Tag Archives: survival skills

  •  Grizzly Details: A Bear Attack Survivor Speaks

    Do you remember our article from last month, “The Bear Necessities: Resources for Surviving a Bear Attack”? And remember what we said about playing dead only being a good idea in certain situations? Well, the unfortunate woman who was attacked by a bear in Alaska shortly after that post was published has told her story, and guess what? It worked!

    Jessica Gamboa spotted a brown bear cub during a neighborhood jog, and when the nearby mama bear went into defense mode, Jessica went limp. While Jessica did end up with plenty of cuts and a few broken bones, the bear eventually lost interest and left before the mauling turned fatal. Read the whole store here: “Jogger Survives Vicious Bear Attack”.

    According to the expert quoted in “How to Survive a Bear Attack”, “[the] only time playing dead works as a survival technique is if you’re dealing with a brown bear whose attack was a defense—maybe it’s guarding its cubs or food…Simply stop moving and the bear will stop attacking.”

    Good thing Gamboa knew her stuff!

    Another headline from just a few days ago reports, “Montana hunter in serious condition after grizzly bear attack.” While bear attacks are rare, Backpacker Magazine names grizzlies at the top of their danger rating scale, reminding us (oh-so-helpfully) of the animals’ weight (up to three quarters of a ton!), bite force (1,200 lbs), and claw length (more than three inches). If you want to scare yourself in a good way, check out their map of the US divided by each region’s deadliest predator.

     

    ‘Tis the season for close-up wildlife encounters (I found an ant in my bathroom sink just this morning). Brush up on your survival skills before you head outdoors!

     

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Survival, Current Events, survival skills, Preparedness In The News

  • The Bear Necessities: Resources for Surviving a Bear Attack

    Were you as surprised as I was when you came across the recent story of a bear attacking a woman in Florida? We get a little used to that sort of story out west, but I don’t generally think of the suburbs of Orlando as prime bear country. Shows how little I know about my own country’s ecology, clearly.

    My own ignorance aside, experts are noticing an uptrend in bear/human clashes in parts of Florida, where new housing developments are encroaching on longstanding black bear habitats. National Geographic addresses the issue usefully—and gives an idea or two on how to avoid a similar encounter—in the recent article, “Why Are Black Bear Attacks Up in Florida?”

    So, if bears can invade even Disney World, I suppose this is a good time to brush up on our bear survival skills. And it turns out that what most of us know about bear encounters is woefully inaccurate. For example, I grew up hearing that when a bear attacks, you should play dead. Did you know that playing dead has no affect at all on black bears, and is only effective on browns or grizzlies in certain specific situations? That’s knowledge you don’t want to acquire firsthand!

    Shortly after the recent mauling, ABC News published an article, “How to Survive a Bear Attack,” full of expert advice from park rangers and biologists. This article is a good starting place for learning about bear attacks. It gives an overview of different kinds of bears and their tendencies; good avoidance practices; and what to do in different bear encounter scenarios.

    An even more thorough resource is the website bearsmart.com, maintained by the Get Bear Smart Society, whose object is to minimize conflict between bears and humans. This site tells you what to do if you encounter a bear in the backcountry or in urban setting. Tabs like “Becoming Bear Smart” and “Bear Management” cover topics from “understanding bear behavior” to “safety in polar bear country” (because you never know!). The “Bear Smart at Home” is particularly relevant, in light of recent events, and offers smart tips on discouraging bears from coming on to your property or safely deterring animals who might wander through.

    Spring is optimal wildlife sighting time in my neck of the woods, when hibernators wake up and tasty new shoots and buds tempt creatures into the open. Know your bear safety and enjoy the wildlife from a safe distance!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, survival skills

  • Missing Runner Survives Snowy California Wilderness and all he wants is a Burger!

    As darkness fell and temperatures dropped, Bob Root snuggled deeper into the shrubbery atop a cliff in the California wilderness. For two days in early April, he struggled to survive in the snow, searching for the trail he’d lost track of during a morning run.

    Root had set out early Sunday morning with fellow members of the ShadowChase Running Club, wearing only a light shirt, shorts, and running shoes. However, he soon found himself lost after running ahead to catch up with another group.

    Fox News reported that Root was able to survive on energy supplements and the small amount of water he carried with him. When the cold caused unbearable shaking, Root resorted to compressing and releasing his muscles, and sticking his fingers in his armpits to stay warm.

    When searchers finally found him, there was only one thing Root wanted after this ordeal—an In-N-Out burger.

    Heidi Ryan, a member of the ShadowChase Running Club believes, “Root’s training helped him survive. ‘He has great endurance and that obviously helped him,’”

    To read the rest of the story, check out Fox News’ article, “Authorities say runner who survived in snowy California wilderness craved an In-N-Out burger.”

