Survival In A Suit | A Businessman’s Guide to Survival
A while ago I had an idea and well it has ended up in a series of posts, the first of which is below. I wanted to provide a guide to modern survival for business people. I am far from an extreme survivalist but have a keen interest in keeping myself and my loved ones safe in the event of a disaster.
What I am trying to accomplish with this series is to provide a guide to both men and women, who go to work every day, know little or nothing about how to survive when things go bad and would like to have at least the basic knowledge of what to do if it ‘hits the fan’
And So It Begins…
The first post in the series aims to cover the basics of modern day survival. What happens on day one. What you will be feeling and most likely what as a minimum you will need to think about to keep yourself and your family safe. Future posts will cover off on the gear required, tips and techniques for building camps, gathering basic supplies like drinkable water and food, how to protect yourself and longer term survival.
We hope you like this post and please comment below if there is something you feel we should add. We are far from experts so the more advice we get the better this guide becomes for everybody.
Day Zero – The Basics of Modern Day Survival
It doesn’t really matter if you’re lost at sea, hiding in a forest or camped out in the basement of your house, you still find yourself facing some pressing questions regarding surviving.
You may begin to wonder “How can I keep warm overnight? “How can I stay hydrated?” “What am I going to eat?”
These are all solid questions, but when it comes to the crunch, you’ll have to prioritise your survival techniques. It’s not a case of survival of the fittest it’s about letting common sense and logic prevail, something you innately have, especially if you’re in a 9-5 office job.
Do what you do best, make a to-do list (a mental one that is). Having a list gives you focus, lets you tick things off and stops you getting overwhelmed during this very emotional first stage where everybody is in a panic, people are missing and things, in general, can’t get much worse.
Perhaps you’re sitting patiently in your house waiting to be rescued. Maybe you’re plotting your grand escape. All this aside, you’ve first got to prioritise. Everything you know about survival and the gear you take with you prepares you more; it makes you stronger! Being prepared and in the know will give you the advantage and you’ll be able to deal with a crisis more effectively and approach it with the same head as you would in the office.
If you have to leave your house and head out into the wild then first and foremost you need to focus on staying warm.
Stage One – Why Do I Need A Fire
Let’s imagine for a moment that you had to leave the house in a rush, grabbed the family and your pack and make a run for the woods. It is late afternoon and while warm now the nights are very cold. Number one on your list should be fire.
What are your fire making skills like? Fires are crucial. They not only help prevent you from cooling down too much and developing hypothermia, they’re also a bit of a pick me up, a morale booster, something you’ll need when trying to survive outdoors. Not to forget that fires also act as good rescue signals as well.
Apart from giving you life-saving heat fire also gives you focus and a sense of stability.
Just because you’re in a dire situation outdoors doesn’t mean you should rush building a fire and lighting it; sometimes this can do you more harm than good – panic will get you nowhere.
Plan your fire wisely and make sure you’re well-equipped with enough kindling to keep the fire going. Be sure to carry a fire-making kit with you. Your average cigarette lighter with butane is fine.
A longer lighter which is used to light a gas stove is more durable. Just like when you backup your data at work, you need a backup plan for lighters, which would naturally be matches.
There are two types of matches, you’ve got your bog-standard wooden matches and then there are your waterproof ones – you should take both. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a MacGyver get yourself a fire starter; that way you’ll be able to get a fire going no matter what situation you find yourself in.
There are a few more tips for fire starting and where to light a fire but we will cover them later in another post.
Stage Two – Shelter, Clothing, Keeping Warm
If you are planning on staying in the one location for a period then you need to make a shelter. Nothing fancy but it should insulate you and your family from the elements, both rain and cold are killers in a survival situation so get a shelter up as soon as you can.
Build it during the day where you can see what is going on. A lot depends on the situation you are in and what you have access to during this crisis but always build some sort of shelter. It’s game over without one.
If for some reason you find yourself lost in the outdoors, the most important thing to try and do is regulate your body’s temperature. The fastest killers in the outdoors are all related to your body’s temperature. If you get too cold, you’ll risk hypothermia and if you get too hot, you risk hyperthermia, which is why it’s essential to try and keep warm in cooler environments outside or vice versa.
Imagine being lost in the wilderness. Night is closing in, you hear strange noises, you feel foreign eyes following your every move, and it’s freezing cold! This is far from the ideal scenario. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get wet and make sure you build a good insulated shelter from the rain. Your adrenalin is most likely to be running at a high, but try and keep it real and keep your sweating to a minimum. Sweating is going to make it much worse and as soon as you begin to cool down, you’ll feel the effects of the bitter cold much more.
