Category: Camping


winterwarmTitle gotchya didn’t it? But no seriously, I might be a newbie in the woods but when it comes to home preparedness, I know my stuff. Come what may, I can survive at home when the grid goes down, which it can and has done during the winter. So I thought I’d share some serious practical advice and know-how when it comes to surviving in your home during a grid down situation during the winter. Been there done that and lived to tell the tale here.

Number one rule: be careful what you use inside your home…candles, oil lamps, any type of flame for light or heat can cause a fire if not carefully attended to, including propane and kerosene heaters. Trust me on that one. Better to skip those if you can, especially if you can’t be right there while using them. I bought a Detz oil lamp that you can heat up or cook on top of and it will throw some good heat too, but I would NEVER EVER leave it where my kids, dogs or I could potentially knock it over. I am ALWAYS right there. I do not use candles, though I have them if and when all other sources of light are used up.
Number two rule: be careful what you use inside your home…to heat your home, to cook food or even get a little bit of power in your house (generator). Do NOT use anything inside that is designed and intended for outdoor use. Most heat and cooking sources use some sort of combustible to generate the heat. If you have combustibles, then you have the potential for carbon monoxide and it is a silent and deadly killer. That’s why previously I advised to have a battery operated carbon monoxide alarm.

Those are the two simple rules of the road in any grid down situation (no power) no matter the season. Remember those and you will be okay.

Alright, now on to the good stuff, tips and tricks to staying warm during Snow/Icemagedeon outside of the typical preparedness/survival stuff:

Here’s the obvious one…have an alternative heat source to heat your home that does NOT depend upon electricity and obviously is SAFE to use indoors.

Story time…
When I first bought my little slice of country the house came with an unvented propane fireplace. Yep, seriously. I personally never used that thing but my ex would and did to get heat into the home during the coldest parts of the first winter. I would wake up and instantly know he had used it that nasty thing because I could smell it and my head would be pounding (carbon monoxide, I am extremely sensitive to it having had mild carbon monoxide poisoning growing up due to a faulty gas heater). Finally, I called the propane company to come get their tank of gas and cut the line…end of subject…it was pretty, but dangerous to have that thing. So round about the ex and I went about ‘spending’ the money on a wood burning stove. This argument went round about until one March morning we awoke to being able to see our breathe in the air. Power was out for only a few hours but needless to say, sometimes pain makes people see reason. I got my wood stove installed about 2 weeks later. And I use it A LOT during the cold times.

There are safe alternatives if you can’t afford a wood stove, pellet stove or something else similar, or you don’t live some place that can have one. Mr. Heater makes a very safe line of propane heaters that can be used indoors for those of you that can’t have anything else.

As a last resort if you go on over to Lehman’s you can find some really good oil lamps that will throw heat in a small space, but as previously warned, be warned this isn’t the best idea.

Best advice to getting heat into your home: Be SAFE and NEVER USE ANYTHING INTENDED FOR OUTDOOR USE.

Up next, minimize heat loss…and heat it up BEFORE it happens.

If you have a wood stove or fireplace use that, get it going well before you actually ‘need’ the heat. As for any heat pump or furnace, crank it up BEFORE the storm comes. You’d be surprised just how quickly the temperature can drop once the power is off and just how long it takes to get heat back into the hours.

One last comment on this…if you have a wood stove, pellet stove or coal stove or use a rocket stove or other type of cooking stove that requires ‘dry’ material…get it in place and out of the weather BEFORE the snow hits…nothing sucks worse than having to traipse outside when you are already cold to get the wood or find wood/pellets/coal. Not to mention that wet stuff is a lot harder to burn and get to burn that dry stuff.

Pick ONE room to ‘survive’ in where you will have the most heat.
If you have a fireplace, wood burning stove or a small propane heater, that is where you will stay.
Keep all exterior windows and doors closed and close the interior doors to the rooms you will not be using. In an extended case you may want to consider hanging blankets, or even emergency blankets over doors and windows to keep the heat in. Use duct tape or some other heavy duty tape to keep the blankets up…it works! Especially emergency Mylar blankets which you can get on the cheap in bulk on Amazon.
Also, don’t forget to block drafts such as that bottom of the door you never got around to putting weather stripping on.

Also consider your heat loss through your flooring. I have a one level home that has a crawl space underneath it and bamboo flooring…all neat and good when the power is on or during the summer, but when its cold those floors get COLD. If you have something along these lines consider insulating the floor where you will be staying put. Be mindful however of fire hazards. Blankets, rugs, pillows…kinda the same idea as when camping, get as much insulation between you and the ‘floor’ as possible to keep your body heat and heat ‘inside’.

