Surviving Extreme Cold

From building a fire to winterizing your vehicle, learn all about how to be prepared and survive the extreme cold.

| September 2017

In Surviving Extreme Weather (Amber Books, 2017), Gerrie McCall shows how you can survive the worst storms, floods, droughts, and cold spells. Notably, he dedicates a full chapter on surviving extreme cold weather conditions. The human body functions optimally within a narrow range of temperature. Frostbite can lead to gangrene and amputation and extreme cold can be fatal. To survive the cold you must maintain a safe body temperature, avoid cold injuries, find shelter, and prepare your home and vehicle.

Whether you are in a city or the wilderness, extreme cold can be deadly. It is important that you stay warm and avoid any actions that can cause a rapid loss of body heat.

Cold and the Human Body

Normal core temperature for the human body is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to remain healthy this core temperature must stay constant within a narrow margin. Variations in either direction can cause irreparable organ damage and death.

Core temperature refers to the temperature of vital internal organs, including the heart, lungs and brain. Since the limbs and extremities have less protective tissue than the torso, their temperature tends to vary to a greater extent. It is important to keep the hands and feet warm to guard against heat loss and injury.

Shivering is the body’s way of producing heat, yet prolonged shivering causes fatigue, which results in a drop in body temperature. To survive in a cold environment you must take care of your basic needs of food, water and shelter, as well as protect yourself from illness.

Wind Chill

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