Survive Hypothermia: Prepper’s Checklist

I live in a state that (usually) sees a lot of snow, especially in the mountains.  Knowing how to survive hypothermia is knowledge every family living in a cold climate should master.  Let’s talk about how to diagnose, treat, and prevent hypothermia.

What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.  Normal body temperature is approximately 98.6 F (37 C)  Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C), preventing your body from functionally normally.

Hypothermia can be  caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in cold water.  You survive hypothermia by warming the body back up to normal temperatures.

Symptoms of Hypothermia

The first symptom of hypothermia is often shivering, as your body attempts to warm itself.

Other signs include:

* Mumbling   ( The ‘umbles’ include mumbling, stumbling, grumbling or irritation)

* Slow and shallow breathing

* A weak pulse

* Lack of coordination

*The desire to sleep

*Confusion

*Loss of consciousness

Because hypothermia often comes on so slowly, a person often has no idea of their condition.  The confused thinking that hypothermia causes  hinders a person’s ability to actually realize they are in danger.

Survive Hypothermia

 

How To Survive Hypothermia

The first step in surviving hypothermia begins with preparedness before the event.  You survive hypothermia by having a plan in place, just in case.   This includes making sure you have the right gear with you when hiking, skiing, camping or traveling in winter weather.

This post contains affiliate links.

Remove yourself from the cold.   If possible get yourself out of any wet clothes.

Curl into the HELP position inside of a sleeping bag, blankets or an emergency bevy bag to reduce heat loss. (I love *this post contains affiliate links this brand and have them in all of our bug out bags. )   Hold your knees to your chest to help warm  the trunk of your body.  If you are with others, huddle together.

Chemical heat packs are a must to help prevent and address hypothermia.   Place a heat pack on major arteries to warm your blood, such as by the neck, under armpits and in the groin.  Slowly warming the body’s core is most important, the extremities can wait.

Prevention of Hypothermia

Wear the right clothing, including clothing that will prevent body heat loss from your head, face and neck and hands.

Wear layers of loose fitting layers of lightweight clothing.  You want your outer layer to be tightly woven, and water resistant.

Stay as dry as possible.  Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible.  Pay special attention to keeping your feet dry, by having an extra pair of *this post contains affiliate links wool socks in your pack.

Having a rechargeable hand warmer in your pack is also a good idea.

Be careful not to overexert yourself, causing yourself to sweat a lot.  Wet clothing and cold sweat will cause you to lose body heat faster.

Always make sure someone knows where you are going and when you are expected to be back.  This way emergency responders will know where to look if there is trouble.

Hypothermia Survival At Home

You may be surprised to discover that the risk of hypothermia during winter power outages is high, especially  if you are not prepared.  If you have access to health care don’t take any risks and get to a hospital immediately.  If your only choice is to stay at home, here are some ideas to help mitigate the risks.

Store wool blankets or cold weather sleeping bags.

Have a way to heat water for soup or warm drinks to keep yourself both hydrated and warm.

Store chemical packs.

Consider investing in a quality indoor radiant  heater.

Pro Tip: Learn more ways to protect your family in severe winter weather.

Preparation Is Key To Hypothermia Survival

I can remember being worried each time winter grew near.  How would I protect my family from severe winter weather if we lost power or had to leave due to an emergency in a snow storm.  Taking the time to make a plan, and actually supply that plan in the form of emergency kits, is one of the best things I’ve ever done.    I hope you’ll do the same.

Last Minute Winter Emergency Road Trip List

Heading to the snowy mountains for the holidays? Here is a last minute winter emergency road trip list to keep you and your family safe!

unpredictable winter weather

 

Emergency car kit containing the following items:

A reflective hazard warning sign (this one’s a carrying case)

Jumper cables

Ice scraper

Tire pressure gauge

Ratchet set

Pliers

Screwdrivers

Electrical tape

Automotive fuses

Work gloves

Flashlight

A strong tote bag or backpack to keep your gear in. An egg crate to store this equipment is also handy as it doubles as a stool if you get stuck changing a tire.

First Aid Kit

Bottled water. I like to keep a whole case in the trunk as well.

Snacks. Some with higher protein and some just to keep your spirits up.

Baby wipes.

External battery pack to charge your phone like a Mophie. 

Road Atlas. See how I plan to use maps in an emergency. This is a great time to make notes on what’s around you when you travel.

