Even a winter survival situation you can NEVER overlook the importance of water.
Let’s run over the basics of obtaining water in a cold climate survival situation.
There are many sources of water in a cold weather survival situation.
Your location and the season of the year will determine where and how you obtain water.
Water sources in arctic and subarctic regions are more sanitary than in other regions due to the climatic and environmental conditions.
However, always purify the water before drinking it.
Water from ponds or lakes may be slightly stagnant, but still usable.
Running water in streams, rivers, and bubbling springs is usually fresh and suitable for drinking.
The brownish surface water found in a tundra during the summer is a good source of water.
However, you may have to filter the water before purifying it.
You can melt freshwater ice and snow for water.
Completely melt both before putting them in your mouth.
Trying to melt ice or snow in your mouth takes away body heat and may cause internal cold injuries.
If on or near pack ice in the sea, you can use old sea ice to melt for water.
In time, sea ice loses its salinity.
You can identify this ice by its rounded corners and bluish color.
You can use body heat to melt snow.
Place the snow in a water bag and place the bag between your layers of clothing.
This is a slow process, but you can use it on the move or when you have no fire.
Note: Do not waste fuel to melt ice or snow when drinkable water is available from other sources.
When ice is available, melt it, rather than snow.
One cup of ice yields more water than one cup of snow.
Ice also takes less time to melt.
You can melt ice or snow in a water bag, MRE ration bag, tin can, or improvised container by placing the container near a fire.
Begin with a small amount of ice or snow in the container and, as it turns to water, add more ice or snow.
Another way to melt ice or snow is by putting it in a bag made from porous material and suspending the bag near the fire.
Place a container under the bag to catch the water.
During cold weather, avoid drinking a lot of liquid before going to bed.
Crawling out of a warm sleeping bag at night to relieve yourself means less rest and more exposure to the cold.
Once you have water, keep it next to you to prevent refreezing.
If you are in a survival situation then there is a high probability that you are going to be consuming some of the local flora in order to sustain yourself.
But you can’t go running through the wilderness Willy Nilly munching on whatever plant takes your fancy!
One bite of the wrong plant and you could be dead in minutes!!
That why it is vital you not only know how to identify poisonous plants but you also understand how they poison, what to do if you get poisoned and how to deal with poisonous plants in general.
Successful use of plants in a survival situation depends on positive identification.
Knowing poisonous plants is as important to a survivor as knowing edible plants.
Knowing the poisonous plants will help you avoid sustaining injuries from them.
How Plants Poison
Plants generally poison by–
· Ingestion. When a person eats a part of a poisonous plant.
· Contact. When a person makes contact with a poisonous plant that causes any type of skin irritation or dermatitis.
· Absorption or inhalation. When a person either absorbs the poison through the skin or inhales it into the respiratory system.
Plant poisoning ranges from minor irritation to death.
A common question asked is, “How poisonous is this plant?”
It is difficult to say how poisonous plants are because–
· Some plants require contact with a large amount of the plant before noticing any adverse reaction while others will cause death with only a small amount.
· Every plant will vary in the amount of toxins it contains due to different growing conditions and slight variations in subspecies.
· Every person has a different level of resistance to toxic substances.
· Some persons may be more sensitive to a particular plant.
Some common misconceptions about poisonous plants are–
· Watch the animals and eat what they eat. Most of the time this statement is true, but some animals can eat plants that are poisonous to humans.
· Boil the plant in water and any poisons will be removed. Boiling removes many poisons, but not all.
· Plants with a red color are poisonous. Some plants that are red are poisonous, but not all.
The point is there is no one rule to aid in identifying poisonous plants. You must make an effort to learn
as much about them as possible.
Learn About Plants If You Want To Survive
It is to your benefit to learn as much about plants as possible.
Many poisonous plants look like their edible relatives or like other edible plants.
For example, poison hemlock appears very similar to wild carrot.
Certain plants are safe to eat in certain seasons or stages of growth and poisonous in other stages.
For example, the leaves of the pokeweed are edible when it first starts to grow, but it soon becomes poisonous.
You can eat some plants and their fruits only when they are ripe.
For example, the ripe fruit of mayapple is edible, but all other parts and the green fruit are poisonous.
Some plants contain both edible and poisonous parts; potatoes and tomatoes are common plant foods, but their green parts are poisonous.
Some plants become toxic after wilting.
For example, when the black cherry starts to wilt, hydrocyanic acid develops.
Specific preparation methods make some plants edible that are poisonous raw.
You can eat the thinly sliced and thoroughly dried corms (drying may take a year) of the jack-in-the-pulpit, but they are poisonous if not thoroughly dried.
Learn to identify and use plants before a survival situation.
Some sources of information about plants are pamphlets, books, films, nature trails, botanical gardens, local markets, and local natives.
