Self Rescue

Rescue Recap: 3/4/15

Posted on March 08, 2015 by Andy Thomas | 0 Comments

St. George County, UT SAR: Three rescues in one day!

Search and Rescue rescued stranded campers and a mule-accident victim.  They even found and rescued a woman no one knew was lost.


Elko County SAR Rescues Stuck NYC Driver

...after his GPS led him down an unpaved snowy road in his BMW.  The tow truck that went to get him also got stuck.


Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 2/23-3/1/15

All injured hikers and skiers, all the time.


Survival Kits from SOLKOA Survival Systems

Posted on February 22, 2015 by Andy Thomas | 0 Comments

At 5col Survival Supply, we resisted stocking pre-assembled survival kits for a long time. Most off-the-shelf survival kits contain junk-level component thats can't be relied on to help a person manage an emergency. They give the illusion of preparedness. Part of the reason I got in this business was the dearth of so-called survival products out there that are just utter garbage, and I feel like many off-the-shelf kits are full of that stuff. My goal for our company is to carry simple, reliable, high-quality products (hopefully made in the USA). And our philosophy has always been that we'll sell the components and our customers will assemble the kits.

We started carrying SUMA Containers from SOLKOA Survival Systems earlier this year. I'm happy with the quality of these containers and the expertise that went into their design. I met the SOLKOA team at SHOT Show in January. They're the real deal, and the quality of their products reflects their knowledge and experience.

Earlier this month I decided to bring in the first off-the-shelf survival kits we've ever added to our regular line. These kits come from SOLKOA Survival Systems. The kits contain quality items that are often manufactured in the United States. The kits are assembled in Colorado. Because they contain real tools you can actually use to stay alive (think brands like Leatherman and Platypus), they're pricey. (This has always been a struggle for us; for some reason "survival" is synonymous with "cheap" in many people's minds.)

SOLKOA Survival Systems approaches kits three ways.
-Comprehensive Kits: These kits are designed as comprehensive solutions. Any survival kit will need to be tailored to activity and biome, but these kits cover all the basics.
-Activity/Biome Specific Comprehensive Kits: These kits are tailored for specific activities/biomes. The first of these tailored kits is the Hunter/Mountain kit.
-Modules: These are designed to address a specific survival function like food, water, or shelter. The idea is that people can use these SOLKOA modules as a starting point in building comprehensive activity/biome specific kits of their own.

I'm excited about SOLKOA's products. Putting gear like this in the hands of folks who need it is the business I want to be in. We recognize that BCUSA members are largely Do-It-Yourselfers when it comes to survival kits (as are we, obviously), but for some folks these kits will be a slam dunk.

You can find this gear on our site here:

Posted in emergency preparation, kit

Rescue Recap 02/21/15

Posted on February 21, 2015 by Andy Thomas | 0 Comments

Utah Man Rescued from Truck Stuck in Snow

Poor guy went for what he thought was a quick drive in the mountains, without cold weather gear.  Truck slid off road into ditch, wrecker couldn't get to him, SAR had to be called.

Ice Rescue for Mother and Teens

"...rescuers repeatedly plunged into the [icy] water..."

USCG Icebreaker Polar Star Rescues 26 Aussie Sailors

Trapped in pack ice, just like Shackleton.

Adirondack SAR Highlights Feb 9-15

"One male transported himself to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for evaluation of possible frost bite on his hands."

Posted in sar

Winter Prep

Posted on December 04, 2014 by Andy Thomas | 0 Comments

It looks like we are in for a cold snowy winter.  Forecasters are predicting that it will be "as bad or worse" than last year.  On that chipper note, I thought now might be a good time to go over winter prep and talk about some of the essentials you may need.  Buffalo, NY, you can laugh at the rest of us for only now talking about getting snowed in when it's old hat for you.  



If you lose power, your first immediate concern is going to be a source of heat.  Generators will often not power a strong enough heater to keep your house warm so think about shutting off bedrooms and camping out together in a shared space.  This is where your open floor plan isn't as practical as you thought.  When we were without power for a week, we hung blankets across open doorways and hunkered down in our living room.  We were able to keep that room 20-30 degrees warmer than the rest of the house with very little effort.

 Keep enough wood (dry seasoned firewood.  Duraflame logs may look pretty but they don't produce very much heat) for several days of fires or fill a 5-10 gallon container of kerosene for your kerosene heater.  

Grab any snow removal and limb removal equipment you may need before the storm hits.  Trudging through a foot of snow to get to your shovel isn't as much fun as it sounds.  It may be inconvenient to have it sitting right next to the front door for the night but you won't regret it when you can walk out your door and start shoveling right away.  If you have an attached garage, even better.  Don't forget your preferred method for dealing with ice whether it be cat litter or rock salt. Have a bag at the entrance to your house so you don't have to go down the icy steps in order to get to it.    


Food and Water

Make sure your faucets are dripping and and cabinet doors are open if the temperature is below freezing. If your pipes are prone to freezing, keep several gallons of water around.  Sure, you can melt your own if there's enough snow on the ground but it's easier (and warmer) to stay inside and grab a plastic container.  When it's cold, it's easy to forget to drink enough water so make sure you keep it accessible and drink often.  In the freezing temperatures, I like my water best when it's hot and filled with chocolate mix.  

We keep a camping stove and fuel ready with several easy to prepare meals like dried pasta or Ramen. But, if you have time to run to the store before the storm, I recommend not buying things for meals.  Buy zero prep items like oranges, apples, carrot, crackers, sliced meats and cheeses.  Think finger foods and fill up on mini gherkins.  You'll find that you don't want to cook much when the kitchen is freezing and you have to hand wash all of the dishes (possibly with bottled water if your pipes are frozen). 


Other Supplies

Flashlights.  I like the mini hand crank kind so you don't have to worry about running out of juice. 

Extra batteries for any gear you will use



First Aid Kit

Refills for any medication you might need

Baby supplies if you have an infant.  Noise cancelling headphones (for you) if you have older kids who will go stir crazy after only a few hours and spend most of their time screaming loudly.  Trust me; noise cancelling headphones.

Can opener (if necessary)


Posted in blizzard, emergency preparation, winter prep