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Learning the basics, part 5.

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V. STOP!!!!
That’s right, when in trouble, stop! Forget that yahoo on TV that runs headlong through briar & bramble challenging his camera crew to endanger their lives by trying to keep up with him. If you think it’s easy running while trying to focus and hold a “steady cam” think again!

Whether you’re solo or with a group, as soon as you recognize that you’re in trouble, STOP! Unless you find that you’re in the middle of a life-threatening situation & have to move out of harm’s way, STOP!

S.T.O.P. is an acronym that I use religiously! Here’s what it means:

S., SIT! That’s right, just sit your little self down, take a deep breath & relax. Here’s what the book says:

At the first sign of trouble, STOP! The urge to walk faster or run blindly to escape your predicament will be difficult to resist, but rushing about will only confuse you more. Stopping helps you fight panic,(attitude, remember?)and it greatly increases your chances for survival. If you’re in a boat, get ashore. If you’re on foot, slip off your pack, sit down, and relax. If anyone is injured, administer first aid, and then rest. Fifteen or 20 minutes may pass before the panic subsides, so be patient. Remember, you probably got into this situation by yourself; you can get out the same way.”

T. THINK! Thinking clearly is what you want & need to do. You might be surprised at how the threat of your immediate situation diminishes in light of clear calm thought. Mr. Brown says it like this:


“As you relax, think. If you’re lost, study a map and look for recognizable landmarks. How long ago did you know you where you were? Are there any footprints in snow or soft ground that will guide you home? Can you hear traffic on a distant highway? Does the motion of a river current or the wind on a lake suggest the direction in which you should steer your boat in order to reach your destination?
“Take time to think and you’ll almost always figure out where you are and how to get back on course. Don’t make hasty judgments. If you have any doubt about where you are, stay put and observe.”

O. OBSERVE! The last sentence in the previous paragraph spells it out; observe. Note more of Mr. Brown’s advice:

When you are late returning home, searchers will come looking for you, so your task is simple-keep safe and visible until rescuers arrive. Look around carefully and size up your situation. Determine the extent of any injuries. Look for hazards that may pose threats to your security. Note how many hours of light you’ll have before the sun sets, and check the resources in your pack and your pockets. Is there firewood nearby? A clearing visible from the air? A lookout from which you can observe the surrounding countryside? Sources of water and shelter? Mentally list everything, then plan.”

P. PLAN! While this is the last letter of our acronym, it’s importance cannot be undervalued. Read on.

After considering all sides of your predicament, decide how best to utilize your resources and your energies. Be deliberate and practical in your planning. Jumping from one course of action to another can lead to inefficiency and exhaustion. What should you plan? Your plan should be a blueprint of how you intend to stay sufficiently supplied with each of the following survival essentials listed in order of importance.

1. The will to live. You cannot survive long without it.
2. Oxygen. If you are deprived of air, you can live just a few minutes.
3. shelter/clothing. In extreme conditions, you’ll last only about 3 hours without them.
4. Fire. The more adequate your shelter and clothing, the less your need for a fire, but it can give heat, light, and a lift to your morale.
5. Rest. Conserving energy will extend your survival time and keep you mentally alert.
6. Signals. These attract the attention of rescuers.
7. Water. Without water you can live about 3 days.
8. Food. Because you can live 3 weeks or more without food, it is considered the lowest survival priority.”

The chapter goes on in great detail on these 8 survival essentials as well as how to practice survival safely; which is utilizing the 2nd tool in your survival arsenal: “Your knowledge.” However it is not my purpose to copy the whole chapter here, but to hit the highlights. Hopefully you’ll find this information enough to stimulate you to secure a copy on your own. Studying the whole book through and applying it to your learning can prepare you to not only survive, but to thrive! Coming up, the 3rd tool…your gear!

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