Thursday, December 07, 2006

Be Prepared

Let’s review our Boy Scout motto:


Use it like a mantra. Say it with me now…Beee preeee-paaaaaaarrrreed.
Am I driving it home yet, folks? Making national news here in Oregon, a San Francisco family was stranded on a remote and snow covered Oregon mountain road (why was that road not closed, ODOT?). After 10 days of searching, the wife/mother and 2 children were found at the vehicle. James Kim, father, husband, brave knight in shining armor, had left 2 day prior in search of help. Yesterday, after 4 solitary days trudging through snow, ravines, ice and treacherous wilderness, Mr. Kim’s body was found less than a mile from his automobile. My heart goes out to his family, now safe, and the loss of their brave, courageous husband and father.

Had Mr. Kim been an Eagle Scout he might just be alive today. Now, even I never made it to Eagle Scout (yes, I am that kind of geek who was a Boy Scout), in fact I didn’t earn a rank much past Tenderfoot. But I learned camping and survival skills. Enough that I am confident I could survive in the most harrowing conditions. Or at least make a good example as a contestant on Survivor.

Rule #1: Know how to make a fire. If I were chosen as a contestant for the popular TV reality show, I would hone up my fire-making skills so that I could make a fire from a rubber plant. Fire will not only keep you warm, melt snow for H20, but the smoke is a great signal for those who may be searching for you. One who can make fire without no steeeeeenkin matchesss is all-powerful and should be worshiped.

Rule #2: Tell someone where you are going. Want to veer off the beaten path? Use a shortcut? Drive the scenic route? Tell someone where you are going and how you plan to get there. Everyone knew where the Kims were going. No one imagined they would take a scenic route in a winter storm. 10 days, people. Took 10 days to find them.

Rule #3: Never leave your stranded car. Stuck in the snow? Need a shelter? A car is a perfect shelter. Been a week since you’ve seen civilization? They’re coming. Search crews are more likely to find you in your automobile. Mr. Kim provides a tragic yet important point of being lost. STAY PUT!

Rule #4: Re-read the top of this post. BE PREPARED. Going for a drive in inclimate weather? In the mountains? In snow? On an unplowed and abandoned-in-winter country road? (Another poke at ODOT for not closing an unplowed mountain road) We all believe we’ll never be in a situation like the Kim’s. “Nah. I’ll be safe. I won’t put my family in jeopardy. And if I do get stuck, they’ll find us within hours.” Sure. Go ahead and believe that. Remember, it took over a week to locate the surviving Kims. Have a survival pack ready at all times. Stash it with waterproof matches (so you don’t have to make fire from rubber plants), dry food (mmmm…granola…), map, compass, flashlight, extra batteries, extra clothing, blankets, first aid kit, a knife, and maybe even a flare or two. Besides a pretty fireworks show, it’ll help those looking for you know where you are.

I won’t go into rules # 5 - 9,746. You can look them up on your own. Just be safe, people. Enjoy the holidays and enjoy your families.

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