Lost Proofing


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Here is a presentation I made for the Sportsmen's Dinner on March 14, 2009 in Schroon Lake, NY.

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Lost Proofing

  1. 1. “ Always Found”: The Art of Lost Proofing Kevin Estela Survival Instructor Wilderness Learning Center www.weteachu.com 435 Sandy Knoll Road Chateaugay, NY 12920 1(518) 497-3179
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Greetings and Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Know before you go </li></ul><ul><li>Let Others Know </li></ul><ul><li>Staying Found </li></ul><ul><li>Compass 101 </li></ul><ul><li>Preventative Maintenance and Routine </li></ul><ul><li>Have a Plan and Stick to It </li></ul><ul><li>Why People Get Lost </li></ul><ul><li>Lost? </li></ul><ul><li>Now You’re Really Lost </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended Gear </li></ul><ul><li>Specialized Equipment for the Young and “More Experienced” </li></ul><ul><li>Gear Limitations </li></ul><ul><li>Definite Do’s and Don’ts </li></ul>
  3. 3. Greetings and Introduction <ul><li>About your presenter (taken from the Wilderness Learning Center website) Kevin Estela has been interested in outdoor survival since he was a child. Entertained by stories from his father’s jungle survival in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation of WWII,  Kevin grew up with a desire to learn more about the outdoors. At a young age and throughout adolescence, his father taught him many practical survival skills. He grew up hiking, skiing, fishing and woods bumming with friends and family. He spent over 10 years working as a seasonal kayaking and canoeing guide on the Farmington River in Connecticut and 5 years working at a busy outdoors retail sporting goods store. Kevin’s formal outdoors education includes off-road driving, winter mountaineering, hunting and firearms safety, wilderness first-aid, primitive survival skills, traditional bushcraft skills and of course wilderness survival through the Wilderness Learning Center. Kevin is a certified PADI scuba diver, avid power boater and saltwater fisherman. Kevin’s passion for education translated into teaching High School History full-time in Bristol, CT.  Kevin spends as much free time as possible getting out on the water or in the woods in anyway.  Whenever possible, Kevin loves to share knowledge and know how with anyone willing to listen, practice and learn. Kevin worked for one full year with us and has earned the title of Instructor.  He is also a moderator on knifeforums.com and  bladeforums.com where he contributes equipment reviews and shares his expertise with all. Although he isn’t officially a resident of  New York, Kevin considers the Wilderness Learning Center  his second home and Marty, Aggie, Bobby a second family away from his own. Kevin is a great asset to the school. His teaching style, personality, and knowledge are appreciated by all. </li></ul>Photo Credit: Garrett Lucas
  4. 4. Know Before You Go <ul><li>Before you ever venture into the woods, do some map and area reconnaissance. </li></ul><ul><li>Which direction is the nearest road? </li></ul><ul><li>In which direction will prominent water features be found? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the gradient like? </li></ul><ul><li>What direction would you not want to travel? </li></ul><ul><li>What direction would you want to? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Let Other’s Know Leave a detailed note with at least 2 people before you depart. Have an “I.C.E” card in your vehicle. This should include your name, what provisions you are carrying, your destination, your route of travel, your emergency information, your egress route and medical information. Leave a tin foil “foot print” in your vehicle and a copy of the letter described above. If possible, leave a map of the area with your pre-determined route. If possible, notify rangers or someone in law enforcement of your trip.
  6. 6. Could you distinguish your boot print from the next guy’s? Image accessed from: http://hawkeye.ngcsu.edu/~CJSPAR2754/boot%20print.jpg
  7. 7. Staying Found <ul><li>Be prepared to leave before sundown. </li></ul><ul><li>Travel on established trails whenever possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Look back frequently. </li></ul><ul><li>Know prominent landmarks from your recon and learn your general direction. </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy the scenery and increase your awareness of your surroundings. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep gear maintained and free of defects. Replace old, worn or outdated gear. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay hydrated and efficient. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in shape (Easier said than done!) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Compass 101 <ul><li>Compass parts </li></ul><ul><li>How to hold a compass 1. level 2. away from metal </li></ul><ul><li>Finding North 1. Turn Bezel to North or 0 degrees 2. Rotate compass until “red is in the shed” </li></ul><ul><li>Taking a Bearing/Azimuth (“Put red in the shed”) 1. Line up directional arrow with landmark 2. Rotate bezel until red is in the shed 3. Read bezel </li></ul><ul><li>If nothing else, a basic compass will provide general direction to a lost person. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Suunto MC-2 Compass with Pacing Bead on top of a Topo Map of Chateaugay, NY (note mirrored lid) Photo Credit: Kevin Estela
