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To Stay, or Go for Help?

After 9 days, stuck in the snow, deep in the mountains of Oregon, this is the question the Kim family faced. Up until this point, they had made many good decisions. They ran their car for heat only when needed, and rationed their food supplies, they were able to make a fire and melt snow for water.

We can all remember the iconic advice of staying put if you get lost in the forest--"searchers will find you!" But after 9 days, when no one knows the detour you took into the mountains, your car is now out of gas, and your tiny food rations are running out and your car is covered in snow, 'staying put' must feel like an inevitable path toward death.

Rarely in survival is there a universal approach. While staying put was the obvious choice in retrospect in this case, you can find numerous other examples where going for help was the only reason a group was saved (*the Uruguayan football team in 1972). The answers are never concrete.

What is always universal is that to survive you must find ways to keep your body systems functioning and to do that you must have shelter (protection from the elements), pure water, fire (for staying warm, cooking food, melting snow), and lastly food. Survival training can never give you the answers to all the variables you may face, but what it can do is help you develop the best strategy to create a plan that will get you to safety. By practicing survival you can increase your 'bag of tricks' in the wilderness so that you can provide yourself with a much greater chance of having a solution to the obstacles you will inevitably face.



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