GET READY FOR THE UNEXPECTED, a wise saying teaches.
In some occasions, it is possible you may have known the word "Survival" and certainly it has been through several informations given by the media which is part of our life in the city, for example, television, radio, magazines, newspapers, internet, films or others. Besides, it is also possible you may have read about the bad experience lived by the "Survivors of the Andes" which occurred back in 1972 in some point of the Cordillera de los Andes (a mountain range located among the countries of Argentine and Chile in South America), situation that had a worldwide impact that still continues to be the reason for its study, even for the scientists from N.A.S.A. (National Aeronautic of Space Administration) or other specialists. Now, closer to our times, other situations related to the survival could be those issued in some important television shows such as the Discovery Channel or others, where usually you can learn about some survival techniques, all of them ever taught by some specialists in the field and that take place place on diverse natural grounds from different parts of the world.
Well, the word "Survival" can basically be understood by different interpretations and concepts which can be attributed from the individual or collective human imagination but mainly, all the interpretations converge towards a same meaning and it means "survive". Personally, I define it in the following way:
Is the action of surviving of the humans beings when they are in adverse circumstances
being lost in unknown, wild and hostile terrains, far away from the immediate assistance
to be given from
persons who can save their lives, making use of the available means and natural resourses
and also, depending on their physical and psychological factors with the objective of
coming out successfully
from that not desired situation
How to act before the circumstance of being lost in the nature
One recommendation is the prevention and its application is a wise indicator of the spirit of our human nature which means first of all, be aware that before leaving your home to go into the wilderness covered by a hostile natural environment for a period of time, the circumstances of getting lost may occur and therefore, it is recommendable to take the necessary precaution to prevent unintentionally being involved in a bad situation like that one. Then, if it is possible for you to attend a "survival course" aimed for wild natural zone and always given by professionals qualified and recognized in the matter, that would be much better for you. The idea is that if you are suddenly involved in a survival situation, you´d better know in advance how to act and defend yourself by means of a training previously acquired in the aforementioned course. The outdoor activities that usually might take place in natural lands when sometimes somebody decides to go by their own will, can unexpectedly originate that you suddenly may be involved in an emergency which it generally would happen when carrying out activities as recreation, sports, competition, exploration or others alike, generally associated with the disciplines of mountaineering, trekking, racing adventure, hiking or other similar, in mountains, jungles, forests, deserts, glaciers, sea or others.
Another situation that might unexpectedly appear as historically have occurred many times is when some crewmember as well as passenger from any commercial airline or military aircrafts need to survive in the wilderness located far away from the cities because for example, it could be possible that and airplane crashes on the ground or splashes down in the water where this shows that these situation could happen due to circumstances that many times go beyond from the human control. In both cases and if it happened, the survivors are subject to the typical dangers and pressure of human in an unknown land where most of the them are not mentally ready to accept that they are involved in a critical situation of that nature.
The fact of going into the wilderness to carry out any kind of activity doesn´t mean you don´t have to be prepared to face that eventuality because, you need to know that we as human beings would never know if sometimes we could unexpectedly have to be surviving in the middle of the cold weather of a mountain, under the heat and lack of water of a desert, disoriented in a woodland, etc, where in order to survive, we will need to avail ourselves, depending in part, on the luck we may have in the terrain and also, depending on our human survival instinct to successfully come out from that undesirable situation. Now, if a group of people is surviving on a mountain at 4,000 meters height, they should know that in part they would depend on those objective factors such as physical features and climate of the terrain and subjective factors that have to do with the survivors themselves, to look after of some of them who would need care about their health. Among those fundamental decisions that should be held in view of any difficult situation for the human life is an evaluation about the current situation and for that purpose, it is advisable first, to calm down in order to be able of thinking and make an acceptable decision-making process which would allow you to design an emergency plan of possibly later evacuation under that unexpected moment, ever under the pressure of that situation to preserve all the possible human life. If you might calm down yourself, then, you are free to think in a clear way. This is where when under that unforeseen time the personality of a Leader of the group would come up to psychologically calm dawn and guide the group.