  10. 10. Preventative Maintenance and Routine <ul><li>When you stop for a break, rest for less than 5 minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Consume plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. </li></ul><ul><li>When you break, face the direction you came to familiarize yourself with the return trip. </li></ul><ul><li>Look back often. </li></ul><ul><li>Leave natural indicators of direction such as cairns or shaped sticks. </li></ul>
  11. 11. What does this opening look like when you’re headed back? Turn around frequently. Photo Credit: Kevin Estela
  12. 12. Have a Plan and Stick To It <ul><li>One of the biggest mistakes made is deviating from your plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t try a new area last minute or follow friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Every step you take away from your original trail decreases the chance you will be found. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the search area small! </li></ul>
  13. 13. Why People Get Lost <ul><li>Shame (Everyone is going to laugh at you “Woodsman”) </li></ul><ul><li>Fear (I have to get off this mountain NOW!) </li></ul><ul><li>Change of Plans (Last minute tip on where the fish are biting) </li></ul><ul><li>Peak baggin’ or Summit Fever (the final destination is home, not the top) </li></ul><ul><li>Ego (I’m not lost, I know where I am) </li></ul><ul><li>Many other factors not listed here </li></ul>
  14. 14. Lost? <ul><li>Disoriented? Tired? Nervous? Thirsty? Gather your bearings. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for prominent features. </li></ul><ul><li>Refer to your map and compass if you were smart enough to bring them. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not venture off until you are sure. </li></ul><ul><li>Travel slowly and don’t “catch up” on lost time. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Now You’re Really Lost! <ul><li>If you didn’t follow the previous steps, you’re lost. </li></ul><ul><li>S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe & Plan) </li></ul><ul><li>Do you move on or bivouac? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you make a call? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the dangers of moving on? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do you bunker down? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Emergency Bivouac out of a Poncho (Nammy Shelter) Photo Credit: Kevin Estela
  17. 17. Recommended Gear <ul><li>Ten Essentials </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum Bivouac Gear </li></ul><ul><li>Comfort food </li></ul><ul><li>Radio, Cell phone, EPLB or other communication gear </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable vehicle </li></ul>
  18. 18. Gear Limitations <ul><li>No gadget or gear can replace common sense or skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Carrying a compass without knowing how to use it is foolish. </li></ul><ul><li>GPS systems are “delicate” and can break. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not get wrapped up in a gadget false sense of security. </li></ul>
  19. 19. When you have nothing else, you always have your training. It cannot be taken from you Accessed from: http://www.glonation.com/InstructionsPages/InstructionsMenu/thinking_man2.jpg
  20. 20. Specialized Gear for the Young and the “More Experienced” <ul><li>Bright clothing (Orange and Blue.) </li></ul><ul><li>Candy or food with a personalized touch. </li></ul><ul><li>Whistles (plural) in different locations. </li></ul><ul><li>Glow sticks and flashlights. </li></ul><ul><li>Garbage bags and self heating packs. </li></ul><ul><li>Prescription medications. </li></ul><ul><li>A formal plan that is practiced. Teach your kids how to be safe. Also, remember not to “do as I say, not as I do.” They remember what they see more than what you say. </li></ul>
  21. 21. A Variety of Whistles Photo Credit: Mike Brown Photo Credit: Kevin Estela
  22. 22. Definite Do’s and Don’ts <ul><li>Do carry a map and compass and know how to use it. </li></ul><ul><li>Do let others “know before you go.” </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t deviate from the plan </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t get “summit fever” or the like. </li></ul><ul><li>Do stay put until you S.T.O.P. </li></ul><ul><li>Do learn the limitations of your equipment and yourself before you head out. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Notes