Welcome to my new weekly column. My name is Vern Six. I’m a proud United States Army veteran. While in the Army, I was certified as a survival expert and have spent the years since improving my skills as well as teaching them to others. I am a former full time Christian missionary having served and lived in Guatemala near the border of Honduras and El Salvador. For nearly 30 years, I have earned a living as a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur which has taken me to 5 continents and 88 countries.
My wife and I live a very simple lifestyle. We pay cash for nearly everything and have used credit only on a very limited basis. We currently have a mortgage on our land, but nothing else.
This weekly column will be a look into some aspects of our lifestyle drawing on good old-fashioned skills and beliefs. While some may call us “preppers”, we don’t consider ourselves preppers in the stereo-type so many associate with that word. We are not “prepping” for anything other than to be self-sufficient and debt free.
It is my intent for this column to be a place where I can share, with you, some of what I have learned over the years. I maintain a website (http://www.AccordingToVern.com) where I will post each week’s column and I encourage your comments along with your suggestions for topics you would like to read about. There is much more detail about me and our lifestyle on this website’s “About Me” link.
With the heat of summer upon us, I thought it would be a good starting point to discuss some basic heat preparedness and safety tips for my first article. Tomorrow is predicted to be 103 to 105 degrees here in this area. That’s some serious heat.
Here are some tips that Ranae and I follow when dealing with heat like this. Granted, we are a little more pro-active than a lot of other folks because of our extensive traveling experience, but we still think these are good tips for everyone to follow even if you are only traveling 10 miles or so. We know what it’s like to be stranded and will never be without safety preparations again!
1) KEEP WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE: Even yesterday afternoon when all we were doing was driving about 70 miles from our land, we first stopped at the store and bought a package of bottled water. At only roughly $3 for 24 bottles, there really isn’t a good reason to not to have water with us. How long would it take for someone to come help us if we had vehicle problems? Hydration could be a real problem sitting in that heat for an hour or two waiting on a friend to come help.
2) SPORTS DRINK MIX: We keep multiple packages of Gatorade drink mix in our vehicles. Sweating depletes salt and minerals from your body. If we have a vehicle break down, or we have to walk, sweating is going to be a problem. These packets of drink mix will help replenish these vital minerals.
3) WORKING OUTSIDE: The CDC says most adults should drink 32 ounces of **WATER** PER HOUR when working outside in the heat. Drink even if you do not feel thirsty. By the time your body feels thirsty, you are dangerously near dehydrated. Dehydrated in extreme heat can quite literally be a death sentence. Why take that chance? The feeling of being thirsty doesn’t come until very late in the dehydration cycle.
4) UMBRELLAS: Keep one umbrella for each passenger in your vehicle. If you have to walk, you will need the shade.
5) FOOD: We keep a minimum of a couple days worth of non-perishable food in each of our vehicles. You have to be somewhat careful on what types of food to store in your vehicle as temps inside the vehicle can reach in excess of 140 degrees. It’s usually best to keep food supplies in your house and then simply grab the bag on your way out to your vehicle. We do store food in our vehicle, but we were careful to chose only those foods that wouldn’t be harmed by the excessive heat.
6) THERMOMETER: We keep an oral thermometer in our glove box. Body temps make a big difference and help to tell us when we should rest, drink more water, etc.
7) CELL PHONES: Not only are cell phones a potential life saver to call a friend to come to your aide if you should break down, they are also useful to call for medical advice or emergency services. Program the number into your phone, for your local hospital’s emergency room. This is a much better way to get medical advice than calling 9-1-1. Clearly you should call 9-1-1 in an emergency, but if you don’t believe it to be life threatening, then call your local emergency room.
8) SATELLITE BEACON: When Ranae and I lived in Guatemala, we bought two personal satellite rescue beacons. We still have them and love them dearly. We simply do not go anywhere without them. The beauty of these things is they are only about the size of a package of cigarettes and they work everywhere in the world except in the country of Korea. One push of a button can tell friends your exact location and your need for help. A push of a different button and the local authorities are notified automatically and a rescue team is dispatched. We opted for the extra insurance that guarantees us a free medivac ride to the nearest hospital should we ever need it. At only $140 per year… it’s money well spent. One added feature is that you can set them up so your friends can follow your whereabouts. Friends and family can be alerted by phone, email and text. It’s a wonderful service! We use a company called Find Me Spot
9) TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Tell your friends and family where you are going. If this is too much trouble, consider using the FREE website I created called www.AlertSomeone.com
10) HAM RADIO: If you are a licensed Amateur Radio Operator like me, then you really should keep a radio in your vehicle. Even if you are NOT a licensed operator, the law says you can broadcast on any frequency in case of an emergency. If you want more information on becoming a licensed ham, please contact me and I will get you some good information. In my next article, I will tell you more about how to use a ham radio in an emergency situation if you are not a licensed operator.
PLEASE BE SAFE, FOLKS!
Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his “According to Vern” blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http://AccordingToVern.com