Winter Survival Strategies taught at Glenshire Elementary School
Special to the Sun
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Last month, the second-grade students of Glenshire Elementary learned about winter survival in order to be safe in the mountains. In the meadow at the school, they visited different stations that showed them what to do if they were ever lost in the snow. At one station, survival experts and parents showed students how to make a small snow cave for warmth and shelter. At another station, students used something shiny like a CD or a candy wrapper to catch the sunand#8217;s rays and attract the attention of planes, helicopters or other skiers.
The most important lesson was if you get lost to S.T.O.P., which stands for Stop, Think, Observe and Plan. Donand#8217;t panic and donand#8217;t rush off in any direction. Look around where you are. Can your footprints take you back to where you started? Are there any houses close by you can go to for help? Will someone you know call for help when you donand#8217;t show up on time? Make a plan to attract attention: a cross with your skis and poles or a big S.O.S. with branches. Finally, if itand#8217;s getting dark and you are cold, make a small cave and stay warm until help comes.
Before skiing or hiking into the backwoods, remember the three Ws: Tell someone where you are going, what time you will be home and who you are with. And itand#8217;s best to make up a survival pack to take along and#8212; just in case. This could include: high-energy foods, water, extra clothes, a large plastic bag, a CD or mirror and a whistle.
Hypothermia is something we all have to prevent when out in the snow or cold, whether skiing down a mountain or sledding in the back yard. Hypothermia happens when you get so cold your body and brain do not work normally. You shiver and feel numb; you canand#8217;t move well or think well and you make bad choices, such as wasting energy wandering around, taking off clothing or getting wet. Thatand#8217;s why when itand#8217;s freezing outside you have to stay dry and warm, get shelter, eat food and drink water.
Snow is fun. Living in the mountains is fun. With a little thinking ahead of time and a knowledge of survival, we can enjoy ourselves outdoors and feel safe and#8212; even in freezing temperatures.
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