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Winter can be a beautiful season, but it also poses unique survival challenges.
Whether you’re driving in snow, hiking in the mountains, or just trying to stay warm in your home, it’s important to be prepared for the worst.
Here are some tips on how to survive winter emergencies.
Prepare Ahead of Time
The best way to survive a winter emergency is to be prepared ahead of time.
This means having an emergency kit in your home, car, and bug out bag.
Your kit should include:
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Calorie-dense food and extra water
- A fire-starting kit with tinder, a lighter, and a backup firestarter
- Jumper cables and sand for your car
- A first aid kit
Protect Your Body Heat
Heat is the key to surviving winter emergencies.
The biggest winter-specific risks in these situations are first and foremost hypothermia (the leading killer in these situations), then frostbite, dehydration, and getting lost.
Here are some tips to protect your body heat:
- Dress in layers to trap heat and wick away sweat
- Keep covered with a hat, gloves, and scarf
- Avoid sweating and stay dry
- Use snow as an insulator
- Avoid eating snow
Build a Winter Survival Shelter
If you find yourself stranded in the wilderness, building a shelter is essential to protect yourself from the elements.
Any of the standard survival shelter designs – like an A-frame or lean-to shelter — will work in cold temperatures.
Here are some tips for building a winter survival shelter:
- Use natural materials like branches, leaves, and snow
- Build your shelter in a protected area out of the wind
- Insulate your shelter with leaves or snow
- Use a fire to stay warm
Stay Calm and Clear-Headed
Surviving in winter conditions mainly means staying calm and clear-headed.
Here are some tips to help you stay calm in an emergency:
- Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing
- Stay positive and keep your spirits up
- Stay hydrated and well-fed
- Keep moving to stay warm
Treating Cold Injuries
In winter, you have to be extra careful about detecting and treating injuries.
They can turn deadly very quickly!
Here are some tips for treating cold injuries:
- Never go into the wilderness without a first aid kit
- Learn how to recognize and treat hypothermia and frostbite
- Keep your feet dry and warm
- Use hand warmers to prevent frostbite
If you must travel in winter conditions, it’s important to be prepared.
Here are some tips for minimizing travel:
- Stay indoors during the worst part of the extreme cold
- Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle
- Check tire pressure and keep your gas tank full
- Let someone know your travel plans
Winter emergencies can be scary, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can survive anything.
Stay warm, stay safe, and stay calm.