Search and rescue experience shows that a person can survive for up to three minutes without oxygen or with severe bleeding; for up to three hours exposed to extreme heat or frigid cold; for up to three days without food and water. Panicking in an emergency, however, can reduce survival time to as little as three seconds. Therefore, in order to keep a clear head in a bad situation, survival experts suggest that you S.T.O.P. ……….Sit, Think, Observe, Plan.
Sit – compose and collect your thoughts.
Think – about what you have and what you can do to help yourself.
Observe – your surroundings for situations that might help you (shelter, water, a “findable” location) or hurt you (falling rocks or trees, floods).
Plan – many times, calm reflection will resolve a minor directional confusion. If a reasonable analysis of the situation still says “lost”, however, having the will and gear to survive plus a plan of action will stifle panic.
All of your action and energy should be directed toward maintaining your health, safety, and comfort until help arrives. Believe it or not, comfort is actually possible in an uncomfortable situation and is a great aid to keeping calm. The other asset to calming down is a sensible survival kit. Here are the other 14 items that can help you survive:
1. Compass or small GPS, and the knowledge of how to use it.
2. Small multi-purpose knife and wire saw for shelter construction and wood gathering.
3. Matches in a waterproof case, disposable lighter, candle for light and fire-starting cubes.
4. Space brand Emergency Blanket or Emergency Bag for shelter, warmth and sun protection.
5. Rope or string for shelter construction.
6. Flares or Emergency Strobe for nighttime signaling.
7. Signal mirror for daytime signaling.
8. Whistle for signaling.
9. Water filter or purification kit.
10. Heavy-duty plastic bag for water or food storage.
11. Candy, high-energy bar, bouillon cubes, dried fruit, etc.
12. Small first-aid kit and insect repellent.
13. An appropriate supply of any personal medication required.
14. A picture of your loved ones provides motivation and the will to survive.
These are only general survival-gear suggestions. A customized survival kit for specific needs and specific areas (cold, hot, wet, desert) is best. Overall, the kit should be waterproof, compact, and lightweight so that you will carry it at all times.
Whether fire or shelter is the most important single survival factor in a harsh environment is often debated. Both are important, but consider that fire provides warmth but no shelter, while shelter also provides warmth. The MPI Space brand Emergency Blanket is a proven emergency/survival that was developed by NASA research in the mid-1960’s, and provides plenty of help in a small package. The Space brand Blanket system is based on metalized (aluminum) polyester film. It provides a thermal barrier when wrapped around the body, trapping and reflecting 80 percent of radiated body heat. Used as a shelter, the blanket provides sun, wind and rain protection and prevents heat loss by evaporation and convection. It is a very effective heat reflector from a fire. This item and others on the list above will save your life!