Water – Our Most Vital Resource – A Global Look

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

Water – A Global Look – As a continuation of Part One, looking at the “global picture” of water and the safety of it we will turn to an article mentioned before. Jenn Savedge has written in About.com an article titled What Is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Her account of this phenomenon will be our source as we paraphrase and quote from her article. She says this “patch” was first written about in 1999 by sailing captain Charles Moore. He wrote in Natural History about his discovery. In part he says:

 “— as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see with the sight of plastic. It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world’s leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the ‘eastern garbage patch”.

Woman pouring filtered water in glass, top view

What exactly is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Savedge tells us it is the collective name given to two distinct masses of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean. It is actually comprised of the Eastern Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Western Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states and Hawaii and California.  It has formed because of the currents that trap debris in their stable centers. It is literally mounds of garbage that has found its way into the ocean by many and varied ways. It has accumulated in such enormous quantities in our world’s oceans that ecologists worry about the effect it is having on marine habitats and wildlife.

Oceanographers and ecologists recently discovered about 70 percent of marine debris actually sinks to the bottom of the ocean. The remaining amount is suspended in the ocean waters as “a cloudy soup” of microplastics and other types of garbage. Is it any wonder we are hearing reports of marine life dying and floating to shore? This marine life sees these items as food or other curious objects to be explored. All of this can lead to the death of the sea animal or starvation from plastic inside them. As Savedge says “ we have all seen the photos of turtles,  dolphins, whales, and sea birds that have become entangled and entrapped by floating bits of plastic”.  This is not the only danger though, all of this plastic can leach harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical has already been linked to not just environmental issues but human health problems.

We all need to consider this a personal problem and truly look at what we ourselves produce as hazardous waste to the environment and eventually to our water system. The ocean is just one aspect of accumulated debris.  If you have local recycling pick up, be conscious of what can be recycled, and do it!  Here at the USI office there is no

Plastic pollution in river / BANGKOK THAILAND – JANUARY 23: plastic pollution in river in Bangkok Thailand on January 23 2016

recycling ability nearby, so it is accumulated and carried to the closest location. Yes, it is an inconvenience, but one we feel strong about and find it more than worth our time an effort. It lowers the number of trash bags that go into the landfill, another subject for concern!

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

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Water – Our Most Vital Resource – Water – Are We In Danger of Having Safe Water?

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

Water – are we in danger of having safe water?  This new series will concern the availability of safe water as a vital resource. It will be in two parts. Part One will take a look at the Global water issue and why the question is asked if there will be safe water in the near future?  Part Two will concern a more “at home” issue of what do you do if an emergency arises and you and your family find yourselves with a lack of clean water. Both matters are the concern of many, but unfortunately, it would appear that not

Plastic pollution in river / BANGKOK THAILAND - JANUARY 23: plastic pollution in river in Bangkok Thailand on January 23 2016

Plastic pollution in river / BANGKOK THAILAND – JANUARY 23: plastic pollution in river in Bangkok Thailand on January 23 2016

enough people take it seriously and we really don’t know the outcome. It seems we, as a human race, have ignored the “evidence”. We will try and give a fair picture of the Global and more Local scene of water as the most vital of resources. The question remains, should the safety of our water supply be taken more seriously?

Part One: A Global look at clean water. Our planet is made up of mostly water. Aquatic ecosystems cover more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. That appears to be a good thing! So why are we concerned with a lack of Safe Water? Just keep in mind that all life on Earth, as we know it, relies on water to survive. So we have more than just humans to consider when looking at a bigger picture of the water issue. According to the World Wildlife Fund water pollution is considered the world’s biggest health risk. It not only threatens humans, but also numerous plants and animals rely on water to live. According to an article dated January 24, 2016:

“Pollution from toxic chemicals threatens life on this planet. Every ocean and every continent from the tropics to the once-pristine polar regions, is contaminated.

