Archive for February 2013

Who Should Pay for the Rescue?

Last week, search and rescue (SAR) teams were dispatched on multiple occasions to find or assist hikers who had gotten lost in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.  The fact that the hikers needed help wasn’t unusual (since it happens fairly often), but that so many did, in so short a period of time, raised eyebrows in the local outdoors community.  After all, for one female hiker rescued on Wednesday, this wasn’t her first time requiring the service of SAR — It was her second time in three months. The recent events there, then, has helped to fuel a continuing debate that has grown across the country over the last ten years:  Who should pay the cost of a wilderness rescue?  The use of a helicopter, for example, for even a few hours can cost a local government thousands of dollars.  Still, it doesn’t seem that the general public generally minds […]

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Preparation is Key

Whether it is preparing for an unexpected survival or medical emergency,  a common misconception exists.  That is, that one can effectively deal with the emergency with only the barest minimum of equipment.  For example, some people believe that they should be able to survive if they were suddenly blindfolded and dropped into the wilderness, in winter, dressed only in their underwear and equipped simply with a knife (Don’t laugh, I have actually heard this).  Perhaps this might work on a television reality show, but I doubt that it would work in actual reality.  This misconception can potentially be deadly. Consider the heroic rescue reported by The Salem News this weekend in Peabody, Massachusetts: A snowplow driver, who was parked in the break-down lane of Interstate 95 on Friday, watched a Jeep Wrangler slam, at roughly 60 miles per hour, into the back of a front-end loader being operated by a co-worker. […]

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The Shackleton Survival Voyage Retraced

Today, an expedition composed of six Brits and Australians, led by Tim Jarvis and Barry Grey, completed a re-enactment of one of the greatest survival adventures of all time. The team followed the path of Ernest Shackleton, the acclaimed polar explorer, who in 1914 set out to sea from Great Britain on the Endurance with a crew of 56 men, just as hostilities broke out with Germany, to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent from sea to sea via the South Pole.  However, soon after leaving port, the expedition faced one difficulty after another.  Ultimately, though, even after overcoming all of those obstacles, the Endurance became hopelessly trapped in sea ice.  Knowing that their only chance for survival lay in their own hands, Shackleton led his men over high walls of pack ice, hidden crevasses, raging seas, blinding blizzards, even a mountain, to a remote whaling station on […]

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Wilderness First Aid Tip – Playing Safely in Winter

I spoke this morning to my friend, David, who lives just outside of Boston.  He, and the rest of the residents of the Northeast, are bracing for a snow storm that is forecast to blast in from the Great Lakes Region sometime later tomorrow.  But this apparently won’t be just any snow storm.  Forecasters are predicting a “crippling and potentially historic winter storm” that will bring more than 2′ of snow.  Boston has already cancelled school and it is preparing for “one of its worst blizzards of all time.”  I must admit, though, that I am a wee bit jealous of David.  Granted, I am happy enough to let him shovel his driveway and walk, but he and his son are going to have much fun afterwards when the work is done … As will the innumerable New England school kids who will be joining them. But whether you live […]

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