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Survival guide to staying alive

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posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:26 AM
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SURVIVAL PLANNING AND SURVIVAL KITS

Survival planning is nothing more than realizing something could happen that would put you in a survival situation and, with that in mind, taking steps to increase your chances of survival. Thus, survival planning means preparation. Preparation means having survival items and knowing how to use them People who live in snow regions prepare their vehicles for poor road conditions. They put snow tires on their vehicles, add extra weight in the back for traction, and they carry a shovel, salt, and a blanket. Another example of preparation is finding the emergency exits on an aircraft when you board it for a flight. Preparation could also mean knowing your intended route of travel and familiarizing yourself with the area. Finally, emergency planning is essential.


SURVIVAL KITS

The environment is the key to the types of items you will need in your survival kit. How much equipment you put in your kit depends on how you will carry the kit. A kit carried on your body will have to be smaller than one carried in a vehicle. Always layer your survival kit, keeping the most important items on your body. For example, your map and compass should always be on your body. Carry less important items on your load-bearing equipment. Place bulky items in the rucksack.
In preparing your survival kit, select items you can use for more than one purpose. If you have two items that will serve the same function, pick the one you can use for another function. Do not duplicate items, as this increases your kit's size and weight.
Your survival kit need not be elaborate. You need only functional items that will meet your needs and a case to hold the items. For the case, you might want to use a Band-Aid box, a first aid case, an ammunition pouch, or another suitable case. This case should be--


• Water repellent or waterproof.
• Easy to carry or attach to your body.
• Suitable to accept varisized components.
• Durable.

In your survival kit, you should have--

• First aid items.
• Water purification tablets or drops.
• Fire starting equipment.
• Signaling items.
• Food procurement items.
• Shelter items.

Some examples of these items are--

• Lighter, metal match, waterproof matches.
• Snare wire.
• Signaling mirror.
• Wrist compass.
• Fish and snare line.
• Fishhooks.
• Candle.
• Small hand lens.
• Oxytetracycline tablets (diarrhea or infection).
• Water purification tablets.
• Solar blanket.
• Surgical blades.
• Butterfly sutures.
• Condoms for water storage.
• Chap Stick.
• Needle and thread.
• Knife.

Include a weapon only if the situation so dictates. Read about and practice the survival techniques in this manual. Consider your unit's mission and the environment in which your unit will operate. Then prepare your survival kit.


Water Procurement

STILL CONSTRUCTION

You can use stills in various areas of the world. They draw moisture from the ground and from plant material. You need certain materials to build a still, and you need time to let it collect the water. It takes about 24 hours to get 0.5 to 1 liter of water.

Aboveground Still

To make the aboveground still, you need a sunny slope on which to place the still, a clear plastic bag, green leafy vegetation, and a small rock.

To make the still--
• Fill the bag with air by turning the opening into the breeze or by "scooping" air into the bag.
• Fill the plastic bag half to three-fourths full of green leafy vegetation. Be sure to remove all hard sticks or sharp spines that might puncture the bag.

****CAUTION**** Do not use poisonous vegetation. It will provide poisonous liquid.

• Place a small rock or similar item in the bag.
• Close the bag and tie the mouth securely as close to the end of the bag as possible to keep the maximum amount of air space. If you have a piece of tubing, a small straw, or a hollow reed, insert one end in the mouth of the bag before you tie it securely. Then tie off or plug the tubing so that air will not escape. This tubing will allow you to drain out condensed water without untying the bag.
• Place the bag, mouth downhill, on a slope in full sunlight. Position the mouth of the bag slightly higher than the low point in the bag.
• Settle the bag in place so that the rock works itself into the low point in the bag.

To get the condensed water from the still, loosen the tie around the bag's mouth and tip the bag so that the water collected around the rock will drain out. Then retie the mouth securely and reposition the still to allow further condensation.
Change the vegetation in the bag after extracting most of the water from it. This will ensure maximum output of water.




posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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Belowground Still

To make a belowground still, you need a digging tool, a container, a clear plastic sheet, a drinking tube, and a rock. Select a site where you believe the soil will contain moisture (such as a dry stream bed or a low spot where rainwater has collected). The soil at this site should be easy to dig, and sunlight must hit the site most of the day.
To construct the still--

• Dig a bowl-shaped hole about 1 meter across and 60 centimeters deep.
• Dig a sump in the center of the hole. The sump's depth and perimeter will depend on the size of the container that you have to place in it. The bottom of the sump should allow the container to stand upright.
• Anchor the tubing to the container's bottom by forming a loose overhand knot in the tubing.
• Place the container upright in the sump.
• Extend the unanchored end of the tubing up, over, and beyond the lip of the hole.
• Place the plastic sheet over the hole, covering its edges with soil to hold it in place.
• Place a rock in the center of the plastic sheet.
• Lower the plastic sheet into the hole until it is about 40 centimeters below ground level. It now forms an inverted cone with the rock at its apex. Make sure that the cone's apex is directly over your container. Also make sure the plastic cone does not touch the sides of the hole because the earth will absorb the condensed water.
• Put more soil on the edges of the plastic to hold it securely in place and to prevent the loss of moisture.
• Plug the tube when not in use so that the moisture will not evaporate.