This is not a very pretty picture if you think about it!  There are those who believe, such statements are exaggerated and perhaps they are to some degree, but is there a real problem?  Regardless of how you feel about it, let’s take a look at some of the “evidence” that supports such a statement. What exactly do we mean by “water pollution”?  It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, we are pretty sure you have seen plastic water bottles and other debris floating in a river or stream. Just imagine that tenfold! Pollution is occurring all the time from homes to factories, from individuals

Black water pollution in the big city

Black water pollution in the big city

to gathering of people. It comes from using plastic that is not biodegradable, or rubber tires being deposed of incorrectly, or many other items that cannot break down and become a source of contamination. Just look around you and if there is any kind of industry, how do they depose of their chemical waste? We have sewage treatment plants and air pollution to add to this problem. How can we improve on the quality of safe water? We must begin to take a good look at such issues, because this debris in the water that you observe may just be the water that comes into your house, although treated! Is the treatment enough to truly filter such water for safe drinking?

 

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have.” a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

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Bugging Out When Necessary – Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

Bugging Out When Necessary

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) – A positive mental attitude is tough to evaluate, as it should be evaluated under stress to see just how you or members of your group are going to react. It might be compared to a nurse in the emergency room, can you and familyouting1those with you remember what to do? How to carry out the plan? Keep their head about them?

Knowing “thyself” is extremely important in a survival situation and bears directly on how well you cope with serious stresses such as: pain, fear and anxiety, injury, cold and heat, hunger and thirst, sleep deprivation and other stress related issues. If you are the “leader” of the group, then you will be responsible to know this about members that are being affected by what is going on, as well as how you handle these circumstances. This is no easy job, but one that could save you and the others. Try to evaluate your group on the 1-10 scale of the matrix and see just how well you believe you and your groups will handle the stress of an emergency.

As we close out this series of articles we hope you have given some thought to what you and your group need to do in preparation for a possible urgent situation. We have purposely written in terms we feel the most novice of persons can see the need and Front-Rear Coverbegin “prepping” for a time when they may need skills that will save them from a crisis. It is never too early to begin thinking about a plan of action. If you have the opportunity, go through a course in survival. This way you can learn firsthand skills before they are needed. The training will give you confidence in yourself and will better prepare you when the time comes and you need what you have learned. This also will assist you in using the matrix for your evaluation of yourself and others. The matrix is a tool that should be considered a major part of your plan.

A few hours spent in applying what you learn in a course and finding that you can accomplish things that previously seemed impossible will remove doubt about your personal ability and stamina. You may find out things about yourself, such as how you react in an emergency, what your tolerance to different physical and mental stresses are and how can you influence the group in a way that will help them and you! These are all things that should be given thought and practice. Take one step at a time and know when it is time to “bug out”, you are ready!

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bugging Out When Necessary – Environment

Bugging Out When Necessary!

Environment – Environment can be a very essential part of your survival. You must know, as best possible, many factors in order to remain safe at your present location or moving on to your Selected Area of Evacuation (S.A.F.E.). Some of the important things to know are, age of those in the area you are, the socio/economics, the physical dreamstimemaximum_362161location, i.e. are you in the city, country, wilderness, etc. what is the growing season and what is the weather?

Why is this awareness necessary? If those around you are not of like mind for survival you could be in danger. If the socio/economics is not pretty much the same as yours you could be a target for others. If, when your food supply is out, you do not have the ability to get more, what do you do? All of these questions need to be thought about when making your plan and practicing your plan. Weather is often not the main issue, but is a consideration. You must know the seasons in the location where you are. All of this is important as you plan for an emergency for staying in place or moving on.

If you are in the country and have a garden and a pond to fish, you pretty much have a choice place to stay if those around you are in much the same position. In this friendly inhabited area you may regard any human being you encounter as someone who will work with you and be a part of the group to create a safe environment as you go through the emergency. In such an area your primary problem facing you will be to satisfy your material needs for an extended period of time till the crisis is over.

But, if you live in the city or in an urban area that is highly populated, your evaluation dreamstimemaximum_5102722needs to be much more carefully thought out. Do you need to leave the particular location you are in and can you? Are the roads open for travel or will you have to take your gear and “move out”? Weighing the factors under survival conditions will be a trying thing to do. Keep your head whether you are staying or leaving the area. Be flexible in the plan you have spent so much time designing. Know that no plan will probably go as mapped out. Any plan is only as good as your ability to carry it out.

Providing you recognize the difficulties of carrying out your plan of action under survival conditions, you should be able to take positive action with a Positive Mental Attitude go_bag_exploded(PMA). We will discuss this in our closing article.

