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Outdoor Safety & Survival When The Chips Are Down

Oct 16, 2007
Outdoor Safety and Survival is more an exercise in preparation rather than a matter of luck. It's about understanding your environment, recognizing your limits and arming yourself with the necessary knowledge and equipment. Though it's easy to go to a store or thumb through a catalog and equip yourself with an arsenal of survival gadgets, the key is in knowing how to use them. The five essential outdoor survival skills that anyone venturing into the wild needs to know include first-aid, fire-building, signaling and knowing how to obtain shelter and food.

For any outdoors person planning on assembling their own kit, it is critical to take into account equipment that would required to conquer the seven basic enemies to personal safety in the outdoors. These include thirst, hunger, fatigue, pain, fear, loneliness and temperature. While basic outdoor training could be an added asset, it is not imperative. Combining common sense with the ability to stay calm in the face of any adversity is more crucial than any text-book knowledge, provided of course a few universal preparation guidelines are followed.

A basic emergency equipment kit is an absolute must. Some essentials, including a knife, waterproof map, compass, torch, signal mirror, whistle, waterproof matches, and fire-starting materials should definitely be kept within easy reach so they can be availed of in any emergency.

Besides these tools, it is equally important to assemble other emergency equipment in a separate, compact kit. Basic survival equipment should never be strewn all around your rucksack.

A basic first aid kit, containing allergy tablets, oral hydration tablets, skin cream, a couple of bandages and band-aids.

A source of light with new batteries and at least two spare sets of batteries.

Water purification tablets and sufficient water to last for a while

Needle and thread

Emergency food

Insect repellant

A heavy-duty rope at least 25 to 50 feet in length

Wire saw

Though you may be out of range during your wilderness adventure, it is still a good idea to carry a cell phone. Make sure it is fully charged before you set out. Another absolute essential before setting out is to make sure you tell somebody responsible where you are heading out to and how long you expect to be gone for.

Take along additional gear taking into consideration the climate and the terrain you would expect to encounter. For the extreme heat you would need to carry lots of sunscreen as well as replenishing fluids and a hat. Layered clothing is more effective in extreme cold or snowy conditions.
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