Thursday, September 5, 2013

T is for THINK

You took a break and you took time to stop and stay put.  Now it is time to think. 
 There are lots of things to think about such as –
1.  Are you in a position of immediate danger such as in the path of an avalanche, possible flash flood or fire which requires you to move? 
2. Do you or anybody in your group need medication or have special medical needs to consider?   How long will the supply of  required medications last?  Are the medications with you?
3. Is it going to be dark soon and unsafe for travel ?   
4.  Are there people who will quickly be aware that you are missing?  Does anybody know where you are?  Did you leave a plan with more than one person so they know to come looking for you or to contact the appropriate authorities? 
5.  Is there a shelter nearby that can be safely used for the night?  Do you need to find or construct shelter for the night? 
6.  Think about the weather and possibility of a storm. 
7.    Do you have any survival equipment with you?  Think about what supplies you have with you – if no survival kit, what do you have in your pockets that may be useful? 
8.   If you are in a group that is in a wilderness survival situation – think about the needs of the weakest member of your group. 
9.   Think how far away (time wise) you have wandered from a camp where other people will be. 
10.  Are you in a well traveled area where somebody will very likely come along soon who could help? 
11.  When was the last time you ate or drank and how long will you or your group be able to survive with the food and drink you have with you?  Do you have plenty of water or is some readily available in nature for safe use?
12.  Is somebody likely to hear or see a signal from you?
13.  Are you able to contact somebody with a cell phone and describe where you are at and explain your situation? 

14. Are you on your own or in a group of people?  If in a group, what skills are within the group and is there somebody likely to panic who needs a good partner to stay with them?  Who is the weakest member of the group and what needs to be done to help this person? 

Above all keep your thoughts realistic and positive.  It does no good to be unrealistic about your situation and it will certainly not be good to become negative or despondent.  Help others keep positive attitudes and thoughts about the situation also.  If there is a very negative person in the group, take that person aside and explain to them the importance of them having a more positive attitude to help the rest of the group.  Give that person a task that will be helpful for the situation and help them to focus in a positive way.  
Taking time to think involves making an inventory of options before you make any moves and thinking  about the possible repercussions of each of option  Prioritize each separate need, such as attending to an injury before choosing a plan of action.  If there are readily apparent immediate needs then take care of these first.  Remember that your goal is to survive and be found alive.  Surviving may not be really comfortable in some situations but with time you can improve on the situation.  Getting out of immediate dangers is definitely an immediate priority.   Taking time to think will also help prevent panicking.  Panicking is not helpful when trying to survive.  This is a great time to use your brain preparing to move on if needed or to make things safer and more comfortable for staying put.   Your most important asset is your great brain -. use it! Don't Panic! Move with deliberate care. Think first, so you have no regrets later. Take no action, even a foot step, until you have thought it through.  Unrecoverable mistakes and injuries, potentially serious in a survival situation, occur when we act before  engaging our brains.  If you are with a group of people, two heads are often better than one for coming up with helpful  ideas.   

Think about your current situation. Again, do not think negative thoughts but be realistic about your situation and your abilities.   Be cognizant of group dynamics if you are with other people,  organize each persons strengths and put them to good use.   The good thing is you are still alive.  Keep the positive mental attitude to stay alive and be rescued.  Taking mental inventory of your options before you make any moves and thinking about the possible repercussions of each option will help you prioritize your separate needs.
Thinking about these questions and others will prompt you to take appropriate actions and avoid actions which may worsen your condition.  Once you have taken to think, the next step (OBSERVE) of the S.T.O.P. wilderness survival concept will almost naturally occur.