Monthly Archives: September 2014


IR Monkey

To Do Today:

  • PT – Cardio – 1hr cross train // Strength – c/j / dead / squat / tire flip / chest to bar pull-ups.
  • Describe the “Rule of 3’s.”
  • Begin/update your personal medical file. Plan/schedule a comprehensive physical if more than 12 months from your previous medical examination.
  • Begin/update your personal dental file. Plan/schedule a dental appointment if more than 6 months from your previous dental cleaning/exam.
  • Begin/update your personal vision file. Plan/schedule a vision health appointment if more than 12 months from your previous vision examination.


Radiation. Radiation is direct heat loss from the body to its surroundings. If the surrounding temperature is colder than the body, the net result is body heat loss. Without clothing, you will lose about 60% of your total body heat by radiation (vis-à-vis the other methods listed below). Specifically, heat is lost in the form of infrared radiation. Infrared targeting devices work by detecting radiant heat loss.

Conduction. Conduction is the direct transfer of heat from one object in contact with a colder object. Most commonly conduction occurs when an individual sits or rests directly upon a cold object, such as the ground, a rock, or snow. Without an insulating layer between you and the object (such as leaves, an isopor mat, etc.), you will quickly begin to lose heat. This is why it’s important to not sit or sleep directly on cold ground or snow without vegetation, a mat, or a pack acting as insulation.

Convection. Convection is heat loss to the atmosphere or a liquid. Air and water can both be thought of as “liquids” running over the surface of the body. Water or air, which is in contact with the body, attempts to absorb heat from the body until the body and air or water is both the same temperatures. However, if the air or water is continuously moving over the body, the  temperatures can never equalize and the body keeps losing heat.

Evaporation. Heat loss from evaporation occurs when water (sweat) on the surface of the skin is turned into water vapor. This process requires energy in the form of heat and this heat comes from the body. This is the major method the body uses to cool itself down. This is why you sweat when you work hard or PT. One quart of sweat, which you can easily produce in an hour of hard PT, will take about 600 calories of heat away from the body when it evaporates.

Respiration. When you inhale, the air you breathe in is warmed by the body and saturated with water vapor. Then when you exhale, that heat is lost. That is why breath can be seen in cold air. Respiration is really a combination of convection (heat being transferred to moving air by the lungs) and evaporation, with both processes occurring inside the body.

Human Bodies


To Do Today:

  • PT – 45min run / strength – leg group / abs
  • Describe what tasks are necessary in a survival situation, or, what should a basic field survival kit enable you to do.
  • List the components of a basic field survival kit.
  • List additional items you would like to add to your personal kit. Provide specific reasons why for each item.
  • Begin to assemble your personal field survival kit.

Rule of Three’s for extreme situations:

  • You have 3 minutes without air
  • You have 3 hours to find/build shelter (to regulate body temperature)
  • You have 3 days to find potable water
  • You have 3 weeks to find a reliable food source

The Rule of Three’s assumes a reasonably fit person. Fitness is critical to preventing injuries, having the stamina to work (survive, evade, etc.) long hours over many days, and having the strength to lift or move heavy things (like water containers, logs, etc.). Success in hostile environments or when facing capture necessarily requires athletic abilities beyond the basics. Strive to continually improve and be prepared. As the saying goes, the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.


An average person will only survive for 3 minutes without air.

Survival situations may begin/include a plane crash into the ocean, an automobile accident that puts you into a lake/river, a fall through the ice, or just getting into water over your head. When you have time to prepare mentally, you can add a few seconds to the clock.  Also, when going under, its not necessarily about the time, its about the task. Swimming/working/struggling/fighting while breath-holding will obviously take seconds off the clock as your muscles use the available oxygen in your body more quickly.

Time frames to remember during a drowning situation (add 60-90 seconds for those who are in better physical condition or who may be trained):

  • 0-30 seconds. Even an untrained person should be able to hold their breath for 30 seconds. If you cannot, practice.
  • 30 seconds to 1 minute. Airway may start to constrict. Lips start to discolor. Panic sets in.
  • 1 to 2 minutes. Grey-out to loss of consciousness.
  • 2 to 5 minutes. The heart can stop. The victim has a good chance of survival if rescued now and CPR can be performed.
  • 5 minutes plus. Permanent brain damage is occurring as each second passes. Death.


Core body temperature should be held within 2°F of 98.6°F. Actions that keep your body in this zone are called Thermoregulation. Thermoregulation can be the difference between living and dying and is the practice of controlling your core temperature. People die each year from power outages during heat waves or winter weather. Simple variations in environmental temperatures between 30° and 50° have wreaked havoc and many die from hypothermia (too cold) or hyperthermia (too hot).

Minimal fluctuations to core temperatures over a long period of time can also stress the body and throw vital systems into chaos. In the event of persistent stress, the body will actually break down at the cellular level. If your temperature suddenly plummets, the proteins in your cells clump together leaving “gaps” filled with water that can potentially freeze and shred cell membranes. When the body overheats, cells can become too warm and essentially leak or even explode.

Hypothermia is the condition when your core temperature plummets below approximately 96°F. Variables to this include age, sex, percentage of body fat, etc.  Suffering from even mild hypothermia can cause your body to burn through calories trying to keep vital organs heated, cutting into the body’s food stores. Your body will also limit the amount of blood flowing to your extremities making them more susceptible to damage and impairment.  Shivering is another way for your body to create heat to keep you warm.  While shivering, your body is creating tiny muscle contractions, thereby using energy and heating up the body.  Unfortunately, shivering also burns through food stores in the process.

