Saturday, June 8, 2013

Survival Series-STOP!: S is for STAY 

If you find yourself lost or confused in a wilderness survival situation, the first thing to do is take a break. Take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to just relax. Sit in a comfortable spot and sing a song, recite a poem, watch birds, or have a snack – whatever relaxes you. If you take just a short break this will likely diminish going into panic and just running and getting yourself lost even more. Being relaxed will also likely help you to think more clearly when break time is over.  

Once break time is over, then you can take time to STOP.

S - STAY where you are if possible as this will make it easier for rescuers to find you. 

  When a person is lost in the wilderness, it is generally best to stay where you are and let rescuers find you.  This will be a much easier job for rescuers if you left a copy of your agenda with a contact person and perhaps a copy also in your car or main camp site if you traveled away from a camping spot.   Unfortunately, there are too many search and rescue wilderness survival stories in which the search and rescue process is much more complicated because the lost person haphazardly tried to find their way back to a safe place when they really did not have a good basis for moving on further, nor a good sense of direction.  In fact, all too often individuals who are lost in the wilderness tend to get lost even more by moving on without  knowing  which way they should go and they get further away from where they should be heading.   

Lets take a look at this situation in another perspective.  The next time you are about to get in your car, do you check a certain place in the house for the car keys?  Perhaps you keep your keys on a hook by the kitchen door or in a drawer.  Wherever you generally keep your keys, that is the place you go to get your keys.  The last place you put them is where you expect them to be.  Generally that is where you will find them.  Now, lets suppose somebody moved your keys from where you generally put them.  The next time you go to get your key and you find it is not there, what is your next step toward finding your key?  The key can’t tell you where it is anymore than a person lost in the wilderness can tell you where they are.  The concept here is really basic, you tend to look for a key or lost person where they were last seen.  Staying put and letting rescuers find you is a very good plan.  While staying put, you can spend the time making yourself safer and more comfortable and setting up signals to make search and rescue efforts easier.  So don’t panic and run yourself into getting further from help.            


          Staying put can be a key to wilderness survival. 


For those with younger children, teach them to stay put and hug a tree!   

I will talk more about the Hug A Tree program in a later blog.  It is a good program to share with young children.