In the event of GETTING LOST, what you should apply on the ground depending on the situation, are the following techniques that basically are procedures to be made as follow, ever according to the present situation:
Art and design: Gabriel F. Esquivel
Etymologic origin of the Survival word
The survival word comes from the supervivens latin language (“that survive”) and from my point of view, it contemplate four (4) essential factors which at least, we must know from the theory:
- Survivors (subjetive factor). Us, the human beings.
- Environment (objetive factor). Physical location where you must survive.
- Human cleverness and survival techniques. The own instinct of human survival and techniques to be used in the nature to survive (proceedings that we need to be used in the nature itself to survive).
- Luck (destiny).It is that ideal factor comprised by fortunate and unfortunate events and the evolution of the situation which the direct protagonists are the survivor themselves and the nature.
Survival and its origin over the time
It can be said that the survival has acquired a remote origin if we are mentally located in the timeline of mankind and precisely, it would may have their roots from the presence of the prehistoric man on earth, who used to lived in true natural environments in the wilderness who lived in natural SHELTERS such as caves or others alike, needed to find WATER from rivers or other sources of water, hunted to get FOOD and eat, made FIRE for cooking, for light at night to fend off from wild animals, etc, built TOOLS to defend for example and carried out some HUNTING activities using primitive weapons and lived in GROUPS, among others. Now, if we go back closer to our present time, the survival has been getting a gradual and fundamental importance from the survival experiences lived by crewmembers from aircrafts and marines from the Navy who took part in the I and II World War where and those situations generated that at the end of those armed conflicts, the military commanders became aware and decided to educate on survival skills to its military staff in view of those experiences that had been lived during both conflicts because, many of them had to survive on wild and remote lands, sometimes located about hundreds or thousands of kilometers away of their hometowns, away from the civilization and families. For example, it was true that some aircrafts crashed on the ground or splashed down in the water or some shipwreck occurred where as well the crewmembers or the marine, sailors had to approach with luck to some nearby islands to survive as it had happened on the Pacific ocean for example, being that they needed to be adapted to those natural environments.
With all of these information that I briefly try to explain you is that a person or a group of them can unexpectedly be involved in what it would be the beginning of a true survival situation which usually could happen at an unexpected time and place. Being prepared and trained in the matter is a key and wise factor that is on your behalf and, it would be the result of how to defend yourself if you get lost but, I think that many, even myself, we couldn´t know how to act until the time we really get lost because if so, if we get lost in the nature, that will be a proof for our survival. Anyway, who have more knowledge and experience about survival skills, will have too many possibilities to survive although, the human survival instinct and the luck are determinant key factors to go ahead to succeed.
Examples in which a survival situation may happen.
• A commercial airline that is declared under emergency in flight and must land (on the ground) or splash down (in the water).
• An adventurer, a hiker or a nature lover who is about to walk alone in an unexplored forest and get lost.
• A group of mountaineers who get disoriented in the middle of an expedition who besides, don´t have a magnetic compass and that situation might be the reason they get lost in that environment in the presence of the third dimension (altitude) or simply a bad weather may take them by surprise.
• A family travelling in a 4 x 4 wheels vehicle who after having mechanical problems, they have no way to fix it who also, they haven´t taken precaution to carry a communications equipment with them or if they did it, they didn´t also carry no spare batteries to communicate with their family, friends or park rangers, police or gendarmerie staff for further assistance.
Photo from the survival course I taught in natural areas close to the city of Villa Regina – Province of Rio Negro-, Argentina (Sud America), where we set an “land-air” signals area, using the figure of the S.O.S. built with woods and other diurnal and nocturnal methods as a parachute, aluminum blankets and a fire that produced a dense smoke. This SAR (Search and Rescue) exercise was performed so that an aircraftwhich had taken off from an airport located in the province of Neuquen could locate our position from the height as it successfully happened where the pilot of the aircraft took us this photo. This course was carried out on the island 62.
P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude).
