The Importance of Survival Training
Survival training is probably the best insurance policy you can take out. Unlike life insurance which doesn’t guarantee you will live longer, the skills learned on a survival course do. There are many books published on the subject which are a great source of knowledge, hopefully wetting the appetite to learn more. But survival is a practical subject and there is no substitute for going outdoors and practicing these skills. It’s essential that you realise what you can achieve and not impose limitations on yourself. By watching how the experts do it will give you confidence and talking to the right people will help dispel any fears or reservations. Learn about yourself getting to know how the different stresses and problems affect you. You will only achieve this by experiencing these hardships and pushing yourself to the limit.
To safely do this enrol on a survival course where you will be carefully monitored. Initially leaving your comfort zone can be quite daunting but as confidence builds up it becomes rewarding. It changes your whole outlook on life, you start looking for new challenges knowing there is no problem that you cannot handle. You quickly realise what is essential, how to dress, and what equipment to carry. Coping with all the dangers that Mother Nature throws at you, while on limited resources, will teach you how to improvise and adapt. The more you practice the easier it becomes. Experience helps you develop self belief and confidence. Being familiar with a survival tin, knowing what to put in it and how to use it greatly improves your chance of survival. It gives you the ability to make or acquire the six major elements of survival; food, fire shelter water, navigation and medical, this is priceless. Never leave home without it. Whether walking the dog, ballroom dancing, or crossing the Atlantic, take it with you.
There is a lot of comfort in the tin. The more times you light a fire or erect a shelter, the easier it becomes the next time. Practical experience cannot be found in books, so get outdoors and practice. You should have the ability to be able to light a fire under all conditions, and utilize every calorie that the fire produces. Knowing how to conserve fuel, and relighting the fire when required is a basic requirement. Having the capability to recognise edible plants ensures you will never go hungry. Avoiding all the poisonous plants, fungi, and insects will save you a lot of grief. Preserving food will ensure you always have something to fall back on when foraging or hunting is unsuccessful. Whatever you gather put some aside for a rainy day.
Obstacle crossing should be second nature, whether it’s a mountain, lake or river. Life is full of risks and we always risk the least. Selecting the best crossing point, or the easiest climb can eliminate a lot of the dangers. This only comes with practice. Never underestimate the power of water, appearances can be deceptive. A calm surface can hide an under lying current. Never dive into water without first checking the depth. Cold water can sap the strength of the strongest swimmer causing them to get into difficulties. It’s not adequate just to wear a buoyancy aid if operating on cold water. The cold is the killer and people die of hypothermia rather than drowning. An immersion suit is essential. In a survival scenario you are unlikely to have such a luxury so stay out of the water and construct a raft, rather than trying to swim.
Navigation or the lack of it is responsible for many survival situations. Remaining orientated will save you many unnecessary miles. Map reading is a skill but navigation is the art of selecting the easiest and safest route. Avoiding dangerous areas, and paying attention to the weather which can greatly affect your progress. Keeping out the wind, using the lee side of features, and knowing where the next source of water is, should be instinctive. Get used to studying the ground and interpret the map to gain as much information as possible. Medical training is never wasted. The more knowledge you have the safer you will be. Knowing how to deal with injuries is a great confidence booster. Knowing what’s causing the pain and knowing how to deal with it, will ensure a speedy recovery and help maintain your health. Wearing appropriate clothing and carrying the correct equipment greatly reduces the many dangers the outdoors has to offer. It may take time and a few adjustments to get this right but only trial and error will help achieve this. Take advice but what may suit one person may not be good for you. Keep on trying till you’re satisfied.
So starting from scratch there is so much to learn and we never stop this process, but constantly strive to improve our skills, performance, and equipment. Although these factors greatly improve our chances they are not enough. We must have the will to live and the determination to never give in regardless of the situation that we may find ourselves in. The Will To Live (WTL) is a basic instinct that is getting weaker as we get more civilized. By comparing ourselves to past generations we will see how soft and reliant on technology we have become. We now have adequate diet, hi tech clothing, central heating and double glazing. We tend to use the car for every journey, and don’t even have to get out of the chair to turn the TV over. Children spend hours playing computer games instead of playing sport or enjoying the outdoors. When these comforts are denied us they can seriously weaken our resolve leaving us unable to endure the hardships and stresses in a crisis. Its easy to judge how physically fit we are but difficult to gauge how mentally fit we are.
A strong mental attitude that does not accept defeat will help you through difficult times. Don’t have a passive outlook saying ‘this can never happen to me’. Everyone is at risk. Always analyse what you intend doing. Asses the risks and ask yourself ‘can I deal with these’. Imagine what can possibly go wrong and form a contingency plan. Things rarely go as planned so be flexible and adjust as required.
Its good to have a mate and safer than travelling alone.