Hyperthermia is when your core temperature soars above approximately 100°F.  Again, this can vary, but this gives you a good guideline for sustaining a healthy condition when exposed to less than ideal temperatures.  Generally, in the case of hyperthermia, your body will succumb to dehydration.  Your body’s first line of defense is to circulate more than four quarts of blood per minute, dilate the blood vessels, and open the skin up to let the excess heat out. When this fails, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are soon to follow.


A person cannot survive without water for more than a few days. Your body loses water through normal body processes (sweating, urinating, and breathing) and during normal activity the kidneys can excrete more than 1 to 2 quarts of water per day. A normal body will also evaporate almost a a quart per day depending on temperature and activity. Heat exposure, cold exposure, intense activity, high altitude, burns, or illness, can cause your body to lose more water.


The body will survive several weeks without food. However, without an adequate supply to stay healthy your mental and physical capabilities will deteriorate. Food supplies the body with the necessary nutrients and energy to function.

Food sources are plants, animals, and fish that provide calories. To produce energy, the body uses calories. Proteins, fats, or carbohydrates produce calories. Of these three, certain ones produce better energy than others do. Animal meat is an excellent source for caloric intake, although nuts from pine cones can supplement it.

  • Protein. Proteins are comprised complicated molecules with chains of amino acids. There are numerous kinds of amino acids which cannot be synthesized or combined from other food elements in the body and must be consumed in the diet. However, for those thinking that small game will be their sole source of protein, a pure protein, low fat diet can cause fatality in 3-8 weeks from Rabbit Starvation, a term used for living on a small game diet. Find and consume supplemental proteins like dandelions, nuts, bark, and legumes.
  • Fat. Fats serve as the main storage form of energy. Fats produce energy and heat. Fats are best obtained from bone marrow, liver, or the stomach portion of fish
  • Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are known as the quick energy food and produce lots of heat. They are stored in the liver and muscles. These organs can be markedly depleted by fasting for as short as 24 hours. Cattails, nuts are a source for carbohydrates.
  • Fiber. Fiber prevents irritable bowel syndrome. In the Falklands campaign the British had a major constipation and diarrhea problem. This was largely caused by dehydration and a low fiber diet. Grasses and pine needles are a good source of dietary fiber.
  • Vitamins. Vitamins are essential to metabolic functioning of the body and exposure to cold compounds this function. Our bodies cannot make vitamins so we must provide them in our diet. Most edible plant life contains many different vitamins. Associated illnesses from long term deficiency are Scurvy (vitamin C) a physical disease and Beriberi (vitamin B1) a mental disease. Vitamins can be found in the cambium layer of trees, pine needles, and stinging nettle.
  • Minerals. Be primarily concerned with Iron. Iron acts as a thermoregulator and Iron deficiency causes a 9% decrease in heat energy production. Consuming only 1/3 RDA of iron results in a 29% greater heat loss during cold exposure. Animal blood, dandelions, stinging nettle, and bone marrow provide the major source of iron. Ensure these foods are properly prepared if available.


Cleanliness is an important factor in preventing infection and disease. It becomes even more important in a survival/SERE situation.

Areas to pay special attention to are the feet, hands, armpits, crotch, and hair. Visual and physical inspections should be conducted daily for injury, parasites (i.e., ticks, leeches, etc.) and insect/animal bites. Hands and finger nails should be kept as clean as possible to prevent infection and sickness. Expose all body areas to the sun in moderation when possible in order to kill bacteria and parasites on/in the skin. Expose feet to open air at every opportunity (alcohol based sanitizers applied to damaged skin that has been wet for prolonged periods ((i.e., feet)) seems to work well).

Teeth are another important area to keep clean. Brush your teeth each day either with a toothbrush, or if you don’t have one, make a chewing stick. A chewing stick is made out of a twig about 6 to 8 inches long. Chew one end of the stick to separate the fibers. Now brush your teeth.

Field Kit


To Do Today:

  • PT – 45min run / strength – back and shoulder group / abs
  • Describe in your journal the acronym “SURVIVAL”
  • List the survival stressors. What are your known specific stressors?
  • What are some specific steps to increase mental toughness? (extra credit)
  • Journal the priorities of work in a survival/SERE situation and how / why could these priorities change?

Components for a Field Survival Kit

Much has been written on the “survival kit.”  A rule of thumb is: The more you know, the less you need. Training, experience, and mental toughness is by far more important that any tool or trinket you can carry in your pocket, other than maybe a fixed blade knife. Be wary of the “tacticool” survival kit or super/secret/special/expensive survival accessory bought off the shelf.

That being said, tools and trinkets can make life easier and better the odds in a bad situation. It goes without saying that your expected environment is key to the types of items you will carry in a survival kit. Also, how much equipment you put in your kit depends on how you will carry it; the kit on your body will be much smaller than one carried in a vehicle. Always “layer” items keeping the most important items on your body, and be redundant with important things (e.g., knives) in your survival kits. Two is one, one is none when it comes to survival/SERE.

There are limitless variations on kit configuration, kit items, and special circumstances (i.e., items for urban environments, escape/evasion, lock picking, etc.). The basis for each, however, is a “field” kit that should help you do the following:

  • Control bleeding and avoid infection
  • Cut/shave/skin/stab/slice/mince/hack/etc.
  • Start a fire
  • Signal others
  • Procure/store/carry water
  • Navigate
  • Procure/store/carry food

In preparing your survival/SERE kit, select items that can be used for more than one purpose. It does not need to be elaborate. You only need functional items that will meet your needs and something to hold it all with (even if it is your pocket or a Ziploc bag):

  • Fixed blade knife with sheath
  • Ferro rod, striker/whistle
  • Compass
  • Stainless steel water bottle
  • Water purification method
  • Paracord

Those six items, in addition to field clothing and boots, should be sufficient for 3-14 days depending on weather and environment. Everything else to survive and thrive can be found, caught, or made in a majority of survival situations.