Last resort or maybe just an idea to keep the kids distracted…set up a tent and go camping inside while the power is off. Small spaces can be warmed up with just body heat alone and if you use mylar emergency blankets over the outside of the tent you get even more ‘heat’ trapped inside the tent.

For those with a basement…in a prolonged power/heat outage consider your basement. It might not be the Hilton, but if the basement is underground it will be considerably warmer than upstairs, sometimes as much as a 20 degree difference.

Layer your clothes, can’t say too much about that. Without power and a good heat source inside the home, you are basically ‘outside’. Dress as if you were outside.

Sleeping, well, this is an interesting subject. For those that camp and don’t have a good heat source inside the home you know the rules…wet or even damp (even slightly) will suck the heat right out of you. The heat loss through the ‘head’ is a myth…it’s your feet. CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP IF AT ALL POSSIBLE ESPECIALLY THE SOCKS!! If you are a camper then you have some idea of how to handle things, just inside your home. But if not…hopefully you have picked out your one room and have stayed put as much as possible. Create a communal sleeping area there. Share body heat. Sleeping bags are great. Next up pillows, cushions, blankets piled one on top of the other. You get the idea. If you do have a tent and I don’t care if its one of those outside pop up with sides that you can zip on, USE IT. The smaller the space the easier it is to get warm and stay warm. If you don’t have sleeping bags consider a cheaper, emergency alternative…emergency bivvys by SOL.

One last thing…get a stash of hand and feet warmers that hunters use. In the case of the heat going out due to power outage during a winter storm these things are cheap and easy to use to keep the extremities warm. And its sure nice to have toasty feet while you sleep!

Food comes to mind next…if you are lucky to have a wood stove with an area flat enough and big enough to cook on, good for you! (I do and do use it to cook on). But if you don’t or there isn’t an area large enough to get a pot on (such as those wood/pellet stoves that are put into a fireplace) then you have to start thinking about how you are going to eat.
It takes more calories and more water to survive when you are cold. So you need to think about this. Using camping equipment or other OUTSIDE methods of cooking INSIDE is a disaster waiting to happen. Hot food is great, but not at the risk of death. Consider keeping a stash of MRE’s (but keep in mind the colder it is the less warm/hot they will get) as a quick way to have meals. Keep bottled water on hand, this is especially important for those who have well water and becomes important for those on city water IF the power stays off for an extended time (water pipes can and do freeze). Keep canned goods that would be tolerable to eat, even if cold. Use up what is in the fridge. Cook out, yep, on the grill or your rocket stove or whatever you have…it will suck for the person tending the food outside, but hey, a hot meal is worth it.
You get the idea, beef jerky, dried foods…heck, protein bars! Just remember the 2 rules I started with.

Here are some great options and ideas for emergency cooking. Be sure to practice BEFORE you need it!

And here’s a tricky one:
When water is scarce, the “mellow yellow” rule should apply. Don’t flush the toilet unless you *really* need to.
If you have no water for flushing, use a 5 gallon bucket and paper or sawdust to absorb liquid and odor. You could also cover a bucket tightly or use a garbage bag. If you have a wood stove and don’t mind getting a little primitive, you can do what my older sisters used to do. Rather than running out to the outhouse in winter (the farmhouse I was raised in had no running water when my parents started their family), my oldest siblings would poop on several sheets of newspaper and burn it in the wood stove. As I said, primitive, but it worked. I was very glad we had indoor plumbing by the time I was born, as I have used the outhouse when there was a minus 40 below zero wind chill one Christmas and the septic system froze. It was not pleasant.
Don’t bathe unless absolutely necessary. Getting wet is a quick way to get really cold. Keep some baby wipes on hand for waterless cleaning.
If you still have running water, protect faucets that are at risk of freezing by turning on a pencil size stream of water.
(taken from commonsensehome.com…couldn’t have said it better)
But one thing to keep in mind for females…urinary tract infections can happen fast…so keep mindful ladies of keeping clean ‘down there’. Also, when its really cold and you have to go I have found that using a Shewee or PMate is an excellent way to decrease skin exposure to the cold and still ‘go’.
Fill bathtubs before hand with warm water. You can use this water just like in any other emergency.
Have hand crank options for lights and emergency radio.
DON’T use your generator in the snow/ice. Um…think electrocution hazard.
Personally I have a portable charging station that I can recharge the batteries for via the car. It’s a smaller generator that made by Boise that is mainly used on construction sites but no gas is needed, uses batteries just like the ones for your cordless drills and such… it will recharge cell phones, run a light, laptop, etc.

