Priorities of Survival
These are not in order of importance - trying to
do that is an impossible task since the order of importance changes
based on many factors. These are ALL priorities.
The Will to Survive! - Maintain
your composure. All things are possible. Have faith.
Signal - The first consideration is to be rescued. Always
have ways to signal for help in the daytime or at night. Be able
to signal visually and audibly and know ways to improvise signals
Personal Protection - Good health and safety will
greatly increase the chance of survival. Prevent injury and avoid
unnecessary danger. Shelter yourself from harsh weather and the
sun and treat even the most minor wounds quickly to prevent infections.
Water - The body can't function long without water.
Carry a full water container. Make finding a water source high on
your list. Filter if you wish but ALWAYS purify water to protect
yourself from viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. If you can't filter
or purify be prepared for bowel problems which will lead to further
dehydration. But, when push comes to shove it is more important
to hydrate than to hydrate with clean water.
Food - You can last longer than you think without
food but the body needs some nourishment to maintain strength and
to function properly. Carry small quantities of simple food (especially
carbohydrates and sugars). Learn to identify four or five plants
that are readily available, easy to identify and simple to prepare.
Be familiar with other edibles and local things that you must avoid.
Fire - Carry a spark producing device and tinder.
Matches and lighters run out and trying to find tinder can be a
challenge in wet environments. Fire may be higher on your list if
you are in a cold environment or need to cook a meal or purify water.
Navigation - Learn how to find your way with a
map and compass. Learn improvised methods of direction finding too.
Know the general lay of the area you are in before you go out. This
will greatly reduce the chance of getting lost and finding yourself
in a survival situation.
Medical - Learn basic first aid and keep all wounds
clean. Stay in good physical condition, it will make all the difference
in a survival situation if your body is strong and healthy.
I was recently asked to pick the top survival
priority from a list. This is my response:
The problem with this question is
it doesn't set any conditions. Survival priorities change based
on the environment, physical conditioning, health and resources
(among other things.)
In extreme environments such as cold climates
and deserts, shelter is actually often higher on the list than water.
This is true, of course, if you start out hydrated and are not injured
or ill. Exposure in extreme temperature conditions can kill quicker
than dehydration, often within hours and sometimes within minutes
(such as in a "man overboard" survival situation). In
cold climates the big enemy is hypothermia (lowering of the body
core temperature) and in the desert it is hyperthermia (raising
of the body core temperature.) The sun promotes dehydration and
burns the skin causing injuries that speed dehydration and are extremely
painful - the trick in this environment is to conserve sweat by
use of shelter.
In temperate climates or mild conditions water
is often the higher priority because the body is able to maintain
temperature with little or no protection. In a no work situation
one can go about three days without water but that is in a degraded
state. Water is often overlooked as a priority in cold climates
but your body consumes water in the metabolic process and actually
dehydrates by just shivering. In most situations, other than extreme
environments, water will be the highest priority.
Unless you are diabetic, food will never be a
higher priority than water or shelter. A healthy human being can
go about three weeks without food if necessary. This is an extreme
statement but - once you get over the hunger pains and the idea
of not eating your body can still function fairly well for some
time if you are healthy and strong. It will begin to "consume
itself" in an effort to maintain energy levels for vital organs.
This is the point where fat and muscle are depleted (you know -
starvation diets). The biggest problem occurs when the digestive
system and other internal organs begin to "shut-down".
The body is a marvelous creation and it will shut down systems that
aren't being used - especially when resources are low. What this
creates is similar to a "pickle" in baseball. You can't
just eat whatever you find and expect your body to turn everything
back on and have it work right. You need medical help in that process
to do it gradually without damaging anything. Your best bet is to
nibble. Eat very light on a regular schedule based on the availability
of food but... NEVER eat without water. The goal here should be
to eat something every other day if you can but if you go four or
five days you don't need to freak out... just find some food and
don't be real picky. :) In long term survival situations ample food
sources must be found.
