use to signal your presence to rescuers.
If the radio has tone capability, place it upright on a flat, elevated surface so that you can perform other survival tasks.


Now that you know how to let people know where you are, you need to know how to give them more information. When an aircraft is close enough for the pilot to see you clearly, use body movements or positions (Figure 19-7) to convey a message. If you have a life raft cover or sail, or a suitable substitute, use the symbols shown in Figure 19-8 to convey a message. Once the pilot of a fixed-wing aircraft has sighted you, he will normally indicate he has seen you by flying low, moving the plane, and flashing lights as shown in Figure 19-9. The phrase conjures up visions of plane crashes in the deserts of Africa, shipwrecks in the South Pacific, tragic miscalculations of direction in the South America rainforest, and expeditions gone wrong in the Arctic.
The two major factors of contributing to those numbers are the invention of the helicopter and the cell phone. Fire requires three components to begin and sustain that reaction; an initial heat source, fuel, and oxygen. The human body can make it for around 30 days without nourishment, but why be hungry when you avoid it.
He has been teaching survival skills since 2004 and opened Ozark Mountain Preparedness in 2010.
Take a tour to better understand the many tools and resources you can find here as well as what to expect in the future. From keeping you protected from the elements to providing a place to rest, wilderness shelters serve a key role in survival situations. A great habit is to practice noticing good shelter locations while hiking.Building wilderness survival shelters can be quite fun and rewarding. If you have a piece of tubing, a small straw, or a hollow reed, insert one end in the mouth of the bag before you tie it securely. The soil at this site should be easy to dig, and sunlight must hit the site most of the day.
The sump's depth and perimeter will depend on the size of the container that you have to place in it.
If so, dig out additional soil from the sides of the hole to form a slope on which to place the plants. Build three fires in a triangle (the international distress signal) or in a straight line with about 25 meters between the fires. If in a jungle, find a natural clearing or the edge of a stream where you can build fires that the jungle foliage will not hide. If you don't have a mirror, polish your canteen cup, your belt buckle, or a similar object that will reflect the sun's rays.
However, be sure the glass side is against your body so that it will not flash; the enemy can see the flash.
Do not direct the beam in the aircraft's cockpit for more than a few seconds as it may blind the pilot. When using a strobe light, take care to prevent the pilot from mistaking it for incoming ground fire. Build mounds that cast shadows; you can use brush, foliage of any type, rocks, or snow blocks.
If you are in a water survival situation, use sea dye markers during daylight to indicate your location. Since radios are line-of-sight communications devices, any terrain between the radio and the receiver will block the signal.
Be ready to relay other messages to the pilot once he acknowledges that he received and understood your first message. Follow instructions and continue to use sound survival and evasion techniques until you are actually rescued.
While these situations are all found in the annals of history and plausible, the bulk of survival situations befall folks in less exotic locales under less glamorous circumstances. The helicopter came into its prime during the Vietnam War where it was used heavily as a platform to extract and evacuate wounded military personnel. I’ll save the deeper explanation for a future article, but basically when all three of these components are in the right mixture you have a fire.
That being said, being able to find water and render it safe is a definite need in the kit.
Before becoming a full-time survival skills instructor he worked as a rock climbing guide, wildland firefighter and gunsmith.
Not only do they provide for physical needs, but also help create a sense of home in the wilderness. Spending a night in a shelter built in one day with your own hands provides an amazing sense of self sufficiency and accomplishment. You need certain materials to build a still, and you need time to let it collect the water. As a survivor, you must get your rescuer's attention first, and second, send a message your rescuer understands.
Keep in mind that signals to your friends may alert the enemy of your presence and location. You can get other types of trees to burn by placing dry wood in the lower branches and igniting it so that the flames flare up and ignite the foliage. Try to create a color of smoke that contrasts with the background; dark smoke against a light background and vice versa. When fired, the pen flare sounds like a pistol shot and fires the flare about 150 meters high.


