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Finding Water in the Wild – Survive Outdoors Longer Survival Tips

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

A male hiker refreshes with a drink of water while standing next to a river in a tropical jungle.

SURVIVE OUTDOORS LONGER- Survival Skills to know if your adventure turns into a misadventure.

Anytime you’re a few hours off the trail or deep in the backcountry, you are assuming risk and should be prepared for potentially life threatening situations like getting lost or injured. That’s why it’s good to know some basic outdoor survival skills. Follow our series for the Water, Fire, Shelter and Signaling tips you’ll need to survive.

Taken from Wilderness First Aid and Survival download By Eric A. Weiss M.D. and Adventure® Medical Kits

Finding Water in the Wild

In an emergency situation, you can live about 3-5 days without water. If survival forces you to drink from a stagnant or muddy pool, remember that is it better drink dirty water than to die of dehydration. Strain muddy water through a cloth or water-purifying filter if you have one.

Thirst is a poor indication of dehydration. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Drink plenty of water wherever it is available. If water is not available, it is best not to eat as the body needs fluids to process and breakdown food.

Look for water in low lying areas or a depression. In dry areas, plants with plenty of green leafy growth indicate a water source. Dig down a few feet and wait for water to accumulate in the pit.

Collect rainwater in your survival blanket and channel it into a container

Do not eat un-melted snow or ice. Your body gives up heat to melt the snow or ice and your mouth can swell and can prevent you from eating and drinking.

Do not drink seawater, alcohol or urine

WAtersill

Make a solar sill:

  • Did a hole about 3 feet wide and 2 ½ feet deep in a low area with good sun exposure.
  • If available, place green, leafy vegetation in the hole to increase the moisture content.
  • Place a wide mouthed container on the bottom of the hole.
  • Cover the hole with your survival blanket so that it dips down toward the center of the hole.
  • Secure the blanket with sand and dirt so there is an airtight seal.
  • Center a small rock in the middle of the blanket over the container. Water will condense on the underside of the blanket and drop into the container.

How to Prevent and Treat Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

thirst

As we move into the heart of summer, it’s wise to remember the risks that high temperatures, sun, humidity and exertion can bring. Regardless of athletic prowess, age, or gender, the weather has an enormous affect on our bodies. Some days it’s better to adjust your plans and explore when the heat is less intense in the early mornings or after the sun has set. Keeping hydrated is key to preventing heat illness. Water is the fuel our bodies need to cool from the inside out

Sweating is the main source of cooling the body during exertion and warm conditions. When you’re overheated, the blood vessels near the skin dilate so that more blood can reach the surface and dissipate heat. If you’ve waited too long to drink water and have become dehydrated, the body is limited in its ability to sweat and evaporate heat.

Read on to learn how to address heat-related illnesses and how you can prevent them on your next outing. And Always grab a first aid kit and basic survival gear so you’ll be ready and #AdventureEquipped.

Basic first Aid Skills- Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide By Dr. Eric A. Weis

Heat Exhaustion

Signs and Symptoms

Typical symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (weakness, malaise, headache, nausea and loss of appetite)
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness upon standing or a laying position
  • Dehydration
  • Elevated core temperature(usually below 104F
  • Sweating

Treatment

  • Stop all exertion and move patient to cool and shaded area
  • Remove restrictive clothing
  • Administer water and oral rehydration solutions
  • **Ice or cold packs, if available, should be placed alongside the body, under armpits and on the groin area. Don’t place ice packs directly on the skin as they may induce frostbite. Protect the skin by buffering the skin with a cloth.
  • Additional cooling methods include submerging the patient in cool water or wetting the skin with cold water and fanning the patient.

When should you worry?

Heatstroke

Heat exhaustion that is not treated can progress into Heatstroke, which is a life-threatening medical emergency. Anyone suffering from a heat illness that begins to show altered mental states (loss of coordination, bizarre behavior, confusion) should be treated for heatstroke with rapid cooling and transported to the hospital.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Elevated temperature (above 40C/105F)
  • Altered mental state
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid respiration
  • Sweating present but may be absent in some cases

Treatment:

  • Cool the victim as quickly as possible, using methods noted above**
  • Do not give the victim anything to drink because of the risk of vomiting.
  • Do not administer acetaminophen or aspirin
  • Treat for shock-keep the victim lying down, covered and insulated from the ground. Elevate the legs so that gravity can improve blood circulation to the heart and brain.
  • Evacuate the victim to the closest medical facility

Prevention:

Keep yourself hydrated.