Medical is only a priority when there is an injury
or illness and then it often jumps right to the top of the list
- do not pass go, do not collect $200. The reason this is so is
because in a survival situation there is no hospital - no doctor.
Even the smallest injury like a foot that is cut crossing a creek
barefooted to keep the boots and socks dry (shame on you!) can potentially
become life threatening. Infection is typical in back country injuries
because hygiene is not as good as it is when we are home. Furthermore,
the object inflicting the wound is likely nasty as is the water
you are crossing. Add to that the location of the injury and you
have big trouble.
The real answer to this question is - GET
TRAINING! Get it from an expert and become very comfortable
and confident with the skills, attitude and the problem solving
needed to survive.
S Size up
-Surroundings (what is your environment and terrain,
how close are you to help?)
-Physical condition (are you injured, is it serious?)
-Equipment (what did you bring with you, what
can you find?)
U Use all your senses (not
just your five senses either - use your common sense too)
-Undue haste makes waste (take your time, slow
down and don't panic)
R Remember where you are
(you're probably out of your element - don't under estimate nature)
V Vanquish fear and panic
(you can't think clearly when you are freaking out)
(use what you have available, find new and multiple ways to use
V Value living (keep the
faith, don't every give up)
A Act like the natives (be
observant, everything in nature happens for a reason)
L Live by your wits (you
best survival tool is your brain!)
-But for now, Learn basic skills (learn everything
you can now so that you are prepared!)
Keep Clean (dirt and grim transmit cold and negate insulating
qualities in clothing)
O Avoid Overheating
(cooling down after intensifies the cold, remove clothing first)
L Loose Layers
(allow you to remove and add clothing and offer air traps that insulate)
D Keep Dry
(don't go into bodies of water or break a sweat)
Clothing (is it adequate for the climate, is it in good repair?)
R Repair Clothing
(fix tears, replace buttons or improvise fasteners)
Why do I need a Fox Kit?
Fair question. I would have asked it myself in
As an Army survival instructor I had many students
come up to me between classes and ask what they should include in
their personal survival kit. These are people who already have considerable
experience in austere environments and most of whom are furnished
with military kits of some type or another. Now, if people who's
profession takes them into harsh environments and who are well trained
and are furnished with reasonably good equipment still
want to carry a personal survival kit, what does that tell the rest
of us? We might want something too.
But you don't go into the same places as our military?
Really? Do you hike, camp, climb, fish, mountain bike, hunt, snow
shoe, ski, fly aircraft, drive a car or do any type of activity
outdoors? If you do, you will find yourself in the same types of
environments as our guardians of freedom. You don't have to leave
the USA to find the wilderness. We are blessed with plenty of it.
The truth is, we never know when something will go wrong and we
will find ourselves stranded and isolated. We need to keep with
the Boy Scout motto and "Be Prepared."
But what do you need? Where do you get it? That
is why you need a Fox Kit. Our kits are designed for your environment
and activities. We build kits specifically for what you do and where
you do it. If we don't have a kit that meets your needs we will
work with you to design a custom kit. One-stop shopping! If you
aren't sure what you need - let us help you. Together we will make
sure you have what you need to survive. If you still aren't comfortable
with the idea because maybe you don't know how to use the equipment
in your kit or you don't know enough about the wilderness and using
what is already available in your surroundings, don't worry. We
offer expert training. We will teach you what you need to know to
Times are changing. We find ourselves in an unstable
world - full of lunatic criminals and terrorists. We don't want
to think that anything bad is coming our way but it sure gives a
calming feeling to know that if it does we have what we need and
know what we need to know to pull through. And even if our "bad
day" is something as simple as getting lost or twisting our
ankle hiking through the woods, it doesn't matter. Because if we
are caught unprepared we still suffer the consequences. We at Fox
Kits are optimists. We believe in self-reliance and preparedness
and we want to help you achieve both.
President & Founder
Fox Kits, Inc.