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This tag is for the questions that discuss Emergency situations occurring during an Outdoor activity. The term "Outdoor" should strictly be taking in what is in the scope of The Great Outdoors StackExchange.

9
votes
1answer
136 views

What is the expected flowrate of a bucket brigade?

A naive estimate of one gallon bucket a second is 60 gal/min for a well staffed and equipped line, but is there any data on how much water can be moved by bucket in less than ideal conditions? ...
92
votes
14answers
38k views

My car broke down in Siberia. What do I do now?

Some time ago, while driving on a snowy road, someone told me a kind of horror story. It involved a guy who was driving alone with an old car on an overland road in Siberia during winter, so the ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Dialing an emergency number in a foreign country using a satellite phone

I'm getting an Inmarsat phone for my time around San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to help me with emergencies. What number do I dial if I have an issue? I know 133 is the emergency number, but I don't ...
9
votes
2answers
215 views

Can you use an Iridium phone with a SIM but with no active plan to place an emergency call?

It seems that you can't use an Iridium handset to place an emergency call without a SIM card (which seems to be more a commercial than a technical issue). What I'm wondering is whether an "expired" ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What to do if someone gets impaled in the stomach?

Background: This question is motivated by an accident that happened to my sister in a very rural area. She was on a fence and fell onto a t-post which basically impaled her, but which fell out by the ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Should one remove their boots in an emergency bivvy situation?

Is there an argument for removing your boots to prevent frostbitten toes. Lets say you are at 4000m in the winter in a snow cave with no sleeping bag and frostbite is probable, but death is unlikely. ...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

Is there a safer way to use a flare in a wooded area?

This answer on another question says that there is a risk of causing a forest fire when using a flare. Is there a recommended/safer way to use flares that lessens this risk, in the event that someone ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the risk of starting a forest or wildland fire with a flare gun?

When firing a flare gun in the air, what is the risk of accidentally starting a forest or wildland fire? Does the flare go out completely before it touches the ground?
29
votes
5answers
8k views

Modern equivalent of a flare gun?

This summer I will be taking a rather inherently dangerous multi-day hike by myself. I was considering buying a flare gun since I will be out of cellular range unless there is something more modern ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

How do you get back in canoe, by yourself?

Getting back in a canoe is not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I also learned that Extra Flotation might be needed So if I am alone in the middle of a body of water, how do I get back in? ...
9
votes
2answers
655 views

I can't get floating in my canoe again, now what?

Canoes are known for tipping over, most come with enough flotation so they won't sink. Stock flotation is often just for neutral buoyancy, adding flotation is an option but if I have not done that, ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How much flotation does a canoe need?

Yesterday for the first time I turned my canoe over, then I tried to get back in it. I have been thinking about adding a sail to my canoe and now that I know a bit about sailing, I know I need to ...
6
votes
2answers
416 views

How to generate white smoke in the wilderness?

Fictional Scenario - Suppose you are out camping and are stuck somewhere. You want to create a signal of white smoke to attract help. So what are the naturally occurring substance which when burnt ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

How do you patch/repair an inflatable dinghy while still underway?

If you notice a loss of pressure in an inflatable boat/dinghy while underway, how can you prevent or slow the loss? This is most important in full inflatables. Even if you are in shallow enough ...
8
votes
1answer
360 views

Is there a Polish mountain rescue organisation?

I was talking to a friend on my lunch today about visiting the Tatra mountains in Poland and he said that an issue was the lack of mountain rescue if you get into trouble. Is this true, there is no ...
8
votes
2answers
169 views

Are there standardized signals to communicate with aircraft?

Suppose one is in distress in the wilderness, and is being searched for by planes or helicopters because they thoughtfully told their friends where they were going and when they'd be back. Alternately,...
11
votes
3answers
414 views

Can fire starting liquid be used in a kerosene lamp?

Supermarkets often have "fire starting liquid" on sale - that's usually transparent oil-like liquid looking much like kerosene. The label typically says the product it "mix of paraffins". It behaves ...
9
votes
1answer
223 views

How to overcome mental hurdles of adventure trauma? [closed]

Actively participating in a couple of adventure (AKA extreme) sports, I have had my share of accidents/carnage/trauma. Anyone who participates in such pastimes knows that we're all in between ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I find north using a watch?

I've heard this is possible but I'm not sure on the details. Can someone elaborate?
2
votes
1answer
206 views

What are some emergency water purification methods? [duplicate]

If you're lost in the wilderness (and you've foolishly left behind your handy dandy water purification tablets and water filter), what are some of the best and safest ways to purify water? What do you ...
10
votes
3answers
217 views

What information to leave with your emergency contact?

Coming up with emergency information for a recent trip got me thinking: What information should you leave with your emergency contact? I imagine the answer depends on the length of the trip, ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

If injured and lost, what are your biggest priorities for survival?

Let's imagine for a moment that you're solo hiking somewhere you've never been before and take a fall off the edge of a trail, injure yourself (to the point of limited mobility), and become entirely ...
7
votes
1answer
173 views

Differences for bivi packs

I would like to do a winter bivouac but have no gear for it yet. Especially the choice of a bivi pack is really tough for me because I'd prefer to be able to use it also in summer as a rescue item and ...
9
votes
1answer
147 views

Planned winter bivi

There is emergency equipment to survive nights, like emergency blankets and bivouac packs. As opposed to this, if you plan to stay overnight on winter trips (e.g. in the Alps) you don't just want to ...
11
votes
1answer
128 views

Satellite phone payment plans for irregular use

I've been looking if there is an alternative to renting a satellite phone when it's to be used in absolute emergencies only. As far as my searches showed, most prepaid plans have very short ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

What format should I use to report my location to emergency responders?

