Lessons Learned From a Woman’s Six Day Survival Ordeal

 

32-year-old Nicole Glenn was missing for 6 days before detectives found her in her SUV, stuck in the snow.

Her mother reported her missing to Siskiyou County authorities after she failed to check in after arriving at a planned destination.  A helicopter was used to search for her, and detectives were sent to the destination she never arrived at, but these searches turned up nothing.  The detectives found her after heading back and checking side roads, she was with her vehicle which had gotten stuck in the snow.

6 days is a long time to survive in the temperatures that she faced, so let’s look at what she did right, and what she could have done better so that we can avoid this ourselves, or in the worst case scenario, to make it out alive as Nicole did.

  1. No search would have been conducted if she was not reported missing. This is one more example of why it is so important that someone knows where you are heading and what time to expect you.
  2. The report does not say why she was on a side road, nor how she got stuck, but this is an example of why it is important to plan out our trip, have a physical map, practice safe driving, and have some basic skills on getting our vehicle unstuck.
  3. Nicole has with her an emergency blanket, water, food, and a camp stove. Without these supplies, it is highly unlikely that she could have lasted this amount of time (and she was found almost by chance after a failed helicopter search).  Always have at least basic supplies like a blanket and water with you on trips.
  4. The detectives were able to spot her vehicle from the road, which presumably means that they were the first people to travel that road and spot the vehicle for 6 days, and maybe nobody would have come by for another 6 days. This is why, even when supplies are on hand, it is important to know how to signal for rescue.  In this case, she could have used a mirror from the vehicle to flash the helicopter if she heard it nearby, or she could have started a signal fire and even put the spare tire on it to produce a massive amount of thick black smoke that would have been easily noticed.

In the end, Nicole made it out alive because she had people searching for her, and because she had the supplies that made it possible for her to wait almost a week for her rescue.

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