Outdoor Skills - First Aid

Hypothermia Severe Cold

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Early
  • Shivering begins
  • Apathy
  • Clumsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Stiff fingers
  • Stumbling
  • Strange behavior
  • Late
  • Obvious mental deterioration
  • Incoherence
  • Unconsciousness

Hypothermia Chart
(In Water)
If the Water
Temp. is (F.)...
Exhaustion or
Expected Time
of Survival is...
32.5° Under 15 Min. Under 15-45 Min.
32.5°-40.0° 15-30 Min. 30-90 Min.
40°-50° 30-60 Min. 1-3 Hrs.
50°-60° 1-2 Hrs. 1-6 Hrs.
60°-70° 2-7 Hrs. 2-40 Hrs.
70°-80° 3-12 Hrs. Indefinitely
Over-80° Indefinitely  

Note: For Hypothermia danger on land:

wind chill chart

Treatment in Field:
Raise victim's body temperature with dry clothing, shelter, insulation (sleeping bag, blankets etc.) & applied heat (hot water bottles, your own warm body) 


Caution! Be careful not to burn skin with hot water. Give warm liquids to drink only if you are sure victim is conscious and can swallow.


Frostbite is the freezing of a part of the body, most often the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers or toes.

Causes of frostbite:

Clear blisters & discolored
skin on extremities


Remove victim from cold exposure, remove clothing from affected body parts. If warm water is available, put parts in warm water until thawed & numbness decreases - Wrap parts in dry, clean gauze & seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Do not rub affected areas!

Caution! Once you warm a body part you must keep it warm. If you cannot protect it from freezing again, it is better to leave it frozen until you can.


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