Finally, if keeping warm and eating won’t keep you busy, you’ll need ways of staying entertained…especially children. Just one idea here for you…they do make a DVD player, radio/karaoke player that uses D batteries  you can find it on Amazon…it is a life/mind saver, trust me…worth the investment.
These are my tips for you just in case grid down happens during snow/icemegedeon…feel free to comment and ad your own tips and tricks!

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_MG_0102aFirst things first when you are out in the woods during the winter…that is the ability to stay warm. When we (VaCreepinOutdoors and I) went out I knew it would get cold and I did my best to think ahead.
Hypothermia during cold weather is probably more common than we realize… and CLOTHING is your first line of defense along with a little knowledge of how heat loss occurs.

I should know, went out hunting one early firearms season weekend, it was still about 40ish degrees and I am a warm person to begin with. Typically I get hot. It was overcast, chance of rain only about 20% and I dressed according to the weather forecast…just 3 layers, didn’t take anything for rain, no jacket, no coat, no hat, no gloves (blaze orange vest required!)…figured I would be good to go.

Yeah, sure…about ½ hour after settling in for the duration it started to drizzle, then rain…and don’t you know the temperature dropped too? Let me tell you something, I am a pitbull and won’t give up, but after getting pretty damp (not soaking) and handling the cold steel of the shotgun I use for hunting, with water dripping off the end of my nose…I started to feel the creepin’ cold setting in. About hour and a half of that (still raining off and on) I was down right cold and shivering. Still I sat there. DH was further down and finally called it a day (he was warm and dry btw having been ready for it if it came)…thank goodness…I didn’t realize until I stood up and started moving just how far down the road of hypothermia I had traveled, shaking like a leaf, a bit disoriented (in my own backyard!!!) and freezing cold to the bone. And did I mention my toes were numb? My clothing was only damp mind you, but my hands were frozen and fingers hard to move too, hair was wet and well…lesson learned. I actually went out the following day and bought a blaze orange water resistant, blaze orange hoodie…definitely warm and it is now my go to when I go out in the woods.
Soo…with that said…

#1 is clothing…dress for the weather and overkill is not a bad idea…you can always take things off but you can’t add enough if you get cold. Layers, water resistant, nylon, wool…and take extra with you just in case, especially socks. I also have a couple of different gloves I take with me, one pair is rather thin and another set is thicker. In this category I will include having the right socks and shoes. As VaCreepinOutdoors has pounded into my head lately, your feet is where most heat loss occurs. The thing about the head is a myth. Frankly I only wear a headband that goes over my ears and am just fine with that. And the ground is a heat sucker especially when damp or wet and its cold outside. Guess what touches the ground? Yep, your feet. I will say that cotton socks are a no go, wool socks, nylon are best. Cotton for the most part in the winter is a no go as it retains sweat which means heat loss.

Also, be mindful of your shoes. Unfortunately during this camping trip I chose to use my light weight hunting boots instead of my heavier ones, which turned out to be not so smart by the middle of the evening…toes were frozen after kneeling on the ground trying to get a fire going. Knees got damp and that was okay, I had some thermals on. But my right foot was resting on the ground (sole side up) so that the thinnest area on the boot was flat on the ground. Bingo…heat loss. And it was funny, but after those toes got cold the rest of my body started getting cold too. I wound up throwing on my heavy hunting coat on top of my hoodie, long sleeve shirt and jogging shirt that I like to wear when out and about (nothing like a bra to make life miserable!). And I will tell you something else…cold feet in cold boots next to a fire doesn’t work!!! I had thought to bring along some of those air activated hand warmers and wound up using those in toes of my boots, but those things took FOREVER to warm up, think it was about an hour or so before my toes unfroze. But more on those things later…

Got a bit of relief after taking my boots of for a short bit (long enough to stick the hand warmers into the toes of my boots) but put those babies back on…may have been better off leaving the boots off and putting my feet up close to the fire until the warmers were up and working.