You can drink water without disturbing the still by using the tube as a straw.

You may want to use plants in the hole as a moisture source. If so, dig out additional soil from the sides of the hole to form a slope on which to place the plants. Then proceed as above.

If polluted water is your only moisture source, dig a small trough outside the hole about 25 centimeters from the still's lip. Dig the trough about 25 centimeters deep and 8 centimeters wide. Pour the polluted water in the trough. Be sure you do not spill any polluted water around the rim of the hole where the plastic sheet touches the soil. The trough holds the polluted water and the soil filters it as the still draws it. The water then condenses on the plastic and drains into the container. This process works extremely well when your only water source is salt water.

You will need at least three stills to meet your individual daily water intake needs.

WATER PURIFICATION

Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the tropics.
When possible, purify all water you got from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, or by boiling.
Purify water by--

• Using water purification tablets. (Follow the directions provided.)
• Placing 5 drops of 2 percent tincture of iodine in a canteen full of clear water. If the canteen is full of cloudy or cold water, use 10 drops. (Let the canteen of water stand for 30 minutes before drinking.)
• Boiling water for 1 minute at sea level, adding 1 minute for each additional 300 meters above sea level, or boil for 10 minutes no matter where you are.
By drinking nonpotable water you may contract diseases or swallow organisms that can harm you. Examples of such diseases or organisms are--
• Dysentery. Severe, prolonged diarrhea with bloody stools, fever, and weakness.
• Cholera and typhoid. You may be susceptible to these diseases regardless of inoculations.
• Flukes. Stagnant, polluted water--especially in tropical areas--often contains blood flukes. If you swallow flukes, they will bore into the bloodstream, live as parasites, and cause disease.
• Leeches. If you swallow a leech, it can hook onto the throat passage or inside the nose. It will suck blood, create a wound, and move to another area. Each bleeding wound may become infected.


WATER FILTRATION DEVICES

If the water you find is also muddy, stagnant, and foul smelling, you can clear the water--
• By placing it in a container and letting it stand for 12 hours.
• By pouring it through a filtering system.
Note: These procedures only clear the water and make it more palatable. You will have to purify it.
To make a filtering system, place several centimeters or layers of filtering material such as sand, crushed rock, charcoal, or cloth in bamboo, a hollow log, or an article of clothing. Remove the odor from water by adding charcoal from your fire. Let the water stand for 45 minutes before drinking it.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:31 AM
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Use of Bait

Baiting a trap or snare increases your chances of catching an animal. When catching fish, you must bait nearly all the devices. Success with an unbaited trap depends on its placement in a good location. A baited trap can actually draw animals to it. The bait should be something the animal knows. This bait, however, should not be so readily available in the immediate area that the animal can get it close by. For example, baiting a trap with corn in the middle of a corn field would not be likely to work. Likewise, if corn is not grown in the region, a corn-baited trap may arouse an animal's curiosity and keep it alerted while it ponders the strange food. Under such circumstances it may not go for the bait. One bait that works well on small mammals is the peanut butter from a meal, ready-to-eat (MRE) ration. Salt is also a good bait. When using such baits, scatter bits of it around the trap to give the prey a chance to sample it and develop a craving for it. The animal will then overcome some of its caution before it gets to the trap.

If you set and bait a trap for one species but another species takes the bait without being caught, try to determine what the animal was. Then set a proper trap for that animal, using the same bait.
Note: Once you have successfully trapped an animal, you will not only gain confidence in your ability, you also will have resupplied yourself with bait for several more traps.

Trap and Snare Construction

Traps and snares crush, choke, hang, or entangle the prey. A single trap or snare will commonly incorporate two or more of these principles. The mechanisms that provide power to the trap are almost always very simple. The struggling victim, the force of gravity, or a bent sapling's tension provides the power.

The heart of any trap or snare is the trigger. When planning a trap or snare, ask yourself how it should affect the prey, what is the source of power, and what will be the most efficient trigger. Your answers will help you devise a specific trap for a specific species. Traps are designed to catch and hold or to catch and kill. Snares are traps that incorporate a noose to accomplish either function.

Simple Snare

A simple snare consists of a noose placed over a trail or den hole and attached to a firmly planted stake. If the noose is some type of cordage placed upright on a game trail, use small twigs or blades of grass to hold it up. Filaments from spider webs are excellent for holding nooses open. Make sure the noose is large enough to pass freely over the animal's head. As the animal continues to move, the noose tightens around its neck. The more the animal struggles, the tighter the noose gets. This type of snare usually does not kill the animal. If you use cordage, it may loosen enough to slip off the animal's neck. Wire is therefore the best choice for a simple snare.