It is from the moment in which you are certainly involved in a survival situation where you must realize and accept the truth that you are in a very delicate situation where you should take the necessary extra measures and precaution according to what is about to happen on the conservation of your life with the aim to save yourself and come out alive. It is important to know that the survivors will ever be liable to their mind because being under this undesirable experience from which no one would wish to be part of and at the same time, it would be a turning point for the human life where, it will turn out that as the time passes on, the situation would possibly become more difficult due to different circumstances because you couldn´t find drinking water and edible food, both necessary for the preservation of the health and the life itself. This is when one is at the edge of their psychological and physical limits and in order to dominate you, it requires a very large mental and spiritual effort despite of it. Although of this unwanted moment, this is the psychological side of the survivor which may fall down because as much as the days, weeks or month pass and besides, there would not be evident signs of being rescued, this is when the desperation begins and possibly they would be asking themselves why they didn´t take the necessary precautions to avoid this situation, why they didn´t tell to their families or authorities where they would in the nature and how many time, why didn´t take a survival course to at least, be prepared to face a situation like that.
In view of a limit situation where the survivors should know in advance that their life depends on his mind and also, in part from the luck they may have in the location they would be. It is essential to accept and dominate oneself despite of the involuntary circumstance of being lost. In the event that there would be a group of survivors, it is recommended to choose a Leader of the group because a group of persons without a leading, can´t go too far.
And with reference of the mind and spiritual strength to be made by the survivors in the loneliness of a natural environment located far away from the civilization, this is where they apply the following acronym that knowing how to use it in a dynamic way with their mind, it can give optimal and effective results and I know a little bit of it because there used to be a case where one of our students from ours Survival course we gave back on January 2012, in a woodland area located in the Buenos Aires province, Argentina, he told me that he and his female friend once had gotten lost in a mountainous area located in Canada where after walking a lot for a few hours, the nightfall came and his friend began to despair and shout but he, started to calm her down by using a psychological way, telling her the they needed to calm to take decisions and come out from that place where, after a few minutes both controlled their minds applying positively the P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude) acronym but as I sometimes think, the luck was on their sides to come out with success from that situation.
If you want to be trained in Survival, we offer you the opportunity to be educated in our courses of "wilderness SURVIVAL with basic knowledge of first Aid, Orientation and Land Navigation" that we give in NORTHLATITUDE (C.A.C.E.N), all of them aimed to train you in wild natural geographical environments like jungle, mountain, forest and mountain through the "basic", "intermediate" and "advanced" levels.
Informaction about the author of this article
Gabriel F. Esquivel is Founder, Director and Survival & Orientation of NORTHLATITUDE (C.A.C.E.N.) –Northlatitude Education and Training Argentine Center-, first national and international Center of Argentina which offers a que ofrece una varied training on courses which involves activities on air, land and sea and it is the unique in the country where the Survival, Orientation, Land Navigation and GPS with notions on cartography are offered by Gabriel to be taught in English language. During more than twelve (12) years, in Northlatitude we have trained in a non-stop way to many students from Argentine (Buenos Aires and other provinces) and from other countries from South America, North America, Central America and Europe as well as, Gabriel has been chosen and international recognized by the DISCOVERY CHANNEL as survival instructor for the DISCOVERY CHALLENGE international TV programme. In certain opportunities, he along his staff where called to teach some techniques about their activities in diverst TV programmes and newspapers. In the year 2013, Gabriel was invited by two Austrian filmmakers to play the role of survival instructor in the internacional film "Parabellum", who accepted.
Besides, he is mountaineer, adventurer and military (R) of the Argentine Air Force who trhough his training obtained during over 33 years in his speciality of Systems (computing and statistics), Systems, Radars, English language, Management, Survival, Orientation and other courses, these situations allowed him to give his knowledges to his students in the courses he has been teaching.
On January 5, 2017, him and the professional instructors of his staff, complied twelve (12) years by teching courses, seminars and other activities in diverse natural lands of Argentine as well as Gabriel, have given to date, course of Survival, Orientation, Land Navigation and GPS in woodland, islands and mountains areas, in winter or summer time.