This past week has been a pretty tough on for people in the outdoor sports arena. Three hikers on Mt Rainier got trapped in a freak snow storm and one of them dies. A north Texas teen is in Mexico for a graduation celebration and dies in a boating accident. Four Scouts are killed when a tornado devastates a Scout camp in Iowa. All are tragedies but, perhaps, something can be learned form each of them.
When I heard about the three climbers of Mt. Rainier, my first thought was that they probably werenít dressed properly and didnít check the weather. Sort of guilty until proven innocent. I was incorrect. They had heavy jackets and had checked the weather. The freak snow storm was the worst ever for this time of year. They used their survival skills to dig a cave in the snow for protection. The husband laid against the snow and sandwiched his wife between himself and the other hiker. The husband died of hypothermia. What Can Be Learned: Maybe if they had packed an emergency survival blanket the husband would have survived. It weighs about 3 oz and cost about $7. It conserves 80% to 90% of body heat. Might always have one in your gear.
A north Texas teen went on a boat outing after graduation. The boat began sinking and she jumped over the side. She had on a life jacket so she should have been fine. When she jumped in she went under the surface. When she was coming up she was hit by a rescue boat and got caught under the boat. What Can Be Learned: Always check the capacity of party boats. Some boat owners load boats way beyond capacity to make more profit. Check the water when you jump in so you donít land on someone. Check your ascent to make sure it is clear.
For the boys at the Scout camp in Iowa there was just not much more they could do. They had practiced emergency procedure drills the day before the tornado struck. Boys came back from a hike early to avoid the storm. They were at the lowest location and inside a building under a table. By their quick action at treating the wounded and clearing debris even before the first responders arrived, these Scouts probably saved lives and reduced the severity of those injured.
What can we learn? Always be aware of your surroundings- look for the emergency exits in a theater, check for the fire extinguisher or fuel cut off valve at the gas station, etc. Think a little about what you would do if an emergency happened. Proper preparation and doing everything right will give you the best chance to survive in an emergency.