Drag Noose

Use a drag noose on an animal run. Place forked sticks on either side of the run and lay a sturdy crossmember across them. Tie the noose to the crossmember and hang it at a height above the animal's head. (Nooses designed to catch by the head should never be low enough for the prey to step into with a foot.) As the noose tightens around the animal's neck, the animal pulls the crossmember from the forked sticks and drags it along. The surrounding vegetation quickly catches the crossmember and the animal becomes entangled.

Twitch-Up

A twitch-up is a supple sapling, which, when bent over and secured with a triggering device, will provide power to a variety of snares. Select a hardwood sapling along the trail. A twitch-up will work much faster and with more force if you remove all the branches and foliage.

Twitch-Up Snare

A simple twitch-up snare uses two forked sticks, each with a long and short leg. Bend the twitch-up and mark the trail below it. Drive the long leg of one forked stick firmly into the ground at that point. Ensure the cut on the short leg of this stick is parallel to the ground. Tie the long leg of the remaining forked stick to a piece of cordage secured to the twitch-up. Cut the short leg so that it catches on the short leg of the other forked stick. Extend a noose over the trail. Set the trap by bending the twitch-up and engaging the short legs of the forked sticks. When an animal catches its head in the noose, it pulls the forked sticks apart, allowing the twitch-up to spring up and hang the prey.

Note: Do not use green sticks for the trigger. The sap that oozes out could glue them together.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:34 AM
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HOW PLANTS POISON

Plants generally poison by--

Ingestion. When a person eats a part of a poisonous plant.
Contact. When a person makes contact with a poisonous plant that causes any type of skin irritation or dermatitis.
Absorption or inhalation. When a person either absorbs the poison through the skin or inhales it into the respiratory system.
Plant poisoning ranges from minor irritation to death. A common question asked is, "How poisonous is this plant?" It is difficult to say how poisonous plants are because--


Some plants require contact with a large amount of the plant before noticing any adverse reaction while others will cause death with only a small amount.

Every plant will vary in the amount of toxins it contains due to different growing conditions and slight variations in subspecies.
Every person has a different level of resistance to toxic substances.
Some persons may be more sensitive to a particular plant.
Some common misconceptions about poisonous plants are--

Watch the animals and eat what they eat. Most of the time this statement is true, but some animals can eat plants that are poisonous to humans.
Boil the plant in water and any poisons will be removed. Boiling removes many poisons, but not all.

Plants with a red color are poisonous. Some plants that are red are poisonous, but not all.

The point is there is no one rule to aid in identifying poisonous plants. You must make an effort to learn as much about them as possible.

ALL ABOUT PLANTS

It is to your benefit to learn as much about plants as possible. Many poisonous plants look like their edible relatives or like other edible plants. For example, poison hemlock appears very similar to wild carrot. Certain plants are safe to eat in certain seasons or stages of growth and poisonous in other stages. For example, the leaves of the pokeweed are edible when it first starts to grow, but it soon becomes poisonous. You can eat some plants and their fruits only when they are ripe. For example, the ripe fruit of mayapple is edible, but all other parts and the green fruit are poisonous. Some plants contain both edible and poisonous parts; potatoes and tomatoes are common plant foods, but their green parts are poisonous.

Some plants become toxic after wilting. For example, when the black cherry starts to wilt, hydrocyanic acid develops. Specific preparation methods make some plants edible that are poisonous raw. You can eat the thinly sliced and thoroughly dried corms (drying may take a year) of the jack-in-the-pulpit, but they are poisonous if not thoroughly dried.

Learn to identify and use plants before a survival situation. Some sources of information about plants are pamphlets, books, films, nature trails, botanical gardens, local markets, and local natives. Gather and cross-reference information from as many sources as possible, because many sources will not contain all the information needed.

RULES FOR AVOIDING POISONOUS PLANTS

Your best policy is to be able to look at a plant and identify it with absolute certainty and to know its uses or dangers. Many times this is not possible. If you have little or no knowledge of the local vegetation, use the rules to select plants for the "Universal Edibility Test." Remember, avoid --

All mushrooms. Mushroom identification is very difficult and must be precise, even more so than with other plants. Some mushrooms cause death very quickly. Some mushrooms have no known antidote. Two general types of mushroom poisoning are gastrointestinal and central nervous system.

CONTACT DERMATITIS

Contact dermatitis from plants will usually cause the most trouble in the field. The effects may be persistent, spread by scratching, and are particularly dangerous if there is contact in or around the eyes.

The principal toxin of these plants is usually an oil that gets on the skin upon contact with the plant. The oil can also get on equipment and then infect whoever touches the equipment. Never bum a contact poisonous plant because the smoke may be as harmful as the plant. There is a greater danger of being affected when overheated and sweating. The infection may be local or it may spread over the body.

Symptoms may take from a few hours to several days to appear. Signs and symptoms can include burning, reddening, itching, swelling, and blisters.

When you first contact the poisonous plants or the first symptoms appear, try to remove the oil by washing with soap and cold water. If water is not available, wipe your skin repeatedly with dirt or sand. Do not use dirt if blisters have developed. The dirt may break open the blisters and leave the body open to infection. After you have removed the oil, dry the area. You can wash with a tannic acid solution and crush and rub jewelweed on the affected area to treat plant-caused rashes. You can make tannic acid from oak bark.

