Basic survival equipment and techniques

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 11:25
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Hi Much is made of the technical survival equipment available if stuck miles from any help. So there can be no mistake I do not decry or wish to downplay the role of modern gear but lets look at non technical simple on hand stuff.
Using the resources on the vehicle is overlooked and sadly people perish unnecessarily. There are people in the remote areas that may be many many miles away. You wont see them but they are there.The one thing these potential rescuers all share is curiosity at anything out of the ordinary as not much happens in these areas.
Have you ever seen rubber burn? A tyre sends a column of dense black smoke straight up many hundreds of metres in the sky. It burns for a very long time. It is not remotely like any natural fire. This dense black column will be seen and investigated.
First thing to do is carry an old tyre and light it. Otherwise do not hesitate to set your spare tyre and wheel on fire. Burn your tyres one by one. You are never going to use them if you do not get rescued. This is taught in other countries as basic rescue technique but is ignored in Australia. Past fatalities caused by breakdowns of all types in remote areas sadden me when I see the vehicle resting on all its tyres. Your vehicle may be your pride and joy but look for anything combustible and burn it. You will not want it or ever use it if you and your passengers are not rescued.
And yes I am an Australian born in Charters Towers. I carry a satellite phone and a PLB on my travels and have a VHF mounted in my Prado and an old worn tyre on the roofrack. I have never used any of them and hope I never have to.
I hope others post suggestions in this thread. Kitbags
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:13

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:13
Hi Kitbags

Many, many years ago, Jack Absalom had a series of good outback shows on TV, from all topics from cooking, painting and outback survival. As per your post, he stressed that you have 5 tyres on your vehicle to burn to hopefully get the attention of either searching planes or vehicles in the event that you need help.

Yes you are correct, as you never see any mention of it today.

Another cheap and very small item that I also carry is a rescue mirror. The flash can be seen from many miles away.


Cheers




Stephen
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Follow Up By: SDG - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 23:33

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 23:33
If need be, pull your reversing mirror off your window
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:04

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:04
Hello Stephen,
I have that DVD you refer to. It's Jack Absaloms's trip up the Birdsville Track done in a Sigma wagon.

This is back in the day when her still recommended calling into the Marree cop shop to sign out and then sign back in at Birdsville. I bet there aren't too many people or places where that is still common procedure. Maybe the Canning being the exception.

I'm lucky enough that my wife travels with enough scented chemicals (aka perfume, moisturisers etc) than I could set off a mushroom cloud the size of which has not been seen since Maralinga and not burn a single tyre.

I may also add....she doesn't get on this forum. Phew!

Fab.
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:43

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:43
As a last resort you could definitely burn tyres or your whole vehicle if need be, however in modern times a little common sense and pre planning should see you rescued with a lot less drama.
Let someone reliable know where you are going and when you will be contacting them again.
Carry an EPIRB or whatever PL device you fancy.
Carry enough water for everyone in your vehicle plus a bit.
Mobile phones, HF radios, even the UHF CB may help in remote areas.
Paper maps and a compass to back up your electronic GPS navigation devices.

Did I mention a good water supply???? (;=))

Most of those who do a perish die of thirst. No personal knowledge but I have been told it ain't a nice way to die.

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:49

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:49
Technology has come to our aid these days. You are very unlikely to perish in the outback no matter where you are if you have a sat phone, GPS enabled PLB, food, water and you stay calm. And, obviousl you stay with your vehicle.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:51

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 12:51
Where is the edit button? - obviously,
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 16:02

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 16:02
Hi Chris

The trouble is Chris that even though we have all these great, safety items to take away, there are always the "know it all people" that still go away unprepared.

The fact of human nature will still see people perish in the Outback in situations that the well prepared will say "how the hell did they die like that when all they had to do is......"

One such very good example of this is out from Williams Creek when those Overseas tourists went off without telling anyone of their travel plans. End result one dead and one very lucky to survive from no water, yet the vehicle had lots of water in it. How did it happen?

They became bogged in so called soft sand, and then thought they could walk all that way back to William Creek. What was the first thing the Police did when they went to retrieve the victims and vehicle, engaged four wheel drive and drove straight out of the bog, or the Station Hands on Ethabooka Station that got bogged in sand and again walked off.

We will still see these type of events until we are all educated and get to know that the Outback is such a great place the visit, but do the wrong thing and you are not prepared and will take your life in an instant.


Safe Outback Travels.



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Stephen
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 20:49

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 20:49
Hi Stephen,

Agree with everything you have said.
Your comment "We will still see these type of events until we are all educated and get to know that the Outback is such a great place the visit, but do the wrong thing and you are not prepared and will take your life in an instant."
The question then is how do we educate people of these dangers?
There are those that live and work in the outback who have perished because they simply did not take enough care. There is no cure for stupidity.
Then there are visitors who perish through ignorance. The discussion that is occurring in this thread gives any reader a good insight to the danger of the outback and how mitigate them. I would like to think that between the posts here and Mr Google that some visitor to our country see this post and become educated so that they to do not become yet another statistic. Well done ExplorOz.
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:35

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:35
G'day Chris,
The single biggest killer in the outback is complacency. Sadly it's what we often read about with these stories of people who live in the outback, dying in the outback.