Suppose I am out in the wilderness and an emergency arises. I have an accurate fix on my location (from GPS, map and compass, astronomical observation, etc...). I manage to get in touch with ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

How can I contact emergency services in the US via the internet?

At this very moment, I'm out in the woods typing away on my laptop. I have an internet connection, and my phone can use that connection to send text messages, but I have no voice phone service. How ...
4
votes
1answer
348 views

Trekking solo in South Africa

This is an almost similar question to this one: Trekking solo in Western Ghats, India I have read a few blogs about people and their solo trekking experiences. At the first glance at it, 'whether to ...
12
votes
2answers
393 views

Alternatives to retreating quickly when caught in a lightning storm when rock climbing?

The general advice I have heard for surprise lightning storms when climbing is to retreat. Since retreating quickly is not without danger itself and often is not even all that quick (I personally have ...
10
votes
5answers
304 views

How can I report an emergency via SMS text message?

When hiking, I often find myself in areas where cell phone reception is poor or intermittent. Sometimes the signal is not good enough to make a call, but it is still possible to send text messages (...
21
votes
7answers
625 views

Light-weight emergency overnight-gear

What is a good emergency-overnight-sleeping-setup when every ounce counts, like on long technical routes (grade V or VI) where the goal is to do it in one day (without hauling), but one wants to ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Can body-to-body rewarming be used as a last resort treatment of hypothermia?

All of the arguments I've heard against using this method assume that you have adequate supplies for alternate rewarming methods. If you literally didn't, and it appeared they were going to freeze to ...
12
votes
3answers
791 views

Does anyone have an account of someone using a survival tin in a survival situation

I have read several books about survival and outdoor field craft skills. Many of these books suggest building a survival kit out of an Altoids tin or something similar. These kits include very basic ...
11
votes
3answers
596 views

Group protocol should the group become separated

A small group (2-10 people total) is travelling in a wilderness area. For whatever reason a person or a couple get separated. What is the best strategy for the lost ones? What is the best strategy to ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Falling into an ice cold body of water

I've never been hiking in such extreme situations, but if in the situation in the question, i.e. you're hiking in very cold weather and someone falls in (let's say so pretty much their whole body is ...
10
votes
4answers
602 views

What qualities to look for in a good emergency whistle?

I've always been taught to keep a whistle on me in case of emergencies - it makes sense since it's small and lightweight but could really help in an emergency. However, something I've never really ...
21
votes
5answers
27k views

Can you eat pine needles in an emergency?

If you are in a survival situation in the woods and really hungry, and you are unsure about which plants are edible, can you eat pine needles?
32
votes
6answers
6k views

How bad do circumstances need to be before activating a PLB?

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be carried during outdoor activities to use in case of an emergency. But are there any guidelines on what exactly constitutes an "emergency"? For example, what ...
11
votes
1answer
392 views

Good ways to avoid snakes when hiking?

I'v been told that walking with a heavy foot-fall will deter snakes. Is this really true?
22
votes
6answers
37k views

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense?

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense? Will I face fines and jail time if I do?
30
votes
2answers
3k views

If I cross paths with a bear, what should I do?

If I'm out hiking, and I come around a corner and stumble upon a bear, what's the best course of action to take to minimize the chance the bear will act aggressively? Do different types of bear (...
19
votes
6answers
8k views

If lost in the wilderness, what is the first thing I should do?

If I get lost in the wilderness, what is the very first thing I should do?
37
votes
4answers
3k views

If I have to cross an icy, flowing river, what are some ways I can cross safely?

If I'm alone in a survival situation and I have to cross a very cold river that's still flowing, how should I accomplish this safely?
11
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the best rope to have in a survival situation? [closed]

What rope would be most helpful/versatile in a survival situation?
9
votes
2answers
178 views

How to improvise a signal mirror?

If I'm out in the wilderness and I don't have a signal mirror, what other objects could I improvise to work similar to a signal mirror?
19
votes
2answers
908 views

How do you make a snow shelter?

Sometimes when mountaineering, there may be an emergency situation which leaves you in bad weather with no or damaged shelter (such as returning from a summit attempt or after a wild and crazy storm). ...
22
votes
3answers
966 views

What pattern for casual planes should a castaway create on a desert island?

This answer has inspired me to a question: say you are a castaway on a desert island. There might be a plane flying casualy but you can miss it. So you want to create some pattern (e.g. put some ...
40
votes
6answers
15k views

What essential items should go in a small first aid kit?

Another question asked what survival equipment should be carried in an emergency kit. But very little was about medical or first aid supplies (band-aids, gauze, tylenol, moleskin, etc). What items ...
17
votes
1answer
641 views

How long is too long to suffer from constipation in the back country?

Quite commonly, due to the barrage of newness the body experiences on an outdoor outing (new sensations, new exercise habits, new diet, etc) the body can stop the system up while it tries to figure ...
16
votes
4answers
423 views

Are there any specific guidelines for edible plants in North America?

I know there are dangerous plants and fruits to eat, but are there any basic rules one can use when in an emergency situation that apply to all safe foods? The 'rules' don't necessarily have to apply ...