Poisonous plants that cause contact dermatitis are--

Cowhage.
Poison ivy.
Poison oak.
Poison sumac.
Rengas tree.
Trumpet vine.

INGESTION POISONING

Ingestion poisoning can be very serious and could lead to death very quickly. Do not eat any plant unless you have positively identified it first. Keep a log of all plants eaten.

Signs and symptoms of ingestion poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, depressed heartbeat and respiration, headaches, hallucinations, dry mouth, unconsciousness, coma, and death.

If you suspect plant poisoning, try to remove the poisonous material from the victim's mouth and stomach as soon as possible. Induce vomiting by tickling the back of his throat or by giving him warm saltwater, if he is conscious. Dilute the poison by administering large quantities of water or milk, if he is conscious.

The following plants can cause ingestion poisoning if eaten:

Castor bean.
Chinaberry.
Death camas.
Lantana.
Manchineel.
Oleander.
Pangi.
Physic nut.
Poison and water hemlocks.
Rosary pea.
Strychnine tree.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:42 AM
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SHELTER SITE SELECTION

When you are in a survival situation and realize that shelter is a high priority, start looking for shelter as soon as possible. As you do so, remember what you will need at the site. Two requisites are--

It must contain material to make the type of shelter you need.
It must be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably.
When you consider these requisites, however, you cannot ignore your tactical situation or your safety. You must also consider whether the site--

Provides concealment from enemy observation.
Has camouflaged escape routes.
Is suitable for signaling, if necessary.
Provides protection against wild animals and rocks and dead trees that might fall.
Is free from insects, reptiles, and poisonous plants.
You must also remember the problems that could arise in your environment. For instance--

Avoid flash flood areas in foothills.
Avoid avalanche or rockslide areas in mountainous terrain.
Avoid sites near bodies of water that are below the high water mark.
In some areas, the season of the year has a strong bearing on the site you select. Ideal sites for a shelter differ in winter and summer. During cold winter months you will want a site that will protect you from the cold and wind, but will have a source of fuel and water. During summer months in the same area you will want a source of water, but you will want the site to be almost insect free.

When considering shelter site selection, use the word BLISS as a guide.

B - Blend in with the surroundings.
L - Low silhouette.
I - Irregular shape.
S - Small.
S - Secluded location.

TYPES OF SHELTERS

When looking for a shelter site, keep in mind the type of shelter (protection) you need. However, you must also consider--

How much time and effort you need to build the shelter.
If the shelter will adequately protect you from the elements (sun, wind, rain, snow).

If you have the tools to build it. If not, can you make improvised tools?
If you have the type and amount of materials needed to build it.
To answer these questions, you need to know how to make various types of shelters and what materials you need to make them.

Poncho Lean-To

It takes only a short time and minimal equipment to build this lean-to. You need a poncho, 2 to 3 meters of rope or parachute suspension line, three stakes about 30 centimeters long, and two trees or two poles 2 to 3 meters apart. Before selecting the trees you will use or the location of your poles, check the wind direction. Ensure that the back of your lean-to will be into the wind.

To make the lean-to--

Tie off the hood of the poncho. Pull the drawstring tight, roll the hood longways, fold it into thirds, and tie it off with the drawstring.
Cut the rope in half. On one long side of the poncho, tie half of the rope to the corner grommet. Tie the other half to the other corner grommet.
Attach a drip stick (about a 10-centimeter stick) to each rope about 2.5 centimeters from the grommet. These drip sticks will keep rainwater from running down the ropes into the lean-to. Tying strings (about 10 centimeters long) to each grommet along the poncho's top edge will allow the water to run to and down the line without dripping into the shelter.
Tie the ropes about waist high on the trees (uprights). Use a round turn and two half hitches with a quick-release knot.

Spread the poncho and anchor it to the ground, putting sharpened sticks through the grommets and into the ground.

If you plan to use the lean-to for more than one night, or you expect rain, make a center support for the lean-to. Make this support with a line. Attach one end of the line to the poncho hood and the other end to an overhanging branch. Make sure there is no slack in the line.

Another method is to place a stick upright under the center of the lean-to. This method, however, will restrict your space and movements in the shelter.

For additional protection from wind and rain, place some brush, your rucksack, or other equipment at the sides of the lean-to.

To reduce heat loss to the ground, place some type of insulating material, such as leaves or pine needles, inside your lean-to.

Note: When at rest, you lose as much as 80 percent of your body heat to the ground.

To increase your security from enemy observation, lower the lean-to's silhouette by making two changes. First, secure the support lines to the trees at knee height (not at waist height) using two knee-high sticks in the two center grommets (sides of lean-to). Second, angle the poncho to the ground, securing it with sharpened sticks, as above.

One-Man Shelter

A one-man shelter you can easily make using a parachute requires a tree and three poles. One pole should be about 4.5 meters long and the other two about 3 meters long.

