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

When travelling on extremely remote roads, you need to prepare for the worst. This is even more true if you are travelling in a climate where the weather might kill you within days, such as in ...
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  • 26k
50 votes

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

First, if you go somewhere in a car, take along the clothes necessary to be outside for an extended period. 406 MHz PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) All the tragedies have one thing in common: they ...
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46 votes

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

Well, I'm from Russia, and I heard that in the most desperate situation like this you can burn your car's tires. The tires are made of oil, so they burn well. Using fire from tires you can use other ...
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36 votes
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Modern equivalent of a flare gun?

In increasing order of complexity and price you have, Personal Locator Beacons Personal locator beacons are high-powered (typically, 5 watts) devices designed primarily to send out a personalized ...
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30 votes

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

I'd give them whatever my device or map provided me, and let them convert to whatever their devices or maps use. Anyone used to receiving lat/lon coordinates regularly should be able to convert from ...
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  • 21.3k
23 votes

Modern equivalent of a flare gun?

While Charlie Brumbaugh's answer is good, there is a cheaper and simpler alternative: a LED marine distress flare. These are handheld LED lights, as bright as a distress flare. Many jurisdictions ...
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  • 1,407
22 votes

Modern equivalent of a flare gun?

Maybe you should explain what you need a flare gun equivalent for... A flare gun has a very specific purpose which generally is to alert somebody who is already looking for you to your immediate ...
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  • 12.1k
21 votes

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

I have always learned that when you go to remote areas you should have at least a basic knowledge of car repair and depending on the make of car and the area you go to your knowledge should be good to ...
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  • 2,547
20 votes

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

There is a definitely a risk of starting a fire with a flare gun, for this reason they are discouraged by the National Park Service (at least in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument). Not Useful: ...
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20 votes

Should one remove their boots in an emergency bivvy situation?

I only see an advantage if your boots are wet: Then I would advise to remove the wet shoes and socks. Maybe you are in the lucky position to have some dry spare socks in your backpack. If not you may ...
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  • 12.1k
20 votes

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

This is not constrained to Siberia. A snowstorm/blizzard can occur at many locations and throw down so much snow that roads are blocked and people outside the main routes (or even on main routes) get ...
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18 votes
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Is there a Polish mountain rescue organisation?

There is a great Mountain Rescue in Poland, called GOPR ("Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe" - "Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue"). They cover all the mountain regions of Poland and in case ...
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  • 890
18 votes
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How do you get back in canoe, by yourself?

There isn't only one method, there are a few. Partially the choice depends on which canoe you have (big and wide, very stable or tippy, or a small solo) and if its calm water or not. What you can do ...
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15 votes

How can I signal for help in the wilderness?

WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS? You have three main choices: A dedicated PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) A satellite messenger with added rescue facilities (DeLorme or Spot) Conventional measures such as a ...
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  • 11.6k
15 votes
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What format should I use to report my location to emergency responders?

I would recommend UTM coordinates; it avoids the formatting uncertainty of lat/long and is better suited for ground operations. (Easy to translate to paper maps, define search areas, and calculate ...
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  • 8,358
15 votes
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Can you use pre-owned climbing rope for hiking and/or emergency uses?

No, not only for safety but also for practical reasons. Climbing ropes are unsuited for most of your use cases. A climbing rope is dynamic, which means it will stretch under load. This is exactly what ...
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  • 6,135
14 votes

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

Almost every emergency dispatch center has a non-emergency phone number. While services like Skype and Google Voice can't call 911 directly, you can look up "<region> non-emergency dispatch" and ...
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  • 8,600
14 votes
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What information to leave with your emergency contact?

If something goes wrong, the information you provide your emergency contact will be the starting point for the information Search and Rescue groups use to look for you. Much of this information will ...
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  • 8,358
14 votes

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

Depends where the hole is and how big it is, but: First, determine if it's necessary to try and patch the hole in open water. If you're close to shore, then go ashore and patch it there. If you're ...
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  • 53k
13 votes

Modern equivalent of a flare gun?

A safety whistle is cheap and reliable. Also, it won't run out of flares or batteries. You can hang it from your backpack shoulder strap for easy access. (Imagine trying to take off and dig through ...
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  • 231
12 votes
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How do I find north using a watch?

Here's the theory: at noon, if you're in the northern hemisphere, the sun is due south of you. At 6am it's due east of you and at 6pm, due west. (Day length may tweak this a little if you're far ...
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  • 11.7k
12 votes
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Should one remove their boots in an emergency bivvy situation?

As an anecdote, I did. I unexpectedly bivied overnight during a snowstorm at 14kft in -15F, 50mph winds with a pack, bivy sack and warm clothes. I had dry feet prior, didn't have an issue getting the ...
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12 votes

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

There are times when a car will not drive, but its engine will run. In such cases, if you can spare the fuel, use the engine to generate heat. Ventilation from time to time would help prevent carbon ...
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12 votes
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How to escape a cave in an emergency situation?

Assuming you have no way of safely and reliably leaving the cave to get help, your first priority is not to become a casualty yourself as well. Even if the Guide needs urgent medical attention, it ...
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  • 5,862
12 votes
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Nails in an emergency/survival kit

I think there are simply not that many uses for nails in emergency situations. Using nails as intended: If you want to build shelter or other wooden constructions you would need a lot of nails - ...
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  • 12.1k
11 votes

Can you eat pine needles in an emergency?

Yes & no. The U.S. Navy land survival training in Pensacola, Florida teaches students to chew on pine needles to obtain vitamin C. But you don't actually chew and swallow them.
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11 votes
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What to do if someone gets impaled in the stomach?

To quote from the Wilderness First Responder manual, Large objects found impaled in a wound should be left in place if you can get to a medical facility with relative ease. Yanking on an object can ...
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11 votes

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

I live in Siberia. First, clean roads in winter are used by traffic. Minor ground tracks get covered by snow and impossible to use in first weeks of winter. If you're driving down a highway in winter,...
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  • 211
11 votes

Are aluminum foil and emergency mylar blankets equally effective as heat reflectors/insulators

Aluminium foil is far heavier for the same coverage, bulkier and less strong. Snagging on something sharp can easily tear mylar, foil far more so. Getting and carrying foil in big enough sheets is ...
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  • 22.5k
10 votes

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

All 4 major carriers have either implemented or are implementing text-to-911 service. U.S. mobile providers commit to emergency texting service In the event that this doesn't work, you can always ...
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