Gather and cross-reference information from as many sources as possible, because many sources will not contain all the information needed.
Rules For Avoiding Poisonous Plants
Your best policy is to be able to look at a plant and identify it with absolute certainty and to know its uses or dangers.
Many times this is not possible.
If you have little or no knowledge of the local vegetation, use the rules to select plants for the “Universal Edibility Test.”
Remember, avoid –
· All mushrooms. Mushroom identification is very difficult and must be precise, even more so than with other plants. Some mushrooms cause death very quickly.
Some mushrooms have no known antidote. Two general types of mushroom poisoning are gastrointestinal and central nervous system.
· Contact with or touching plants unnecessarily.
Contact dermatitis from plants will usually cause the most trouble in the field. The effects may be persistent, spread by scratching, and are particularly dangerous if there is contact in or around the eyes.
The principal toxin of these plants is usually an oil that gets on the skin upon contact with the plant.
The oil can also get on equipment and then infect whoever touches the equipment.
Never bum a contact poisonous plant because the smoke may be as harmful as the plant.
There is a greater danger of being affected when overheated and sweating.
The infection may be local or it may spread over the body.
Symptoms may take from a few hours to several days to appear.
Signs and symptoms can include burning, reddening, itching, swelling, and blisters.
When you first contact the poisonous plants or the first symptoms appear, try to remove the oil by washing with soap and cold water.
If water is not available, wipe your skin repeatedly with dirt or sand.
Do not use dirt if blisters have developed.
The dirt may break open the blisters and leave the body open to infection.
After you have removed the oil, dry the area.
You can wash with a tannic acid solution and crush and rub jewelweed on the affected area to treat plant-caused rashes.
You can make tannic acid from oak bark.
Poisonous plants that cause contact dermatitis are–
· Poison ivy.
· Poison oak.
· Poison sumac.
· Rengas tree.
· Trumpet vine.
Ingestion poisoning can be very serious and could lead to death very quickly.
Do not eat any plant unless you have positively identified it first. Keep a log of all plants eaten.
Signs and symptoms of ingestion poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, depressed heartbeat and respiration, headaches, hallucinations, dry mouth, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
If you suspect plant poisoning, try to remove the poisonous material from the victim’s mouth and stomach as soon as possible. Induce vomiting by tickling the back of his throat or by giving him warm saltwater, if
he is conscious.
Dilute the poison by administering large quantities of water or milk, if the person is conscious.
The following plants can cause ingestion poisoning if eaten:
· Castor bean.
· Death camas.
· Physic nut.
· Poison and water hemlocks.
· Rosary pea.
· Strychnine tree.
Duct tape is an essential tool to be included in any survival kit or bug out bag.
Invented in the early 1940s by scientists at Permacell (a division of the Johnson & Johnson Co.), duct tape was built to fill the need for a strong, flexible, durable tape that could help the war effort, according to Henkel Consumer Adhesives, one of the world’s largest makers of the stuff.
The main point is that it has a number of uses and can help you make emergency repairs on just about everything.
Ideal for a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation!
Here’s just a couple of things you can do with it in a survival situation:
- Make emergency repairs on, tents, gear, bags, tarps, pack, sleeping bag, clothing, rain gear, etc….
- Medical Uses – making large bandages, adding padding to blisters, and making slings. It can also be used for wrapping sprained ankles in an emergency.
- Sealing Windows and doors
- Making emergency temporary repairs to you vehicle.
- Stopping Leaks
- Repairing Torn Clothing and Warn out shoes.
- Wrapping plastic water bottles to prevent cracking and leaking.
When the Economy craps itself out completely then modern currency will become effectively worthless.
In order to get good and services you will have to learn how to barter.
So what skills can you learn now to barter with if the economy fails??
Growing your own food
Don’t learn it because it’s the latest cool thing – this is a skill we used to know and have forgotten.
Check out the first part of this series for for info.
It’s one thing to buy and store extra cans of beans, but do you know how to can your own fruit, or vacuum-pack or dry other goods?
This is a valuable skill to have no matter what but in a total economic collapse knowing how to preserve food will be a potential live saving skill (you might not starve in winter for example!)
Very few people know how to chop down a tree or even spilt wood with just an axe.
Knowing how to do this properly could make you a valuable asset in your community.
Cooking and preparing food from scratch
Again, it’s one thing to be able to make a good dinner, but can you make your own granola? How about catch, cook and clean your own fish? Most people don’t even know how to make their own bread.
Make a Fire With No Matches or Fuel
This should be #1 for obvious reasons. But it’s also a great skill to have if you wanted to barter with someone for some other skill.
Catch and store your own rainwater
Just because the economy-as-we-know-it fails doesn’t mean you’ll be living in the woods in the middle of nowhere – but this would still be a really valuable skill to have which you could also teach others.