Secure the 4.5-meter pole to the tree at about waist height.
Lay the two 3-meter poles on the ground on either side of and in the same direction as the 4.5-meter pole.
Lay the folded canopy over the 4.5 meter pole so that about the same amount of material hangs on both sides.
Tuck the excess material under the 3-meter poles, and spread it on the ground inside to serve as a floor.
Stake down or put a spreader between the two 3-meter poles at the shelter's entrance so they will not slide inward.
Use any excess material to cover the entrance.

The parachute cloth makes this shelter wind resistant, and the shelter is small enough that it is easily warmed. A candle, used carefully, can keep the inside temperature comfortable. This shelter is unsatisfactory, however, when snow is falling as even a light snowfall will cave it in.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:47 AM
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MEANS FOR SIGNALING

There are two main ways to get attention or to communicate--visual and audio. The means you use will depend on your situation and the material you have available. Whatever the means, always have visual and audio signals ready for use.

Visual Signals
These signals are materials or equipment you use to make your presence known to rescuers.

Fire

During darkness, fire is the most effective visual means for signaling. Build three fires in a triangle (the international distress signal) or in a straight line with about 25 meters between the fires. Build them as soon as time and the situation permit and protect them until you need them. If you are alone, maintaining three fires may be difficult. If so, maintain one signal fire.

When constructing signal fires, consider your geographic location. If in a jungle, find a natural clearing or the edge of a stream where you can build fires that the jungle foliage will not hide. You may even have to clear an area. If in a snow-covered area, you may have to clear the ground of snow or make a platform on which to build the fire so that melting snow will not extinguish it.

A burning tree (tree torch) is another way to attract attention. You can set pitch-bearing trees afire, even when green. You can get other types of trees to burn by placing dry wood in the lower branches and igniting it so that the flames flare up and ignite the foliage. Before the primary tree is consumed, cut and add more small green trees to the fire to produce more smoke. Always select an isolated tree so that you do not start a forest fire and endanger yourself.



Smoke

During daylight, build a smoke generator and use smoke to gain attention . The international distress signal is three columns of smoke. Try to create a color of smoke that contrasts with the background; dark smoke against a light background and vice versa. If you practically smother a large fire with green leaves, moss, or a little water, the fire will produce white smoke. If you add rubber or oil-soaked rags to a fire, you will get black smoke.

In a desert environment, smoke hangs close to the ground, but a pilot can spot it in open desert terrain.

Smoke signals are effective only on comparatively calm, clear days. High winds, rain, or snow disperse smoke, lessening its chances of being seen.

Mirrors or Shiny Objects

On a sunny day, a mirror is your best signaling device. If you don't have a mirror, polish your canteen cup, your belt buckle, or a similar object that will reflect the sun's rays. Direct the flashes in one area so that they are secure from enemy observation. Practice using a mirror or shiny object for signaling now; do not wait until you need it. If you have an MK-3 signal mirror, follow the instructions on its back.


Wear the signal mirror on a cord or chain around your neck so that it is ready for immediate use. However, be sure the glass side is against your body so that it will not flash; the enemy can see the flash.

CAUTION

Do not flash a signal mirror rapidly because a pilot may mistake the flashes for enemy fire. Do not direct the beam in the aircraft's cockpit for more than a few seconds as it may blind the pilot.


Haze, ground fog, and mirages may make it hard for a pilot to spot signals from a flashing object. So, if possible, get to the highest point in your area when signaling. If you can't determine the aircraft's location, flash your signal in the direction of the aircraft noise.

Note: Pilots have reported seeing mirror flashes up to 160 kilometers away under ideal conditions.

Flashlight or Strobe Light

At night you can use a flashlight or a strobe light to send an SOS to an aircraft. When using a strobe light, take care to prevent the pilot from mistaking it for incoming ground fire. The strobe light flashes 60 times per minute. Some strobe lights have infrared covers and lenses. Blue flash collimators are also available for strobe lights.

VS-17 Panel

During daylight you can use a VS-17 panel to signal. Place the orange side up as it is easier to see from the air than the violet side. Flashing the panel will make it easier for the aircrew to spot. You can use any bright orange or violet cloth as a substitute for the VS-17.

Clothing

Spreading clothing on the ground or in the top of a tree is another way to signal. Select articles whose color will contrast with the natural surroundings. Arrange them in a large geometric pattern to make them more likely to attract attention.

Natural Material

If you lack other means, you can use natural materials to form a symbol or message that can be seen from the air. Build mounds that cast shadows; you can use brush, foliage of any type, rocks, or snow blocks.

In snow-covered areas, tramp the snow to form letters or symbols and fill the depression with contrasting material (twigs or branches). In sand, use boulders, vegetation, or seaweed to form a symbol or message. In brush-covered areas, cut out patterns in the vegetation or sear the ground. In tundra, dig trenches or turn the sod upside down.

In any terrain, use contrasting materials that will make the symbols visible to the aircrews.

Whistles

Whistles provide an excellent way for close up signaling. In some documented cases, they have been heard up to 1.6 kilometers away. Manufactured whistles have more range than a human whistle.