I'd like to think that most of us on here who (for the best part) live in civilisation but travel to remote areas take with us the motto of "Assume the worst". Sure that means we get home with way too much water, food and recovery equipment that is still wrapped in it's original plastic but I can guarantee you that the one time you don't take that stuff with you will be the one time you or someone you come across will need it in a true life or death situation.

When I travel to Melbourne I measure my distance in hours at an assumed speed of 90-100kmph. So a bottle of water, some nibbles and a stop for lunch is sufficient. That same 800 kms is roughly 40 days walking. Not that I'd ever contemplating walking it nor should anyone.

80kms on foot = 4 days at best = (8 litres per day of water) 32 litres = 32kgs. That's no food and nothing else. Now 80 kms is a drop in the ocean when in the outback and can easily be described as "I saw a homestead back there about an hour ago".

Let's not forget that some people (as sad is this may be) head out on purpose very unprepared to end "it". Yes it's a place that offers much time and solitude to reflect but it also puts rescue parties at risk. I'll wait til I'm dead and a handful of ashes before I buy that one way ticket.

For me and certainly with the countless amount of info on this site and many others like it, plus the plethora of electronic gizmos available, the single biggest killer still comes back to complacency.

Fab.
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:43

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:43
Let's not forget that "our" generation grew up with people like Jack, Harry Butler, The Leylands etc.

My kids generation is growing up watch shows like Getaway and South Aussie with Cosi. (I'm in South Oz).

They refer to anything north of Gawler as "The Outback" which means there is no clear differential between a Sunday drive to Clare (hello Stephen) or a trip across the Simpson. The newbys can easily be fooled into thinking it's much the same thing.

Times are a changing. Sad really.

Fab.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:44

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:44
"One such very good example of this is out from Williams Creek when those Overseas tourists went off without telling anyone of their travel plans. End result one dead and one very lucky to survive from no water, yet the vehicle had lots of water in it. How did it happen?"

Actually, they did tell somebody....at the Pub.
http://www.lakeeyreyc.com/coroner.html
Gabriele Grossmueller walked and perished, her travelling companion stayed with the vehicle and was fine. Both still had water.
It was December 1999. We were there about 2 months later.

I understand that it was this incident which eventually resulted in hire 4WD campers being fitted with EPIRBs as standard.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 08:59

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 08:59
Your right Peter, they did write it in a book and the book was misplaced, I think that is why you should not rely on others for your own fate, sure when we did the Canning we signed in at Wiluna and then had VKS notify Halls Creek that we were through but we didn't rely on them. The net result is that there is now NO book, the owners sold up and moved on and I would think that they feel terrible for this.

People wonder why others don't want to get involved I think it is because some always look at others to blame and not themselves. Some simple things like at the start of this excellent thread should be digested by those that lack off road experience in addition to other safety & recovery methods & equipment.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 15:50

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 15:50
Don't underestimate the usefulness of HF radio. It's good for talking over long distances to a large network of people who understand the sort of situation you are in. But, better than a sat phone, it will allow you to talk to someone just a couple of dunes away too!

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Kitbags - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 19:11

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 19:11
Thanks for your 4 responses however I started this thread called
Basic survival equipment and techniques for basic non technical survival equipment. Stuff that you have in your vehicle that is part of your vehicle that can be turned into a survival equipment or used as a survival technique. In other words not electronic gadgets such as HF radio, Sat phone.and a PLB. So there can be no mistake these are great survival tools but this thread is not about them. Perhaps one of you will start a seperate thread about them and their separate merits.
Say your vehicle has rolled, or smashed into a bull.Your gadgets are stored in your vehicle but are unreachable or out of action or are under water. Suppose the devices batteries fail through heat or are flattened.These things have happened with fatal consequences.
I was hoping to get a discussions going on basic things. eg Remove the hood and turn it upside down to collecting water. Use the battery to weld or light a fire. Which coolant can be drunk and which ones will speed your demise. Survival using whatever is to hand. Kitbags
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Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 20:22

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 20:22
"however I started this thread called Basic survival equipment and techniques for basic non technical survival equipment"

In that case I suggest you are wasting your time on this forum. It is largely populated by caravaners and soft campers who consider a survival situation to be when one runs out of coffee.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 21:53

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 21:53
Nigel, such a useful contribution............
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Follow Up By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 23:46

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 23:46
Thankyou Nigel
If I decide to change my name, I will change it to ENIGMA, as I live in the Tanami Desert, and have had the privilege of meeting quite a few members from Exploroz, though some in not the best circumstances.
Most members of this site are serious travellers seeking information, and trying to make sure they have the latest road reports and the like, and I will state with reservation a very nice community of people on the Exploroz site.
Perhaps a paid membership would get you to know people better.
Marc
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Reply By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 18:34