I had my gloves with me but wound up still having to stick hands over the fire to warm the fingers up when I had to take them off to hook up sleeping bags…cold fingers and toes do not make for an easy evening of trying to get things done…walking is hard and dexterity goes out the door…

I wasn’t miserable camping in the cold but the experience taught me a few things about footwear and clothing…I had the socks right, but not the boots and definitely learned about heat loss due to the ground. Even slightly damp socks will suck the heat right out of you. Won’t be repeating those two mistakes again for sure. Waterproof, snow/winter boots, more than one pair of extra socks and making sure that I have a set of toe warmers open and ready to go if I even THINK that my feet are going to get cold. Also, I need to figure out some way of putting a barrier between me and the ground that easy and light weight to kneel on…VaCreepinOutdoors keeps some sort of oilskin cloth on him for that and think I have solved that problem.

Clothing wasn’t a real issue having been there done that one before, but I did try out a ‘new’ type of thermal leggings and I will tell you what, I think they would be good for spring or summer, but will be going with Columbia’s Omni-Heat or the old fashion type in the future. My legs weren’t cold, but they weren’t warm either.

At this point I will go over signs of hypothermia just so you can be aware…its not fun nor pleasant as I can attest to personally.

Signs of Hypothermia:

Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water. Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.
Shivering is your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia. Signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:
• Shivering
• Clumsiness or lack of coordination
• Slurred speech or mumbling
• Stumbling
• Confusion or difficulty thinking
• Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
• Drowsiness or very low energy
• Apathy or lack of concern about one’s condition
• Progressive loss of consciousness
• Weak pulse
• Slow, shallow breathing

More on hypothermia here.

So, essentially clothing and the right TYPE of clothing for the weather is your best friend when going out in the woods. I did bring extra clothing just in case (that’s the nice thing about planned camping) but no true rain gear such as Frog Togs…an oversight on my part that luckily didn’t cause me any problems. So, lessons learned, mistakes not to be repeated (hopefully). Hope you get something useful out of this!

hypothermiaWith another winter storm coming in across the southern and eastern United States, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you the signs and symptoms of hypothermia which can be deadly if not treated promptly.
The snow and ice predicted over the coming days may leave you stuck in a car, with no power or have you outside trying to clear the wintry mess up or just going outside to play.

A must read and print off:
http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/hypocold.shtml

All information below was taken from the Mayo Clinic Website:

Definition:
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia (hi-po-THUR-me-uh) occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 F (35 C).
When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work correctly. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and to death.
Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water. Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.
Shivering is your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia. Signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:
• Shivering
• Clumsiness or lack of coordination
• Slurred speech or mumbling
• Stumbling
• Confusion or difficulty thinking
• Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
• Drowsiness or very low energy
• Apathy or lack of concern about one’s condition
• Progressive loss of consciousness
• Weak pulse
• Slow, shallow breathing
A person with hypothermia usually isn’t aware of his or her condition, because the symptoms often begin gradually and because the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness.

Please keep in mind that your first line of defense against hypothermia is prevention:
Before you or your children step out into cold air, remember the advice that follows with the simple acronym COLD — cover, overexertion, layers, dry:
• Cover. Wear a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping from your head, face and neck. Cover your hands with mittens instead of gloves. Mittens are more effective than gloves because mittens keep your fingers in closer contact with one another.
• Overexertion. Avoid activities that would cause you to sweat a lot. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause you to lose body heat more quickly.
• Layers. Wear loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material is best for wind protection. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat better than cotton does.
• Dry. Stay as dry as possible. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible. Be especially careful to keep your hands and feet dry, as it’s easy for snow to get into mittens and boots.
Keeping children safe outdoors
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following tips to help prevent hypothermia when children are outside in the winter:
• Dress infants and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
• Limit the amount of time children spend outside in the cold.
• Have children come inside frequently to warm themselves.
Winter car safety
Whenever you’re traveling during bad weather, be sure someone knows where you’re headed, and at what time you’re expected to arrive. That way, if you get into trouble on your way, emergency responders will know where to look for your car. It’s also a good idea to keep emergency supplies in your car in case you get stranded. Supplies may include several blankets, matches, candles, a first-aid kit, dry or canned food, and a can opener. Travel with a cellphone if possible. If you’re stranded, put everything you need in the car with you, huddle together and stay covered. Run the car for 10 minutes each hour to warm it up. Make sure a window is slightly open and the exhaust pipe isn’t covered with snow while the engine is running.
Drinking alcohol
Take the following precautions to avoid alcohol-related risks of hypothermia.
Don’t drink alcohol:
• If you’re going to be outside in cold weather
• If you’re boating
• Before going to bed on cold nights
Cold-water safety
Water doesn’t have to be extremely cold to cause hypothermia. Any water that’s colder than normal body temperature causes heat loss. The following tips may increase your survival time in cold water, if you accidentally fall in:
• Wear a life jacket. If you plan to ride in a watercraft, wear a life jacket. A life jacket can help you stay alive longer in cold water by enabling you to float without using energy and by providing some insulation. Keep a whistle attached to your life jacket to signal for help.
• Get out of the water if possible. Get out of the water as much as possible, such as climbing onto a capsized boat or grabbing onto a floating object.
• Don’t attempt to swim unless you’re close to safety. Unless a boat, another person or a life jacket is close by, stay put. Swimming will use up energy and may shorten survival time.
• Position your body to minimize heat loss. Use a body position known as the heat escape lessening position (HELP) to reduce heat loss while you wait for assistance. Hold your knees to your chest to protect the trunk of your body. If you’re wearing a life jacket that turns your face down in this position, bring your legs tightly together, your arms to your sides and your head back.
• Huddle with others. If you’ve fallen into cold water with other people, keep warm by facing each other in a tight circle.
• Don’t remove your clothing. While you’re in the water, don’t remove clothing. Buckle, button and zip up your clothes. Cover your head if possible. The layer of water between your clothing and your body will help insulate you. Remove clothing only after you’re safely out of the water and can take measures to get dry and warm.

