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10 Ultimate Survival Tips for Winter Weather

By Morgan Sherburne
1/21/2014 5:15:17 AM

Winter can be a cruel thing.

Snow, while pretty, can wreak havoc on driving conditions. The aftermath of ice storms, while beautiful on a sunny day, can cut power to your home for days and make driving nearly impossible.

Take for example the Nevada family whose Jeep overturned in the Nevada mountains. James Glanton, 34, and Christina McIntee, 25, thought to stay with their vehicle, making it easier for rescuers to find them, reported CNN. They also thought to heat rocks in a fire, then place the heated rocks in the Jeep's spare tire to smokelessly heat their vehicle. By making use of some ultimate survival tips, they were able to stay alive.

Winter's not just tough on humans. In early December, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a dog that fell through the ice of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., according to a news release on the Coast Guard's website.

"The ice is really new right now, so it is really important to understand ice conditions," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Disher, officer-of-the-day at Station Sturgeon Bay. "In this case, the owner of the dog did the right thing by not trying to rescue her dog by herself and calling us for help instead."

According to the release, the dog rested at a veterinary clinic and went home with its owner.

To keep safe, the Coast Guard encourages the acronym I.C.E., which stands for "Intelligence, Clothing, Equipment." The Coast Guard hopes I.C.E. will help ice anglers and other outdoor sportsmen to know the weather and ice conditions before they venture out. Ice anglers should also dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature and wear a life jacket. Screwdrivers tied on a string around your neck are also handy to claw your way out of the water if you should break through the ice.

Image via Kim Hanson

Stranded in Your Car

Authorities attribute the Nevada family's survival to the fact that they stayed with their car. The car gives authorities a big target to search for. AAA recommends tying a brightly-colored cloth to your antennae and keep a dome light on at night if possible. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear so that carbon monoxide gas doesn't creep into your vehicle. To avoid being stranded to begin with, either stay put at home, invest in winter tires, and keep your tank half full.

Winter Hiking Safety

The Washington Trails Association says hiking in the winter can be far more dangerous than in the summer. Know the area's avalanche conditions before you venture out, and have a portable shovel and avalanche beacon with you. Let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return. Wear layers and keep a headlight or flashlight with extra batteries. Extra food and water can come in handy, and if you get into a tough situation, consider carrying an emergency shelter or sleeping bag.

Camping Safety

The outdoors company REI recommends winter campers don't go it alone, and to include people with different winter skills. Know the area: talk to experienced campers, study maps and know what emergency services are closest. Know the weather forecast. REI recommends NOAA's National Weather Service website for backcountry forecasts. Avoid avalanche areas, and check the local avalanche forecast.

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