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 18:34
I live very much in the "outback" as people call it, although we do live in a community.
When we see smoke, we check who went out, where they went, and if the smoke is not theirs, then yes, someone is fuelled up to go and check. We always send two vehicles, as well as extra water, tools, fuses of various types. Only twice have vehicles been sent out in recent times, successfully.
Good planning, and seeking knowledge of an area will nearly always result in a safe trip, and great memories to take home.
Marc
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Follow Up By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 21:16

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 21:16
Sorry Kitbags, read your thread wrong.
There are a quite a few different tricks that we have used out here, and they have worked.
Flat battery:- When the battery went too flat to kick the vehicle over, about 5 years back, we made a fire, and burnt it down to coals, then buried the coals in the sand, only about 2" down. We put the battery, with normal water (didn't have distiller water), then put the battery on the sand above the hot coals. It took about 45 minutes, but there was sufficient charge in the battery to start the motor...it actually works.
Bogged in mud, no winch:- Tried it once and as successful. We could not snatch the trayback out, so we came back to the community, got an old rim and some fencing wire, and went back. We secured the towball of one car to a good tree with one lot of wire, then after removing the right steerer, put the spare rim on the car, where we had taken the wheel off, secured the wire to the rim, feeding it through the valve hole to stop slipping, slowly engaged reverse in low 4x4. Again it worked, but it as hard holding that steering, even with power steering. Luckily we only needed to move a very short distance to get the bogged vehicle out.
Finally, but not the last "trick". We frequently use any beds to get people out of bogs. We jack the wheels (with a kangaroo jack) one at a time, and put broken ant beds pieces under the wheels. Then dig any mud from between front and back wheels, putting more ant bed in, clear behind the rear tyres adding more broken ant bed if needed, and almost every time, a bogged vehicle can be reversed out in low 4x4.
Marc
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:11

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:11
Hey Marc..... great to see you back on here after a long absence.

Back on topic....the shiny thermal blanket is a big win too. Easily spotted from aerial searches, helps to keep warm and also is a great tool for collecting condensation. Best of all....it takes up next to no room and can be used while travelling (dual purpose) to keep the sun off the car fridge.

Fab.
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Follow Up By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 13:14

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 13:14
I have not been anywhere Fab, I only post when I have something relevant to post.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kitbags - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 17:58

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 17:58
G'dayee Marc No need to apologize. Your post was good. It reinforced that drawing attention to a stranded traveler does bring the locals like yourself to investigate. Kitbags
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Follow Up By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 20:55

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 20:55
Hi Kitbags
Although we do not mind going out, which is much better than someone perishing, it is not something we discuss much. The people always have a good laugh at how people manage to get themselves in some of the situations, but then when you do not know the tracks, and where bad spots are and things like that, I guess our bit of knowledge can come in handy.
We ahave heaps of various tricks that we know, but to put them in a site like this would take up a lot of room, so a couple will do.
Safe travels
Marc
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Reply By: hooks - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 11:45

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 11:45
Hi Kitbags,

My simple things to consider,

'Let someone know' where and when your going.

Remember to report in when out.

Stay with your vehicle if broken down or out of fuel

Light a smoky fire.

Carry adequate food and water

If out of water construct a solar still. Fill a large clear garbage sized bag with green vegetation. leave in sun for at least 4 hours. Water will accumulate in bottom of bag and although it may be a bit vegetative in taste, it could be live saving. You can hang more than one bag out to catch more water. Make sure you have these bags in your kit.

If out of food you may be surrounded by 'bush tucker'. However ensure you understand what is safe to eat. There are good reference books available, Perhaps discuss with the local indigenous people before entering the region.

Keep warm at night and if a fire is lit ensure it is not too large, but adequate. Make sure its out before leaving the area.

These are basic things, but when stranded some people wish to walk out to obtain help and in doing so can perish.
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Follow Up By: hooks - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:04

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:04
I forgot to mention,

Don't panic

When letting 'someone know', advise when you expect to get out i.e. the date and time and the date they should commence an investigation should they receive no advise from you.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:48

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:48
In addition to most other "stuff" mentioned, I carry some out of date boat flares.

1L of diesel will get a fire going in the wettest of conditions.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 18:00

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 18:00
At the very least, EOTrackMe is good for finding people, the last sighting on the map would at least show where a vehicle was heading and the time and date they were there. Costs only a few dollars. Michael.
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Get out and do something instead!

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Reply By: Brett T7 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 20:58

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 20:58
Great topic!

I always encourage people to not add any additive to their washer fluid as it maybe your last option, you can then also use the water for any other number of uses.

I love freeze dried foods. Not many people starve out here but if people have a few meals on hand they are a lot less likely to get desperate and leave the car.

Brett
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Follow Up By: Member - Kitbags - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 23:51

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 23:51
I saw a UTube video using Aerostart to seat a tyre on a rim. I had seen it some years ago but I had forgotten about it. Other products eg petrol metho can be used but Aerostart is the best. Note Remove the valve stem first. This limits the pressure and stops contraction of the gas when it cools and contracts which can cause the tyre to be pulled back off the seat. Kitbags.
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