Your shelter in the wilderness is just as important as your fire – it will help you maintain a good body temperature. So, you’re not a DIY kind of person at home; it doesn’t matter, anyone can make a decent shelter with insulation no matter what your outdoors experience is.
There are four known things that help govern your temperature – clothing, shelter, fire, and the way you behave or in other words, your actions!
What Do I Need To Wear?
Rain or shine, the first thing that’s always going to help you survive in the wild is your clothing. When you’re outdoors in a survival situation, you’ll have to deal with a range of environmental temperatures, including extreme ones. The best approach to take with clothing is the same as you would use for hiking or camping – using the layering approach.
When you go to the office, you’re usually dressed in layers. Think about when you head outdoors in the sweltering heat in your Armani suit; what’s the first thing you do? Take off your jacket of course! The same goes for staying safe outdoors; you really need to be able to add or take off clothing when needed.
When you think about layering outdoors, you might immediately think about catwalk models strutting their stuff with the season’s latest fashion – layering. Don’t let this deter you, layering clothes is easy.
If you find yourself having to layer your clothing outside, think of it in three simple layers or steps.
- First, you’ve got your base layer of clothing. Long johns or woollen tights are a good example of a base layer, but there’s one kind of material you should avoid when layering clothing – cotton. Cotton doesn’t trap heat, especially when it’s damp or wet.
- Your second layer, your thermal layer, consists of clothes made out of wool, fleece or pile, all of which have insulating properties even when they get damp.
- Your final layer’s called your shell layer. This layer of clothing essentially protects both you and the other layers of clothing that are keeping you warm from other elements such as wind and rain. Ideally, your shell layer will be breathable, meaning that your sweat doesn’t get trapped and create moisture in your clothes.
When it comes to surviving in the wild, many people think they know better and get rid of clothing they don’t believe they need. You wouldn’t throw away a perfectly good tie, so why would you discard clothing when you’re in trouble in the outdoors? If you get too hot, simply take a layer off, tie it around your waist or shove it into your belt. Just because you’re not using something at that moment it doesn’t mean you’re not going to need it later.
As the day turns to night and there’s still no sign of rescue, you’ll have to try and remain warm. Add your layers of clothing on one by one and then insulate them.
“With what?” you ask; anything you can find! Stuff your clothes with leaves, grass, moss, rubbish bags or even cardboard.
Basically, you can insulate your clothing to stay warm in the outdoors by using anything that you can attach to your body or tie to you.
Admittedly you don’t wear anything on your head when you head to the office every morning, but no matter what the environment is outdoors, you should always cover your head to protect it. If your body’s warm, but your head’s still cold, you can still get hypothermia, especially if your head’s wet.
When it’s sunny, a covered head will help deter heatstroke. You don’t need to be even carrying a hat per se – improvise! Use something to tie around your head such as a sweater or a bandana, making sure it’s covered completely including the back of your neck and ears.
Stage Three – Water, Doomed Without It.
You should already have a water supply in your pack but this will run out very quickly, especially if there is more than one of you. You cannot underestimate the need for a stable and reliable water source.
One of the most important things you’ll need in any survival scenario is plenty of liquid to keep you hydrated. Know your body; you’re no longer in the air-conditioned office with everything that’s familiar. You are now in a do or die situation and water is key.
Ideally what you were setting up camp you found a safe spot close to a water source. Is it drinkable, reliable and safe to use?
These are questions that must be answered quickly or else you are in trouble and a lot depends on the situation you find yourself in.
We will be covering off effective water treatment in a future post but for now just remember that n matter what situation you find yourself in you will need access to a steady supply of water.
It’s hard to become super prepared when you’re already in a situation, but it doesn’t hurt to know how to improvise with clothing to survive, learn practical survival strategies such as fire building, building shelter, sourcing food, and of course finding water in advance.
Surviving outdoors in the toughest of terrain is terrifying, especially if you’re not a seasoned hiker or an outdoorsy kind of person, but by staying cool, rationalising a little and prioritising your actions, you’re more likely to stay out of harm’s way and live to tell the story…
In The Next Post
Coming up in the next post of this series we will start to look at the kit you need in your survival pack that will help you through most survival situations. Stuff you need, stuff you can do without and some advice from experts in the area of survival and living off the grid.
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