You can make solar stills to convert sunshine and humidity into water and catch it in a cup. This is so simple and basic we should all know how to do it.
Another basic “girl/boy scout” type of skill, but very handy, especially if you ever really needed it. Not all knots are equal!
Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting
Sewing sounds boring to me, but I can do it(if I have to!). Some people can’t though.
Far less people can knit.
Sewing for mending purposes is a really basic skill that would be easy enough to teach.
If you had to, you could make your own mats, rooves, and blankets if you know basic sewing and knitting skills.
Stay tuned to Step 4 on How To Survive The 2011 Economic Collapse.
That’s right folks!
Now is the time to pay off as many of your debts as possible in preparation of the coming economic collapse.
Try to allocate a portion of your disposable income to paying off your debts completely, rather than paying only the minimum payments and carrying a revolving balance from month to month.
If economic calamity leaves you with few monetary resources, you’ll want to avoid aggravations from debt collectors and lawsuits from creditors you cannot afford to repay.
Get into the habit of using cash instead of credit cards to help avoid aquiring new debt.
Concentrate on paying off high-interest debt, loans with adjustable rates and unsecured debts first.
Sell expensive vehicles that have loans to pay off what you owe, and buy cheaper replacements using cash.
In order to survive a total economic collapse, you need to have assets, not liabilities.
Please Note: If you and your family have limited or modest income then obviously storing food and other survival resources is a higher priority than paying down debt. No point being debt free if you starve within a couple of weeks of the Collapse!
. If you have enough income then try to pay off your debts as fast as you can.
Credit card debt is the major debt that you should be focusing on as the interest that is tacked onto it by the Credit Card Companies can cripple you if you don’t hit it on the head.
Remember though, if you have a limited or modest income, focus on storing food and other supplies first, debt second.
. Do everything you can to keep your job. As long as you have income coming in, you’ll be okay. In a growth economy, it’s much easier to find a new job, but this isn’t that kind of economy.
. Renegotiate your credit card payments or interest.
. Stop contributing to your children’s college savings plans. (You can start this up again when the economy improves.)
. Set up a budget. Go through your expenses with a fine-tooth comb and postpone, eliminate or reduce any that you can.
Part 3 Coming Soon!!
That was my reaction when I saw that the IMF has stated that we are on a collision course for a MAJOR recession/depression in the very near future.
The deadly combination of a dire European financial situation coupled with the near non-existent growth of the US markets means that we may end up falling head first into a big ol’ pot of turmoil.
Once this news started spreading the Markets crapped themselves and started falling faster than lead coated bowling ball thus adding more fuel to the wildfire.
This is a shining example of how unstable the current world wide finanical situation is.
It’s safe to say that economic disaster is now imminant, we get that.
Now more importantly: How Can You Survive It??
Step 1: Growing Your Own Food
That’s right folks, the most obvious suggestion is first.
Some of you may think that all your need to do is buy a lot of seeds and tools and then once things start to collapse you can leap from your lounge chair, plow up the backyard and have food growing in no time.
Do you have any idea how fickle vege gardening can be?? You make one stuff up and you can screw up the entire growing season.
If you have no experiance then believe me, you will make mistakes (hell I’ve grown veges all my life and I still make the odd screw up!).
It’s one thing to screw up when your life doesn’t depend on it, but it’s entirely different when it does.
NOW is the time to start gardening so that when you really need to, you can depend on yourself to provide you and your’s with a source of food.
So what should you do first??
Read, read, and get to work!
Got backyard with a bit of lawn?? Chuck some raised beds on top.
Live in an apartment?? Get some large containers and grow things out of your balcony.
Got lots of room for a garden?? Borrow a tiller and go nuts!!
The most important thing is to do a truckload of research and constantly read up so that you have a better chance of success.
Also start buying seeds NOW (even if it is autumn in your part of the world) and keep them stored away safely.
Seeds will most likely be in short supply once a major crisis takes hold so get in first!
Note: Only purchase Open Pollinated or Heirloom seed varieties so that you can save the seed for the next season.
Seeds cannot be saved from Hybrid varieties.
So to wrap up this section here are some keypoints to remember:
. Do as much research as you can on vege gardening via the internet as well by purchasing some good gardening books that are specific for your geographical location.
. Pick a gardening style that best suites your living arrangment, whether it be container gardening, raised bed gardening , etc.
. Only buy seeds that are Heirloom or Open Pollinated varieties as Hybrid seeds cannot be saved.
. Don’t just buy a lot of seeds, put them in a box and forget about them. Seeds tends to lose viability as time goes on so rotation is very important.
. Start gardening now, even if it is on a tiny scale.
. Work out your area’s soil type, disease issues, pest issues, etc.
. Work out which tools you will need and purchase them as required.
. Work out what varieties grow best in your area and go with them.
Part 2 of How To Survive The 2011 Economic Collapse: Coming Soon