Hypothermia not necessarily related to the outdoors
Hypothermia isn’t always the result of exposure to extremely cold outdoor temperatures. An older person may develop mild hypothermia after prolonged exposure to indoor temperatures that would be tolerable to a younger or healthier adult — for example, temperatures in a poorly heated home or in an air-conditioned home.
Symptoms of mild hypothermia not related to extreme cold exposure are nearly identical to those of more severe hypothermia, but may be much less obvious. Signs and symptoms of mild hypothermia may include:
• Shivering
• Faster breathing
• Trouble speaking
• Confusion
• Lack of coordination
• Fatigue
• Increased heart rate
• High blood pressure
Hypothermia in infants
Typical signs of hypothermia in an infant include:
• Bright red, cold skin
• Very low energy
When to see a doctor
Call 911 or your local emergency number if you see someone with signs of hypothermia or if you suspect a person has had unprotected or prolonged exposure to cold weather or water. If possible take the person inside, remove wet clothing, and cover him or her in layers of blankets.
How hypothermia happens:
Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it produces it. The most common causes of hypothermia are exposure to cold-weather conditions or cold water. But prolonged exposure to any environment colder than your body can lead to hypothermia if you aren’t dressed appropriately or can’t control the conditions. Specific conditions leading to hypothermia can include:
• Wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for weather conditions
• Staying out in the cold too long
• Unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry location
• Accidental falls in water, as in a boating accident
• Inadequate heating in the home, especially for older people and infants
• Air conditioning that is too cold, especially for older people and infants
How your body loses heat
The mechanisms of heat loss from your body include the following:
• Radiated heat. Most heat loss is due to heat radiated from unprotected surfaces of your body.
• Direct contact. If you’re in direct contact with something very cold, such as cold water or the cold ground, heat is conducted away from your body. Because water is very good at transferring heat from your body, body heat is lost much faster in cold water than in cold air. Similarly, heat loss from your body is much faster if your clothes are wet, as when you’re caught out in the rain.
• Wind. Wind removes body heat by carrying away the thin layer of warm air at the surface of your skin. A wind chill factor is important in causing heat loss.

Risk Factors:

