Tag Archives: emergency kit

  • Why Ice Fishing Could Save Your Life

    Why Ice Fishing Could Save Your Life

    Compared to hundreds of years ago, ice fishing in the 21st century is more of a competitive sport, pastime, or hobby than a means of survival. Today, anglers come to the ice riding ATVs equipped with electric augers (a tool to drill holes in the ice) and sonar systems to identify approaching fish.

    So is ice fishing a practical survival skill to learn if you don’t have all the gadgets? Is it even worth it?

    According to Survivalist magazine, winter survival diets thrive on protein and meat to give you the energy and strength to survive in the cold. If you don’t feel confident hunting, and if edible plants are hard to come by, fish may become a crucial source of protein.

    But how do you ice fish? What do you need? What should you know?

    First: Gather your Supplies

    Let’s say you have to evacuate your home in winter and all you have is your emergency kit. These items in your kit could help you ice fish:

    • An Axe—to cut a hole in the ice
    • A Shovel—to skim slush and ice chunks out of the hole (some recommend even using a rice skimmer or ladle to do this)
    • Emergency Rope—to create a set-line or to tie around yourself and have others hold the end while you check the thickness of the ice (safety precaution)
    • Paracord—for fishing line
    • Pliers and Cutting Tools
    • SOL Origin Survival Pack—includes a mini fishing kit
    • Tape measure—to measure thickness of ice
    • Bait—you can find worms and other bugs in hollow logs. You can also use small pieces of meat, if you can spare it, or smaller fish. You could even make a jig (a decorated weight that looks like a fish that you move around in the water)
    • Fishing Hooks—Sense of Survival suggests to use different sized hooks that you can make from sticks, bones, and other naturally growing fibers.
    • Powerbait—a neon colored play-doh-like bait.

    The list above gives you some last minute options to use if you decide you need to ice fish for survival and don’t have the tools. But if you’re planning on ice fishing as a method of survival and want to have your emergency kit packed, consider purchasing more specialized equipment. The following supplies will help you to ice fish using basic supplies that you can carry with you in an emergency.

    • Auger—there are both hand powered and electric augers to drill holes in the ice
    • Ice Chisel/Pick—used to clear out slush from hole
    • Fishing Pole

    -          Tip-UP Pole- can be made with wood or plastic. It has a long stick with a reel and trigger device. A flag is placed at the top of the stick using a spring. When a fish bites, the flag will bounce up and down (kind of like a bobber).

    -          Jigging Rod— a two foot pole that looks like your smaller, traditional fishing pole. You bounce the jigging rod up and down every few seconds to get the fish attention. Can be used with a jig.

    • Bucket or Chair—so you can sit comfortably on the ice

    Second: Test the Ice

    • Four inches is a safe ice thickness for ice fishing (five inches is safe for an ATV or snowmobile, 8-12 inches is safe for a car or small truck)
    • Survey the ice before stepping out on to it. Are there cracks or breaks? Flowing water near the edges of the ice? Has water thawed and refrozen? Is there white ice? These are signs the ice is weak.
    • Test the ice thickness by using your ice chisel, axe, or other sharp object to break the ice and make a small hole. Then measure the ice thickness with a tape measure.
    • Just because your ice is four inches in one spot on the lake, doesn’t mean that the whole ice surface is four inches or safe to go out on. Ice may be two inches thick and unsafe only 150 feet away from you.

    CAUTION: Be careful on the ice. Slipping and breaking a bone during a survival situation is far from ideal. And be careful of exposure—the reflection of the sun on ice or snow could cause sunburns, and [hypothermia] is always a risk in winter weather. Make sure to dress in layers that you can take off if you get too hot.

    Third: Make a Hole

    When making your hole, make sure it is 6 to 8 inches in diameter (this is where your tape measurer comes in) and no more than 12 inches across. If the hole is larger than this, you may put yourself or someone else at risk of falling in.

    Use your axe or ice chisel to chip away at the ice to make a hole. Make sure you make sure you have a strap or something to tie the axe handle or ice chisel to your wrist so you don’t lose it in the water when cutting the hole.

    Fourth: Fish!

    According to Survivalist, the goal of survival ice fishing is to collect more energy in the food you catch than you expend to get it. In a survival situation, you’ll need energy to help yourself or your family to survive.

    The best way to increase your chances and to save your energy is to have a number of hooks in the water at once. You can use set-lines (lines with multiple hooks on them) that you can leave unattended and come back to later. Having multiple hooks out in the water can increase your chances of catching a fish.

    To learn how to make a set-line, check out the iceshanty.com article, [“Scientific set-lining for more Pike”]

    If the set line’s not working for you, you can construct a rod and reel system and use jigging or bait or try your hand at spear fishing (but you need really good aim . . .) for survival situations.

    Have you ever gone ice fishing without technology? Do you think it would be worth it to ice fish in a survival situation?

     

    Sources

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html

    http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/tips/post/ice-fishing

    Survivalist, Issue 14: Jan/Feb 2014

    http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/snow-sports/ice-fishing2.htm

    http://www.wikihow.com/Know-When-Ice-is-Safe

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness supplies, emergency preparedness, emergency kit, skills

  • Be Ready for the Unexpected

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    Be Ready for the Unexpected

    How many times have you read about an emergency or natural disaster and thought “that wouldn’t happen in my area”?

    This type of thinking leads many people to believe they only need emergency kits and emergency plans for major disasters. However, we also need to prepare for smaller, unexpected emergencies that sometimes occur more often.

