Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Lost in the Woods

Not a good idea to be out in this weather
Do people get lost in the woods anymore? I mean with cell phones, GPS and all, is it possible to wander off from a known location and then get lost?

Apparently, the answer is "yes":
A 67-year-old Yarmouthport man trying to walk to a rental car location at Barnstable Municipal Airport this afternoon had to be talked out of the woods along Yarmouth Road and Willow Street by police officers after becoming lost for more than two hours.

Barnstable police Sgt. Sean Sweeney said Officers Katie Parache and Michael Puntonio were able to track the man’s location via a GPS locator in his cellphone, which he used to call police after unsuccessfully trying to find his way out of the woods. Even with the tracking available, it took the officers more than 45 minutes to guide the man to a location where he could be met by police.
More Times Breaking News

“He got into the woods pretty far,” Sweeney said. “He got really lost in there.”
and "yes":
A father and son from Minnesota were rescued Monday after spending a night lost in the Upper Peninsula's woods.
The men suffered from symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia but were otherwise in good condition after enduring blizzard conditions and wind chills of 25 degrees below zero, police said.

The two sent text messages saying they'd become stuck in the woods about 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Without any survival gear or other communication devices (?!), the men last sent a message at 8:30 p.m. saying they were trying to walk out of the wooded area.
So, even with modern technology, you can manage to get lost in the woods, even relatively close to civilization (even right by an airport).

Emergency Tube Tent
Here are some simple ideas:

  1. Have a plan and let people know your plan. "We going out to the Au Sable River near Oscoda" might be good enough, but even better is "We're going to be within 5 miles of the Hwy 47 bridge on the Whichway River" would be better.
  2.  Have a GPS equipped device. When it fails, have a compass and a map and learn how to use them.
  3.  Carry water, food, shelter stuff (even a plastic tube shelter is a good idea) if it's a wilderness jaunt. If you at the Barnstable Airport, you might call a cab and avoid the hike. Have a rescue whistle. (For about $5 a rescue whistle is a great thing to carry all the time - and a great thing if you are taking kids into the woods. They should all have one.) Don't be like those guys in Minnesota.
  4.  Most importantly, DON'T PANIC! Panic kills. Sit down and try to think your way out of your problem.
  5. Stay put. Let the rescue come to you. It only complicates matters if you start walking away from your rescuers.
  6.  If you are with friends, stick together. Nothing good happens if you split up. See any horror movie for details.
  7. Keep warm. If you can, build a fire. Stay off the bare ground.
  8. Build a nest - but a visible nest. Don't hide from rescuers by getting into caves or getting under overhangs.
  9. Try to be visible or make visible signs of where you are. If there is a clearing nearby, build an arrow to point to where you are.
  10. Rescue Whistle
  11. Don't eat and drink stuff you aren't sure is safe.

1 comment:

  1. If they ever have to come look for me, more than likely I will be the one standing next to the trees that are on fire.