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Stay in place and carry a knife: Two things every 11 yr old Boy Scout knows - pierrerosen [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Stay in place and carry a knife: Two things every 11 yr old Boy Scout knows [Dec. 7th, 2006|09:53 am]
[Current Location |New York City]
[mood |coldcold]
[music |NPR]

It is a sad commentary on the state of our society that grown adults do not know basic survival skills.

The tragic death of Cnet editor James Kim is a case study in survival preparedness. The Kims were driving along a freeway and missed a turnoff hat led them down a small mountain road on a Thanksgiving vacation. Heavy Oregon snow disabled their car. The family was trapped. Having only some water, breast milk and some baby food, the Kim family survived for 7 days. However, tragedy struck when James Kim made the wrong decision and left his family to search for help. James Kim was found dead, 8 miles away, 2 days after the family was rescued.

What went wrong? The Kims started off on the right foot. They had shelter, heat, food, and water. And they waited. Over a week. Then bad decisions were made.

Leaving the car to search for help was a mistake. A serious fundamental mistake.

According to every resource I have found, if you are trapped on a road during a blizzard, you stay in your car, and you only leave your car if you can find help within 100 feet of the car. Taking an 8 mile hike, by yourself, through tremendously rugged mountain terrain not following a trail, outfitted with tennis sneakers, blue jeans, a shirt and a medium-weight parka is foolish and is a perfect recipe for hypothermia.

My wilderness training also informs me that staying in one place, with a group of people, is always better than splitting up individually. Staying in a group, in the freezing cold, makes sense. You can combine body heat. You can combine knowledge and resources. You can boost each others moral. You can do more things in a group, than alone, especially if you don't have a lot of resources!

Another essential piece of survival gear is a knife. It comes in very handy for a variety of purposes. Yet people don't keep one on their person at all times. I was taught to always take a knife with me when I am outdoors. But yet another recent story illustrates our foolishness in the wilderness. A 65 year old woman recently saved her husbands life by repeatedly stabbing a mountain lion with a ballpoint pen and beating it with a stick. Imagine how much better off she would have been if she had a knife in her pocket.

link to first article | link to second article