District 4's Collins offers outdoor survival tips
By David Collins
This time of the year many of us have been planning for months to go on an outdoor adventure — hunting, fishing, climbing, or just camping out and shooting photos.
One needs to prepare for a possible survival situation. Even on a guided trip prepare yourself for your own survival. Survival begins long before the trip. The acronym PACK reminds us of essential elements needed to survive the unexpected. The essential elements are: Preparation–Attitude–Condition–Knowledge Application of these elements may make the difference between survival and tragedy.
Preparation involves setting realistic goals, gathering information, determining a time table, and coordinating the individual and group mental and physical needs.
Attitude must be “survival first.” One must be willing to cut the trip short and not risk cutting life short.
Condition yourself for the rigors of the trip, both mentally and physically.
Knowledge is needed for potential survival situations. Play mental games with the trip, “what if” games… “What if I fall in a river? What if one of us breaks a leg? What would I (we) do? Does anyone know where to look for us? Did we stick to our agenda?
Play these games while planning the trip and during the trip.
Remember the Rule-of-Threes, the Survival Priorities. They are:
Three minutes survival without oxygen – keep breathing!
Three hours survival without shelter, winter and summer even less.
Three days survival without water, much less in summer.
Three months survival without food.
From this guide it is easy to see that shelter is the first priority and food is the last.
Rather than a granola bar, take a space blanket and some parachute cord.
There are many good survival books available to get knowledge and know-how. Military manuals, Scout manuals, and search and rescue groups also are good information sources. Practice in a controlled situation, like your backyard or a Forest Service campground.
If you think you are lost, you probably are not. Unless you sit down, calm down and think you eventually will be (lost). Your mind is your most important and effective survival tool. Keep it sharp, in good shape and use it.
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