An in-the-news extra post for the week.
A man, a woman, and four children survived in the Nevada mountains for 48 hours in an overturned car that wouldn’t start (no heater). The temperature got down to well below zero … and they came away with only mild hypothermia.
Of course, when things like that happen, I always try to find some takeaway lessons, and this situation has some good ones:
- They stayed in the car. Most survival experts would agree, you’re more likely to be found if you stay in the car. And it’s better to stay in the car than start walking in freezing weather not really knowing where you’re going or when you can get there. Also you’re out of the wind and have at least at little insulation.
- Their mutual body heat kept them warmer than if they were alone. This would be especially important for small children since they lose more heat proportionate to body size. (The kids in this stranded group were reportedly 3, 4, 4, and 10.)
- They had warm clothes. A must, of course. It would have been nice if they had extra blankets either to cover themselves or to cover the windows for more insulation to keep their body heat in the car.
- They had a cellphone. Even though the cellphone was out of range for calls, the authorities were able to get enough of a faint signal to aid them with location.
- They had food and water. Everyone should have at least some food bars and bottled water in their car at all times—not only because of the obvious need for nutrition and hydration but because dehydration and lack of food makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
- They made a fire outside and heated up rocks to put in the car. Many campers know this trick, but it’s a good one for all of us to remember. You can’t start a fire inside a closed space because of all that smoke-filled carbon monoxide. And the rocks can give off heat for longer than you’d think. Of course be careful not to get burned.
If you’d like to learn more about hypothermia, click here.
Do you disagree with any of my lessons learned? Did I miss any?
P.S. Survivor Jane has posted the first review of my new book, Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid! She writes, “Anyone could benefit by having a copy, or several copies of Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid, in fact it would make a great gift idea for that hard to buy for person who seems to have everything.” Check out the full review here.