Survival situations … three reasons why

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An analysis of cases among the majority of the people who find themselves getting into survival situations, whether it be the mountains, the desert, jungles, wherever, brings up a few common elements between them.

There are essentially three reasons why people get into survival situations.

One ... they did not tell anyone where they were going, so no one knows they are missing and hence no one is looking for them. In case they get lost or get injured, and cannot get back, no one is looking for them because:

(a) no one knows they are missing, and if they do realise it
(b) no one knows where to look. So, rule number one – always tell someone where you are going and let them know when to expect you back.

When one looks at survival programmes on television, the ending is always happy with search and rescue teams or helicopters or dog squads finding the missing person, bringing him or her back to safety and civilisation. Unfortunately in India, we cannot even depend on an ambulance taking us to hospital in the middle of a large city. In the wilderness, in India, you are on your own. And if there is someone who knows you are missing, maybe some help can be organised to look for you. That is if they realise the importance of mounting a rescue operation ... quickly. But ultimately you need to realise that it is you and only you who is responsible for your own rescue and a way out of your survival situation. You have to find your way back to civilisation. But it does soothe the nerves to know that someone back there knows you should have been back by now and are possibly lost.

So Rule #1 is of utmost importance - you have to tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back. This is something many people disregard.

Two ... they were not properly equipped. Because they were thinking short term, a few hours at best, they did not bring anything with them. Almost nothing to help them survive a night or two in the wilderness. Even the adventurer who plans for a night out in the wilderness and then unfortunately gets into survival situations, is one who is not prepared, because he does not have the right gear and equipment. There are those who do have the equipment packed in their rucksack, but that rucksack was left back in camp when they decided to go for a stroll, looking for berries. Always be aware of the importance of your kit containing your survival gear. Always keep it by your side, removing it only when you are going off to sleep. So, keep the size of your kit small and manageable.

Rule #2 - carry the proper gear that will help you survive ... always.

And three ... even if they do have the gear, they do not know how to use it. For many people, collecting gizmos is a hobby, but they do not train themselves on how to use any of these things. It is hip to show off that you are equipped, but it is a whole different story if ever you are in a situation where you need to use any of the items. Knowing what the items are for and how to use them is critical. For instance, you might have a ferrocerium rod and a hexamine tablet, but if you do not know how to use them in combination, you are not going to have any fire.

Finally Rule #3 - know how to use the gear with you.

Remember the three reasons why you might land up in survival situations:
1. Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back
2. Carry the right gear and equipment … just in case
3. Know how to use the gear and equipment

The guiding principle is be prepared. Even if you are stepping out for a couple of hours, particularly into an unknown, alien territory, always carry three packs. It is not an option, consider it regulation. Hopefully you will never ever open two of these packs, but if you ever have to, these two packs will hopefully save your life. These are a Day Pack, a Survival Kit and a First Aid Kit.

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