Fred Williams' Snowmachine Tips To Keep You Alive

 In 1996, Fred Wrote The Following Tips For People Of The Copper Valley, As Deadly Cold Weather Blanketed The Region For Weeks  Fred William...

 In 1996, Fred Wrote The Following Tips For People Of The Copper Valley, As Deadly Cold Weather Blanketed The Region For Weeks 

Fred Williams, who died recently, was a strong proponent of outdoor safety. In January, 1996, when 50 degree below zero weather plagued the Copper Valley for many weeks, he wrote the following and sent it to the Copper River Country Journal for publication. 
At that time, the Country Journal was mailed twice a month to every person in the Copper Valley. Snowmachines were capable of going farther than they ever had, and many people – local and outsiders – were getting into serious trouble on Copper Valley trails. 
Here are Fred's suggestions of how to stay alive:
“If possible, always travel with at least one other snowmachine and driver. It's nice to have someone to help push. Avoid the lemming phenomenon. When traveling closely and at high speeds it is very easy for the entire party to end up in the overflow or a crevasse.
“Carry matches and lighters in several places on your person and the machine. Pack a fire starter aid, such as a mixture of sawdust and diesel fuel, in a tight container. There are also several commercial products that are supposed to make fire starting a snap.
“Take along a survival reflector blanket. They take up very little space and are very useful for retaining body heat. You can survive for many days without food, but water is essential. Snow is not considered the ideal source of water, but will help out in a pinch. It is better to carry a plastic container or thermos of water. Coffee and tea are fine, but hot chocolate, bouillon or soup will do a lot more for you.
“A small roll of stovepipe wire and electrician tape takes up little room and can be handy. Take rope – lots of rope. The uses of rope are innumerable.
‘If you go off on another trail or direction, let someone in your party know. Keep in sight of other members of your party if possible. If you get lost or confused, admit it. Stop and think over your situation. Sometimes it is better to build a fire and  siwash [camp without a tent] overnight rather than look for the trail home in the dark. If your machine breaks down, it is usually better to stay with it, unless you have a ride or shuttle is very close. 
"If you walk away from your machine, leave a note or some indication of the direction you are headed. A long stick, propped over crossed sticks, will work...”
-By Fred Williams, Copper River Basin Search & Rescue, January 1996
As printed in the Copper River Country Journal



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