Stop, stay put, is first rule

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Dennis Clay

This is the third in a series of columns about survival training.

We have covered how easy it is for a person to become lost in the last two columns. First we had a youngster of 6 become lost by running in the wrong direction when he thought he was running to where his dad was waiting for him.

Last week we had an adult become lost by doing the same thing, walking in the wrong direction.

The first rule of survival is to stop and stay put. Trouble is, sometimes an adult is bull headed and too embarrassed to admit they are lost. The youth is simply scared.

Both need to be trained to stop and stay put. This can not be stressed enough. Talk about this and the other suggestions in this column around the campfire the night before the hike around the lake or anywhere in the woods.

Of course, any hiker, young or older, would be wise to take along a backpack with a few supplies inside, even on a 1.5 mile hike around Swan Lake. Inside could be a new snacks, a couple bottles of water, a space blanket and a two-way radio.

The radios are becoming stronger and less expensive every year. Imagine how easy it would have been for the 6-year-old to grab the radio and ask for help. He was a quarter mile away from his father when he began running the wrong way.

This is where the training becomes important. Assign each member of the family a callsign and teach them how to operate the radio; push the button to talk, release the button to listen. Even if the lost person has a radio, they should stop and stay put.

There is a movement which encouraged youth to hug a tree. This has two purposes. First, it makes them stop and stay put. Second, children may or will feel better if they are hugging something.

When a person become lost, young or older, their job, yes it is a job, to begin building a shelter.

A shelter doesnít take much work, really, as pushing leaves and branches next to a natural pole or other naturally angled object will supply some type of shelter.

Sometimes there are evergreens with branches touching the ground. Even in rainy and snowy conditions the ground under these trees are bare and dry.

The lost personís job isnít finished when a shelter is complete, as no shelter is complete. This shelter should be improved each day. But always remember the first rule: Stop, stay put.

Next week: Even more survival tips.

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