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Survival Stories

  • “That Won’t Happen to Me”: A Customer’s Tale of Preparedness

    The phrase “That Won’t Happen to Me!” is used all too often. In actuality, disaster could be around any corner and can affect anyone at any time. Many of our survival products are purchased under the premise of “just in case”, but we realize few imagine what they would do if it did happen to them.

    Every once in a while, we hear from someone who considered the bad things that could happen and acted on commonsense, using the right equipment at the right time.  With his permission, here is the unsolicited account of Stephen H. from North Carolina:

     

    "Dear Best Glide,

    I would like to share my story about how your products save my life.

    Months back I ordered one of your Ultimate Adventurer Survival Kit. I carried it everywhere! Mountain biking, hiking, and everywhere else. I never thought I would have to use it, however, I was always taught through the Boy Scouts and my dad that I needed to be prepared. My friends thought I was crazy for carrying all the extra weight. I do a good bit of solo hiking and just exploring alone.

    One day I went to Linville Gorge State Park in North Carolina. I was on a pretty remote section of the trail. It was not maintained well at all. A good portion of the markings were obscured or just not there. I made the mistake of getting started too late in the day (about noon) but I wanted to hike! I also forgot to tell my friends and family that I switched from my original plan. My hike got started off well. It was in the mid 70's but, it began to drizzle on me (as it normally does, I have bad luck). I hiked till about 5 that evening before deciding to turn back. With little markings on the trees I began to get confused.

    The landmarks all looked the same. I did not come to the realization that I was lost till about 8 o'clock that night. Then it hit me that I would be spending the night out in the wilderness. I had the sudden reminder that I had my Ultimate Adventurer Survival Kit with me! I broke it out and sorted through the items. The first thing I did was use the emergency blanket, duct tape, and zip ties to make a shelter for the night. I made a semi lean-to with a couple of tree branches.

    After I used the wire saw to cut of some small pieces of wood for the night ahead. The derma safe knife was excellent to shave off some tinder to get my precious fire started in the first place. I then used the book of matches and fire gel to get a small fire going. They both worked like a charm! I used a combination on the snare wire and the utility cord to weave a small sleeping pad of branches and grass to get me up off the cold ground. I stayed warm for the majority of the night. Between the fire reflecting off of the emergency blanket and the sleeping pad I made, I was fairly comfortable given the situation.

    It was by no means a comfortable night. However, my survival kit made the night so much easier and so much less scary. The next day I packed up my stuff the best I could and broke camp. The walk out was just as confusing as it was the day before. I was starting to convince myself that I was going to be out for another night. I had the good fortune of running into another group of hikers. I told them how I got lost and had to spend the night out in the wilderness. They graciously showed me the way out off of the trail. I discovered that at a junction I had taken a wrong turn and ended up miles away from where I was supposed to be. Having the kit gives me a real peace of mind. The components are absolutely top quality. I am one of the most satisfied customers ever! I just put an order in for more supplies to make a smaller kit. Best Glide is a one stop shop for all your survival/ medical needs.

     

    Sincerely,

    Stephen H.

    North Carolina, USA"

     

    Stephen – Thank you for sharing that with us. It is a great encouragement to us to hear your story and we wish you well in the future!

    The invaluable guidance of both his Dad and the Boy Scouts, coupled with experience, taught him early to prepare for the worst. The fact that he had a survival kit says a great deal about Stephen. He understood the chances of  plans going awry and he prepared himself.  Stephen’s story turned out well – despite starting late and forgetting to tell others of his plans.

    Bad things can and will happen to us all therefore it is essential to take steps to ensure that a seemingly simple trek on the ground, in the air, or on the water will not turn into a challenge of you against nature. Be it a hiking excursion, a cross-country automobile trip, a flight in a small aircraft, or a natural disaster that has you either “bugging out” or sheltering in place, preparation will pay off when the time comes.

     

    Remember - " Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2012 by Patrick Carey.

  • If You Didn't Bring It - You Don't Have It - Part II

    If you have read the newspaper or Internet news sites this week, you may have caught the story of the two fishermen in Alaska who had quite an adventure. It seems that they were in their fishing boat miles offshore when they experienced hydraulic failure (I love boats but have a limited knowledge of some of their systems - I assume the hydraulics control the rudder and also the planing / pitch of the lower unit) and, were also dealing with eight-foot waves.

    Well, they were twisted around and the bow of the boat nosed-into a wave as the stern of the boat began to flood. They grabbed what they could, one of the items being a four foot deep and wide plastic bin. The other man grabbed the lid and into the water they went as their boat sank. The fellow who was hanging onto the lid was able to grab a Survival Suit, and spent the next two hours fighting his way into it while staying afloat and hanging onto his floating plastic bin lid.

    In the process of the one man working his way into the Survival Suit, the two Alaskan fishermen were soon separated by the wind and waves. The man in the plastic bin kept himself occupied by bailing the water out of the bin, and gave himself pep-talks and probably went through a thousand repetitions of everyone's favorite small-craft song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." The man in the survival suit made it to shore and flagged-down a passing boat that was coincidentally full of Law Enforcement officers who were going out to look for the overdue fishermen. The man in the boat was spotted and rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew.

