Before you go

  • Be ready. Tell people where you are going and how long you will be there before you leave.
  • Bring a survival kit.

In an outdoor survival emergency

  • Do not panic — This can lead to making very bad choices. Sit down and relax or hug a tree. All is not lost — human beings are very resourceful, and many people have survived despite impossible odds. Think of home, family, and loved ones. Calmly take stock of your resources. (Even things like the stuffing in your car seat can save your life by helping to insulate your clothes.
  • Deal with immediate first aid issues.
  • Find a phone — Your next priority is to use a phone if you know for sure where one is.
  • Keep warm — The most important priority in surviving outdoors is keeping warm. Thirst and hunger may kill you over the course of several days, but hypothermia can kill you in minutes. Furthermore, a low body temperature can severely impair your judgment, one of the worst things that can happen in a survival situation.
  • If you are lost and have no idea where to go, stay where you are! The farther you move without knowing where you're going, the harder it will be for searchers to find you. If you must leave the area, leave a note about your plans or at least leave a sign indicating the direction you are traveling. If you don't know which way to go, walk downhill until you find water and then follow the water.
  • Your next order of priorities is shelter, water, signals, and food. (note: fire when possible may be part of keeping warm, purifying water, and signaling)


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