ASIST Basic Fire Craft Video
The need to make a fire can NEVER be understated and the ability to build a fire is essential to the protection of human life. Fire is a Survival Priority on its own AND it enhances all other Survival Priorities. The Basic Fire Craft Program enables virtually anyone to properly construct a fire regardless of the weather conditions or geography.
ASIST Shelter Craft Video
Protection from the weather is paramount during a survival situation. Proper site selection is extremely important because regardless if your shelter is store bought or improvised, if you put yourself in danger due to the choice of site then you may as well not have a shelter at all. This video covers the principles necessary to choose a site and improvise emergency shelters.
In today's fast paced mobile world, it is very difficult to dedicate the time necessary to attend a specific training program on location. USI's answer to this issue is the Applied SERE Instruction and Security Training Video Series. A.S.I.S.T. is an eLearning platform that USI has designed and implemented to deliver quality training to its patrons in the comfort of their own venue. This has become very popular with USI clients due to the ever growing need for specific programs that target large organizations with travel limitations.
A program, in the USI vernacular, is the lesson, instruction and products which ensure the patron the best chance of returning from a survival situation. The USI Team is particularly well equipped to develop these programs due to their history as technical experts and writers for the United States Air Force. In fact, the S.E.R.E. Specialists at USI may have written more “survival” programs than any group other than the Department of Defense. USI cadre has written survival related programs for the DOD, Government Agencies, Private Companies, Public Schools and more.
However, USI doesn’t stop with the writing of a program. Our experts initiate and develop a relationship with your people so as to instruct them in the use of the equipment and the skills necessary for surviving in their operational environment. Whether it is the Arctic, Open Ocean, Urban, Desert, Mountain or Forest the USI team can develop a program for you. USI is unique in the fact that we do not borrow other’s information and then teach from it; we develop it.
Course planning and instruction are only two thirds of the equation. USI also designs and produces specialized survival kits for our clients based on our combined experience. You should never have to worry if the “kit” you are carrying will get you out. Whether it is caving, hiking through a jungle, or relaxing in your home in “tornado alley”, you can be confident that you are as prepared as anyone on the planet with a survival system designed for you specific needs.
Through the A.S.I.S.T. Video Series, all participants from single individuals to global corporations can be educated with convenience and continuity.
USI has been in the business of saving lives for a very long time and we take your survival S.E.R.E.ously!
“Practice makes perfect”. Not really, as a Navy SEAL and friend once pointed out to me “Perfect Practice makes Perfect”. For someone like me with 33 years of experience in the field of isolated personnel recovery and survival this statement prophetic. I had never thought about there being “Bad” practices but there are and it answered a lot of questions which often haunted me.
Being properly trained is the key to success in any operation, from business to survival the training you receive is the basis for your success. Unfortunately, in the survival world training can be the difference between life and death. We talk about the 5 “Ps”; prior preparation prevents poor performance but maybe we should focus on 6 “Ps” Prior proper preparation prevents poor performance. And this Preparation should focus on Perfect Training!
I observe peoples equipment and preparation all the time and I read every magazine and article I run across on survival and prepping. I also watch different episodes on television and listen to the “experts” who profess to have all the answers on what to do if you are isolated and living off the land. Whether it is an urban environment or field they all have one thing in common, they eventually give out information which will not work or will flat get you killed. An example of this is an article I read concerning fire construction where the “expert” ended the article with the statement “be prepared to fail”. What? You just told the audience in a national survival magazine that they could fail to save their own lives? Sounds like you need more “perfect practice”. I cannot think of a situation, outside of not having any equipment or nothing to burn, where a fire can’t be built. Sleet, snow, horizontal rain, high winds, one hand, hypothermic these are all the times you need a fire. If your situation isn’t life threatening then you’re building a camp fire, not an emergency fire. So, where is the disconnect?