    You never know when you’ll find yourself in an emergency. Whether you run off-trail, must evacuate your home in the middle of the night, or face some other crisis, it’s important to develop your own survival skills now so you can survive and stay calm in an emergency.

    Root’s training taught his body how to endure, which enabled him to outlast this emergency. Keeping your body fit is a skill that requires time, patience, and hard work, but which in the long run can help you survive in an emergency and have a better quality of life every day.

    Often times survival skills can even come in handy when you aren’t in an emergency. Activities such as campouts, backpacking trips, boating excursions, ski and snowboard outings, and other outdoor adventures are good examples of times when it may pay off to have first aid training, know how to keep yourself warm, or how to stay hydrated—just to name a few.

     

    Check out some of our Insight articles to develop your own survival skills:

     

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? What did you do? What survival skills do you think would be helpful during an emergency?

     

    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, survival skills

  • Could you survive the Hunger Games?

    As I sat in a packed movie theater watching the premier of Catching Fire, the second installment in the Hunger Games series, I started to evaluate my own survival skills—could I be as resourceful (and resilient) as the main characters, Katniss and Peeta? Would I know how to survive off the land?

    The recent release of Catching Fire on DVD (March 7th, 2014) made me think about how the media portrays emergency preparation. While a lot of things in the Hunger Games are Hollywood-ized, the underlying principles of preparedness can help us fill the gaps in our own emergency plans.

    Survival: Resourcefulness at its Finest

    For those of you who are Hunger Games fans, I have a question: During tribute (contestant) training, which types of tributes does Katniss always seem to migrate towards, becoming their friends and allies in the arena?

    Katniss is drawn to people who have practical survival skills: plant identification, logical/mathematical skills, or cunning curiosity and cleverness. Her focus gives us something to think about in our own emergency preparations.

    While it’s important to know self-defense during an emergency, it’s equally (possibly more) important to know how to survive off the land and how to be resourceful with the minimal supplies you may have.

    Hunger-Games-Style Survival Skills Self-Evaluation

    Take a moment to evaluate your survival skills based off lessons learned in the Hunger Games. Let’s say you only have one tool to work with.

    • How would you get food for yourself or others?

    • Could you cure illnesses or treat wounds using natural remedies?

    • Do you know how to recognize and forage for edible plants?

    • Would you know the various uses for plants (treating illness, dressing wounds, eating)?

    • Would you know how and where to get clean water when there are no fresh sources available?

    • Would you know how and where to build a shelter for safety and warmth?

    • Would you know how to build items to help you survive, using just natural resources? (fire, splints, boats or rafts, tools, fish line and fishing hooks)

    Evaluate the Skills You Already Have

    You might have more survival skills under your belt than you think. For instance, I am really good at finding items around my home and using them to build and create new things. This skill could be transferred to a survival setting and help me create shelters, splints, or fishing hooks.

    Think about the skills you already have and how those skills could transfer to a survival situation. These skills, though small, may help you and your family survive. You may be surprised by what you already know; then take it one step further and learn new survival skills.

    You can start beefing up your survival skills by checking out our large selection of survival skills articles under the [“skills”] http://beprepared.com/blog/tag/skills-2/ category on our blog and [Insight Articles]

    May the odds be ever in your favor.

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills

  • Survival At Sea

    Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived at sea for over a year eating nothing but raw fish and birds' blood

    Did you hear about this? Earlier this month, a ragged figure washed up on the shore of one of the Marshall Islands and claimed he’d been lost at sea…for 13 months!

    José Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman from southern Mexico, went missing at the end of 2012 when a storm blew him and his companion off course and set them adrift in the Pacific. The young companion apparently succumbed to starvation, but Alvarenga has told the press a shocking story of surviving on raw fish and birds’ blood for more than a year. You can read about his unbelievable adventure here.

    “Unbelievable” gets right to the heart of the matter. Some have expressed doubts about Alvarenga’s credibility, citing the impossibility of survival under those circumstances. But experts beg to differ. National Geographic, for one, has weighed in with a headline claiming “Surviving More Than a Year Adrift at Sea Is Possible, With a Little Luck”.

    …a little luck, we say, best supplemented with a lot of skill. I live in a coastal state where boat emergencies are a very real thing, but wherever you reside, there are important things to know about ocean safety. Here are one or two:

    Finding potable water at sea

    Fishing for survival

    Boat Safety

    Be prepared when spending time at sea. Whether boating, swimming, fishing, or having another water adventure out on the waves, take emergency supplies along … just in case. The following items have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, meaning they have been sealed against water, moisture, and air, giving you a better chance of survival if you ever find yourself in a situation like the one Alvarenga experienced.

