PSK True Tales

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Doc., Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    A recent thread, assessing the worth of a PSK, leveled a challenge for those in defense of such a kit, to relate an episode that demonstrated their kit's worth. I recommend that responses to the challenge include two things:

    1) a listing of items included in the kit and where/how you carry the kit.
    2) Briefly relate the episode that demonstrates the worth of the kit.

    I'll start:
    1) My PSK is older than dirt. It consists of a SAK and Ferro on my keychain, a double length parachute cord bracelet worn on my wrist (long before these were chic), and a short dowel with a few winds of duct tape, flagging tape, and a waxed oil lantern wick. The dowel is slid into a fold of a large bandana which is folded and put in my back pocket.
    2) I picked up a new sail from the FedEx office that had been custom made for me for one of my self-made pirogues. I planned to venture out with it the next day after I got home (60 mile drive) so I had the boat strapped to the top of the truck but no gear other than my paddle and life vest. I couldn't wait, so while driving along the parkway I stopped to try out the sail. An unexpected wind storm arose and blew me across the reservoir and rendered me windbound for the night. The temperature (I found out later) dropped to 23F that night. I tied my boat to two trees with the paracord creating a lean-to shelter. I wrapped myself in the sail and wore my life vest over top of it. Made a fire and gathered wood for the night. Found an empty discarded tin can and cut the top off with my SAK so I could boil water in it. Made pine needle tea. Marked my spot on the shore with three strands of flagging tape. Tied my bandana around my head as a babushka. And with a few other tasks completed, I settled in for the night. I actually slept pretty well. And the Reservoir Boat Patrol came and picked me up around noon the next day. It was about a 21 hour ordeal. My biggest danger was the numerous widow makers in the trees around me but I was surrounded by swamp and lake so I just put that in the hands of the Big Guy. I'll always have my PSK with me.
    Doc.
     
  2. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    The paradox of prepared people, is they are the least likely to need to use the preparations.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope I never have a story to contribute here.
     
  3. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    bump


    I would like to see this thread get used and expanded. A trick I take for granted may be new to someone else, and vice versa, so here's an easy starter:

    Cutting spoon blanks in wet conditions two miles up a trail (feeder trail to an AT junction in JNF, VA) I slipped down an embankment with an open Silky saw in my hand; my only thought was "keep the saw away from your body". Successfully did that but at the cost of some scrapes and a historic Class 5 nail-destroying event. Had a FAK as always; gauze, tape, otc painkillers, alcohol swabs, bandages, everything I needed to contain and control the problem, and let me think clearly about what needed to be done (in this case, gather tools and supplies and get back down the mountain).

    The psychological benefits of being able to address injuries are significant - I double what I carry in terms of a FAK if I'm hiking with other people, especially people who don't worry about possibilities as much as I do. Once you've done what you can, it may hurt, but you can relax some knowing that you've been pro-active.


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    One thing I did (when I still had my orange Farmer :() is poke a small hole with an awl in the cap of a plastic water bottle to get enough pressure to sluice out my cuts and scrapes. I've done this a lot, and it's a good trick to know.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  4. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    Damn @Youcantreadinthedark , those are some nasty scrapes.

    Sometimes scrapes and bark burn against your skin is worse than an actual cut... At least on terms of the pain. I can wrap and put pressure on a cut or laceration and move on, but large areas of wounds like yours or what you get on the side of your leg sliding down a rocky hillside are distractingly painful.

    Also, in case anyone wants to try it out, the nerves that process pressure on your body override the pain impulses to your brain; I.e. Basically they get there first. So applying a lot of physical pressure to a wound can make the pain level decrease for a time. That's why when you cut yourself badly, your first instinct is to grab the wound and squeeze.

    I can contribute any stories quite as dire as what's been presented thus far... But I have found myself or family members in situations where a FAK on my person or an urban survival kit has come in handy. (This is where most of the value of those damn altoid tins comes in).

    My son fell and scraped his leg while we were at the Detroit Zoo one year- admittedly the best case for an injury you're likely to get while in Detroit lol-

    Now this doesn't seem such a big deal except that he's 4 1/2 at the time and needs bandages (in his mind) for so much as a pimple. I had antiseptic wipes with a topical anesthetic for cleaning and addressinng some pain, fabric bandages that won't peel off with sweat, and a bit of medical tape and gauze... Got him bandaged up like a pro while we were in line to feed the giraffe.

    I carried my FAK gear in a red zip up case for a portable hard drive, with a white cross on the top made from said medical tape.

    Plenty of minor instances as well where an altoid tin of bandages, safety pins, Tylenol, leatherman micra or SAK classic SD, a lighter and flashlight have been employed to make mini rescues of an otherwise inconvenient situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  5. Sinjin

    Sinjin Firebrand Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've known a couple people who are strong believers in the mindset of"everything you need can be found in the woods". And while I truly appreciate this mindset, I do not agree with it when it comes to First Aid.

    I'm sure most of you, if not all agree with this.

    The times I have needed my FAK (which is part of my PSK) the last thing on my mind was," lets go see what mother nature has to offer as a bandage".