Gunshots

In some situations you can use firearms for signaling. Three shots fired at distinct intervals usually indicate a distress signal. Do not use this technique in enemy territory. The enemy will surely come to investigate shots.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:51 AM
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PSYCHOLOGY OF SURVIVAL


A LOOK AT STRESS
Before we can understand our psychological reactions in a survival setting, it is helpful to first know a little bit about stress.

Stress is not a disease that you cure and eliminate. Instead, it is a condition we all experience. Stress can be described as our reaction to pressure. It is the name given to the experience we have as we physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually respond to life's tensions.

Need for Stress

We need stress because it has many positive benefits. Stress provides us with challenges; it gives us chances to learn about our values and strengths. Stress can show our ability to handle pressure without breaking; it tests our adaptability and flexibility; it can stimulate us to do our best. Because we usually do not consider unimportant events stressful, stress can also be an excellent indicator of the significance we attach to an event--in other words, it highlights what is important to us.

We need to have some stress in our lives, but too much of anything can be bad. The goal is to have stress, but not an excess of it. Too much stress can take its toll on people and organizations. Too much stress leads to distress. Distress causes an uncomfortable tension that we try to escape and, preferably, avoid. Listed below are a few of the common signs of distress you may find in your fellow soldiers or yourself when faced with too much stress:

Difficulty making decisions.
Angry outbursts.
Forgetfulness.
Low energy level.
Constant worrying.
Propensity for mistakes.
Thoughts about death or suicide.
Trouble getting along with others.
Withdrawing from others.
Hiding from responsibilities.
Carelessness.

As you can see, stress can be constructive or destructive. It can encourage or discourage, move us along or stop us dead in our tracks, and make life meaningful or seemingly meaningless. Stress can inspire you to operate successfully and perform at your maximum efficiency in a survival situation. It can also cause you to panic and forget all your training. Key to your survival is your ability to manage the inevitable stresses you will encounter. The survivor is the soldier who works with his stresses instead of letting his stresses work on him.

Survival Stressors

Any event can lead to stress and, as everyone has experienced, events don't always come one at a time. Often, stressful events occur simultaneously. These events are not stress, but they produce it and are called "stressors." Stressors are the obvious cause while stress is the response. Once the body recognizes the presence of a stressor, it then begins to act to protect itself.

In response to a stressor, the body prepares either to "fight or flee." This preparation involves an internal SOS sent throughout the body. As the body responds to this SOS, several actions take place. The body releases stored fuels (sugar and fats) to provide quick energy; breathing rate increases to supply more oxygen to the blood; muscle tension increases to prepare for action; blood clotting mechanisms are activated to reduce bleeding from cuts; senses become more acute (hearing becomes more sensitive, eyes become big, smell becomes sharper) so that you are more aware of your surrounding and heart rate and blood pressure rise to provide more blood to the muscles. This protective posture lets a person cope with potential dangers; however, a person cannot maintain such a level of alertness indefinitely.

Stressors are not courteous; one stressor does not leave because another one arrives. Stressors add up. The cumulative effect of minor stressors can be a major distress if they all happen too close together. As the body's resistance to stress wears down and the sources of stress continue (or increase), eventually a state of exhaustion arrives. At this point, the ability to resist stress or use it in a positive way gives out and signs of distress appear. Anticipating stressors and developing strategies to cope with them are two ingredients in the effective management of stress. It is therefore essential that the soldier in a survival setting be aware of the types of stressors he will encounter. Let's take a look at a few of these.

Injury, Illness, or Death

Injury, illness, and death are real possibilities a survivor has to face. Perhaps nothing is more stressful than being alone in an unfamiliar environment where you could die from hostile action, an accident, or from eating something lethal. Illness and injury can also add to stress by limiting your ability to maneuver, get food and drink, find shelter, and defend yourself. Even if illness and injury don't lead to death, they add to stress through the pain and discomfort they generate. It is only by con-trolling the stress associated with the vulnerability to injury, illness, and death that a soldier can have the courage to take the risks associated with survival tasks.

Uncertainly and Lack of Control

Some people have trouble operating in settings where everything is not clear-cut. The only guarantee in a survival situation is that nothing is guaranteed. It can be extremely stressful operating on limited information in a setting where you have limited control of your surroundings. This uncertainty and lack of control also add to the stress of being ill, injured, or killed.

Environment

Even under the most ideal circumstances, nature is quite formidable. In survival, a soldier will have to contend with the stressors of weather, terrain, and the variety of creatures inhabiting an area. Heat, cold, rain, winds, mountains, swamps, deserts, insects, dangerous reptiles, and other animals are just a few of the challenges awaiting the soldier working to survive. Depending on how a soldier handles the stress of his environment, his surroundings can be either a source of food and protection or can be a cause of extreme discomfort leading to injury, illness, or death.

Hunger and Thirst

Without food and water a person will weaken and eventually die. Thus, getting and preserving food and water takes on increasing importance as the length of time in a survival setting increases. For a soldier used to having his provisions issued, foraging can be a big source of stress.

