Survival in a can: what to use and how to use it

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Cedar Goslin
The Broadside

The difference between life and death could be the contents of a metal coffee can.

Any moment in time can become a survival situation, according to Rebecca Barrett, local wilderness survival enthusiast. Barrett, who teaches wilderness survival at Redmond High School, stresses the importance of always being prepared with a well-stocked survival kit, not just when going out into what’s considered “wilderness.”

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“Wilderness can be anything… it can be your car if you’ve had an accident and need to survive,” said Barrett.

Barret teaches her students to be prepared for the worst by building a kit, every piece of which is a tool for survival, including the container: a metal coffee can. Each item in the can should cater to one of the five basic needs, according to Barrett. Those five needs are ranked in the order of will to live, oxygen, shelter, water and food. The other four items on the list are tangible and self explanatory, but Barrett explained that the inclusion of
“will to live” is based off brain research, and is meant to remind survivors that they have a reason to keep going.

“Most people don’t give up because they don’t have a skill, they give up for negative thinking… thoughts of family and prayer are two things that help the brain divert the panic cycle,” said Barrett. The item for “will to live” can be anything from a picture of family, a religious talisman or a small stuffed animal.

You can contact Cedar Goslin at cgoslin@cocc.edu

Want to build your own survival kit? The following are some essential items:

Metal coffee can Metal coffee can
Not only is it the kit’s container, but also a shovel, tool for collecting water, and small cooking stove. Place it upside down over a flame (make sure to leave a gap for –>
Knife
Your knife is essential for making shelter. It can be used to cut rope or tree branches, help dig a shelter or hunt and forage for food.
knife
CD CDThe back side of a CD can be used for signalling in the sun; you can use the whole in the middle to aim for the light and it will create asignal for planes flying overhead. Nuts
Nuts are an easily portable source of energy-giving protein and fats, making them prime for survival kits. They can also be used as bait in animal traps.
 can of nuts
Tarp Tarp
A sturdy tarp makes quick and easy shelter; it can protect you from wind and moisture.
It can be substituted with a plastic shower curtain.
Water
You can only survive three days without water. Make sure to keep some in your survival kit, and if you are in a survival situation, form a plan to gather more as soon as possible.

water.org clean water bottle filter
Image provided by MCT Campus
rope Rope
A length of sturdy rope is essential. It can be used for building shelter or traps. Twine and fishing line is also useful for gathering food.
Will to live
Survival situations can be frightening,so it’s necessary to have a calming reminder of why you shouldn’t give up. It could be a photo, a poem, or a significant piece ofjewelery. Everyone’s is different.

courage
Illustration by Kilday | MCT
Garbage bags
Garbage bags can be tied around a tree branch to gather water, used to keep warm and dry. It can serve as a pancho, or be placed under wet clothing to preserve warmth and dryness
Matches/fire starters
Needed for signalling, staying warm and cooking.
Make sure they’re stored in a plastic bag to keep them dry. In a survival situation, start your fire before anything else, so you can keep warm while you work.

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