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Emergency Preparedness in Nunavut

Over the last few weeks, we’ve done a cross-Canada tour, highlighting one natural disaster that is typical of each province. We’ve covered avalanches, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, landslides, severe storms and more. In the northern regions of Canada especially, residents need to be prepared for the severe cold. Not only are harsh winters typical, they are inevitable. Today we end our trek with Nunavut!

If you grew up in Northern Canada, you may know what cold really means. If you have experienced it, you probably have a good idea about how to get prepared. For those who are visiting Nunavut, though, it’s absolutely crucial to plan ahead. Also, whether or not the “mini ice age” warnings that have been circling the media ring true or not, it’s never a bad thing to know what to do, just in case. And who knows? Every time you take a plane ride, you’re putting yourself at risk of landing in a place you didn’t prepare for. Doesn’t that thought make you want to bring some survival gear with you, wherever you go?

Virtually the entire landscape of Nunavut is arctic tundra, where there is danger beyond the obvious. Not only are you sure to freeze unless you are prepared, you could go blind from the reflection of the sun off the ice. You can also starve at a much quicker rate, because your body burns through 3x more calories than in any other climate.

Because of this, it is especially important to consider all eight survival steps:

  1. water and food
  2. heat and shelter
  3. light and communication
  4. first aid and sanitation

Food is even more important to consider than usual because of the exorbitant number of calories your body will burn, if exposed to the frigid temperatures of Nunavut. You need animal fat. It’s best to forget trying to find any kind of vegetation, and if your trip into the arctic tundra is a planned one, you’ll have brought plenty of fatty foods— think lard! —perhaps supplemented by some of our Soldier Fuel Energy Bars for a little extra flavor.

Since you are surrounded by snow and ice, you should have no problem digging yourself a simple cave or dugout (check out a few handy diagrams here). And of course, snow and ice can also be melted down into drinking water. It is critical that you heat up your water, otherwise you risk bringing your body temperature down further than what is survivable. It’s also important to filter the water, once it’s warm enough. It’s easy enough to keep one of our LifeStraw Water Filters on hand!

Staying warm is one of the biggest challenges of the arctic tundra. Isn’t it best that we learn from people who have been doing it for many years?

Living in Nunavut is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re still interested, check out some of these pieces on further modes of survival:

Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io

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