A Rescue Fan wrote in and basically said, “Hey! Bad advice! Everyone knows that eating snow when stranded in the wilderness is a bad idea. It can make a person hypothermic!”
As I thought about their comment, I began to do some research and then some deeper thought on the subject.
I instantly began to wonder if the commenter had a point. Is it better to slow down the hypothermia that may be already causing symptoms or die from dehydration?
Remember, hypothermia usually sets in as quick as 3 hours or less in certain cases while life threatening dehydration can take up to 3 days. So, if you’re surviving the elements long enough to dehydrate, you’re probably staying somewhat warm. If so, then consuming snow or melted snow and getting hypothermic as a result is probably the last of your concerns when thinking about staying alive. For if you survive the elements, dehydration and death will be knocking in about 2-3 days.
After hearing about a couple getting stranded in a mountain pass off-roading and the driver dying while seeking help, I thought I should talk about key elements around surviving out in the cold. People are often overcome by the cold simply due to lack of pre-planning, proper equipment and an adequate plan for survival until rescue help arrives. If you’ve ever wondered what you would do if you were lost, stranded or overcome by the winter elements, be sure to watch this episode of RoyOnRescue.
In the meantime, remember at least these important points:
1. Let people know where you are going and what route you’ll be taking…then stick to it!
2. Dress with layers of clothing or have extra clothing available
3. Bring warming agents like hand and pocket warmers along with extra blankets
4. Bring extra food that can handle getting cold or even freezing like granola, nuts etc.
5. Eat snow for hydration
6. Bring GPS
7. Bring Flare Gun
8. Never drive with low gas tank
9. If the roads are dangerous, maybe stay home or extend your vacation
10. Repeat steps 1 thru 9