    Here are some other items we recommend taking with you:

    Your own castaway story might sound like a swashbuckling adventure, but we’ll opt for more preparation over raw fish and birds’ blood any day.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, water, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills, survival at sea

  • I have a new favorite website. And bizarrely, it has nothing to do with British television or decorating with old maps (my current obsessions). In fact, it seems like it should be better suited to the tough guy I’m married to—and yet, I can’t look away!

    It’s called Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook (honest-food.net). It’s written by a guy named Hank Shaw who used to be a political journalist but now writes recipes.

    Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook--Website Review

    Cray recipes.

    Crazy, wonderful recipes using edibles he either shoots, catches, finds, grows, or (occasionally) sources locally. Hank describes himself as an “omnivore who has solved his dilemma.” He’s published two books, contributed to an endless stream of both outdoors and food magazines, and has even appeared on television to demonstrate his culinary skills.

    Hunter-Goose-Bockwurst_HAGC

    The website is primarily a recipe archive, and I have to admit, those food photos are the big draw. But it’s the extras that make this site such a treasure. Categorized by main course (wild game, seafood, etc.), each heading provides how-to’s (do you know how to cut up a squirrel?), hunting tips (did you know seasonal diet will determine bear meat’s flavor?), video tutorials (any idea how to fillet a skate?), as well as extensive links and references, and some pretty fantastic essays.

    Wood Duck and Acorn Dumplings Recipe

    And did I mention the recipes? If you hunt or know a hunter, you’ve probably had a fairly decent deer roast. And the down-to-earth Hank would not turn you away if you offered him a bite. But how about French frog legs, partridge Escabeche, or grilled boar heart with peppers and onions?

    Not to mention squash spaetzle, stinging nettle ravioli, and acorn flour pasta. And he has a whole category dedicated to the “wobbly bits,” as he calls them: heart, liver, and whatever else I usually make my husband throw away before roasting the Thanksgiving bird. Talk about stretching your resources!

    What Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook advocates is twofold. First it challenges us to expand our conception of food. Nature’s readily available bounty includes plants and animals that we’re not used to thinking about in terms of meals, but which could absolutely sustain us (and in shameless gourmet style, Shaw demonstrates!).

    And secondly, it encourages us to widen our skill set. In an emergency and without other resources, could you shoot a squirrel or identify an edible mushroom? True preparedness isn’t just about stockpiling resources, it's also about knowing how to access what is available outside your storage cupboard.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: recipes, skills, hunting, survival skills, Website/Blog Review, fishing

  • Each Monday in January, we’re sharing our Preparedness New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. If you’d like to make some Prepping Resolutions of your own, but don’t know where to start, borrow some of our resolutions or use this series to get some ideas.

    This week we're  talking about Survival Skills. Take a look at last week’s resolutions for Food and Water Storage.

    Prepper style New Year's Resolutions for Survival Skills

    Here is what our Emergency Essentials’ bloggers plan on doing to hone their Survival Skills in 2014:

    New Year’s Resolution Prepper Style: Survival Skills

    Sharon

    I resolve to experiment with and learn different alternative cooking skills, such as basic thermos cooking and one-pot meals on a Single Burner Folding Stove with a Heat Cell Canister. I hope to get a Volcano Collapsible Grill with an Oven Lid and learn to use it for both grilling and baking using the Volcano Dutch Oven. I also plan to continue learning how to grow vegetables successfully in pots. (Last summer’s results were mixed: the cucumbers and peppers were great, but the eggplants were so small I kept waiting for them to grow large enough to harvest while they were actually growing old!)

     

    Sarah

    You may or may not know that, growing up, I used to go camping and hiking with my family all the time. As I grew older, I kicked my inner tomboy to the curb and embraced the world of stilettos and manicures. This year I’m letting the pendulum swing back to middle ground and I’ll be spending some more time outdoors, practicing and learning some survival skills (like building a fire or a shelter, orienteering, etc.). I’m also going to do some canning and dehydrating this year, which will be a totally new experience for me. There are dozens of skills I want to learn, but I’m trying to pace myself, so the first thing I’m going to do is a winter camping trip where I’ll practice building an emergency shelter and a fire. (Wish me luck. But if you’re worried about me, also know that I’m absolutely taking a tent. And an armful of hand and body warmers.)

    Angela

    Sometimes my husband acts like he’s a “dead body” and tells me to try to carry him out of a “burning house” (yes, I know this is weird). It’s annoying when he does it, but I fail at dragging him even two feet every time. This makes me think that I need to strength train to be able to get him to safety if something happened. So my New Year’s Resolution for skills is to learn various methods for carrying another person, strength training (so that I can lift more than 30 pounds . . .), and exercising more in case we have to evacuate on foot, or build a shelter.

