Fundamental Survival Skills One
Fundamental Survival Skills
Before you ever get into an emergency situation in the wild, it’s important to take stock of what you know, and fill in any gaps in your basic survival skills. While working around your weaknesses and knowledge gaps can be done when things are going well, it’s much harder to do that when you are lost, stranded, or in the middle of some other emergency and cannot contact help right away.
In this chapter, we’ll look at the some of the most common mistakes people make when in the wild, particularly when they find themselves lost or stranded. Learn how to avoid these mistakes, and how to survive in the wilderness or when camping no matter what your circumstances.
Get in the Right Mindset
Choosing to Survive
While knowledge is truly the key to surviving in any environment, one of the main differences between a smart person with all the right gear who fails to keep a level head in an emergency situation, and a person with very little gear who not only survives, but thrives, in a wilderness setting, is an inner attitude that says “I can. I will.”
Choosing to survive, and even choosing to enjoy the journey along the way, is a very important part of making it through any emergency in the wilderness.
Choosing to survive involves these things:
- taking the situation seriously
- choosing not to despair
- preparing for the worst.
You must find a balance between maintaining confidence and hope, while being smart and preparing for what could happen. Additionally, you must give everything that comes your way your full attention: anything or situation could be valuable to your survival. Only by keeping yourself in this mindset can you follow through on choosing to survive.
Maintaining the right mindset is even more important if you are with a group or another person. Group morale is incredibly important for group survival, and mindsets are contagious. If one person in the group isn’t taking the danger seriously, doesn’t care about what’s going on, or has given up hope and begun to despair, the rest of the group will be quickly affected by the same feelings and attitudes.
If you are with a group, find a balance between using what you know, and having a cocky attitude. The former will save you all; the latter will give the impression that you aren’t taking the dangers of being lost in the wild seriously, and will quickly lead to low morale.
Doing Your Part
Laziness has no place in an emergency survival situation. People who feel “stuck in a rut” in their lives, and are unwilling to take initiative and pitch in with the work, can be a major danger for the rest of the group. These individuals are usually easy to spot: they do anything they are assigned to do slowly, and spend more time procrastinating, or finding reasons to get out of work, than it would have taken to simply do the job
correctly and efficiently.
By taking short cuts, or not following a standard set of survival procedures, these people put the whole group in danger of starvation, dehydration, exposure, wild animal attacks, injuries, and more.
Any time you are in the wilderness with any group – whether it’s your family, a group you are guiding, friends, or a club or organization – you must think of the group as a team. Everyone on the team has to have a specific job.
They must all understand their job, and they must also understand how their specific job fits in to the overall picture. Without that knowledge, they won’t give their small job the serious attention it deserves as part of an overall survival plan.
Additionally, any team must have a captain; ideally, there should be at least one main group leader, and at least a few secondary team leaders that can help shoulder some of the decision-making and motivating responsibilities. Everyone on the team must understand that in order to survive, the team leaders’ instructions are the final judgment on matters as they are happening, and must be abided by until safety can be reached and decisions can be discussed.
By allowing team members to question decisions in the moment, you set the entire team up for failure – and in the wild, failure can be life or death.