Dehydration is the most important contributing factor leading to heat illness. Thirst is a poor indication of dehydration. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. During exercise your body can easily sweat away 1-2 Liters( 1-2 quarts) of water per hour. Refuel with at least .5 Liters water every 20 minutes throughout the day to insure you’re adequately hydrated. In some cases, you may need more water. The best way to tell if you are hydrated is by urine color. Clear to pale yellow urine indicates you’re drinking enough. Dark, yellow colored urine indicates dehydration (Note: some medications and vitamins can turn urine yellow/orange)

Exercise in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low and the heat is less intense. The potential for developing heat illness is greatest when the temperatures are above 35C/95F and the humidity level is over 80%.

Allow yourself adequate time to acclimatize before exercising for prolonged periods in the heat. It takes the body about 10 days to become acclimatized to a heat environment.

Wear clothing that is lightweight and loose-fitting for ventilation and light-colored to reflect heat.

Get plenty of rest. A U.S. Army study found a correlation between lack of sleep, fatigue and heat illness.

Avoid certain medications and drugs like antihistamines, anti-hypertension drugs etc. They can predispose you to heat illness.

10 Essentials Every Hiker Should Carry

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Lost-Photographer-0540

Headed out on a hike or even a multi-day backpacking adventure? Make sure you plan ahead for emergencies. We’ve assembled a list of the key items you should make room for in your pack.

While it may seem silly to carry them on your short hike, you’ll be grateful for these aids when you might need them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Essential List:

The most important thing you can pack before any adventure is knowledge. Know your abilities, know the area you are traveling and know the weather.

Navigation:

A compass and map of the area you are exploring. If you pack a GPS, always bring along extra batteries or a map/compass as a backup. Not sure how to find your way. Consider a navigation course to learn the skills. REI.COM sells a variety of GPS units including this Garmin.

GPS
Sun Protection:

Up high in the mountains or in harsh desert sun, sunglasses and sunscreen keep your eyes and skin protected from the sun’s rays. A broad rimmed hat works wonders out on glaciated terrain. Try SOL Sunscreens, great for when you’re in the mountains or in the water.

SOL
Insulation:

It might be sunny at the start of your hike but temperature and weather can change in an instant. Be sure to pack an extra layer based upon the worst weather you might encounter. Bonus, bring along a light hat and gloves and you’ll save 20% of your body heat. Try Mountain Hardwear’s Whisper Jacket, it’s light and packs to the size of a baseball.

MH
Illumination:

Carry a headlamp. Repeat, Carry a headlamp! Even if you plan to end your hike by dark, delays can happen, darkness comes quickly and you’ll be able to continue on even in rugged terrain. The Petzl Tika is fit for the job.

Tikka
 

 

First Aid Kit:

Nothing ruins a hike faster than blisters, bee stings, scrapes and cuts. Bring along a first aid kit stocked with supplies you might need. Not sure how to treat ailments? Adventure Medical Kits’ products include pre-labeled pouches and a first aid manual with how-tos.

0125-0290 AMK Ultralight Watertight 9 RT copy
 

 

Fire:

And then Man or Woman had fire. Staying warm and dry is key in the event you get stranded out in the wilderness. Bring along fire cubes or a fire starter kit so you can light a fire easily.

0140-1230 SOL Fire Lite Kit STRT

Multi Tool:
A knife, multi tool and duct tape can be super handy for almost any need. Cutting, fixing and taping are a handy wilderness skill!

Food:
Make sure to carry at least an extra day’s worth of food. We like hearty bars and snacks that are lightweight and packed with fuel.s and map of the area you are exploring. If you pack a GPS, always bring along extra batteries or a map/compass as a backup. Not sure how to find your way. Consider a navigation course to learn the skills. REI.COM sells a variety of GPS units including this Garmin.

Water:
Carry a water bottle or reservoir. We don’t recommend drinking out of streams unless you have a filter or water purifier. Be sure to note water availability. Adults should have about 2 liters of water for a daylong hike. Stay hydrated by drinking water before you begin your hike, small amounts through the day and later refuel post-hike.

Shelter:

Day hikers are most likely to leave this off their list, but they shouldn’t. It could make a huge difference if you need to shelter someone who is hurt or find yourself in a downpour. Consider packing a light tarp, bivvy sack or emergency blanket.

0140-1138_SOL_Emergency_Bivvy_Laid_Out
Other items you may want to consider:

Insect repellent, Blister treatments, whistle and signaling device.

