Cold Weather Safety
Alaska is known for its climate and should not be underestimated. Be aware of the weather and always be prepared for drops in temperature especially at night. Make sure you have extra warm clothing, emergency kit, sleeping bags and blankets and something to make a shelter with. Hypothermia is common among those lost or who were not prepared for the unexpected when recreating in Alaska's wilderness.
Hypothermia is a rapidly progressive mental and physical collapse due to the chilling of the body’s core. It is caused by prolonged exposure to cold, and is greatly intensified by wetness, wind, exhaustion, and lack of food. Hypothermia can, and often does, strike in temperatures above freezing.
The signs and symptoms of hypothermia are progressive and the onset is rapid. Watch for early signs in members of your group. Victims are usually unaware that they are becoming hypothermic.
Treat hypothermia by:
- Actively rewarming the victim.
- Getting victim out of wind and rain and removing wet clothing.
- Moving to a heat source – a fire, inside a dry sleeping bag, or skin to skin with a healthy person.
- Giving victim warm drinks like herbal tea, soup, or sugar water. Do not give victim caffeine or alcohol!
Hypothermia is common among boating accidents in Alaska. Refer to the River and Boating Safety page for more information.