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Answers to Outdoor Safety Quiz


1. C. The safest position to maintain when being carried downstream in a river is on your back, feet first. Head first is dangerous because your face, head, and neck are exposed to rocks and other obstacles which may lie in the churning water. Thrashing wildly will only tire you out and create a sense of panic. Swimming upstream is usually impossible and is a waste of precious energy.

2. C. Both the front and back brakes. The best way to brake is to rely more on the back brake while feathering the front. Slamming on the more powerful front brake may cause you to catapult over the handlebars, while using too much force on the rear may send you into a skid.

3. D. All of the above. In addition to well-tuned brakes, a good helmet is essential for bike safety. Eighty percent of biking deaths are caused by head injuries.

4. E. None of the above. It is never 100% safe to drink untreated water in the outdoors. Although there are plenty of natural springs and other sources that are relatively free of dangerous bacteria, to be on the safe side you should always treat your water before drinking or cooking with it. If you drink untreated water, you might suffer stomach pain, cramps and diarrhea, caused by a a bacterium known as giardia.

5. D. All of the above. The quickest way to treat water in the wilderness is with a water filter designed to remove giardia and other harmful bacteria. However, they're a bit expensive and should always be backed up with an alternate method. Adding iodine (usually available in tablet form) to your water and allowing it to dissolve completely is an effective method. Boiling water for a minute or two will also kill the bacteria. Note that at higher altitudes water will boil at temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit and should be boiled for a longer period of time.

6. B. The head. A person will lose most heat through his or her head for several reasons. First, the head has a tremendous amount of blood running through it and will radiate heat from that blood. Second, it is the body's ceiling -- the highest point. And third, in in cold environments, your face and head are less likely to be covered than other body parts. Feeling cold? Put on a hat!!

7. B. The sun's radiation is strongest from late morning to early afternoon. This is because during this time the sun is highest in the sky and its light has the least amount of the Earth's atmosphere to travel through to reach the ground and hence, your skin. The temperature of the air has nothing to do with how much radiation you're getting from the sun -- you can get a sunburn on your face in the middle of winter.

8. E. It is never perfectly safe to cross a frozen lake. You must always use extreme caution when traveling across a frozen body of water. If you do decide to walk across a frozen lake, pond or river, try not to do it alone. Most humans will experience hypothermia (the dangerous lowering of one's body temperature) within several minutes of submersion in icy water and can go into shock and drown.

9. A and C. Wool and fleece. Of these answer choices, wool and fleece are the best options. Both are good at trapping escaping body heat (this is what keeps you warm).

10. D. All of the above. Hiking makes you thirsty, and you should not assume water will be available, so bring a canteen or bottle of water with you. It's also a good idea to bring along a small first aid kit with treatments for blisters, bug bites, and so forth. In addition, you should learn to recognize the poisonous plants in your area to avoid getting a painful, itchy skin rash.


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