0006-6878-Natrapel-6oz-Eco-Spray-STRT

My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk! Now what do I do?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

IMG_1018

Adventure Dog Series-Your Guide to Dog First Aid and Other Dog Disasters

Adventuring is always more fun with a dog in tow. You know your buddy loves adventure just as much as you do. Sometimes, unknowingly, our best buddies can put themselves at risk. Follow our posts for first aid tips and how to’s. Your dog will thank you!

My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk! Now what do I do?

Taken from Dr. Sid Gustafson, DVM  (Author of Canine Field Medicine and a consultant for Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventure Dog Kits

Skunks are a common and generally not a serious threat to active dogs. A direct hit to the face can irritate the eyes.

 

 

 

Action:

  • Keep the dog outside to clean them.
  • Wear gloves and old clothes!
  • Restrain as appropriate. Due to pain, injured or ill animals can be unpredictable. To prevent injury to yourself and others, it is recommended that you restrain the dog as appropriate. Wrap the dogs muzzle with a cloth to prevent nipping and to keep the dog calm.
  • If your dog was hit in the head, use a stream of sterile saline solution to bath the eyes
  • Bathe the animal daily for up to 7 days in the following recommended solution:
  • Skunk Bath Remedy
    • 1 pint 3% hydrogen peroxide
    • 1 Quart Water
    • ¼ cup baking soda
    • 1 Tbsp. Prell liquid dish soap
    • Apply mixture to coat and let sit 30 minutes.
    • Rinse with a mixture of one cup baking soda in one gallon of water. Avoid the dog’s eyes. Do a final rinse with warm water.
  • Skunk spray is composed of thiols, which are responsible for the odor. These are neutralized by the hydrogen peroxide and absorbed by the baking soda.
  • Smell may linger for days or weeks after a skunk incident. Over time your buddy will smell as fresh as a daisy!
  • Be sure to consider rabies, and make sure your dog is vaccinated. Skunks are the primary carriers of rabies in many regions.

At Adventure Medical Kits we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated essential first-aid kits to help keep the guesswork out of what you should pack—as well as keeping costs down by minimizing the amount of items you have to buy. Our dog-specific kits include key items you’ll need for the most common injuries and also include a handy first aid handbook and reference manual to guide you through treating dog injuries and illnesses.

 

0135-0115 AMK Trail Dog_LT

 

What do I do if my dog runs through a barbwire fence and his leg is bleeding?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

IMG_9990

Adventure Dog Series-Your Guide to Dog First Aid

Adventuring is always more fun with a dog in tow. And you know your buddy loves the adventure just as much as you do. Yet even tough dogs can get injured out on the trail. Will you know how to take care of your four legged friend? Follow our posts for first aid tips and how to’s. Your dog will thank you! Woof!

What do I do if my dog runs through a barbwire fence and his leg is bleeding?

Taken from Dr. Sid Gustafson, DVM  (Author of Canine Field Medicine and a consultant for Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventure Dog Kits

If the bleeding is External and Severe:

Severe bleeding needs immediate first aid. Severe bleeding spurts rhythmically with the heartbeat and is bright red.

Stay calm and approach the dog slowly.

Due to pain, injured or ill animals can be unpredictable. To prevent injury to yourself and others, it is recommended that you restrain the dog as appropriate. Before you can control the bleeding you need to control the dog.

Wash your hands or wear latex gloves for protection.

Don’t wash wounds that are bleeding heavily-It will make it harder for clots to form.

Apply continuous and direct pressure with a sterile gauze pad or a clean piece of cloth to the wound. Alternatively, use QuikClot® gauze  in place of a traditional dressings. QuikClot is a chemically inert material that speeds coagulation of blood, resulting in a stable clot that stops bleeding

If blood soaks through the pad, apply a second pad on top of the first (do not remove the first pad)

If you cannot control the bleeding with just your hand pressure, wrap the wound with pads still in place in several layers of roll gauze, an elastic bandage or duct tape.

If there are no broken bones, elevate the injured limb

Transport to the nearest Vet or emergency clinic.

For Minor Cuts and Lacerations with slower flowing or seeping blood that is dark red.

  • Restrain as necessary
  • Carefully remove any foreign particles from the wound.
  • Clean wound with saline solution and an irrigation syringe to prevent infection.
  • Keep bandage clean and dry if possible. Make sure to not wrap the injury too tightly. Your dog may resist the bandage or gnaw to remove. Attempt to keep covered. A dog will naturally want to lick a wound and keep it clean, so don’t fret if the bandage comes off. Just make sure the bleeding has stopped and the wound has clotted.

