Flight suit winter survival gear

bizzy522

Forum Crew Member
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Good morning. I got a flight job this July in the Idaho/Oregon area. I was curious on what survival gear you guys carry on your person and/or in your helmet bag. We fly in some mountainous area, during a crash, mechanical, or even if unforeseen weather forced a landing I could see it might take a while for someone to be able to reach us. Any advise or resources would be greatly appreciated!
Cheers
 

PotatoMedic

Has no idea what I'm doing.
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I'd say learn what the company has already for their survival gear and supplement that with what you want.
 

CANMAN

Forum Asst. Chief
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Good morning. I got a flight job this July in the Idaho/Oregon area. I was curious on what survival gear you guys carry on your person and/or in your helmet bag. We fly in some mountainous area, during a crash, mechanical, or even if unforeseen weather forced a landing I could see it might take a while for someone to be able to reach us. Any advise or resources would be greatly appreciated!
Cheers
Congrats on the new job. There is the whole "dress to egress" craze now which partly makes sense, but some people have taken it to the extreme. It's my opinion that no one need a chest rig, battle belt, or load bearing vest to carry what they need for survival gear on their person and have the tools they need to do their job. That being said load out however you see fit...... Currently where I fly I carry minimal survival gear on my person, and only a few things in the winter time. During the summer I carry nothing in terms of survival gear on my person. That is a personal choice based on my experience, flying area, and comfort level.

Out where you are flying I would carrying the following things:
-Knife: on me 100% of the time
-Good flashlight w/selectable levels: on me 100% of the time

-Carry your winter coat 100% of the time, complete with GOOD gloves and a good watch cap style hat you can pull down over your ears.

-Survival kit would be an Altoids tin complete with: a few fire starters, mini bic + striker, water bag and a few iodine tabs, whistle, mini mirror. THEN rubberbanded to the outside a survival wrap from North American Rescue, a ponch, and a pack of those 16 hours hand warmers.

With this kit you could get some water, start a fire, and survive some fairly cold temps for a period of time. You can wrap yourself in the survival wrap with the larger style handwarmer inside, then put the poncho over top which will keep you dry and also keep that heat in. I carry a similar setup when backpacking off the grid for multiple days. Keep in mind if the A/C is on fire and you survive, that is an awesome heat source and stay close to the A/C because it will be the easiest thing to find/what searchers will be looking for. Once the fire is out if it's not completely destroyed you can use it for shelter.

Best part about all of that is you have everything you could need for a few days, and it fits in the lower leg pocket of your flightsuit. Insert protein bar if you wish.....
 

GMCmedic

Forum Deputy Chief
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Congrats on the job. In my area I just dont feel the need to carry much more than whats in the AC survival kit.

I carry a knife and a flashlight 100% of the time, as well as a 32oz water bottle and a small pouch with a couple protein bars, headlamp, and battery pack for my phone.

Im typically more prepared for a chip light than I am a true survival situation. Again this is based on my area which is farmland and gently rolling hills.

I do tend to dress appropriatley with a 150 weight and 200 weight wool on top and 200 weight wool bottoms, coat goes on every flight with gloves and hat.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
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I will add one thing that I was told when I first started. In the event of a crash, if you survive, the only things that you are guaranteed to have is what is on your person at the time of the crash.

That big survival kit is nice and will definitely help you a lot however you may not have access to it after a crash. If you have to bail over water, if you have a post crash fire, if the aircraft tips over on its side and you physically can’t access it (ours is stored in the aft baggage compartment).

A survival kit is only as good as the operator. If you have zero experience or knowledge on how to use the items in your kit or how to survive, you may not survive for any decent length of time.
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
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"A survival kit is only as good as the operator."

Very true. Survival is more of mindset and knowledge than what equipment you have. However some basic items should be in your survival kit.
A) a medium sized fixed blade knife
B) fire starting kit. Bic lighter and fire steel are small sized
C) water purification tablets
D) a couple of one gallon Ziploc bags. Can be used to gather water instead of carrying a bottle around plus they compact very nicely.

Other than the knife, the entire kit will fit in an altoids tin.
 

CWATT

Forum Lieutenant
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‘Survival’ in the flight world might not always take place after an accident or emergency. I’ve heard of a few stories of medics being left at scene due to an unknown multi-casualty situation. One guy spent the night in the woods when the more emergent of the two casualties was evac’d first and the aircraft wasn’t able to return to scene before the sun went down (and company policies disallowed any night scene landings). Another guy got left on the side of a highway of a multi-casualty MVC. So my advice would be prepared to spend the night outside, regardless of the situation.
 

RocketMedic

Californian, Lost in Texas
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Dumb question: can you pack a parachute? Like an emergency one?
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
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VFlutter

Flight Nurse
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Dumb question: can you pack a parachute? Like an emergency one?
Getting it on in an emergency and then trying to jump out of an auto-rotating helicopter below the minimum opening altitude for a parachute....I'll take my chances in the crash
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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My understanding is many (most?) Fatal Hems accidents are terrain related (running into trees, power lines, et cetera), so a parachute is useless anyway.

Also if your helicopter has a handful of failures at altitude you can still slow down by essentially gliding on the rotors even without power, although certainly not as effectively as in a fixed wing.
 

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