     

    Kim

    Once upon a time I was CPR and First Aid certified . . . that was like 6 ½ years ago. This New Year, I resolve to relearn (and get re-certified) in First Aid and CPR. I just hit my one year wedding anniversary this last December and it’s made me realize that I want to be able to be self-reliant in protecting my family, if it comes to that. My husband and I ski . . . a lot. By developing First Aid skills, I will be better prepared to take care of my husband if he gets hurt while we’re skiing (before ski patrol arrives, of course). Knowing CPR and First Aid will also help me in the future when I have children. Learning these skills now will give me confidence to heal/help my children when they are ill or get injured.

     

    What type of Survival Skills do you want to develop in 2014? 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills

  •  Drowning swimmer: 20 survival tips

    According to Popular Mechanics’s recent article, “How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know,” “accidents are the leading cause of death among U.S. men 18 to 50 years old.” What’s most surprising about this article is that many of the unintentional deaths described occurred while the victim was performing an everyday task like mowing the lawn, watching a live baseball game, or getting snacks from the vending machine!

    This article illustrates how easy it is to misinterpret or fail to register signals of imminent danger in various situations. So Popular Mechanics offers its readers signs to recognize these easy-to-miss risks and ways to avoid or survive them. Some of the risks that they talk about include things like electric-shock drowning, ATV accidents, effects of using generators incorrectly, and health-related issues like hypothermia and what can happen if you drink too much water!

    Check out more of the Popular Mechanics article, “How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know,” to learn how to protect yourself from unseen dangers.

     

    Also, to beef up your survival skills check out these articles:

    Preparedness Tips: Portable Generators Need Maintenance?!

    First Aid for Hypothermia and Frostbite

    The Real Signs of Drowning

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, emergency preparedness, survival skills, danger, risks, avoiding risk, accidents

  •  Basic survival skills: know how to build a campfire

    I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to be doing during an emergency is reading an instruction manual. All the gear in the world—and I know, there’s some pretty sweet gear out there—is not going to build that shelter or clean that water by itself. As crucial as stocking up on the right supplies is, we also need to be actively building a base of survival skills to call on in a crisis. We can’t all be Bear Grylls, but the following list and resources offers a good place to start.

    So here is a list of the top Five Survival Skills (or How to Make an Emergency Less Scary) that all new and experienced preppers should know.

     

    1. Water

    Pop quiz: Which of the following will kill you fastest?

    • Lack of food
    • Lack of heat
    • Lack of water

    You guessed it—water should be your #1 concern in a disaster. Storing water will help you at home; purifying water will help you when you’re not close to a clean supply. However, purifying water can also help you at home as well. If officials issue a boil order or you’re concerned about the safety of your at home water supply you’ll want to purify your water. Check out our Insight Article, “Water Filtration and Purification” to learn more. But everyone should know the basics of water collection for survival. Howstuffworks.com has a handy-dandy tutorial about collecting water for survival.

     

    2. Shelter

    Basic survival skills: Building a shelter

    What do dry grass, garbage sacks, and a fallen tree have in common? They could all keep you from freezing. Knowing how to raise your ultra-light, four-man, double-walled tent in under six minutes won’t help you if you’re caught in the outdoors without it. You’ll need to know how to build a backup shelter out of natural resources if you don’t have that fancy tent on hand. Our Insight article, “Emergency Shelter” tells you how to construct 10+ emergency shelters with little or no gear. Learn just one, and you’re better prepared than you were yesterday.

     

    3. Fire

    By all means, keep torches, lighters, and waterproof matches handy. And you’re one step ahead of the game if you’ve been collecting dryer lint or newspaper for tinder. But could you get a flame going without all that on hand? Been a while since Scout camp? Brush up on your fire starter skills by watching one of seven video tutorials from the guys at  (wait for it…) http://howtostartafirewithoutmatches.com/.

     

     

    4. First aid

    We recently devoted a whole blog series to beefing up your first aid skills (check out August 2013 in our archives). Don’t know where to start? Learn the Heimlich maneuver.

     

    5. Food

    This is kind of a cheat category. Being able to eat during an emergency includes a variety of survival skills from hunting and foraging to gardening and canning—and frankly, you’d be doing great if you knew a little about each of those skills. You can become a gardening expert by browsing the “gardening tag” on our blog.  You can also develop your food preservation skills by checking out the “canning section” of our blog as well.

     

    But let’s assume the worst. If you were stranded in the woods, miles from your stockpile of freeze-dried entrees and canned peaches, what could you do? Check out these  list of forage-friendly eats from the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Green, and discovery.com. Before you start foraging in your neck of the woods, get a plan guide and get familiar with local plant life.

     

    These are good starting points to begin developing your survival skills. Pick one thing to learn, get really good at it, and then pick a new thing. Before you know it, you’ll be leading treks across Mongolia and hosting your own reality series.

     

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills