Tuesday, April 5, 2016


It can be a dangerous world out there, and the Boy Scouts had the right idea when they chose for their motto "Be prepared."  Mike McCarthy, Eastern Arizona College Biology/Modern Desert Survival Instructor, was our guest presenter during our March meeting.  He presented an excellent review and a few updated tips for surviving emergency situations.  Here are a few you may want to add to your knowledge base.
  • If you are with your vehicle, stay with it because it is much easier for aerial rescuers to see.  Indicate distress by taking out your floor mats, removing your spare tire, and opening your hood.   You want to draw attention to the situation--don't look like your out for a picnic.
  • Stay in the shade and if you choose to walk, only walk at dusk and dawn.  Leave stick arrows, or tie bits of cloth to brush as signals for rescuers or yourself.
  • Do not remove your clothing.  It will protect you from heat and cut down on dehydration.
  • Don't eat if you get lost.  Your body requires more fluids for digestion.
  • Don't ration water.  It is better stored in your body than a canteen.  Don't drink your urine.  And you can't get water from a Barrel Cactus.
  • Solar stills are a thing of the past.  If you have large ziplock type bags, you can fill them with crushed greenery and hang them off a tree in the sunshine.  In a short time, transpiration will occur and moisture will collect in the corner of the bag. 
  • Carry a cigarette lighter to start fires.  You'll only get blisters if you try to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together.
  • The triangle is a universal ground-to-air symbol for help.  You can also set up three fires in a triangle and light one.  If you hear an airplane, you can quickly light the other two.
  • A DVD works like a mirror for signaling.  They are easy to sight with--you just look at your target through the hole and catch the sunlight.
  • Regarding animal encounters--Bees kill more people than rattlesnakes or bears.  Remember snakes look for shade during the day and in an emergency you do, too.  Bears are generally not aggressive in our area and will scurry off.  If a bear approaches, keep your face turned toward the bear and slowly back away.  DO NOT turn and run;  a running person is seen as "food" trying to escape. Making yourself appear large and sometimes shouting will scare a bear away.
If you would like to learn more,  EAC is offering a two weekend Desert Survival Class, April 22-23, 29-30.  Contact the Registrars Office to sign-up.  Mike McCarthy also has taught  a birding and local archaeology and geology weekend classes, so watch for those next fall.