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bugging Out When Necessary – Physical Condition

Bugging Out When Necessary

Physical Conditioning – Continuing into the second half of the USI Matrix Section 2 we look at the physical condition of you or your group to see exactly how you score. Remember, you will grade yourself and each member on a scale of 1-10. To get your group score you will divide by the number in your party. USI Team will divide by 10, as that is how many we have in our group. Your weakest link will be  where you build from. In our situation we have a five year old; therefore, our consideration will be for her dreamstimemaximum_18076509needs and abilities. If you plan to move out of your location and you have a child’s wagon, that is a great tool for taking care of small children. Consideration must be how many of you are in good physical condition and how can you withstand the hardships that might come with an emergency. Things to consider, if you are leaving your location are how many of your group can carry a backpack of 40 lbs for any distance. Again, a great tool to help those unable to carry their load is to have a golf cart that they can pull. It can act as a backpack and will hold most of what is needed. It may be necessary for the group to share the load of some and the stronger carry more than the usual 40 lbs.

The team should be able to travel 10 miles a day if they have evaluated all the previous steps and know the physical condition of each member. Of course, if you are alone and in good condition and have kept yourself fit, then you will be able to travel much longer than with a group. Not many people stay in condition well enough and have the upper body strength to be able to walk over tough terrain for 10 miles, but then again, know yourself and your group to determine what you/they are capable.

If you are staying in place during the emergency you will still have to know what each member is capable. There will be jobs to be carried out that require strength and stamina while you wait for the situation to improve. Although you may decide to stay in place, you need to be aware that the situation may turn and it would be necessary to

Emergency Escape Plan with red pen

Emergency Escape Plan with red pen

leave, consequently, evaluation of the group and their physical condition still applies. Being prepared to leave should always be a concern. The environment where you are and where you have determined to go is also important. We will touch on that next.

 

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bugging Out When Necessary – Equipment

Bugging Out When Necessary

Equipment – In order to assist with the evaluation of equipment, we have divided the skill level types into three categories based on The Matrix Section 1 from 1-10. The levels are beginner/novice (1-3) moderate skill level (4-6) and professional 7-10). This means that the equipment in your pack is based on what you are skilled to use. It could be that young members of the family or someone who has never been trained in any DSC_0556type of emergency techniques would have to have the beginner’s bag level. Here is where the personal assessment is needed. Be fair with yourself, to say you are better than you are in using your equipment is just as bad as having equipment that should be more sophisticated. From the USI Prior Preparation Planner, “Nothing is more IMPORTANT than TRAINING and having the proper support EQUIPMENT.” This same way of evaluating may help in your first assessment, training/skill sets.

Assuming you and the members of your group have evaluated yourselves on just how much training/skill sets you have, now you must decide what type of equipment will serve your purpose when and if an emergency arises. Remember, Luck is only a 1 on the matrix and Training/Skill set and Equipment make up the 9. Although training can be DSC_0019objective, based on the needs and personal skills, equipment selection is precise, but again you must evaluate your need. As the Planner points out, there is good equipment and bad equipment. Equipment should be chosen because of quality, not cost. When deciding what you need or for your group, just remember, few companies produce all quality items but most all companies have a few quality pieces. You cannot afford to have your equipment fail, your survival kit may be the only thing you have to depend on when having to “bug out”. The ability to resupply will probably not be possible. Consequently, research is an important step and planning ahead is never too early.DSC_0576

The Planner suggestion is to consider buying military grade equipment because it is made to last and take abuse. So much poor equipment is on the market it has become very difficult for individuals to select quality and reliable gear for their pack. The most important piece of equipment is your burden carrying pack.  It has to be tough enough to take abuse because it tends to get beaten up and there isn’t much you can do about that. “A quality pack has to withstand being overloaded, tossed around, getting wet, filthy, possibly cut and maybe even falling into the fire.”  Along with a durable bag/pack some of the suggested equipment that will be needed in an emergency situation are, tools of various kinds, rope/cordage, lighting, alternate power sources, emergency weather protection, communications, navigation, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, water purification, and food procurement. Each one of these areas needs to be thought through and decided what the individual needs are. In The Planner each equipment area gives what could possibly be needed depending on the circumstances. Now it becomes obvious why ones carrying device has to be strong and made well.Front-Rear Cover

Once you have evaluated what you need, purchased quality gear, practiced using the equipment, be sure you pack your own bag and know where each item is. It is important that each member of your family or team knows his/her bag and where each piece of gear is. Each bag may have different items that has been personally chosen for that individual and for a certain purpose. It is so important as part of a team for each to know his/her role but more important for him/her to carry out that role without concern for where their equipment is to accomplish their role. Keep in mind that the goal for each person involved, is to be as close to the 10 score for training/skill sets, equipment, and luck as possible.