A number of factors can increase the risk of developing hypothermia:
• Older age. People age 65 and older are more vulnerable to hypothermia for a number of reasons. The body’s ability to regulate temperature and to sense cold may lessen with age. Older people are also more likely to have a medical condition that affects temperature regulation. Some older adults may not be able to communicate when they are cold or may not be mobile enough to get to a warm location.
• Very young age. Children lose heat faster than adults do. Children have a larger head-to-body ratio than adults do, making them more prone to heat loss through the head. Children may also ignore the cold because they’re having too much fun to think about it. And they may not have the judgment to dress properly in cold weather or to get out of the cold when they should. Infants may have a special problem with the cold because they have less efficient mechanisms for generating heat.
• Mental problems. People with a mental illness, dementia or another condition that interferes with judgment may not dress appropriately for the weather or understand the risk of cold weather. People with dementia may wander from home or get lost easily, making them more likely to be stranded outside in cold or wet weather.
• Alcohol and drug use. Alcohol may make your body feel warm inside, but it causes your blood vessels to dilate, or expand, resulting in more rapid heat loss from the surface of your skin. The use of alcohol or recreational drugs can affect your judgment about the need to get inside or wear warm clothes in cold weather conditions. If a person is intoxicated and passes out in cold weather, he or she is likely to develop hypothermia.
• Certain medical conditions. Some health disorders affect your body’s ability to regulate body temperature. Examples include underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), poor nutrition, stroke, severe arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, trauma, spinal cord injuries, burns, disorders that affect sensation in your extremities (for example, nerve damage in the feet of people with diabetes), dehydration, and any condition that limits activity or restrains the normal flow of blood.
• Medications. A number of drugs, including certain antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedatives, can change the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
Diagnosis:
The diagnosis of hypothermia is usually apparent based on a person’s physical signs and the conditions in which the person with hypothermia became ill or was found.
A diagnosis may not be readily apparent, however, if the symptoms are mild, as when an older person who is indoors has symptoms such as confusion, lack of coordination and speech problems. In such cases, an exam may include a temperature reading with a rectal thermometer that reads low temperatures.
Until you can obtain professional medical care:
First-aid care
• Be gentle. When you’re helping a person with hypothermia, handle him or her gently. Limit movements to only those that are necessary. Don’t massage or rub the person. Excessive, vigorous or jarring movements may trigger cardiac arrest.
• Move the person out of the cold. Move the person to a warm, dry location if possible. If you’re unable to move the person out of the cold, shield him or her from the cold and wind as much as possible.
• Remove wet clothing. If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove it. Cut away clothing if necessary to avoid excessive movement.
• Cover the person with blankets. Use layers of dry blankets or coats to warm the person. Cover the person’s head, leaving only the face exposed.
• Insulate the person’s body from the cold ground. If you’re outside, lay the person on his or her back on a blanket or other warm surface.
• Monitor breathing. A person with severe hypothermia may appear unconscious, with no apparent signs of a pulse or breathing. If the person’s breathing has stopped or appears dangerously low or shallow, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately if you’re trained.
• Share body heat. To warm the person’s body, remove your clothing and lie next to the person, making skin-to-skin contact. Then cover both of your bodies with blankets.
• Provide warm beverages. If the affected person is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverage to help warm the body.
• Use warm, dry compresses. Use a first-aid warm compress (a plastic fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed), or a makeshift compress of warm water in a plastic bottle or a dryer-warmed towel. Apply a compress only to the neck, chest wall or groin. Don’t apply a warm compress to the arms or legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
• Don’t apply direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the person. The extreme heat can damage the skin or even worse, cause irregular heartbeats so severe that they can cause the heart to stop.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing signs and symptoms of hypothermia seek medical treatment!

_MG_0086aNothing like experience gets you ready, tests you and your theories, equipment and yourself and your own skills, attitude, body…and there are always surprises, even for the pros (eh hmm…vacreepinoutdoors I am talking to you lol!) Be it in the home or out in the woods camping overnight, there are always lessons to be learned, new ways of doing things and refinement that takes place while you are ‘practicing’ and putting your skills, knowledge and gear to the test.

Vacreepinoutdoors and I went out this weekend camping…mostly because he likes to camp and pit himself against the elements and hone his own woodlands skills (and test out some new gear) but me, the newbie babe in the woods…for me this was a test to see if even during the good times I could function out there in the woods…Obviously I survived, but I also learned a lot of which I will be sharing with you this week in different blogs addressing different issues.

I knew enough not to be arrogant about the situation and quite honestly was a bit scared (gulp) simply because I have never camped in the winter with minimal gear as we did this weekend. But I trust dear heart so off I went into the wild….so my friends, if you haven’t done something before, besure to go with someone you can trust your life with who know knows more than you…and being out in conditions that you aren’t used to, you better trust your partner.

They say practice makes perfect, but I would beg to differ as nothing is ever perfect when it comes to being prepared. Technology fails, or the old school way just won’t fly right for you. Just when you think you know what you are doing in practice or theory, something akin to Murphy’s Law will come knocking on the door. And believe me, it will. Testing your gear and knowledge before you really need it is great and can be a lot of fun. But it will also show you where your strengths and weaknesses are on a lot of levels. Unfortunately, practicing a particular situation doesn’t necessarily give you a replication of what it would be like if the chips were down and it really counted. It is PRACTICE. Its NOT the real game. And even in a somewhat controlled situation as this weekend was (ie we could go home), things happen and they did…things went right and new ideas worked out.

More to come! Stay tuned! Be sure to checkout Vacreepinoutdoors new youtube videos too…he’s who I hang with and learn from and so can you.