Survival In The Cold: 13 Top Tips

It is that time of the year when many people are asking “What happened to global warming?”

While this is a military based website, I felt it was a good idea to provide tips on surviving in cold weather conditions.

I must say that I am quite happy that I moved to the Caribbean, but I still have loved ones braving the Midwest United States conditions and I know that they are going through one of the worst ice storms that has been since my lifetime.

While I have given them a hard time telling them they should have moved too, I am concerned and I want to offer 13 top tips for surviving in those conditions.

Actually, I have 14 tips with the top 1 being: get a ticket and fly to where I live.

Today in Puerto Rico, it is a comfortable 82 degrees and sunny.

It does get cold at night though; around 74 degrees.

I’m sorry, I should not be so mean but I just had to rub it in.

Why you need to know how to survive cold weather conditions

Some people seem to put a lot of faith in technology, but there are things that can happen that could put you into a spot where you may have to survive in extreme conditions.

  • Hiking or camping
  • A plane, train or bus crash
  • The loss of electricity
  • etc…

Some people are more prone to damage in cold weather conditions.

Studies have shown that non-Caucasian men are at the greatest risk of severe injury from extreme cold conditions, and young Caucasian women are at the least risk.

And age is the biggest factor; the older any person is, the more risk they are in during very cold conditions.

I was a Boy Scout and earned my Below Zero patch while camping a whole weekend in below zero conditions.

It was difficult and I doubt I would try that now unless I was in a situation that called for it.

One important thing I learned in dealing with freezing temperatures was to be educated and know what to do and how to do it.

That is what I want to do for you in today’s post.

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Here are 13 top tips for surviving in a cold weather environment.

1: Know the signs of hypothermia

This is extremely important and why I am putting it at the top of the list.

Hypothermia is when the body’s temperature drops below safe levels.

Hypothermia can effect the brain, so people sometimes do not realize they are being harmed with hypothermia.

The following infographic is courtesy of the CDC and can help you understand hypothermia.

cold

This infographic is used courtesy of the CDC. It will guide you on how to handle hypothermia and protecting yourself.

2: Wear traction friendly shoes

The largest number of injuries that come during cold weather conditions are slips and falls.

Sometimes ice is hard to see and avoid.

It is wise to wear shoes that have tread that will allow you to stay upright even on ice.

Also, ice traction devices have been invented that you can attach to your footwear.

3: Say no to alcohol

It may seem like a shot of whiskey or rum will warm your body, but it actually works in just the opposite.

Alcohol lowers body temperatures, so it is best to not drink alcohol in cold conditions.

4: Eat warming foods

There are certain foods that will raise your body temperature.

Try eating some of these to help you during that winter freeze:

  • Drink some ice water – It may seem ironic, but when you drink it, your body will turn up the heat to warm the water to your body’s temperature.
  • Cayenne pepper – The ingredients in this spicy stuff will make your body get warm quickly.
  • Ginger – This will help your circulation which will warm you up.
  • Coconut oil – The saturated fat in coconut oil will be broken down and turned to energy. The process warms the body.

  • Peanuts – The speed up the metabolism which warms the body.

There are many other foods too that can help you gain warmth.

5: Put ice melt on walkways

As I said earlier about the shoes, many injuries in cold weather comes from people slipping on ice.

Just putting ice melt or even salt on walking areas can save you or a loved one from falling.

6: Stay within close distance of a shelter

While it is not always possible, if you must be outside in freezing temperatures, make sure you are within a close distance of a shelter where you can get some warmth if needed.

7: Wear sunglasses

The sun and glare can be harder on your eyes in the winter than it is in the summer.

You are not just battling the sun, but the glare reflecting off snow and ice can damage your eyes.

I suggest you wear eye protection.

8: Protect your extremities

When our body temperatures are dropping, the body has a natural reaction to protect the body’s core.

To do so, circulation slows at extremities.

This is why we need to protect our fingers, toes and head.

By the way, a cap is wise because a large percentage of our body heat escapes through our head.

Wear heavy gloves to protect your fingers.

Wear thermal socks to protect your toes, and wear ear muffs and even a face mask to protect your ears and your nose.

9: Walk or run

If you are out in the cold weather and feel like you are getting chilled, try moving around.

Walk or run and it will help your body naturally warm itself up.

10: Keep a vehicle emergency kit

It is important that you keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you are stranded in cold conditions.

For that matter, you should keep a kit in your vehicle year round.

Have an emergency blanket, warmers, matches or lighter, a flashlight and medical supplies such as bandages.

11: Dress in layers

Put layers of clothing on and make sure they are loose.

By doing so, they work like insulation and it is much easier taking a layer off if you are too warm then it is to put extra clothing on while you are out in ice and snow.

12: Slow down

Another huge reason people end up in hospital beds is because of vehicle accidents.

In many cases, these accidents would have been avoided if people would just slow down.

It may seem that roadways are free of ice, but there is a thing called black ice; it is invisible and often found on overpasses.

The water sets on these overpasses and when the cold wind blows under it, the water freezes turning the road surface to a sheet of ice.

Just slow the speed down and you will be much safer.

13: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers

This tip should also be a year round thing you should do.

Have the phone numbers of tow trucks, medical and all others that would be able to assist you or a loved one in an emergency.

Final Thoughts

I know that this post was not really military based, but the military does care about soldiers and their families and so do we here at Part Time Commander.

These tips should be shared with your loved ones so they stay safe in these frigid conditions.

Do you have any more tips you would add?

Do you have any questions or other comments?

You can post any or all below.

Be safe in the cold weather and thank you for visiting.

References

  1. https://www.army.mil/article/180527/surviving_wintry_weather_step_carefully_and_wear_proper_gear
  2. https://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/your-complete-guide-to-coping-with-bitter-cold-temperatures/43106
  3. http://www.nbcwashington.com/weather/stories/20-Cold-Weather-Tips-to-Keep-You-Safe-and-Toasty-287810431.html
  4. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/how-to-survive-the-freezing-cold.htm
  5. http://www.survival-manual.com/cold-weather-survival.php
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