We attended a basic survival
training seminar a while ago wherein the presenter offered ideas and tips on
how snowmobilers can survive in the backcountry should their snowmobile ride go
The presenter, Lance Taysom,
an RN and EMT-P, is a member of the Pocatello, Idaho-based Portneuf Medical
Center LifeFlight, offered this brief outline as to what to watch for, what to
do, how to do and what to take it if the need arises when something goes wrong
Reality based training (be prepared and have a plan should one or more of the following happen
Spending the night out
Your survival is up to you
Successful survival is a
Something is always about to
Survival in style requires
Survival in style requires
Don’t die from injuries –
scene safety, first aid
Don’t create new problems –
plan before you act
Stay healthy – dry, warm,
hydration and food
Stay happy – engaged, active,
Get out/found/rescued – buddy
system, plans left with someone at home, cell phones, satellite phones, ground
to air signals
Enemies To Survival:
Successful Survival Attitude:
Remain cool, calm, collected,
confident and cheerful.
Establish your survival
Make decisions then act.
Hope for the best, prepare
for the worst, do it right the first time.
Improvise what you need.
Never give up.
Your Personal Survival Systems:
Map reading and route finding
Basic machine trouble
Dressing for the outdoors
Clothing and Equipment
Clothing – Inner
comfort layers – avoid cotton
layers – silk, wool, polypropylene, fleece
body, lower body, head, hands, feet
Outer protective layers –
helmet, bibs, long coat – Gore-Tex, coated nylon
Pockets – these
items stay with you always: headlamp/flashlight, multi-tool/knife, whistle,
mirror, map and compass, lighters and fire starter, reflector bag.
Personal Pack –
first aid, extra clothing, larger survival items, water and food.
Group Survival Gear – Extra fuel, tools, first aid, communication, camping gear.
Lightweight Personal Backcountry First Aid Kit
The Lightweight Personal
Backcountry First Aid Kit contains those items that are difficult to improvise;
yet is small and light enough to accompany you on any trip. The kit often
doubles as a survival kit as well.
Guidelines for First Aid and Survival Kits:
First Aid kits
are highly personal – one cannot purchase or build the perfect first aid kit
for someone else.
No single kit
will serve for all your outdoor activities. Keep your kit tailored for what you
Check your kit
before and after each trip. Keep a running list of items that were used and
need replacement and ideas for things that perhaps you wish to add.
Select each piece
carefully. Items should be of the highest quality and serve multiple uses.
Know your kit.
Can you retrieve a Band-Aid or safety pin in the dark without dumping
everything onto the ground? Are your gloves and CPR pocket mask placed for
kits – they can offer ideas and often are the most economical way to start out
building your own kit. Keep it simple – in the wilderness, the more you know
the less you need.
recognize, it’s the skilled person, not the first aid kit, that calmly makes
good decisions keeping the group safe, warm, dry, hydrated, caring for illness
and injury and ultimately saving lives.
Wilderness Medical Training
Assists those who work,
travel and play in the outdoors. Acquire the knowledge and skills to
efficiently manage common minor problems and make rational judgments about more
serious emergencies. Check out on the web: Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI)
of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) http://www.nols.edu/wmi/index.shtml.
First Aid/Survival kit ideas:
Tweezers – fine point, high
Safety Pins –several assorted
Scalpel – light weight,
disposable – sharp
12cc fine tip irrigation
Pencil or Sharpie Marker and
note pad (documentation)
40 feet 3mm Nylon cordage
Sharp pocketknife, 2 butane
Sewing kit with heavy-duty
Latex Gloves – several pairs
Knuckle and fingertip fabric
4x4-inch sterile gauze pads
3-inch gauze roll – Conform
4 inch Ace elastic wrap
Wrapped sanitary napkin
Wound closure (Steri) strips
Tincture of benzoin swabs
Micro thin film dressings –
Cavit – temporary tooth
– (not prescription)
Topical Antibiotic ointment
Providone Iodine –
irrigation, water purification
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) –
Aspirin – cardiac, dental,
Ibuprofen (Motrin) – anti-inflammatory,
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) –
Epinephrine – severe allergic
Consult your Doctor for
additional prescription medications.
Other Items for your consideration:
Headlamp or flashlight
Extra bulb and batteries
Pocket Mask – rescue breathing,
Sun screen, insect repellent
Toilet paper, antiseptic Towelettes
Sam splint or wire splint
2 butane lighters, fire starter
Disposable chemical heat pack
Short Ensolite or closed cell
Mylar tarp or reflective bag
Hard candies – keeps the
Folding saw, tin cup, signal mirror,
whistle, heavy-duty trash bag, money, photos of your loved ones