Sheriff’s Advice If Stranded In The Snow

Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue

Recently a Facebook post has gone viral telling people to “update their voice mail” if their battery is going low. This is not the best advice, and will likely not work. We would like to ask that you not follow this advice, clarify why this is bad advice, and suggest better options.

STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE, STAY NEAR A ROAD OR TRAIL. If you have any battery life, send a text message. It only takes a fraction of a second of data reception to get that message out. This has a much better chance to make it through than updating your voice mail.
Why is the circulated post/meme poor advice?
  1. Anything using voice on your phone uses up far more battery than texts/SMS. Do not use voice if your battery is running low.
  2. A detailed SMS message uses a fraction of the data that a voice message uses, and can transmit using a much weaker signal than a voice call requires. If you have a weak signal, SMS will transmit when your voice will not.
  3. If you don’t have a signal, you can’t change your VM. Don’t waste your battery attempting this
What should you do instead?
  1. If you have a signal and plenty of battery power, call 911.
  2. Be sure to have your location with GPS coordinates ready.
But this scenario deals with low battery power and poor signal…
  1. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth and put your phone in airplane mode (or turn off cellular) to conserve power.
  2. Compose an SMS message to all your trusted contacts. Text only – no images or attachments. Write where you are (as best as you can, bonus points for GPS coordinates!), your condition, and any info needed to locate you. It is FAR easier for a hasty team to locate a vehicle on a road/trail than to locate a person that has gone off into the brush. You can also text 911, but be aware that text 911 is NOT functional in all areas of the country.
  3. When you are happy with your detailed SMS message, turn off airplane mode (or turn your cellular back on), send, and cross your fingers that your tiny SMS data packet gets out to us! Outgoing texts will retry for a while if low/no signal, then cancel. Check to make sure your text went out. Moving a little to avoid hills and trees may help.
  4. STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE, STAY NEAR A ROAD OR TRAIL.
  5. If that doesn’t work, our team will be sending in Thing 1 (pictured) and Thing 2 to get you. (Assuming you told someone where you were going and when you’d be back. You did remember to tell someone your plans, right?) 

Additional advice that makes a lot of sense and could possibly save your life!:

If you are ever lost while hiking, get stranded with a broken-down car, etc… and you notice your cell phone battery is low, here is a tip that very well may save your life.

Change the voicemail message on your phone to one that gives your approximate location, the time, the date, your situation (lost, out of gas, car broken down, injured, etc…) and any special instructions such as you are staying with the car, you are walking toward a town, etc….

The best part of this is that even if your cell phone dies or stops working, voicemail still works, so anyone calling your phone looking for you will hear the message and know where to find you or where to send help.

What Women Really Mean, When They Say…….

Trust me on this. I have been married for over fifty-years. This is what they really mean!!

  1. Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
  2. Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
  3. Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in “Fine.”
  4. Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. DO NOT DO IT!
  5. Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)
  6. That’s Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man.  That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
  7. Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you’re welcome. (I want to add in a clause here – This is true, unless she says ‘Thanks a lot’ – that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say ‘you’re welcome’ . that will bring on a ‘whatever’).
  8. Whatever: Is a woman’s way of saying F–YOU!
  9. Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking ‘What’s wrong?’ For the woman’s response refer to # 3.