At Adventure Medical Kits we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated essential first-aid kits to help keep the guesswork out of what you should pack—as well as keeping costs down by minimizing the amount of items you have to buy. Our dog-specific kits include key items you’ll need for the most common injuries and also include a handy first aid handbook and reference manual to guide you through treating dog injuries and illnesses.

Dog Kits

 

 

3 Useful & Life Saving Items You Should Take On Your Next Adventure

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Reflection of mountains and trees in water, Moor Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

3 Insanely Useful & Life Saving Items You Should Take On Your Next Adventure

So you are heading out to explore the Allagash Wilderness of Maine, backpacking in the Sierras or mountain biking an old logging road. You’ve got the gear packed and the posse assembled, but have you thought about the fact that you’ll be 20 miles from a road? That means your crew will be depending upon each other in case something goes down.

Prepare for anything and get #AdventureEquipped. Channel your inner Scout with a few simple items that could make you the hero if you and your buddies are stranded out in the wilderness. Trust us, you’re friends will thank you for taking these along.

 

The Doctor is in

Accidents can happen. Carry a first aid kit and you’ll be ready for bee stings, punctured wounds, sprained ankles and a host of other emergencies. The Ultralight watertight .9 is an easy take- along filled with all the supplies you’ll need. It even comes with a handy first aid guide and is housed in a waterproof zip lock bag in case your canoe capsizes.

0125-0290 AMK Ultralight Watertight 9 RT copy

A $20 Box Could Save Your Life

Who ever said $20 doesn’t buy anything? Then they haven’t explored the immensely useful items inside the Survive Outdoors Longer Traverse survival kit. Packed into the small tin are essentials like water purification tablets and water storage container, fire starter with flint, emergency blanket and signaling mirror. The box covers the basics of water, shelter, fire and signaling. The Traverse is easy to slip in your bag and weighs about 6 ounces.

0140-1767_SOL_Traverse_STRT

A Knife with a Purpose

About the size of the palm of your hand, the Phoenix incorporates 8+ survival tools into a small pocketknife size multi-tool. The contents include a fixed, serrated and drop point bladed knife, 3-7mm wrench, flat head screwdriver, fire starter and flint striker, LED light and signaling whistle.

 

0140-0838_sol_phoenix_open_light

 

How NOT to Get Stranded Out in The Wilderness

North, South, East, West, you thought you knew where you were going but now you’re lost. Of course, knowing the terrain, watching the weather and knowing how to use your compass is key in the wilderness. Check out these links below to learn the skills, scout the terrain or get a read on the weather.

Learning Map & Compass Skills

http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/blog/2009/04/navigation-basics-map-and-compass/

Learning Wilderness First Aid and Rescue:

NOLS http://www.nols.edu/wmi/courses/wildfirstaid.shtml

REI https://www.rei.com/outdoorschool/wilderness-medicine-classes.html

National Weather Service http://www.weather.gov/

 

 

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

ankle injury

Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series

Heading out into the wilderness can be an amazing experience that allows you to explore remote areas and challenge yourself. As a smart adventurer, you’ve probably already taken the steps to prepare for your journey by bringing along the basics for survival (Food, Water, Shelter, First Aid Kit, extra Clothing ) and knowing the terrain. But anytime you’re a few hours from advanced medical care, you are assuming risk and should be prepared for injuries and illnesses. That’s why it’s good to know some first aid basics. In our Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series, we’ve compiled a list of skills and treatments we consider essential for anyone who goes out in the backcountry. Our articles are not a substitute for professional medical training or treatment. We recommend taking a full Wilderness First Aid course for more comprehensive knowledge and seeking professional care as soon possible.

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide, By Dr. Eric A. Weiss

There you are, just hiking along the trail when suddenly the footing changes and you roll your ankle to one side. You feel it stretch and maybe even feel it tear. It stops you cold and it hurts.

SPRAINS

A sprain is stretching or tearing of ligaments that attach one bone to another. Ligaments are sprained when a joint is twisted or stretched beyond its normal range of motion. Most sprains occur in the ankle and knee.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include tenderness to the site, swelling, bruising, and pain with movement. Because these symptoms are also present with a fracture, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. Use caution and treat the injury until x-rays or further medical evaluation is available.

Treatment

  1. First aid begins with R-I-C-E (see below). If the victim cannot bear weight at all, use a splint to stabilize the foot and ankle and get assistance out of the backcountry.
  2. If the victim can still walk, use a C-Splint,  compression wrap or tape the ankle for support.
  3. Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, 3x per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. As soon as possible, seek medical evaluation to determine the need for X-rays to check for fracture.

