Outdoor Safety When the Weather Turns Cold
A lot of people shut themselves indoors when the weather starts turning cold. But for those of a certain constitution, cold weather is an open invitation to get outdoors even more. Cold weather brings with it hunting, ice fishing, and a plethora of sports that can only be enjoyed in the snow.
Are you an outdoor person? Do you prefer colder weather for enjoying outdoor activities? If so, remember that safety is still a concern. The cold weather brings with it certain challenges you don’t have to worry about at the height of summer. Your best bet to stay safe during the cold weather months is to use common sense.
Dress in Layers
If you’ve heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times: dress in layers during the cold weather months. Rather than putting on a single heavy coat and a pair of leggings, wear thermal underwear and jeans on the bottom along with a couple of t-shirts, a vest, and perhaps a sweatshirt and light jacket on the top.
You know the drill. Dressing in layers makes for better wicking away of perspiration. This greatly reduces your chances of suffering hypothermia. Dressing in layers also makes it easier to cool yourself off should you get a bit overheated. You can remove just one layer and still not put yourself in danger. Once you cool down, you can put the layer back on.
Don’t Forget Your Hat
Colder weather creates the need to protect your head with a hat. But wait, hats do more than just keep the wind off your head. They also trap heat. If you know anything about how heat escapes from the body, you understand how important a hat is in cold weather.
The idea that you lose most of your body heat through your head might be well-intentioned, but it is a myth. It is more accurate to say that heat loss is more likely via uncovered areas of skin. So if your entire body is covered except your head, then you will lose more heat that way. Thus the need for a hat.
Use the Right Tools
Keeping safe outdoors during the colder months requires using the right tools for each activity. For example, perhaps you’re a hunter who spends a lot of time in a permanent tree stand on the edge of your property. You might want to keep some rock salt up in that tree stand just in case nasty weather makes it slippery. You can buy gritting salt online or at your local big-box department store.
Not a hunter? Maybe you are a skier then. You have a lengthy list of equipment you rely on to stay safe on the slopes. Make sure all of your equipment is in good working order before you leave home. The last thing you need is to have a day of skiing cut short due to a safety risk that could have otherwise been avoided.
Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand
Another great idea is to keep some emergency supplies on hand. Again, maybe you are a hunter. Create a cold weather emergency kit that includes a blanket or two, some canned food, a few first aid supplies, etc. The point here is to be able to survive just in case you are stranded in your tree stand for a few days.
If you’re someone who likes to hike, carry some emergency first aid supplies and an extra pair of gloves and socks whenever you go out. Those gloves and socks could prove invaluable in the event that you have some sort of accident that results in the ones you’re wearing getting wet.
Tell Others of Your Plans
Whenever you plan to be away from home for more than an hour or two, be sure to tell someone where you’re going and what you’re doing. Making others aware of your plans adds an extra bit of insurance in that they will know to expect you home at a certain time. If you don’t show up, they will know where to begin looking for you.
This particular point cannot be emphasised enough. Every year we hear stories of people stranded in foul weather, leaving behind relatives who have no idea where they are. Such scenarios could be avoided simply by keeping others informed of your plans.
Safety is a Mindset
Perhaps the best way to wrap this up is to explain that safety is a mindset. Regardless of the season, being safe outdoors requires common sense and planning. It requires thinking about how to be safe rather than waiting until something happens and then realising safety is something you were not paying attention to.
Note that during the cold weather months, safety becomes even more important. Cold weather creates conditions that can be very trying on both body and mind. As you get out there to enjoy the great outdoors, just remember to use your head. Stay safe. The rest of us want you around for a while.