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bugging Out When Necessary! – Training and Skill Set

Bugging Out When Necessary

adding fuel by stages 3

Training and Skill set – For the next few articles we will take you through each area of the USI Survival Matrix and discuss what you should be looking for in your evaluation. With each step we will explain what is best and how to reach that goal.  This entire series of articles will be based around the USI Team and family and how we would go about achieving the maximum advantage if an emergency occurred. First, Training and Skill set. Not too many of us are truly a 7 as our matrix shows. In our USI family we are fortunate to have a 7 as our leader and he is also the one who trains all other members. Most people would fall in the 5 or less when it comes to knowing what to do with the equipment purchased or how to proceed if having to relocate.

Practicing as an “adventure” is an excellent way to teach yourself and members of your family. You really need to take that equipment that you have purchased and use it. Plan to take some weekends to practice out in the woods. It can be practiced at home, but it is much better to find a state park or area that allows you to build a fire and campout. Such an experience allows you to play out various scenarios that might occur if necessary to bugout or if the situation is one that you stay in place without conveniences. Finding a good camp site, if not prearranged with the park ranger, is the first step and setting up a cover or tent as a home base.  Next would be gathering wood for your fire when time to cook after hunting your food for the evening.  Remember, if you have brought some food or if you have stored food at home, it will not last long in a real emergency. There will be a need to know how to kill your own food or what berries and plants to eat.  The weekend should be fun, but also educational and challenging for those being taught. It will take more than one weekend to acquire training and skills that will get you through a tough situation.dreamstimemaximum_2672262

Once your campsite is set up and you are ready with kindling and wood to start your fire, the group or individual needs to begin orienting him/herself in the new surroundings. If there is a body of water, then learning to catch fish could be the meal for the evening or if animals like squirrels are in the area, that might be the fare. Just remember, you are simulating what some day may be a real situation, so each skill becomes a valuable lesson to be improved on when you take a weekend “adventure training” session. Things that you might consider working on are emergency shelter, studying plants that are edible, practicing building a fire, cooking over an outside fire, finding water and a way to purify it, practice using a map and compass, knowing what to do for first aid.  These are but a few of the skills you will need to have to evaluate yourself and others in your group.

For the USI Team and family this is an ongoing process with skills being taught all the time. We have a large group of 10, all ages.  When very young, children are taught how to use various items, such as knives and the dangers of such. They are shown plants that can and cannot be eaten.  They go camping and are taught their role in the team.  Each person has his/her role to carry out and as the child matures, the more advanced their role becomes. Agreed, this takes a great deal of thinking through and carrying out, but we at USI feel it is an important part of a person’s education that is not taught anywhere else. On the first evaluation of the matrix we have a 7 but our team has about all levels from 2-6. Think about your family or team, what is their score for training and skill set?

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bugging Out When Necessary! – USI Survival Matrix

The USI Survival Matrix is an evaluation tool used to measure the individual’s capabilities in an emergency situation whether part of a group or not. ANY total number, on the first section of the matrix, over the Target Score set by the matrix is considered “icing” on the cake! The second half of the matrix will always MAX at 30 points since each line item is set on a scale of 10.

MATRIX SECTION 1

Target SCORE is 10

image001

Section 1 addresses finding the strengths and weaknesses of yourself or your group. For example: you may have a lot of training so your lack of equipment isn’t a show stopper. However, if you have minimal or no training then you better compensate with some effective high tech gear until you improve your skills! Just remember, if you score higher than the “target” score then good for you, but for evaluation purposes it’s still a 10.

The second half of the matrix takes into account all other considerations for an effective overall survivability evaluation.

MATRIX SECTION 2

Maximum SCORE of 30

image002

Each line item in section 2 is based on a 1-10 scale and is a self-evaluation (or in the case of physical conditioning members of the group) and an evaluation of your surroundings. Inclusive items which will be taken into consideration will be age, socio/economic, physical location (i.e. city, country, wilderness, etc), growing seasons and more. The last line item, PMA, will be tough to evaluate as PMA has to be evaluated under stressful situations – Like a nurse in the emergency room! The ultimate question is “What’s their attitude when the going gets tough?” Tough to evaluate but VERY important!!