A leg tensor bandage being applied outdoors

R-I-C-E-S- Immediate steps for treating sprains and strains

Rest: Resting takes the stress off the injured joint and prevents further damage.

Ice: Ice as quickly as possible as it will reduce the swelling and pain. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area for up to 20 minutes, 3-4 times per day. Follow with a compression bandage. Wrapping is key, as the joint will swell as soon as the ice is removed.

Compression: Compression wraps prevent swelling and provide support. Pad the injury with socks or soft items, and then wrap with an elastic bandage. Begin the wrap at the toes and move up the foot up and over the ankle with the wrap. The wrap should be comfortable but not too tight. If the victim experiences numbness, tingling or increased pain, loosen the wrap.

Elevation: Elevate the injury above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.

Stabilization: Tape or splint the injured area to prevent further damage.

Next Steps:

Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, three times per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.

 

Are You #AdventureEquipped?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
Kevin Jorgeson free climbing El Capitan's Dawn Wall

Adventure Medical Kits’ Ambassador Kevin Jorgeson free climbing El Capitan’s Dawn Wall

Adventure Equipped

Adjective

  • A state of preparedness when embarking on an adventure big or small.
  • An adventurous person who seeks to push his limits outdoors and is prepared.

We are all adventurous souls. From climbers, to adventure racers, mountaineers and weekend warriors, we live to get outside and explore. We may not know our limits, and we usually push our limits, but what is most important is to be prepared, or what we like to call #AdventureEquipped.

Every time we head outdoors, we know that the intrinsic reward far outweighs the risk. That is what keeps us going. We also know that being prepared offers us the most potential for success. Are you #AdventureEquipped? Here are a few ways to know.

KimH

  1. Research: You research where you are going
    and are familiar with the country, the language,
    the route that you are taking.
  2. Training: You know the proper fuel and training
    you need to prepare.
  3. First Aid: You are carrying the appropriate first-
    aid kit for any emergency small or large and have
    first-aid “know how.”
  4. Gear: You are carrying the right gear based on
    weather, distance and activity.
  5. Flexible to Change: You are flexible and know how
    to quickly change your plans based on weather or
    other emergencies, because as you know, anything
    can happen.

Are you #AdventureEquipped? Share the key items you take along on your adventures.

Essential Gear for Getting Out on the Trail with Small Children

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Hikebaby

Heading out on the trail for the first time with small children can be intimidating, whether you are headed for a short hike near or far. We know. That’s why we hike together and count on each other to help bring things we may have forgotten. It’s important to be prepared for emergencies of all kinds.

Remember that being prepared when heading out with a baby is important, but having this stuff isn’t going to save you in an emergency situation! So start by first really prepping for your hike. Know where you are going and what the weather is doing in your area. A hike that once may have been an easy day outing for you can become a much longer journey with a cranky baby on your back.

Here are our recommendations for the top 10 things to think about to keep your load light, but also so you are properly equipped for getting out there with your little one. And don’t forget to join us for the April Hike it Baby 30! This is a Challenge we put on to motivate you and your loved ones to spend more time outside. Get to know families all across America (and beyond) and motivate each other throughout the challenge.