Mylar heat blankets and hand warmers. I usually buy a large winter pack with a variety of these heated pouches each year at Costco.

Heavy blanket that you could use to cover a window if broken or wrap around you.

Duct tape.

Snow boots-tuck inside an extra set of warm gloves, hat that covers your ears, scarf, and warm socks.

Ice scraper

Snow shovel.

Siphon pump and gas can.

Kitty litter for giving your tires traction in the ice and snow.

Protein bars, water and ready to eat meals.

Matches

Light sticks

Flares

Make sure someone knows where you are going, what time you expect to be there and what roads you are planning to travel.

Stay up to date on road conditions. Many states have apps now for your phone that will keep you up to date.

Set your phone settings to receive emergency alerts. Here is a good explanation from Verizon on how Emergency Alerts work. These can be critical to your families safety. For more tips on using your phone during a winter weather emergency read Weathering the Winter on the Verizon blog

Turn on your geo locate on your cell phone so that the signal could be used to find you if necessary. 

Make use of the many services offered for vehicles these days like GM’s OnStar features for winter safety.

Disclosure: I have compensated relationships with both Onstar and Verizon Wireless through their social media teams. My participation in these programs has not influenced my thoughts on this post. Both of these services are very beneficial in emergency situations.

Unpredictable Winter Weather

Snow is starting to fall and that means unpredictable winter weather is upon us. Taking simple steps now to plan ahead for winter weather emergencies can help thwart a disaster. Here are three posts that can get you started in your winter weather preparations in and around the home.

But what if that unpredictable winter weather decides to wreak havoc when you are on vacation?

unpredictable winter weather

Many of us travel to either play in the snow or to escape the snow during the winter months. Here are some tips for airline travel preparedness.

  • Always carry 3 days worth of prescription and over the counter medications on you at all times. Airport delays happen frequently in the winter. Don’t check your medicine in your luggage. You may get stuck in an airport and you won’t have access to your checked bags.
  • Always wear  a solid pair of walking shoes on an airplane. I can’t tell you the number of times I cringe seeing people wear flip flops and slippers. Think about what you would do if you had to suddenly walk a long a distance with what you have on you. When you get on a plane always think through what you will do if you get stuck on the other end without your luggage.
  • Keep a change of clothes in your carry-on and include things that can be easily layered. Always carry an easy to pack jacket with you with a hood. A small collapsible umbrella is a smart choice as well.
  • Write down emergency phone numbers. If your cell goes dead, you drop it, it gets stolen, would you remember all the numbers you need?
  • Carry cash. Don’t count on ATM’s and credit card machines working. If weather is that bad power can easily be lost, taking down ATM’s and pay machines.
  • Wear multipurpose clothing when traveling. I am a big fan of the SCOTTEVEST line. Particularly this vest that I have. I can carry a lot of essentials on me safely and conveniently.
  • Load your important documents to a secure folder of a cloud service. If you use iPhone you can use iCloud for free or anyone can use Google Drive for free. I personally like DropBox for this. Take a photo of your drivers license, passport, and insurance cards.

Traveling by car can present a different set of challenges in unpredictable winter weather. Here are some tips for car travel preparedness.

  • It’s time to update your emergency road trip kit.  In addition to everything I suggest in that post, lets add:
      1. Mylar heat blankets and hand warmers.
      2. Ice scraper (it is mentioned in that post but I want to make sure you have it).
      3. Snow shovel.
      4. Siphon pump and gas can.
      5. Kitty litter for giving your tires traction in the ice and snow.
      6. Protein bars, water and ready to eat meals.
      7. Matches
      8. Light sticks
      9. Flares
      10. Cell phone signal booster and extra battery chargers like a Mophie.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going, what time you expect to be there and what roads you are planning to travel.
  • Stay up to date on road conditions. Many states have apps now for your phone that will keep you up to date.
  • Set your phone settings to receive emergency alerts.
  • Turn on your geo locate on your cell phone so that the signal could be used to find you if necessary. Having apps like Find My iPhone or Verizon’s Family Locator service are perfect for this.
  • Make use of the many services offered for vehicles these days like GM’s OnStar features. There is an add-on mirror available now if you do not have a GM car. It does not have all the features of a built in unit but is better than not having the service. I use OnStar and always feel safe knowing someone is available at the touch of a button via a separate satellite phone that won’t go dead. They can geolocate my car and send help via GPS coordinates even if I am unresponsive after a collision. It’s like having a guardian angel in my car.

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