By Tony Buthman
In writing previous articles I highlighted the 3’s of survival. In this installment I will include details about the first 2 headings, Air and Shelter.
Air is the area that will happen the quickest, 3 minutes without air is the baseline we follow whether it be asphyxiation from water, solids or air borne, (i.e. poison vapors, carbon monoxide and even particulates from volcanic ash.). Fresh air is always a good thing. Some precautions we can take are to always follow warnings and always be conscious of your surroundings first and foremost.
Water is one of the areas that we expose ourselves to the most. Always wear floatation devices around water and make sure they are the right size and quality for the types of water you are around. Another area is flood waters. Motorists have a sense of false security and fast moving flood waters can carry vehicles away with little effort. Turn around, don’t drown. Many times rescues nationwide have to be performed because drivers didn’t think the water was that deep. Canals are a death trap filled with many hazards, underwater head gates and undertows that can pull a person down and not let them go.
It is always a good idea to carry items you can filter the air with even if it’s only a handkerchief. Dust masks are a good idea to carry in your vehicle and have at home. Also they can be very inexpensive or very expensive depending on the quality you purchase.
In the event of vapors never attempt a rescue unless you have been trained to do so, some vapors can overwhelm you instantly. Let the trained professionals take care of that. Always follow the instructions of first responders when an incident occurs. They are trained and have your best interest in mind when they offer instruction, especially when it comes to evacuation proceedures.
Shelter is a topic that is sometimes misunderstood. Sometimes it can be as simple as wearing the appropriate clothing for whatever elements you may encounter to as elaborate as an underground facility that can completely support you for extended periods of time.
Clothing as we know is one area where we get caught unaware. With modern lifestyles we tend to only take what is needed for the time being not thinking we might run into trouble. It is always advisable to carry good walking footwear and layers, always remembering to cover extremities.
Shelter also comes in many forms, from materials that are located close to you like tree bows, a tarp or even a blanket. There are many references to give guidance from internet sources to books and even training seminars. One important lesson to remember is if you are with a vehicle always stay with it. It provides shelter and many resources within. There have been many documented instances of stranded motorists where most family members stayed with vehicle and someone went for help, most times the one who went for help perished and those who stayed survived. Panic is one of the primary causes for a bad outcome.
Always remember, help is on the way it’s your job to take care of yourself until help gets there!