  1. Light shelter – you can sit through a sudden wind storm or rain storm with a cheapo throw away plastic poncho or bump it up and invest in a small emergency blanket. This can be a very minimal investment and be used for many things without adding a lot of weight.
  2. A whistle – Not only can this be used to scare an animal or alert people to your whereabouts, but your little one will love blowing on it when they are bored or you can also use it to distract them if they are upset. Strap one onto your pack.
  3. Water – Don’t skimp on water. This is a critical element to have. If you spend a lot of time hiking in an area with a lot of water (lakes, creeks or rivers) consider getting something that easily sterilizes water on the fly. There are all kinds of options from infrared pens to water bottles with filters, like products by Life Straw and Grayl.
  4. Compass – You don’t have to be a Boyscout to use a compass. They are pretty simple and even the most basic one is very helpful on a trail where there are no views and you are deep in the trees. It’s easy to get lost if you start bushwhacking.
  5. Lightweight food – If you under-pack food you might end up with a cranky toddler so just think light, not limited. I love turkey jerky, fruit leather and dehydrated whole fruits because they offer quick energy boosts without a lot of weight or bulk. You can find small but filling trail bars from a variety of companies. Candy bars and trail mix with chocolate are yummy, but if you are in hot weather think about the melt and mess factor.
  6. Waterproof matches or Firestarter – they are light and they can be crucial if anything goes wrong. Even if you end up back at your car with a dead battery and you have to sleep over, might as well have something to make a nice fire, right? Consider keeping some of these in an emergency first aid kit always in your car too!
  7. Small emergency first aid kit for trail – a few bandaids, butterfly stitches, some antiseptic wipes and surgical tape should do it. You don’t necessarily need a huge kit for a day hike but kids bang themselves up easily. One stick puncture in your kiddo’s hand can be quickly bandaged up if you have a little kit . Check out the products made by Adventure Medical Kits for inspiration and easy pre-made kits to purchase.                 AMKKidkit
  8. Duct tape – Ok, so no emergency kit? Bring duct tape. This can be a fix all of everything from a broken pole to a shoe sole that comes unglued to a cut on your arm to a backpack zipper that breaks. A hiker’s best friend!
  9. Sunscreen – It’s so easy to forget sunscreen and then get out there and think you won’t be out long. With a baby, you may not want to use sunscreen because they are too young (although there are some great brands that are fairly chemical free), so carry a muslin cloth that you can drape over baby. We did this in Mexico with our son when he was six months on a very hot hike and he slept the whole time and didn’t get burned.
  10. Headlamp – You never think you are going to be out past dark, but a baby or toddler who won’t cooperate can make your day longer than you anticipated. Carry a headlamp always so that getting back to your car is a fun adventure versus a scary mission.

Hiking with your little one is fun and a great way for you to see nature through your child’s eyes. Whether you get out there with a 6 week old, a 16-month-old or a 6-year-old, it’s never to late to start encouraging your little one to love nature. Your trail smarts will also rub off on them, so take the time to prep before you get out there and it will make the day more fun for everyone.

By Shanti Hodges, Founder of Hike It Baby

Photos: Top: Yanna Bennett, Middle: Tais Kulish

Shanti Hodges is the founder of Hike it Baby. She and her hubby, Mark, are on one big adventure raising a little boy named Mason River to love and appreciate the outdoors. Shanti hopes her son will continue on the path of knowing the names of more animals and trees, than cartoon characters.

Lightning Safety

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

lightning strike 3

Incidences of lightning strikes are more common in the Midwest, Gulf Coast, and Atlantic regions of the United States because these regions have thunderstorms more frequently than the rest of the country, as shown in the image below.¹ An estimated 400 lightning injuries occur annually based on data averaged over the last decade.² Lightning danger is no joke or freak accident. The Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Journal has some safety recommendations that can help minimize your risk of a strike if you find yourself outside in a thunderstorm.

lightening

Know the warning signs for thunderstorms:

  • Building Cumulonimbus clouds (pictured below)
  • Increasing winds
  • Darkening skies

800px-Anvil_shaped_cumulus_panorama_edit_crop

Minimize your risk of attracting lightning:

  •  No place is absolutely safe from from a lightning strike.
  • Ridge lines and summits are the highest risk areas for a lightning strike
  • Avoid tall objects like ski lifts, isolated trees and telephone poles
  • When thunder roars, go in doors.
    • Take shelter in:
      • The largest close building and stay away from the doors and windows (for example a campground bathroom)
      • A car with the windows up and the doors closed (soft tops will not offer protection)
      • If no car or building is near, head as deep into dense woods as possible or find a deep cave or ravine to minimize risk of a side splash strike or ground current
    • Do NOT SHELTER in:
      • a tent will not offer protection
      • a soft top car will not offer protection
crouch

Our very own, Annie Smith demonstrating the lightening strike position.

Protect your body if strike is imminent:

  • Crouch with knees and feet close together (see image right)
    • this creates one point of contact with the ground
  • Insulate yourself from the ground by standing on a rock, backpack, dry coiled ropes, rolled foam sleeping pad
    • make sure to remove any metal from yourself and the insulating objects
    • this will minimize risk of of ground current

 

 

 

It is best to wait 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder clap to leave your hiding spot, this will ensure you have at least a 10 mile buffer zone between yourself and the lightning activity.

¹Worldwide density of lightning strikes. The Lightning Imaging Sensor global lightning distribution image was obtained from NASA’s EOSDIS through the Global Hydrology Resource Center, Huntsville, AL. http://ghrc.nsstc.nasa.gov/.

²National Weather Service . Medical Aspects of Lightning . http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/medical.htm 2010; Accessed February 15, 2012