As with pen flares, be ready to take cover if the pilot mistakes your tracers for enemy fire. Star clusters reach a height of 200 to 215 meters, burn an average of 6 to 10 seconds, and descend at a rate of 14 meters per second.
If you can't determine the aircraft's location, flash your signal in the direction of the aircraft noise. Pilots and Search and Rescue (SAR) units here in the civilian world realized there was a place for that same mobility and speed during SAR operations. A decreased energy level will manifest itself as a decrease in work around camp; which could lead to your demise.
Survival kit includes a hollow grip with a compass top to store items within the knife itself, as well as additional pouches on the sheath to hold the rest. With an understanding of the basic principles and hands-on practice, wilderness survival shelters can help you weather almost any survival situation. Also make sure the plastic cone does not touch the sides of the hole because the earth will absorb the condensed water. Be sure you do not spill any polluted water around the rim of the hole where the plastic sheet touches the soil. Before signaling, carefully weigh your rescue chances by friends against the danger of capture by the enemy.
If in a snow-covered area, you may have to clear the ground of snow or make a platform on which to build the fire so that melting snow will not extinguish it. Before the primary tree is consumed, cut and add more small green trees to the fire to produce more smoke.
If you practically smother a large fire with green leaves, moss, or a little water, the fire will produce white smoke. Cellular phones, love them or hate them, have also led to the advancement of rapid rescue these last few decades. It provides a way to purify water and cook food, is an instant signal from the flame and smoke, is a tool to process wood and create containers, provides light at night, helps to maintain core body temperature, and is a companion requiring interaction and providing feedback. There is also precipitation, transpiration, condensation, sub-surface water pooling and the like.
Always select an isolated tree so that you do not start a forest fire and endanger yourself. The ranges of the different radios vary depending on the altitude of the receiving aircraft, terrain, vegetation density, weather, battery strength, type of radio, and interference. These events can turn a simple afternoon of recreation into a potentially life threatening situation.
The “smart” phones of today can not only be used as a communication device in order to activate SAR, but also as a navigational tool capable of providing rescuers the exact location of the party needing help. I recommend my students carry a minimum of three ways to make fire in their kits and on their person. His outdoor pursuits have taken him all around the United States and abroad, including fur trapping in Alaska, fighting wildfire in the American West, researching primitive cultures in the Desert Southwest, trekking the rainforests of Belize, and exploring the Highlands of Scotland.
Try to have a hill or other object between the signal site and the enemy to mask your signal from the enemy.
Hopefully Joe and Jane have had some professional survival training and have with them a kit to help them deal with the priorities of survival. The methods I prefer are the ferro rod, flint and steel kit, and a Bic lighter with a piece of bicycle inner tube wrapped around it. He has been featured in numerous publications, including Currents and American Survival Guide magazines. Sea dye markers are also very effective on snow-covered ground; use them to write distress code letters. Toss in a waterproof container with a half dozen petroleum jelly covered cotton balls and you can be sure of a fire in almost all conditions! Also, a little training in primitive trapping techniques and wild edible plants will increase your chances of survival should the situation go from short-term to Robinson Crusoe. Jerry is a member of The Wilderness Medical Society and The Society of Primitive Technology. The first is some sort of chemical treatment that will kill the microbes swimming around in the drink.
Cell phones in particular are prone to all sorts of mishaps; loss of power, little or no coverage, a dunk in the creek, breakage due to a fall, and loss.
Unscented chlorine bleach and 2% tincture of iodine from the pharmacy are the two I prefer. They are nice to have on station and fun to play with, but not something to count on when the chips are down. Add two drops per quart of either the chlorine bleach or 2% iodine tincture, shake thoroughly, and wait 30 minutes before drinking. The Lifestraw is a straw you simply place down into the contaminated water source and drink through just like a soda straw.
When you are finished, simply blow through the straw to remove the excess water, close the caps on each end, and toss back in your gear.
Boiling is always an option, so be sure to include a stainless steel container to place in your fire.



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