Advanced Hypothermia Treatment and Survival for SHTF.

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Hypothermia is a big killer in field operations. Prevention is key. Dressing in layers and avoiding clothing such as cotton (especially wearing blue jeans) and wearing clothing items like wool will help. Now we all know the basics of how to treat hypothermia and cold weather injuries. Things get complicated when you are dealing with >2hrs until Advanced Life Support (Paramedic Unit or Higher)

Swiss Hypothermia Classification:

  • HT I—clear consciousness with shivering: 35°C to 32°C
  • HT II—impaired consciousness without shivering: 32°C to 28°C

  • HT III—unconscious: 28°C to 24°C

  • HT IV—apparent death: 24°C to 13.7°C

  • HT V—death as a result of irreversible hypothermia: <13.7°C? (<9°C?)

Cold Water Rescue:

Now once someone is wet or has become hypothermic the key is to do a hypowrap. First off remove all wet clothing. What is a Hypowrap? It is a tarp, Sleeping Pad, emergency mylar blanket, wool blanket or sleeping bag all wrapped up like a burrito. Here is a video demonstration.

Carefully rewarm. There is a condition called Afterdrop. Meaning the problem with severe hypothermia in an out of hospital area is that your body shunts blood to maintain your core body temperature. Thus peripheral circulation decreases. When you rewarm the cold blood from your extremities hits your heart it can cause irritation in your heart causing fatal dysthymia

So DO NOT have a severe Hypothermia patient: Walk, Exercise, warm showers or baths, massage or use small chemical heat packs.


Hypothermia Prevention Management Kit

Heated Humidified Oxygen

Have an AED or Cardiac Monitoring in place.

Body to body rewarming (no homo)


*Unless they are minus a head, frozen airway, snow or ice in airway.

Futher information can be found here.



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About David Black

Trained and Certified: National Registry EMT, Wilderness EMT, US Army 68W, Tactical Combat Causality Care (TCCC), Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, US Coast Guard Medical Person In-Charge, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support. International Trauma Life Support. HAM Radio Technician. Trained and Certified to Instruct: Combat Life Saver Instructor and Community Emergency Response Team Trainer. CPR, AED, First Aid.

2 thoughts on “Advanced Hypothermia Treatment and Survival for SHTF.

  1. Good stuff David. I live in the high desert of western Colorado and the elements are always in the back of my mind. Thank you for the post.

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