Don’t let the cold hearted killer get you

Staggering forth, shivering, soaked to the bone and exhausted, my body plummeted performing a face plant into a stream.

Staggering forth, shivering, soaked to the bone and exhausted, my body plummeted performing a face plant into a stream.

Capt. Williams wrenched me up and inquired as to my physical status.

“I’m fine,” I slurred in response.

Feeling no pain, only drowsiness, I continued blindly to climb.

This was no time to drop out, a number of other officer cadets had fallen to the wayside due to fatigue and injury.

My pride blinded me to what my body was communicating.

Reaching our destination, my body slumped to the damp, chilled ground.

Within minutes I was shivering violently.

The next moment I awoke enshrined in daisy-fresh sheets and pajamas, wondering if this was life after death.

Reality kicked in as I observed the intravenous violating my body. Needles, what a barbaric practice.

It was 1979 and I was an officer cadet at CFB Chilliwack when I was personally introduced to hypothermia.

Pride and youthful arrogance had blinded me to the signs of fatigue: shivering, stumbling, slurred speech, disorientation, and drowsiness.

Once hypothermia had me in its talons I didn’t have the coordination or presence of mind to do anything about it.

Luckily there were others there who were able to evacuate my chilled body off that mountain top.

Since that day I’ve learned to listen and monitor my body when in the back-country, especially on the North Island where temperatures aren’t extreme, but the rains and wind are ever present.

Hypothermia can sneak up on you even at temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius or because of a combination of body contact with a cold object, unusual exertion and a lack of food.

Basically the mechanisms of losing body heat are radiation, conduction and convection.

Evaporation constitutes most of the remaining heat loss in the form of perspiration.

Think of yourself as a fire which requires a continuous supply of combustible fuel to remain burning.

If your fuel source becomes depleted or you leave your fire open to harsh elements your fire dies down or may even go out.

It’s easier to keep an existing fire burning than attempting to restart a new one, especially in windy and wet weather.

There are a few simple suggestions to practice for staying warm and dry: don’t over exert yourself, avoid overheating and consume an abundance of nutritious supplements to maintain your energy levels.

Clothing is of utmost importance: a good rain-and-wind-resistant outer shell, a good insulating and wick-performing material for your inner layers and, as for hats and gloves, there are many products out there, but personally wool is still the best especially when it gets wet.

Wool will continue to insulate where as thinsulate material found in many gloves and hats once wet gives minimal protection in comparison to wool.

And you can never put a price on quality water resistant, well-fitted boots because once you lose use of your feet, you’re pretty much fodder for the scavengers.

Besides your basic emergency gear carry an extra pair of good insulating socks and a extra inner layer your pack during the wet chilly months.

Of course, you need not practice any of these suggestions, which may result in an embarrassing hit and run of the rectal thermometer, as it usually the only reliable method to measure your core temperature — that is if there’s someone present to rescue you from exposure.

Lawrence Woodall is a longtime naturalist who lives in Port McNeill.

 

 

Just Posted

PRACC Chair Fred Robertson happy with how windmill blade display turned out

“Rotary really stepped up, which was excellent.”

Island Foods renovates bottle depot and cans old bottle return system

“I don’t want people to spend the whole day here,” said Angela Taylor on Port McNeill’s bottle depot.

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Sointula Resource Centre to hold fundraising play

The play will “grab people’s attention” says Stephanie Rockman.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read