The Bonnyville Search & Rescue team was busy on Saturday testing new equipment in the cold weather and honing their skills in case of emergency.
Wintertime is arguably the hardest in terms of outdoor survival and if you can’t build a fire, you’re dead meat regardless of the gear you have at your disposal.
On Jan 15, President of Bonnyville Search & Rescue Andrew Nickless said they did some outdoor cold-weather gear training.
“Four of us were able to make it and we just went through cold weather gear that we normally take on a search and we just did some activities in building a fire and constructing a shelter in cold weather,” Nickless told Lakeland Connect. “Saturday’s exercise was making sure that the gear that we take into the field works the way we intend it to.”
Nickless says the exercise is used to keep their skills polished in case they are called onto a search in winter,
“We all keep our skills fresh and that if we run into any issues in practice we do it on a practice training rather than when we’re actually with someone who needs rescue,” Nickless said.
If you’re asking yourself why you should learn how to start a fire in the snow, well, the simple answer is: you never know, so the Bonnyville Search & Rescue team is being prepared for any situation.
“Make sure you have a good solid dry base and then build your fire on top of that base,” Nickless told Lakeland Connect. “Always take more tinder than what you think you need. If you think you grabbed enough, double it and then you’ll have enough.”
Knowing how to make a fire will make the difference between life and certain death.
As night falls, the temperature will plummet, making you feel like you’re in an icebox. If you can’t make a fire, you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation if there ever was one. In addition to keeping you from freezing to death, fire keeps wild animals away and it allows you to cook (or defrost) your food, and even make water by melting snow or ice.
Fire is your best friend when it comes to wilderness survival.
“The best plan is to always be prepared,” Nickless said. “And don’t hesitate to call search and rescue if you need it. We’re always looking for volunteers and we’re always available 24/7 365 days a year.”
Getting involved and becoming a team member with the Bonnyville Search & Rescue is easy Nickless told Lakeland Connect.
“People interested can reach out to our Facebook page, give us a message with their email address and we’ll email them all the information they need to know,” Nickless concluded.