Be Prepared

by Frank Mitchell

The best tip for any survival situation is “Be Prepared” (duh!).

Know what to do to stay OUT of survival situations.  Possess the skills and carry the tools to deal with survival situations.

Once you are in a survival situation, your survival will depend on your preparedness level, both physical and mental.

Understand that survival starts with attitude – the will to live and adaptability in solving problems. Knowledge, skills and tools help, but the best skill is the ability to control your reactions and think clearly. Survival depends on thinking clearly, planning and executing under panic, stress and uncertainty.

When you discover yourself in a survival situation, your first reaction will be to panic. It’s part of the primordial fight or flight response. Understand this and deal with it.

To help you deal with panic, the U.S. Army Survival Manual uses the word survival as a memory device to get the important principles firmly in your thinking:

S – Size Up The Situation (Your condition, tools, surroundings)
U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
R -Remember Where You Are
V – Vanquish Fear and Panic
I – Improvise
V – Value Living
A – Act Like the Natives
L – Live by your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills
You may not be able to “vanquish fear,” but that’s okay. Panic, on the other hand, is not okay, so vanquish that at least.

To “value living” seems a given, but many people in survival situations get discouraged and lose the will to live. There are ways to regain it. They include talking about the future, if you are with others, and imagining the people you love that are waiting for you

The following outdoor safety tips are common sense, but many survival situations occur and are made worse because someone overlooked one of these.

Tell someone where you are going and when you will return

Carry plenty of water

Don’t hike alone. Stay together.

Stay on trails

Know the names of the area and trail

Carry a trail map

Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear

Know Your Limitations

Know Your Limitations  – yes I repeated it.  Hiking with a buddy is a big help in this regard.

Be weather wise.

Learn Basic First Aid

Dial 9-1-1. Or try texting someone who can call 9-1-1.

If you get lost, stay calm and stay put. If you are lost, remember the acronym S.T.O.P. Sit -Think – Observe – Plan.

SIT: When you realize that you are lost take the time to sit down and collect your thoughts. You are not lost, you are right where you are, your camp, vehicle and everyone else is lost.

THINK: What do you have at your disposal both physical and mental that can help you in this situation? Take an inventory of your survival kit items and how you will use them. Take an inventory of your mind, remember what you always thought you would do if you got lost. Most of all remain positive, you will survive.

OBSERVE: Look around, is there shelter, water, high ground, an open area so searchers can see you? It will be easier for those searching to find you if you can stay in one selected location that will allow you to build a fire, provide shelter, set out signals and be in an area that can be seen at a distance or from an airplane .

PLAN: Now create your plan of action. Be positive and take care of yourself. If it is late in the day build a fire for heat and signaling, find or make a shelter against the weather, and most of all remain positive you can survive. You have conquered the major danger of not allowing panic to cast your fate you can now conquer anything else that confronts you.

In your backpack, your car or your bug out bag, you need 12 Essential Systems
1) Navigation (map, compass, GPS)
2) Sun Protection (hat, sunscreen)
3) Insulation (extra clothing)
4) Illumination (flashlight, headlamp)
5) First aid supplies
6) Fire (matches or lighter)
7) Repair Kit & tools (including knife)
8) Nutrition (extra food)
9) Hydration (extra water or water purification)
10) Emergency shelter (trash bag)
11) Signaling (whistle, cell phone, PLB)
12) Personal (glasses, prescriptions)

I’m a former Boy Scout, so I also believe in ‘Being Prepared’. The ShieldWall Network is about being prepared now, for what is likely to come. Preparation isn’t just for your car or your bug-out bag, it’s for your body, your mind, and your web of friends and associates, with their own skills, assets, and access to resources for mutual aid and assistance, as well. Come and combine your strengths with ours, in The Shield Wall.

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