Watching the British adventurer Bear Grylls on TV or Discovery Channel’s outstanding Dual Survivor show is one thing but being in a real situation where you need to survive in the wilderness is altogether different. What you need are some basic skills to actually survive such situations and rough it out on your own.
Ask any expert and they will tell you that the key to survival in any situation in the wild is preparation. You could be lost while on a hike, be stranded after your car breaks down in the woods or a remote area, or simply left needing to face a disaster situation when camping in the wilderness.
It all begins by getting your priorities right. The first thing is to get away from any form of immediate danger. Following this you need to check if you have any medical problems such as injuries that need immediate treatment. This is the time your first aid kit will come in handy. Next is to protect yourself from predators with a knife, shotgun or gun, or a sharpened stick.
Staying positive throughout the situation also helps to survive better. The adage, mind over matter holds true in this situation. Remember, shelter, fire, water, and food are the most important and immediate physical needs in that order.
First aid techniques
Very often an emergency situation in the wilderness involves someone getting injured. You need to know how to fix common injuries especially if you are stranded without a first aid kit. Cuts and scrapes may seem not worthy of attention but it is a marvelous idea to keep the wound clean. You will need to use a one-inch wide tourniquet made from a strip of shirt or belt to stop the flow of blood if a wound is deep. Tighten the tourniquet until the blood stops flowing and then clean the wound.
If you or someone else has dislocated a bone the first thing is to get it back in place. You will need to create a splint in case of a fracture. A couple of sticks can act as a splint to stabilize the fractured bone. If your kneecap is dislocated it can be forced back into the socket by stretch your leg. A dislocated shoulder can be treated by hitting it against a hard surface (you can see how that is done in Lethal Weapon 2 with Det. Riggs).
In case of burns it is important to remove any clothing and run honey or lukewarm water over the burn area. The area must be loosely wrapped with a wet piece of clothing. The wound must be elevated while it is vital to avoid opening any blisters.
Making a shelter and starting a fire
Shelter is one of the most important elements of survival in the wilderness. The purpose of the shelter is to provide insulation and block out the elements. The simplest shelter to build is the a-frame shelter, which can protect you from the rain, sun, and snow. A tarp or even garbage bags stuffed with leaves can be very useful. Set a large branch against a tree so that it rests at an angle. Make sure to have layers of moss and leaves across the angled wall, and along the ground, which will protect you from the elements.
Starting a fire is the next important step in the survival process. You can get a fire going with eye glasses. Spit on the lens, place it over the kindling and angle it in a way that the sun’s rays can pass through. Once it starts smoldering carefully blow along the sides until it flames up. If you don’t have eyeglasses you can use a bottle of water. Alternatively, you can use a cell phone battery to create a short between the terminals, which will create a spark.
Finding water and feeding yourself
Once you get a fire going you will want to find water to drink and food to eat. It would be prudent to follow grazing animals, they will often lead you to water. You can take advantage of the process of transpiration and collect dew that hangs on grass or plants.
Tie a plastic bag around the vegetation and the water will collect over a few hours. In addition, remember that flies and mosquitoes usually inhabit areas within around 400 feet of water. If boiling water isn’t a viable option you can create a filter by setting up layers of stones, sand, bark, and charcoal.
After you have found a source of water, finding food ought to be next on your list. There are many edible plants that includes the acorn from the oak tree. The nut is edible and is a good source of nutrients. Cattail has a stalk like celery and is healthy to eat. Pine nuts and the inner bark of the pine tree are a rich source of food. Alternatively, if you are near a river, lake, or other water source you can use a basket to catch fish.