    I am sure everyone is happy for the rescue of the two Alaskan fishermen, as I know I am because I also know the potential outcome should have been opposite of the actual outcome. The fact is, these two men are very fortunate to be alive. They left for their Coho Salmon fishing trip without telling anyone of their plans, they did not have a working radio on board their craft, and they did not even have a mobile ("Cell") phone with them.

    Call it what you will, but I believe sometimes Providence looks down with a sympathetic smile and allows a bad situation to have a pleasing outcome. It does not happen often, but once was enough for the two Alaskan fishermen. It is the quintessential example of "I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good" that we examined in a previous blog. I won't argue the point because the point is these two, in spite of their lack of preparation, survived what ninety eight out of one hundred other fishermen in the same situation might not have.

    If you go out on fishing and / or hunting trips, if you go camping or hiking, if you walk cross-country ... if you do any activity that might place you in harm's way while doing it, PLEASE at least let a friend or family member know when you are leaving, where you are going, how long you should be gone, and when you should return. Take good and reliable communication gear with you. If you are going into the wilderness or out on the water and will have no mobile phone coverage, please consider one of these:

    https://www.bestglide.com/spot-satellite-gps-messenger.html  or, maybe a newer type of accessory that that enables you to use your Mobile Smart Phone as a GPS text messaging unit:

    https://www.bestglide.com/spot-satellite-gps-messenger.html

    These two guys apparently had some sort of Survival equipment on-board - hence the Survival Suit. One does wonder though who would have ended up with the suit had one not been able to use the plastic bin as a boat. It is exactly this sort of situation that gives us pause to reflect on many things, and prompts us to check our own preparations and our own Survival equipment. Our mental preparations for such an event as these two fishermen went through are also worth meditating upon. If ever a time a positive attitude was needed - it was then.

    The Survival Suit was on-board "just in case", and the plastic bin probably held their catch or bait. What they had was all they had. When the time comes will any of us have what we need to survive? It's worth thinking about.

    Remember - " Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

  • If You Didn't Bring It - You Don't Have It: An Example of Survival Basics

    Although stories of extreme survival aren’t unheard of, there are some stories that leave a lasting impression. Stories of ordinary people in dire circumstances strike us the most because they almost always occur in normal situations. Whether it's a young man trapped by a bolder or a couple stranded in the snow with a nursing infant, we often find ourselves wondering why they weren’t more prepared.

    For those of us in the survival industry, keeping survival items around is second nature. We realized that some don't take the time to consider all the bad things that could happen. Few people plan to be trapped in a terrible situation. Regardless, you can literally save lives by keeping even the smallest survival kit in your home, car, backpack, or boat. Aron Ralston’s harrowing tale of 127 painful hours best exemplifies how even the most knowledgeable can fail to consider basic survival guidelines.

     

    The Story

    For those that are unfamiliar, Aron Ralston is an accomplished mountain biker, rock climber, and avid outdoorsman. In 2003, Ralston was rock climbing in Canyonlands National Park in Utah when a suspended boulder trapped his hand against the canyon wall. Unfortunately, he brought minimal equipment and forgot to tell anyone where he was going. Armed with a gallon of water, five chocolate bars, two burritos, and a muffin, he began to try to free himself. Because it was only a day hike, he had nothing to keep him warm and no way of alerting people to his dilemma. Ralston desperately tried to free himself with his climbing gear as he recorded the event with camera equipment. He ran out of rations after 5 days and, with little hope of rescue, Ralston was forced to consider an extreme option. Using an off-brand Leatherman multitool, he freed himself by amputating his own arm.

     

    Preventable Mistakes

    Impressively, he was rescued just four hours after amputating his arm. Ralston left for his trip, trusting his skills with little equipment to back up his plan. Despite having enough food and water to last several days, his lack of emergency planning, signaling equipment, and protective clothing stands out the most. If it hadn’t been for a nearby family, the distance from help coupled with a lack of first aid could have done him in. Whether you are simply going for a day hike or preparing for a week-long trek in the woods, there are some survival essentials and skills that you must have.

     

    Always Remember

    • Make a plan and communicate with others; this applies to all circumstances. When going on a venture, always tell at least one person where you are going and when to expect you back. It is impossible to count on rescue teams when no one knows where to look.
    • Carry equipment that compliments the environment. Despite years of outdoors experience, Ralston brought only what he needed for that day. Always consider the possibilities of the environment. It is essential to carry several tools that can signal for help. Carry at least two signal devices: whistle, signal mirror, signal panel, or emergency strobe light, .
    • Educate yourself and practice skills before going into the wild. Ralston was educated enough to understand his arm would require more than a simple amputation. He was also acutely aware of his symptoms as he struggled with dehydration and loss of circulation. Knowing basic first aid skills and taking the time to practice is just the beginning.

     

    Aron Ralston’s bravery and determination for survival is most important survival skill he had and ultimately it saved his life. He faced desperate odds with little hope of rescue yet his survival psychology ultimately led him to safety. Ralston was an educated and experienced hiker and outdoorsman; however, his story best exemplifies the concept of “if you didn’t bring it, you don’t have it”.

     

    Remember - "Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 by Patrick Carey.

    Sources

    Ralston, A. (2004) “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Basis of the Motion Picture 127 Hours”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aron_Ralston#Background

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