This page contains as it suggests in the title above, 'tips and tricks' to make life a little easier when things go wrong.
I'll repeat here below an important note I'd mentioned elsewhere on my website.
Be creative and improvise according to your needs, which are extremely important qualities to possess during an emergency. The often heard expression “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” is something that is completely true in an emergency. Study, practice, and learn all that you can.
This is very important because you may not have much to work with, but you need to find new ways to make it through your ordeal with what you have, whether you have little or nothing. Improvise from the natural and/or man-made resources around you.
It will help if you 'put on another pair of eyes' the next time you take a walk in the woods or in the city. What I mean is simply this, that you look at things differently. We tend to see things for the purpose in which they were created, such as a large orange garbage bag being good to stuff those autumn leaves in, or those boots laces to tie your boots to your feet while you take a stroll. They, including the leaves can be used for other things as well.
The possibilities are endless if you are in an urban environment given all the man-made items that surround us, and there are many possibilities for a wilderness settings as well depending on the circumstances, but you'll be much more limited than in an urban setting.
As for the rest of this site, you must take full responsibility for how you use, or misuse the information on this page. As I said in my Disclaimer on the Welcome page, that 'Preparing for emergencies does not necessarily guarantee your survival or that of your family'. It will however give you an edge that you wouldn't otherwise have.
If you should find yourself in a difficult situation and do not have the right clothing on or need to supplement what you already have, there are several things that you can do to protect yourself from the elements, and make yourself warm.
I'll make a non-exhaustive list here below of certain points to consider. It all depends on your circumstances, so you'll need to adapt according to the resources that you'll have.
1. Use carpet, drapes, blankets, tablecloths, diverse clothing articles, seat covers and in fine, any linen or woven materials that are available to make improvised clothing or mitts etc. If you were involved in a plane crash, or where another type of transportation was involved including cars or trucks, use what was onboard if accessible and safe to do so.
2. Use seat stuffing in cars, trucks, planes etc. to make or improve insulation.
3. Newspapers make great insulation. If you don't have newpaper, use whatever paper is available, such as from books and magazines. If you are in the woods, use leaves or other natural things to create dead-air space between your layers, or between your outer layer and your body if that is the case. Do this if you happen to be wearing cotton and you get wet while out in the cold. Hopefully they are not tight fitting because it will not work if it is the case. Get out of the wind and rain and make a fire if you can.
Obviously, use the driest materials available to avoid making the situation even worse, and beware of poisonous plants such as poison ivy. Beware also about insects, for some will cause you problems.
1. Use grass, leaves, mosses, pine cones and whatever else to increase insulation between layers. Create dead-air space, but not too much. Cattail fluff can be used, however be advised that it may cause in some people an allergic reaction similar to urticaria, which isn't a widely mentioned detail from what I have seen. If you make a thick barrier to protect yourself from coming into contact with the fluff you'll be alright.
2. Stuff the above mentioned leaves inside your pants and shirt, or between another layer you may have. Grass and mosses can be stuffed in-between two layers of socks.
Remember, that the key to warmth is protecting yourself from the elements with proper layering which will allow perspiration to evacuate from your body as well as trap warmth create by your body. If you have the means to start a fire by all means do so if you are in danger of going hypothermic. Have a look here to see what other purposes there are for having a fire.
Get yourself out of the wind and rain as well by taking, or making if necessary, a shelter. If you have something that will see you through until you can make a better shelter, use it. This can be the large orange garbage bag I spoke of in the introduction of this page. I'll give more ideas about how a large orange garbage bag can be used later on.
Use whatever impermeable barrier you have at your disposal. It can be a tarp, plastic sheet, any plastic garbage bags, plywood or other solid man-made products that are useable, and anything your mind comes up with according to your circumstances.
Use the softer inner layer of birch bark to help weatherproof your clothing if you are in the woods.
Use anything else that may be useful to you, wherever you happen to be. As usual, prevention is the best medicine, inasmuch as that is possible.
As an example, if you have bags to spare place them around your lower legs before crossing a shallow stream instead of getting your boots, socks and pants wet. It is somewhat miserable to hike like that, and I know from experience. Another thing that can potentially be done is to find another route across that stream.
Anyhow, the point is that if there is a better way of doing something, do it. Waterproofing is great but doing it on purpose to get wet isn't the best thing unless it is safe and necessary to do so.
There was a time a couple of years ago that I had went out for a month with what I could carry on my back, and this was off the beaten path, in the rough. I crossed a small lake along the rim and at some point wound up to my upper chest in water when I got to the other side. When I had found a way out, I had to dry out everything while I made a shelter with a tarp.
Most things were ok but water gets in where you don't expect or you went in deeper than expected and something gets wet that you didn't want to. Anyhow, I was fortunate and nothing was damaged.
If your ordeal involves having a mode of transportation of some sort, use whatever is at your disposal that can be used for signaling.
Here is a small list of things that can be used, but of course there are many other examples, it depends on what is available, as well as your creativity.
1. Use one of the side mirrors or the rear view mirror to signal using the sun.
2. Use the lights and horn to attract attention as well if functional.
3. You can use the vehicle as a temporary shelter.
4. Utilize the wiring in the vehicle for cordage to be used to hang up an orange poncho, emergency blanket etc.
5. Use the car battery to help you to light a fire by creating a spark which could light a tinder bundle.
6. In the wintertime, tear up the car, plane or other vehicles seats to use the foam as insulation to protect your feet from frostbite if you have to leave the area. Use duct tape and material to hold it all together. DO NOT care about your car seats! Your feet are more important.
Always look with another pair of eyes at the things around you as I had mentioned at the top of this page, to be able to make use of what is available more efficiently. It may save your life or that of the group. What would normally be considered as trash or something to be recycled here in the comfort of our cities and towns, is worth more than gold if you were caught in an emergency out in the middle of the wilderness or some other remote location. An example, chocolate bar wrappers often have a chrome colored glossy inner side which can be used for signaling.
If you find someone else's garbage out in the woods, given that man has been just about everywhere by now on this planet, have a good look at it! Do not simply pass by it as something of no worth. An old can or bottle may be used as a container or for making water potable by boiling it. It can also be used to cook food in.
Be creative, improvise! This is one of the Golden Rules of survival I'll call it here.
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