Monday, October 22, 2012

October Nights, Hypothermia and REI

@REI Settlers Ridge, PA
Be Prepared...  

for a dirty and fun cavern exploration experience with clothes you can get dirty.  Check.
Have a change of clothes for after the shower and a bag to put all the dirty cloths in.  Check.
Make sure you have plenty of warm layers not counting the dirty ones. Not checked.
Make sure you are prepared for a sudden rain storm while you are still at the caverns.  Not checked!
Make sure you are ready to find your tent and sleeping bag blown over and soaked when you get back to camp.  Not checked!!

This can challenge even veterans, it is a tragedy for the inexperienced and under prepared.  With air temps in the 40s, soaked and shivering scouts had to be dealt with.

Safety First
Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid training kicked in for some of the older scouts and adults and no one went hypothermic (no human burritos needed to be made).  Prepared scouts were found to offer extra layers, many giving their own hat or coat over to the cause.  Some of the coldest were "cooked" in a heated car and one scout proceeded to build a large cheery and warm fire.  Tents were hung in the pavilion and gear was sorted by degree of dryness.

So @scoutingcouple are off to the closest laundromat (not close) washing and drying clothes and sleeping bags.  (Shout out to Scotty D's in Uniontown PA).  Among the items, much cotton and very light weight sleeping bags, one even marked 40 degrees.  Now a 40 degree bag is really like 50 or more to be comfortable for most people and the forecasted lows were in the 30s.

A Great Lesson
We had a planned stop at our favorite toy store on Sunday. The staff at REI at Settlers Ridge were very helpful in scheduling an impromptu clinic on sleeping bags, pads and how to stay warm. More meetings will be devoted to layering and preparedness in the future, but thanks to all who surged to help, we suspect that what could have been some scouts last campout will be one of their most memorable and educational.

And by the way, by scouts we mean Boy Scouts, the Venturers and our Frontier Girls (<14 yrs).  By the way we highly recommend the Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid course should be taken by all leaders who take youth out into the woods.

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