This disconnect comes from the instruction and the practice. In both instances people tend to take short cuts, employ bad habits or listen to people who frankly are clueless. As a professional SERE Instructor we spend years researching and perfecting methods of self-preservation. From What it takes and how long it takes to do a specific task to save your life. In all tasks there are principles, principles that when not followed cause failure. Whether it is urban survival, Surveillance detection, camouflage or trapping game it the principles are not followed then failure does.
So to compensate we begin to build redundancy in our equipment at the cost of weight and the possibility of physical fatigue. We also begin to overlook necessary equipment to make room for the redundant. For six months of training in the art of survival myself and my team mates lit our cigarettes with a ferrocerium rod (then known as a metal match), lived out of a poncho or natural shelter, used only a canteen cup to collect and prepare food and had two knives; one straight and one folding. We here taught to maintain our equipment and not to lose it because that could mean death.
I’m not saying that everyone, who wants to learn how to survive, needs to go through the painful and long training that I did but the type of training should be evaluated. So there are many questions you should be asking before you get involved with buying equipment or attending training and the first one should be to yourself “why am I doing this.” Is it because of natural disasters and I’m waiting for help? Is it because I’m waiting for National upheaval or a meteor strike or am I just wanting to take care of myself if I fall down and get injured on a weeklong hike?
All these come questions come into play when choosing the right training format or equipment. It may be that you only need some medical training from the local Red Cross or it could be that you need advanced survival training under tactical conditions. But regardless of the type of training you require you need to ask the facility you are training under what their credentials are.
1.In the US only the United States Air Force has a designated career field built around “Global Survival”. All other courses and documents are based on information complied and researched by this SERE career field. The only information which doesn’t come from here is based on Native Americans, aboriginals and Mountain Men. However, the USAF SERE community researches and studies these also. I’m not saying that if the training is not done by USAF SERE Instructors it no good. I’m just Saying ask for qualifications.
2.Is the training to equipment and technology driven or is it to primitive driven? If that’s what you are looking for, a course which teaches you all the new toys or a course which trains you to live like a native then good. Enjoy yourself and have fun. But if you’re looking to save your life remember that Natives don’t build a friction fire in the rain and batteries die in the heat and freeze in the cold. So find out where the focus in the school comes from. If you want to survive you have to use technology where it is best suited and primitive means where they are best suited. So good training in survival has the best of both.
3.Don’t get caught up in the hype! Whether it’s TV, articles, movies or conversations don’t get caught up in the hype. Do the research and pick what fits your needs. I understand the need for advertising, but it’s only designed to do one thing….sell something. Remember that and also remember your life depends on your decision. If they are selling equipment, look at the quality. Someone who takes the protection of life seriously is not going to handle substandard equipment regardless of the profit margin.
4.Look at the equipment used by the instructor. Is it for show? Is it the same as what he/she is trying to sell? For example, the instructor may have a giant Bowie for the entire world to see but it never comes out of its sheath, ask yourself why? Same thing applies for demonstrations and practices. A good instructor should never ask a student to do something he has not demonstrated with GREAT proficiency and with the same type of tools. “Beware the Instructor who shows you a perfectly constructed natural shelter but doesn’t have time to demonstrate how he made it”.
5.Good Survival Instructors are very opinionated and grounded in what works and what doesn’t. This is based on research AND experience. The best advertised knife in the world may fail and the most popular pack on the market may rip so you may NOT see your Instructor with the latest and greatest gear. In fact he may be humping a well, worn pack. So if you ask them their opinion on what the best piece of equipment is you may not get the answer you are expecting!
Once you have asked all the right questions and chosen your training facility or Instructor, go into the training with an open mind. All of us have our built in paradigms on how something is to be done, but in this case try to put them aside and learn from scratch. Skills taught correctly and learned correctly will always serve you better. Also remember that survival is just that SURVIVAL and skills which are not proven under adverse conditions are no skills at all, so everything you learn has to have gone through a litmus test not just created as “woodsy goods to know”. After all we are not camping, we are surviving! Remember there are no special tactics, just perfected principles practiced over and over again.
“Perfect Practice makes Perfect” will always ring in my ears.