For some of us (most of us) the worst possible case scenario happens at the worst possible time. Ever heard the saying
bad luck comes in threes? That’s true. Simply because most things in life come into play through the snowball effect. For those of you unfamiliar with a snowball effect, it is metaphorically speaking a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger, more serious and also perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous. It is a virtuous circle. A great example is waking up on the wrong side of the bed, spilling toothpaste on your nice dress pants while brushing you teeth and then running out of gas on your way to work. The foundation of the snowball effect actually lies in human psychology.
But I’m not here to write a self-help book. Instead, I’m here to tell you about an essential item to have on/around you when the snowball begins to tumble down that mountain. You can’t anticipate a snowball effect from its very beginning. However, you can have an outline of how you’re planning on taking the snowball on and reducing its effects. I’ll give you an example of one person who was very well prepared and tell you the story of how his preparation saved his very own life.
On November 14th, we received a phone call from Keith Strobel thanking Heat Factory for saving his life. Keith’s jeep had overturned in an icy river in Animas Forks, Colorado, and he survived a freezing night at 11,700 ft. He was armed with only glow sticks and Heat Factory Handwarmers. Here is the story in his own words:
” I had been photographing the ghost town by Animas Forks. The winds were very strong that day and the snow quite deep. As I backed my truck up, it slipped off of the bridge and rolled over into the river. The cab filled quickly with ice cold water, and I had to fight my way out. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, soaked and freezing. I walked around looking for shelter, and found an unlocked bathroom structure. There was snow inside, but at least I had shelter from the wind. I sealed the doors with toilet paper, and sat down to count my supplies. I had glow sticks, a rain coat and 10 Heat Factory warmers.
I was dizzy and shaking uncontrollably.
I poured out my boots, and put them back on with Heat Factory handwarmers inside. I stuffed my feet into my camera bag, and wrapped a damp sweater around my ankles. My feet were freezing and hurt like all heck. I was 11,700 feet up, and scared. It was now dark. I lit the glow sticks and put a big Heat Factory warmer in my groin, chest, and neck area. I also put one in each hand. I kept my wet cellphone next to a warmer to dry it out. I could no longer feel my feet or toes. I tried to write a note to my kids, but my hands were shaking too badly. I placed another warmer on my neck outside of my sweater. It felt really good.
Around 3 AM I became very sleepy, and started dozing off with my head resting against the icy, metal handicap bar. I forced myself to stand up and move. I knew that hypothermia had set in. Finally, around 7:30 AM, I heard gunshots. I ran outside and saw two hunters, much to my relief! They took me to the hospital immediately. I can honestly say that Heat Factory handwarmers saved my life. It is because of these little packs that I was able to return to my wife and children. I am very grateful to have survived this ordeal, and to be reunited with my family.”
Do you see what I mean? Someone who is taking photos of a beautiful place is suddenly caught in a life or death situation. And preparation was the key to this story. Hypothermia is any outdoor enthusiast’s nightmare. That being said, there are a number of items you should always carry with you when traveling. In your car, and on your person. I’m not saying that will save you every time, but they will certainly help.
1. Heat Factory Hand Warmers
Hand warmers are the easiest solution for drying items out, giving your core the heat it needs in cold weather, and even preserving the battery life of any of your items. Heat Factory’s warmers have biodegradable ingredients (inside the warmer) that are non-toxic. Just open the warmer to expose it to air and let it get hot.
2. A Tinder Kit
No, not the dating app. Carrying an emergency tinder kit is one step below carrying hand warmers. If you’re able to generate heat no matter where you are, you can keep yourself from freezing. Coghlan’s makes a good Emergency Tinder Kit and advertises that the tinder will light even when wet and is non-toxic and odorless. Each individual piece burns 5-7 minutes.
3. Sawyer’s Mini Filter
In an emergency situation, staying hydrated should be your number one priority. Sawyer created a filter that is rated to 0.1 micron absolute, weighs only 2 ounces, and filters up to 100,000 gallons. It includes a hydration pouch that can easily be rolled up in your pack, a drinking straw, and the filter itself adapts to any standard soda bottle. How’s that for versatility?
4. A Compass
Yes, old school. Yes, worth it. I actually caught myself pulling out my iphone’s compass to navigate a trade show just last week. But in an emergency situation, chances are you won’t have an iphone. Brunton makes an awesome compass that is reasonable in price and even has modern updates.
5. First Aid Kit
Sawyer also makes an awesome first aid kit designed to cover 1-6 people for 1-14 days. This version is designed for extended outings and/or family emergencies and includes Doctor Forgey’s comprehensive First Aid Manual as well as sun-block.
6. A Knife
Whether it’s a Swiss Army Champ Knife, a Barrage Knife or a Locking Knife, each design has their own uses for emergency situations. Having one close by for emergency situations can save a lot of time.