In the Matrix above the individual scored a total of 29 out of 40 so there is room for improvement and the matrix identifies where. Like everything in survival, certain aspects such as PMA can compensate other things (such as a terrible environment) but it won’t compensate for lack of equipment (such as not having a knife).

Overall, the USI Survival Matrix provides a snapshot view of individual capabilities. In future articles we will break down each line item in both sections so you have an in-depth idea of how to find you TRUE survivability in any situation.

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

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Disasters come in all forms!

Emergency Escape Plan“There was a big explosion, the heat reached the cafe and then a big wall of fire enveloped the road…. It all happened so fast, in the space of a minute,” he said.  “There were people inside. I thought for maybe two seconds that I should go in, but the heat was too strong to get to the door,” said Theberge, who escaped with second-degree burns.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis in Nantes, Quebec, and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago)

First of all the USI team wants to express their sorrow over the loss of so many whom have been involved in a “Black Swan Event”. The Canadian train disaster referenced below brings to light how un-predictable and sudden a crisis can be.

But what is a Black Swan Event?. The term comes from the book “Fooled by Randomness” written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in 2001. Although there are many interpretations of a “Black Swan Event”, it comes down to three major points:

  • The event is a surprise (to the observer).
  • The event has a major effect.
  • After the first recorded instance of the event, it is rationalized by hindsight, as if it could have been expected; that is, the relevant data were available but unaccounted for in risk mitigation programs. The same is true for the personal perception by individuals.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-flooded-car-image2856726Black Swan Events, by definition, are unique and unsuspected and therefore can’t be planned for. However, the overall disaster plan for your city should take into consideration as many “angles” as possible to limit, by preparation, the effects of a Black Swan Event.

Many events, as we all know, have core elements which can be planned for, and by expanding response to these core elements, we can limit some of the effects of a Black Swan.  For example, if Emergency Recovery Equipment was dispersed throughout a region, no single event could wipe out everything. Therefore, emergencies such as tornado, hurricane, flood or fire can have their impacts lessened on recovery efforts. Core element.

Black Swan Events are capable of touching any one of us at any time. Having an plan in place for yourself and your loved ones is the key to mitigating the effects of any disaster including a Black Swan Event. Creating a plan can seem daunting but USI has provided an excellent guide to get you on your way. Click HERE for more information.

Original story found at: http://news.yahoo.com/insight-train-ran-away-devastated-canadian-town-014559627.html

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

 

Training is Everything!!

Training is EVERYTHING!

Svalbard Tourism“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 34 years of experience in the field of isolated personnel recovery and survival, this statement was 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?

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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 professional SERE Instructors we spend years researching and perfecting methods of self-preservation. I all things we focus on what it takes and how long it takes, to do a specific task, in order 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 if 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.

flood watersI’m not saying that everyone, who wants to learn how to survive, needs to go through the painful and long training that I did. However, the type of training and who is giving the training should be evaluated. There are many questions you should be asking before you get involved with buying equipment or attending training, but the first one should be to ask 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 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. Regardless of the type of training you require you need to ask the facility you are training under what their credentials are.

SOME POINTERS

  1. In the US only the United States Air Force has a designated career field built around “Global Survival”. All military courses and documents are based on information complied and researched by the Joint Services SERE Agency (JSSA). The only information which doesn’t come from there is based on Native Americans, aboriginals and Mountain Men. However, JSSA researches, studies and applies some of these also.  Home grown courses may not be following current or even safe doctrine so ask for qualifications.
  2. Is the school technology driven or is it primitive means driven? If your looking for a school which teaches you all the new toys, fine. If your looking for a course which trains you to live like a native then good. In either case enjoy yourself and have fun. However, if you’re looking to save your life just keep in mind 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 the focus of the school. If you want to survive you have to use technology where it is best suited and primitive means where they are best suited. A good training school will teach 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 as the student. “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 carrying a well, worn pack and a old knife. So if you ask them their opinion on what the best piece of equipment is you may not get the answer you are expecting! 
  6. Watch for POSERS! Just because they wear the beret doesn’t mean they are “Special”.

Once you have asked yourself all the right questions and have chosen you’re 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 right and learned right 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 should have gone through a litmus test and 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.

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

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Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN