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Basic survival gear: don’t leave home without it

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Winter is not over yet, as we saw earlier this week. Whether you are planning a trip into the backcountry or just driving across Nebraska, you need a few basic items for survival. Accidents and emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime.

Read any book on survival, and it will tell you that you need four basic things: shelter, water, fire and food. For most survival situations that the majority of people find themselves in today, food is actually the last thing you need to think about. Most survival situations last only a day or two, so food is not the most critical element. In Nebraska’s wintertime, shelter, not food, is probably your biggest concern.

Here is the scenario: You are driving along a snow packed road on your way to your grandma’s house, and you slide off the road and roll over a couple times in the ditch. A couple windows get broken out of your vehicle. It is 20 degrees, and the wind is blowing. What do you need most: shelter or a Big Mac?

Simply wearing adequate clothing goes a long way to help you survive. Your vehicle, regardless of what you drive, is shelter from wind, snow and rain. Staying with your vehicle provides you two advantages. It gives you the shelter you need, and it is easier to see a vehicle than a single person. You will probably be rescued faster if you stay with your vehicle.

A simple item you need to carry in your vehicle is a small poly-tarp – one that is 8-foot by 10-foot is adequate. This can help with shelter, like blocking off broken windows in the scenario above, and you would be surprised how warm you can stay by wrapping up in a tarp like this.

A candle, one of those big ones in a jar, is a nice thing to have in your vehicle. If you are stuck in a ditch overnight … a cold night … a candle can make a lot of difference. A candle will provide light, not only so you can see, but also so people can see you. It can also provide a lot of warmth in a closed vehicle. You just need a small opening somewhere to get some fresh air in and make sure carbon monoxide doesn’t build up.

Being able to make fire for warmth is a pretty big item to consider. I carry several methods of starting a fire with me all the time. I personally carry a lighter and my vehicles have a couple lighters tucked into glove boxes and center consoles. Not just any lighter though, although any lighter is better than nothing; I prefer the Scripto disposable lighters. They are designed so that it is very difficult to open the valve and let the fuel out accidently. I have found that BIC lighters are notorious for being empty when you need them.

You can buy waterproof matches, but you pay a lot for something you can easily make yourself. You’ll need some “strike anywhere” matches (this may be the hardest item to find in this list) and fingernail polish. Just dip the head of each match in the polish and let it dry. You now have a waterproof match that you can strike on any hard/rough surface. Pretty simple.

If you read the caution statements on many of the adhesives you have for jobs around the house, many of them are very flammable. Squeeze out a ribbon of such an adhesive on the ground, even in a puddle of water as long as some portion of the adhesive is above the surface of the water and it will burn. A couple inches of adhesive will burn about 10 minutes. You can get the wettest wet tender to burn in that amount of time!

One more easy way to start a fire is to make your own “fire balls.” Take a cotton ball and coat it with Neosporin. Not only will you have an excellent fire starter, you’ll also have a ready treatment for minor cuts and scrapes.

You should have a knife. You don’t need a “Rambo” knife, but a sturdy knife with at least a 4-inch blade is about right. A 6-inch fixed blade hunting knife is a good choice, too. There are a thousand uses for a knife, but you have to have one with you.

I also recommend that you carry about 50-feet of a small diameter rope. You don’t need anything real heavy, just something you can use to tie up the corners of your tarp, or lash a set of boards around a broken leg. Rope has many uses!

I like to keep a few canned goods in my vehicles. Most canned goods will stand up to some freezing and thawing and normally have long shelf lives. I carry a couple cans of canned meat and something like apple pie filling. I have adequate protein with the canned meat and lots of energy in the pie filling. You will need extra energy to stay warm.

And … if you have cans, you need a can opener. The simplest can opener I ever saw was given to me by the . I think everyone who has been in the military will recognize it. It is called a P-38. Great invention, works every time – never needs batteries – but your knife is the backup can opener.

I hope you never need to depend on any of these items, but if you have them with you, you will be ready to handle the situation.

NWTF Banquet

The Twin River Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be hosting its annual banquet and auction on Friday. The event will be held at Harbor Lights Gatherings near Lake Maloney. Doors open at 5 p.m..

Tickets for the event are $50 for an individual or $65 for a couple. You can buy a Sponsor ticket for $300, which gives you more chances to win some great items.

There is an Early Bird Raffle Pack which gives you $400 worth of raffle tickets, two gun of the year tickets (the Beretta A 300) and a NWTF Limited Edition knife.

For more information, reservation and purchase of the Early Bird Raffle Pack, contact Tim Hinde at 308-520-4750 or Crystal Adams at 308-737-7227.

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