    I have needed stitches a couple times from accidents in the woods, and I was very thankful to have pre-made butterfly stitches in my FAK. I'm sure nothing serious would have occurred if I didn't have my FAK, but much like @Youcantreadinthedark has said, tending to your own wounds immediately allows you to relax and deal with the situation while remaining calm and collected.

    BTW Great Idea for a thread @Doc.
     
  6. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Good for those “couple people” that told you that.

    I consider them foolish!

    When I need to deal with first aide issue I want my kit at my finger tips, clean, stocked, and ready to help get the injury under control as soon as possible.

    Then hopefully, I’m back to having fun!
     
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  7. Sinjin

    Sinjin Firebrand Supporter Bushclass I

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    Exactly how I feel.
     
  8. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

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    Hill People Gear talks about levels of equippage. Depending on where you are and what you're doing, you have different levels of equippage. In my case, the most basic level is my pants. If I'm wearing pants, I have a knife, a phone, a belt, and a lighter. If I'm leaving the house, there's a survival/first aid kit in the vehicle or in my backpack. If I'm in the woods, add a hydration reservoir, snacks, and trek poles. We should think of our PSK as a basic level of equippage, instead of a precious object that must be preserved intact and can only be opened and used under very specific circumstances.

    If you think of it as a basic equippage, then you'll find that you are constantly using your PSK. Band-aids and antibiotic ointment. Cordage. Fire starting. Duct tape. Tarp. These are items I carry and use all the time, for me and others. It's just a question of replacing the items that get used up.

    Example: a few weeks ago we were on a family vacation with my wife and kids, my parents, and my sister and brother-in-law and their kids. We needed the first aid kit so often that I just kept it on the kitchen counter. Same with my Mora Robust--it was the only sharp knife in the house. We used it to clean fish, to chop onions, someone appeared to have whittled with it, etc. My dad took my Silky saw out to gather firewood. I used the lighter to start the grill.

    These are items that I (should) always have. In an emergency, they could help me preserve my life or someone else's. In the meantime, they're just part of day to day life.
     
  9. Black5

    Black5 Supporter Supporter

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    Amen. My PSK has bandaged and soothed burns, cuts, and scrapes on grandkids so much. I guess I use the FA stuff more than anything, but I know with it I can survive a night lost in the woods.
     
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  10. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

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    I think Andy makes good sense here. As does YCRITD.

    Andy's referral to HPG's Level Philosophy is a good one.
    1/2 mile from the car. You don't need too much. 3 days from the car. The risks and ramifications increase exponentially.

    The level of preparedness and first aid knowledge and equipment should rise equally as the level of risk and difficulty of rescue rise.

    Doc's example is one I see over and over again. Not his actual boat incident. Which he seemed to handle very well.
    But the pattern leading up to it. It seems it is almost always a series of small mistakes that leads us into more serious trouble.

    In his case hitting the water without proper gear. Driven by excitement. He also probably failed to check the weather, or he would have known about the approaching wind/front. I bet he didn't make anyone aware of his abrupt plan to go sailing. So no one would even know where to look.

    I see much less need for a one mile hike on a well traveled trail. Than I do for bushwacking 10 miles into the back country.

    My kit is a mix of prepared and home build items. Bandaids and gauze, medical tape. Three different levels of pain killers. Antiseptic, wipes, iodine, But I also have corn starch to help stop bleeding. Honey for antimicrobial wound care and two small tubes of super glue for wound closure.

    I never go anywhere without the means to build a fire. No where.

    As much as any kit is worth its weight in gold when you need it. So is the knowledge of how and what to do. Buck Tilton's book Wilderness Medicine is in every vehicle I own. At the very least some crib cards are a good idea. Sure you know what to do. But what if you're the unconscious one.

    My best advice is, kits are cool. But learn to identify the small things before they become big things.

    I have a Silky saw.
    The thing is literally scary sharp. It eats wood for breakfast. It should never come in contact with flesh/bone. Sliding down the side of a mountain with one is not someplace I would ever want to be.

    I'm sure there were a few small errors made there. That when taken in aggregate caused some serious pain and discomfort. If not an actual life threatening situation. However if that Silky had been dragged across a femeral artery during the slide, it very well could have been a life threatening event.

    Seriously, I have both read about, and been involved in way too many of these situations. The weather turned, but we thought we could still make it. We don't usually hike more than a mile or two. But we planned a trip of three consecutive 8 mile days.

    Real life example;
    We are canoe camping along the Cedar River Flow,
    Father and son in a canoe in pouring down rain, pull onto shore. Temps hovering around 42F and slated to get colder.
    It's almost dark. He stops and ask us where he is?

    Stating, we are way behind schedule, because we got a late start. My son is shivering uncontrolably, I'm cold and starting to shiver, but I'm OK. But I still have 15 miles of unfamiliar river to navigate before we get where we planned on camping.

    We fed these two and gave them hot cocoa. The son was the voice of reason. At 12 years old he convinced his dad to spend the night with us by the fire, and continue on in the morning. Starting out warm and dry. Dad wanted to press on. Had it not been for the wisdom of a 12 year old. I'll wager they would have made the papers.

    The PSK that day was some hot chocolate, some food, and some common sense.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018 at 8:55 AM
  11. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    Well put brother! Doc.
     
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