I’m writing this in the Smoky Mountains, sitting at a campfire. It will get down to about freezing tonight but not a problem as I’ve got the right gear. Several blankets for Scout to curl up under. I’ve got a bounce, single-bar cell phone signal since I’m on a mountain top, although I can’t see any lights of civilizations. Already checked in at home with my Spot-X satellite messenger that sends my coordinates. Just in case.
So, of course, two Blackhawks just flew overhead in the dark. Heading north. Recognize the sound and also the lights. And now in the distance is a howling which is upsetting Scout.
I knew what the weather would be before I left and also know this terrain from having been up here numerous times. Which leads us to a key part of survival preparation. You cannot prepare after the fact.
One size does not fit all. A key step in preparation I found most preparation and survival books skip is the Area Study. This allows you to tailor the preparation that’s going to follow this task. There will be several tasks to complete under Area Study.
In Special Forces, prior to deploying to an Area of Operations, we conducted an Area Study. An Area Study is examining your area of operations with the perspective of evaluating assets and threats so you can properly prepare. An Area Study will tighten down your preparation and focus on things in order of priority for your specific situation. It’s not just the environment, but also includes yourself and your team. Then you study home, your work, school, and any other locales where you, and people on your A-Team, spend a significant amount of time. When taking a trip, you should conduct a travel area study, examining the route you will take, your destination, and your route back.
There are so many cases where a thoughtful Area Study followed up by the appropriate preparations would have saved lives. Preparation is so much better than reacting. Which is what we’re doing now.
Area Studies can have non-emergency uses, such as if you’re considering moving to a new place. An Area Study can provide valuable decision making data.
What special skills and background do you have? The people on your team?
These include medical, construction, problem solving, military, the list is basically about coping with a mild emergency that isn’t life-threatening. The key is to know what you can and can’t do, and what those around you can and can’t do. Think back to the last emergency experienced — what was the reaction? The answer to this will give a heads up to how one will react in the next emergency. There is no right or wrong answer, but awareness helps.
These skills include medical, military, gardening, hunting, survival training and experience, pilot, boat operation, camping, weapons, cooking, land navigation, swimming, communication (personal and technical) construction, problem solving, fire starting, knot tying, the list goes on and on. Think back to the last crisis encountered. What was the instinctual reaction? Some people can react well others panic. This is a reality that has to be factored into any scenario.
Mild: Evaluate & list the following for you and each member of your A-Team.
Ability to react in an emergency:
Special Skills Background #1:
Special Skills Background #2:
Special Skills Background #3:
Special Skills Background #4:
Overall physical condition
This includes ability to walk, how much of a pack one could carry, physical disabilities, allergies, medical status, special needs, etc.