Fatigue

Forcing yourself to continue surviving is not easy as you grow more tired. It is possible to become so fatigued that the act of just staying awake is stressful in itself.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:52 AM
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NATURAL REACTIONS

Man has been able to survive many shifts in his environment throughout the centuries. His ability to adapt physically and mentally to a changing world kept him alive while other species around him gradually died off. The same survival mechanisms that kept our forefathers alive can help keep us alive as well! However, these survival mechanisms that can help us can also work against us if we don't understand and anticipate their presence.

It is not surprising that the average person will have some psychological reactions in a survival situation. We will now examine some of the major internal reactions you and anyone with you might experience with the survival stressors addressed in the earlier paragraphs. Let's begin.

Fear

Fear is our emotional response to dangerous circumstances that we believe have the potential to cause death, injury, or illness. This harm is not just limited to physical damage; the threat to one's emotional and mental well-being can generate fear as well. For the soldier trying to survive, fear can have a positive function if it encourages him to be cautious in situations where recklessness could result in injury. Unfortunately, fear can also immobilize a person. It can cause him to become so frightened that he fails to perform activities essential for survival. Most soldiers will have some degree of fear when placed in unfamiliar surroundings under adverse conditions. There is no shame in this! Each soldier must train himself not to be overcome by his fears. Ideally, through realistic training, we can acquire the knowledge and skills needed to increase our confidence and thereby manage our fears.

Anxiety

Associated with fear is anxiety. Because it is natural for us to be afraid, it is also natural for us to experience anxiety. Anxiety can be an uneasy, apprehensive feeling we get when faced with dangerous situations (physical, mental, and emotional). When used in a healthy way, anxiety urges us to act to end, or at least master, the dangers that threaten our existence. If we were never anxious, there would be little motivation to make changes in our lives. The soldier in a survival setting reduces his anxiety by performing those tasks that will ensure his coming through the ordeal alive. As he reduces his anxiety, the soldier is also bringing under control the source of that anxiety--his fears. In this form, anxiety is good; however, anxiety can also have a devastating impact. Anxiety can overwhelm a soldier to the point where he becomes easily confused and has difficulty thinking. Once this happens, it becomes more and more difficult for him to make good judgments and sound decisions. To survive, the soldier must learn techniques to calm his anxieties and keep them in the range where they help, not hurt.

Anger and Frustration

Frustration arises when a person is continually thwarted in his attempts to reach a goal. The goal of survival is to stay alive until you can reach help or until help can reach you. To achieve this goal, the soldier must complete some tasks with minimal resources. It is inevitable, in trying to do these tasks, that something will go wrong; that something will happen beyond the soldier's control; and that with one's life at stake, every mistake is magnified in terms of its importance. Thus, sooner or later, soldiers will have to cope with frustration when a few of their plans run into trouble. One outgrowth of this frustration is anger. There are many events in a survival situation that can frustrate or anger a soldier. Getting lost, damaged or forgotten equipment, the weather, inhospitable terrain, enemy patrols, and physical limitations are just a few sources of frustration and anger. Frustration and anger encourage impulsive reactions, irrational behavior, poorly thought-out decisions, and, in some insta nces, an "I quit" attitude (people sometimes avoid doing something they can't master). If the soldier can harness and properly channel the emotional intensity associated with anger and frustration, he can productively act as he answers the challenges of survival. If the soldier does not properly focus his angry feelings, he can waste much energy in activities that do little to further either his chances of survival or the chances of those around him.

Depression

It would be a rare person indeed who would not get sad, at least momentarily, when faced with the privations of survival. As this sadness deepens, we label the feeling "depression." Depression is closely linked with frustration and anger. The frustrated person becomes more and more angry as he fails to reach his goals. If the anger does not help the person to succeed, then the frustration level goes even higher. A destructive cycle between anger and frustration continues until the person becomes worn down-physically, emotionally, and mentally. When a person reaches this point, he starts to give up, and his focus shifts from "What can I do" to "There is nothing I can do." Depression is an expression of this hopeless, helpless feeling. There is nothing wrong with being sad as you temporarily think about your loved ones and remember what life is like back in "civilization" or "the world." Such thoughts, in fact, can give you the desire to try harder and live one more day. On the other hand, if you allow yours elf to sink into a depressed state, then it can sap all your energy and, more important, your will to survive. It is imperative that each soldier resist succumbing to depression.

Loneliness and Boredom

Man is a social animal. This means we, as human beings, enjoy the company of others. Very few people want to be alone all the time! As you are aware, there is a distinct chance of isolation in a survival setting. This is not bad. Loneliness and boredom can bring to the surface qualities you thought only others had. The extent of your imagination and creativity may surprise you. When required to do so, you may discover some hidden talents and abilities. Most of all, you may tap into a reservoir of inner strength and fortitude you never knew you had. Conversely, loneliness and boredom can be another source of depression. As a soldier surviving alone, or with others, you must find ways to keep your mind productively occupied. Additionally, you must develop a degree of self-sufficiency. You must have faith in your capability to "go it alone."



