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Category: Safety & Security ๐Ÿงท

Ash Routen ยป How to keep yourself safe when adventuring outdoors

Ash Routen, The Guardian ยป

Self-reliance is not about being able to crawl alone to safety with a broken leg like Joe Simpson, the climber of Touching the Void fame. Itโ€™s making sure you have the basic skills, equipment and plan to be able to paddle that river, or take on that hike without needing to bump into a friendly soul to ask for directions, or worse, call the cavalry in.

Itโ€™s knowing what to do when the weather changes. Itโ€™s being able to fix a collapsed tent when a pole snaps. Itโ€™s knowing where you are on a map. Being self-reliant means taking ownership of your safety and not assuming there will be someone to bail you out when things take a turn for the worse.

Itโ€™s not just farming out your safety to others that can be an issue, but also a reliance on technology. Online guidebooks and apps have caused problems on popular long-distance trails in the United States, with hikers depending on their phones for details on where to eat, sleep, and even walk โ€“ according to amusing cases of people walking five feet from the trail because their GPS said thatโ€™s where the path is. Less amusing are reports of walkers following Google Maps along potentially fatal terrain in Scotland.

More ยป

Travellers from Ontario will want to know that the province is about to scrap out-of-country emergency health care coverage

Carola Vyhnak, writing in the Toronto Star ยป

The province says itโ€™s cancelling the existing โ€œinefficientโ€ program because of the $2.8-million cost of administering $9 million in emergency medical coverage abroad each year. OHIPโ€™s reimbursements also tended to offset only a fraction of the actual expenses.

Without private insurance, travellers can face โ€œcatastrophically large billsโ€ for medical care, warns Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen, who โ€œstrongly encouragesโ€ people to purchase adequate coverage.

Read the whole article at the Toronto Star ยป

The world’s safest countries to visit

The Gallop organization, a research firm based in the USA, asked citizens of 142 countries about their confidence in local policing, feelings of safety while walking alone and personal experiences of crime.

Gallup interviewed more than 148,000 people for the 2018 report. Gallup’s rankings are based on residents’ own sense of security.

1. Singapore

2. (tied) Finland, Iceland, andย Norway

5. (tied) Hong Kong andย Uzbekistan

7. (tied) Canada andย Switzerland

9. Indonesia

10. (tied) Denmark,ย Slovenia, Luxembourg, Austria, China, Netherlands, Egypt

More at CNN

Visitors to the U.S.A. Face Social Media Screening

Sewell Chan, The New York Times:

Nearly all applicants for a visa to enter the United States โ€” an estimated 14.7 million people a year โ€” will be asked to submit their social media user names for the past five years, under proposed rules that the State Department issued on Friday.

Last September, the Trump administration announced that applicants for immigrant visas would be asked for social media data, a plan that would affect 710,000 people or so a year. The new proposal would vastly expand that order to cover some 14 million people each year who apply for nonimmigrant visas.

The proposal covers 20 social media platforms. Most of them are based in the United States: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. But several are based overseas: the Chinese sites Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Youku; the Russian social network VK; Twoo, which was created in Belgium; and, a question-and-answer platform based in Latvia.


Social media account to get a US visa? No thank you –ย Arwa Mahdawi, Gulf News

Get schooled in the art of survival on Canada’s Baffin Island

Eva Holland, writing for Outside Magazine:

Students in the Extreme Polar Training course, a two-week freeze-fest held near the Arctic Circle on Canada’s Baffin Island, learn how to live in Earth’s coldest conditions. Still, nothing really prepares you for 72 hours of a sled-pulling, pathfinding ordeal on a skinny pair of skis.


As I slogged through deep snow and deeper darkness toward my tent, tripping and scraping my shins on chunks of broken ice concealed by fresh powder, I reminded myself that I had come here intending to suffer.


As I settled in for sleep, I felt hope for the first time that there might be more to polar travel than fear and misery. But the night still seemed deadly: The tent thrashed around in a heavy wind, the huskies chained nearby howled, and the ice creaked and boomed as it shifted in the grip of the tide.


I tried to focus on the harsh beauty of the ice walls lining the frozen channel we were moving through. I was determined to bury my fears in sheer wonder and suffocate them.

Polar explorer Eric Larsen provides tips on staying warm in extreme cold weather

Katie O’Reilly, writing forย Sierra Magazine:

First things first: Make sure your base-layer game is strong.

โ€œWhat most people donโ€™t realize is that when itโ€™s 30 to 40 degrees below zero, the concern isnโ€™t about getting too cold, but rather getting too hot,โ€ Larsen cautions. โ€œWhen you sweat, moisture builds up and can replace the layer of air next to your skin.โ€ Hence, the importance of a close-fitting base layer made from moisture-wicking fabric that allows for ventilation. Larsen prefers the wide range of base layers available through Norwegian technical outfitter Helly Hansen. โ€œThey make a variety, and I layer up and down depending on the temperature and the activity. For polar expeditions, they have a great line of mountain apparel.โ€

Get down with down.

Larsen describes a big down jacket as his โ€œlast defense against really cold weatherโ€”whether youโ€™re in a sub-zero-degree tent or just walking around town.โ€ He explains, โ€œItโ€™s the lightest-weight and warmest of insulators,โ€ and says he relies on Helly Hansenโ€™s shell jackets. โ€œThey use Allied Feather & Down, which is sustainably harvested.โ€

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