Archive for the ‘News’ Category

First Aid: Treating Lightning Injuries

First Aid: Treating Lightning Injuries

A 45-year old man was struck by lightning earlier this week while playing soccer at a local park in Pittsburgh.  Bystanders found him unresponsive and not breathing so they immediately dialed 9.1.1. and began CPR.  Paramedics soon revived the man, and by last report, he remains in critical condition, though still alive. While such incidents may be statistically rare, for all practicable purposes, they aren’t necessarily uncommon.  Just this week alone, there have been several such incidents reported across the country where the victim would have died but for first aid received from bystanders.  Better yet, a few of them were soon happily giving interviews on television from their hospital beds. But what if during your next hike, paddle, or other outdoor adventure, you saw someone in the same condition after a lightning strike, would you know how to help them? SCENE SURVEY The mantra of all rescuers should always […]

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Survival Question: Should You Eat This?

Survival Question: Should You Eat This?

A few weeks ago, during our previous Advanced Wilderness Survival course, as J.C. and I talked with our clients, we all noticed a very large millipede boldly stroll across a nearby log and scramble down to the ground in front of us.  At that point, one of them asked, “Could we eat that in a survival situation?”  It seemed like a good teaching opportunity so I suggested that, based on the training that they had so far received from us, they were quite capable of answering for themselves whether they could, or should. Consider taking a few minutes to read the following information, then determine how you might answer. Your Primary Food Source In all of our wilderness survival courses at True North, we teach our clients that in a survival situation, their primary food source should not be wild edibles, like berries, roots, and leaves, as is more commonly […]

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Survival Training Technique … Learn From Other’s Mistakes

Survival Training Technique ... Learn From Other's Mistakes

On Saturday morning, I read the sad news account of the death of a South Korean exchange student a day earlier at the famous Seven Sisters Cliffs in England.  Business Insider reported that Hyewon Kim, who was touring the area by herself, asked someone to take a photograph of her as she “jumped” from the cliff. Kim walked by numerous posted signs that warned her of the danger along the cliffs to find the perfect spot for her photograph, which presumably she intended to then text to family and friends back home. However, her simple hop into the air caused the ground to crumble so Kim fell 200 feet to the shore below, suffering “catastrophic injuries.”  What most of us would have considered a typical lark in the outdoors is now a tragedy for a family Do you think that this is the first time that I’ve read about such […]

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Even Small Things can be Powerful

Even Small Things can be Powerful

Whether we are hiking, fishing, paddling, or enjoying the beauty of the Great Outdoors in any number of others ways, emergencies can occur.  If you ever found yourself in the woods in need of help, what type of signaling device do you think would be the most helpful? Consider a study by the National Park Service conducted in 2014 which summarized the most common reasons why people needed to be rescued in its parks.  The single most common activity in which the subjects of a search were engaged was the “Day Hike” (42%).  This far outpaced the next activity, overnight backpacking, at 13%.  Other activities represented low single digits, where even “Technical Climbing” only accounted for a mere 2% of rescues.  And during these activities, the most common factors that contributed to the need for help were “Fatigue / Physical Conditioning” (23%) and “Error in Judgment” (19%).  I would submit that this study is representative […]

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The Little Things Matter

The Little Things Matter

You have all heard the maxim, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  But is it true? While I agree with it conceptually, I have never been able to completely embrace it in practice.  Especially when it comes to outdoor activities.  In my view, it is the small stuff which is most important. It is the small details on which everything else (that is, the big stuff) is based, and if that base is bad, everything else could quickly fall apart.  During my courses, I regularly remind students that they need to pay attention to detail because, otherwise, those oversights have the potential to combine to create a very serious situation for themselves, and others.  After all, a catastrophe does not result simply as the result of one single, isolated incident, but rather as a chain of seemingly unrelated incidents that reach a critical mass.  By sweating the small stuff, one can […]

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Top 10 Survival School

Top 10 Survival School

True North is extremely pleased to announce that we have been included as one of the top ten wilderness survival schools featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Survivor’s Edge. As outlined in its article, Masters of Survival, the folks at Survivor’s Edge write, “Here are ten well highly regarded schools that will teach you what you need to know to survive and live off of the land.” We’re not exactly sure if we are comfortable being described, even indirectly, as a “master” since it’s extremely humbling to see our name alongside so many other nationally known and well respected survival schools from all around the United States in their list.  Still, if this attention in any way reflects how hard we continue to work to provide you the finest training in wilderness survival, emergency medicine, and land navigation so that you are best prepared to protect yourself, and others, in an emergency anywhere, anytime, then that’s fine […]

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Active Shooter Preparation

Active Shooter Preparation

Yesterday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, at a center for people with disabilities which left 14 dead and 21 others injured, is a shocking tragedy which words cannot fully express.  Adding to my disbelief, though, was my surprise when reading this morning in The Washington Post about the details of the shooting. That is, it reports that, not only was this mass shooting in the California only the second one yesterday (there was an another in Georgia), but it is the 355th for the year. Honestly, I find this difficult to comprehend, and, frankly, I have no meaningful commentary to offer.  But since at True North our mission is to help prepare you for emergencies, I can at least confidently write that the key to best dealing with the unexpected — anywhere, anytime — is preparation. So, here are two resources that I have shared several times already this year, but think that it […]

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One Key to Survival: Always Keep an Open Mind

One Key to Survival: Always Keep an Open Mind

Last week, I came across the article, How the Navy SEALs Prepare for Extreme Cold Weather Survival, and How You Can Too.  Since then, I have read it three more times.  It not only taught me several important pieces of information, but it reminded me of a tremendously valuable lesson: Always keep an open mind. That’s because, to be completely honest, after reading the title, I almost passed it by, let alone even consider recommending it in the True North blog.  While I have the utmost respect for those serving in the U.S. military special operations community, and am particularly proud of several uncles who served as Green Berets in Vietnam, I am uncomfortable with how “Navy SEAL” and other special forces terms are too often used to market gear, services, and articles of questionable need and quality. In this case, though this article is intended to market equipment and clothing from Sitka Gear, it still […]

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Wilderness Survival isn’t just about the Wilderness

Wilderness Survival isn't just about the Wilderness

Would you like to know a little more about True North’s wilderness survival philosophy directly from the source?  Now you can! Last week, Erik sat down with Aaron Watson, host of the podcast Going Deep.  Amongst various topics, the two discussed the attraction of Nature, outdoors education, and Erik’s philosophy of wilderness survival.  In particular, that wilderness survival doesn’t just apply to some remote location … It’s about Life too! To listen to their conversation, check out Episode #29.

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Blisters – Prevention & Treatment

Blisters - Prevention & Treatment

As part of our everyday lives in our front-country worlds, blisters on our feet are not that big of a deal.  That’s because you probably rarely get them, and, if you do, they are usually easy to remedy and protect.  In fact, they are likely little more than an inconvenience. However, in a backcountry setting, you will definitely view blisters from a completely different perspective.  To write that they are “painful,” as many of you would likely agree, is more than an understatement.  Not only can they can easily ruin an otherwise wonderful day of hiking, but at worst, they can be truly debilitating. So, rather than risk letting the time, effort, and money that you spent preparing for your much anticipated hike go to waste, I thought that I would share with you two related articles from Wilderness Medicine magazine which is published by the Wilderness Medical Society.  After all, I believe […]

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