    Stories from the past few months have taught us two valuable lessons:

    1. Mother Nature doesn’t follow rules; the unexpected can happen to anyone.
    2. Even the smallest of events can become larger disasters due to poor planning and lack of preparation.

     

    Prepare for Winter Weather—Even if it’s Unlikely

    At the beginning of December, unexpected snow storms and freezing temperatures stranded over 300 people for 7+ hours on a stretch of Interstate 15 between the Utah/Las Vegas border.

    Freezing temperatures and snow are rare in the area, so many travelers were unprepared. They had little food or water, few items to keep warm (many only had clothing for a day at the pool), and only a little gas in their tanks. What’s typically considered an hour’s drive quickly became an unexpected emergency. Luckily there were no major injuries reported.

    In January, many parts of the U.S. experienced another unexpected phenomenon that was dubbed a Polar Vortex. As we learned from WeatherChannel.com meterologist, Nice Wiltgen, the term ‘artic outbreak’ is a more accurate term than ‘polar vortex’ to describe the dramatic cooling effect the Midwestern and eastern portions of the U.S. are currently experiencing. So this Polar Vortex is a new name for an ancient phenomenon, causing cities that usually don’t see below freezing temperatures to see record-breaking lows and snowfall.

    The so-called Polar Vortex altered the everyday lives of thousands: several areas faced school closures, blackouts, flooding from frozen pipes, injuries, and deaths even occurred.

    While it may have been hard to predict the impact storm near Las Vegas or of the Polar Vortex, these events illustrate the need to prepare and plan for winter emergencies (even if you live in the South).

    What can we learn from these emergencies?

    If you are adequately prepared, unexpected emergencies will be less likely to turn your life upside down. The Ready Campaign suggests these three steps to prepare for any emergency you might face:

    1. Make a plan: Make a plan with your family for a number of situations—big and small. You can plan for house fires, power outages, and even major disasters like earthquakes. Don’t forget to plan for unique situations for your area and climate, as well.
    2. Build a Kit: Based on your planning, build or purchase emergency kits for your home, car, workplace, and school. These kits should fit the personal needs of your family. Also, you should always have a car emergency kit—especially while traveling
    3. Stay informed: Learn from the experience of others. Plan for unexpected emergencies before they happen, stay informed on weather conditions in your area, and adapt your emergency kits for situations like the ones mentioned in this post. Don’t slip into the thought process of “it won’t happen to me”.

    It’s important to prepare for unexpected emergencies. Good planning and preparation can help us avoid minor annoyances or major health concerns in crisis situations. As you plan for possible emergencies, avoid the mentality of “that won’t happen” and change it to “whatever happens, I’ll be ready.”

    --Rob

    Have you ever been stuck in an unexpected emergency or snowstorm? What did you do? What do you wish you had? 

    Sources:

    BePrepared.com/Blog

    CNN Article: "The Polar Vortex Leaves Nasty Surprises, Still Grips northern midwest"  

    KSL News article: "Motorists trapped by snowstorm on Arizona Strip"

    Preparedness Pantry Blog: "The Polar Vortex--What are the Consequences?"

    BeReady.gov: “Make a Plan. Get a Kit. Be Informed” 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency kit, winter storms

  • Can you brave the winter storms?

    Thousands of commuters in the South were stranded en route Tuesday and into Wednesday because of  snowy conditions during an unexpected winter storm. 

    Many spent 10-12 hours in their vehicles, trying to conserve gas, power, and warmth. Others took shelter with nearby strangers, who generously opened their homes; and some (like the 5,300 students in Alabama) were even forced to camp out in school buildings or sleep the night in buses.

    CNN reported the panic that spread when what was supposed to be a light dusting of snow turned to chaos. A thin sheet of ice and 3-10 inches of snow on the roads (depending on location) left thousands of people stranded in their vehicles during their commute home.

    As one woman went into labor, she set off for the hospital only to find gridlock after gridlock blocked her path. She called the paramedics, but they, too, had no clear route to reach her car through the disorder that Tuesday’s winter storm blew in, leaving her stranded on the road.

    The weather was also a factor in over 1,000 fender benders, five deaths in Alabama, and another 23 injuries.

    The traffic problems began when schools, businesses, and government offices sent people home at the exact same time due to the weather.

    According to Yahoo! News, “as people waited in gridlock, the snow [built up], the roads froze, cars ran out of gas and tractor-trailers jackknifed, blocking equipment that could have treated some of the roads.”

    Winter storms catch the South by surprise

    The desperate situation brought many people together to help stranded motorists. Residents near the highway opened their homes to strangers who needed food, water, and a warm place to stay. Others offered their services, as well, including a police officer who helped deliver a daughter to the pregnant woman stranded in her car.

    "There was a sense that we are all in this together,” said Mira Lowe, a CNN editor who watched as people left their vehicles to help others.

    Check out stories from other stranded drivers here

    Read the rest of CNN’s article “Atlanta mayor blames poor coordination for storm snafu
    Read Yahoo! News’ article “Helicopters search for stranded Southern drivers

    Do you know what to do in a snow and ice storm? Having a car emergency kit can definitely help by giving you food, water, warmth, and other needed supplies.

    Check out these articles for more ways you can stay safe in the cold:
    Emergency Warmth
    Stuck in the Snow? How’s your Emergency Car Kit?
    How to Winterize your Car

     

    Video Courtesy of CNN
    Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: South, winter preparedness, natural disaster, emergency preparedness, Survival, emergency kit, Winter, winter storms

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