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.
SHELTER (REGULATING BODY TEMP)
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.
A NOTE ON HYGIENE
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.