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 11:54 AM
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Guilt

The circumstances leading to your being in a survival setting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident or military mission where there was a loss of life. Perhaps you were the only, or one of a few, survivors. While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life. Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry on the work of those killed. Whatever reason you give yourself, do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living. The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act would be the greatest tragedy.

PREPARING YOURSELF

Your mission as a soldier in a survival situation is to stay alive. As you can see, you are going to experience an assortment of thoughts and emotions. These can work for you, or they can work to your downfall. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, depression, and loneliness are all possible reactions to the many stresses common to survival. These reactions, when controlled in a healthy way, help to increase a soldier's likelihood of surviving. They prompt the soldier to pay more attention in training, to fight back when scared, to take actions that ensure sustenance and security, to keep faith with his fellow soldiers, and to strive against large odds. When the survivor cannot control these reactions in a healthy way, they can bring him to a standstill. Instead of rallying his internal resources, the soldier listens to his internal fears. This soldier experiences psychological defeat long before he physically succumbs. Remember, survival is natural to everyone; being unexpectedly thrust into the life and death struggle of survival is not. Don't be afraid of your "natural reactions to this unnatural situation." Prepare yourself to rule over these reactions so they serve your ultimate interest--staying alive with the honor and dignity associated with being an American soldier.

It involves preparation to ensure that your reactions in a survival setting are productive, not destructive. The challenge of survival has produced countless examples of heroism, courage, and self-sacrifice. These are the qualities it can bring out in you if you have prepared yourself. Below are a few tips to help prepare yourself psychologically for survival. Through studying this manual and attending survival training you can develop the survival attitude.

Know Yourself

Through training, family, and friends take the time to discover who you are on the inside. Strengthen your stronger qualities and develop the areas that you know are necessary to survive.

Anticipate Fears

Don't pretend that you will have no fears. Begin thinking about what would frighten you the most if forced to survive alone. Train in those areas of concern to you. The goal is not to eliminate the fear, but to build confidence in your ability to function despite your fears.

Be Realistic

Don't be afraid to make an honest appraisal of situations. See circumstances as they are, not as you want them to be. Keep your hopes and expectations within the estimate of the situation. When you go into a survival setting with unrealistic expectations, you may be laying the groundwork for bitter disappointment. Follow the adage, "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." It is much easier to adjust to pleasant surprises about one's unexpected good fortunes than to be upset by one's unexpected harsh circumstances.

Adopt a Positive Attitude

Learn to see the potential good in everything. Looking for the good not only boosts morale, it also is excellent for exercising your imagination and creativity.

Remind Yourself What Is at Stake

Remember, failure to prepare yourself psychologically to cope with survival leads to reactions such as depression, carelessness, inattention, loss of confidence, poor decision-making, and giving up before the body gives in. At stake is your life and the lives of others who are depending on you to do your share.

Train

Through military training and life experiences, begin today to prepare yourself to cope with the rigors of survival. Demonstrating your skills in training will give you the confidence to call upon them should the need arise. Remember, the more realistic the training, the less overwhelming an actual survival setting will be.

Learn Stress Management Techniques

People under stress have a potential to panic if they are not well-trained and not prepared psychologically to face whatever the circumstances may be. While we often cannot control the survival circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is within our ability to control our response to those circumstances. Learning stress management techniques can enhance significantly your capability to remain calm and focused as you work to keep yourself and others alive. A few good techniques to develop include relaxation skills, time management skills, assertiveness skills, and cognitive restructuring skills (the ability to control how you view a situation).

Remember, "the will to survive" can also be considered to be "the refusal to give up."



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 12:52 PM
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Starred and Flagged of course!

This is an excellent collection, and good pertinent information. I don't know why nobody has responded? Maybe there is just nothing left to say, after you were so thorough!

Thanks for this!



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 03:50 PM
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Awesome piece of work here Outlaw. I was going to write
something similar but you've made it unnecessary. I was
tired of seeing all the poor and sometimes dangerous
information that people have posted.

I haven't read it all yet but I thought your part on wild
edible plants was superb!

I'm finishing up an article on camouflague that will complement
what you've done here I think. I can tell that you're no newbie
to survival skills nor a person who hasn't tried many of the skills
you write about. Again, thank you and well done sir!



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 09:06 PM
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If there is anything else you would like me to write on just let me know. If the end of days come I would be able to protect a mass number of people. Just would need the people to build a fortress



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 05:27 AM
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Starred and Flagged!

That was a very complete and well thought out, nice work.

I think you pretty much covered everything and it's always good to have all the info in one place.




posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 10:13 PM
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well when im board and have some time i do what i can to educate all that are willing to learn.



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 12:02 AM
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Originally posted by texasoutlaw
well when im board and have some time i do what i can to educate all that are willing to learn.


good info, thank you, but don't act like you are a genius because all you did was copy and paste from the army survival manual



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 12:17 AM
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If anybody is serious about increasing their survival knowledge a good source of information is contained in the "Ranger Digest" ill post a link later...



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