Author Topic: Taught another Basic Survival Course  (Read 11890 times)

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Offline Yeoman

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Taught another Basic Survival Course
« on: March 31, 2014, 10:17:13 AM »
I volunteer with Ground Search and Rescue in my area and do the survival training for my team.
The requirement is for basic three + day survival skills. The focus is on finding/building shelter, making/using fire and getting safe water.
We don't do wilderness living skills, trapping, cordage making, abo skills etc. We teach to realistic conditions and expectations for our area and for our SAR duties (ie: spend a night out caring for a victim until air assets can do a pick-up in the morning).

I was supposed to teach a two hour theory phase last Wed but it got cancelled due to weather.
I adjusted my training and did the theory on Sat morning, since I was doing the field phase that day anyway.
I had an even dozen for the classroom and I had seven in the field.

In the classroom we covered:
1. Priorities (Based on Rule of Threes)
2. Psychology
3. First Aid
4. Shelter: Clothing, Structures, Fire)
5. Water
6. Signals
7. Survival kits
8. Food

One problem I always had with the theory component was that it was designed to be given as a PowerPoint lecture: blah, blah, blah.
I finally got around to redoing the whole thing from scratch and this was my first time presenting it with interactive components designed with adult education principles in mind. There was some lecture, some question and answer, some group work, some exercises, a video, board work, group presentations etc. ,I'm quite proud of it, and now know where more tweaking needs to occur. More importantly, I was very proud of the students, as all of the required knowledge was existent in the group. They just needed to be asked the right questions to get it out there. I finally got to be a facilitator instead of a droning teacher.

We then went into the field for the practical skills phase. Because of the rescheduling, I decided to focus on one specific skill well instead of covering a bunch in less detail. I divided the seven remaining students into three groups of two and one solo, and gave them each a shelter kit. I had prepared these a few weeks ago and they all contained a small garbage bag, a few hanks of various lines, cords, strings, ropes, para chords etc. (Usually about three arm-spans in total). As well, the kit might contain a space blanket, emerg bivy, piece of plastic sheeting, Tyvek, tube tent, tarp, etc. The idea was each group would have different materials to work with and come up with a different shelter from the others.
I gave them the "lost-hiker(s)-one-hour-before-sunset-and-rain-is-coming" scenario and set them off to find a location and build a shelter for two (or one in one case). Everyone finished within about 40 minutes and then the group toured the shelters and the builders gave an explanation of what they were given, why the chose their area and how they constructed their shelter.

I must say, lots of learning occured and it was not just limited to the students. I feel very privileged to be allowed to instruct my
team-mates and as always I am amazed that the old saying "the best way to learn is to teach" is so true.

I now have to find schedule time in the Spring for another theory session and another field phase. I think the next field phase will focus primarily on fire and water.

Does anyone here have experiences to share either as instructors or as students?

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions of what they'd like to see in a practical survival course?
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Offline greyhound352

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 10:31:20 AM »
Sounds like a great class.

It would be nice to see some pictures of their shelters.
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 10:45:31 AM »
Thanks!
Later this week, I'll get some of the pics that were taken and put them up.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 12:29:55 PM »
That does sound like a good experience to have. I've never taken a formal class, but I might someday if time permits.

I like the idea of letting each group come up with their own shelter because it allows the entire class to see multiple approaches to the problem instead of just a single solution.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 12:54:58 PM »
That does sound like a good experience to have. I've never taken a formal class, but I might someday if time permits.

I like the idea of letting each group come up with their own shelter because it allows the entire class to see multiple approaches to the problem instead of just a single solution.

PW,
That was the intention and it worked out well, especially since they all had different components.
However, when I was telling my son (he's nine!) about it that night, he had a pretty good observation: "Why not give them all the same stuff? They all think differently anyway, so why would they all come up with the same ideas just cause they all got the same stuff?"
Hmmmm. Next time I'll have two copies of each of the various kits so we can see what different groups do with the same gear.

What I really liked was the portion when the other students did the critiques of the shelters after the show and tell. They picked out the strengths and the areas for improvement and since it was coming from their peers, the students all took it constructively.

FWIW, I've never taken an organised land survival course either. I do sea survival every three years with the Navy though.
I ended up instructing my SAR Team's survival training simply because I have the interest, some modest practical skills, some decent hobbiest experience and instructional experience from work. I'd like to take some training someday as a vacation idea.
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Offline madmax

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 02:31:54 PM »
Very cool.  Looks like you've got a model course n the works.  We learned so much from each other on the Pot and Machete's.  I would like to hear more of your experiences facilitating these outings.
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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 06:59:34 PM »
Not all survival but it was a big part of it.  I just got back from SARTech II training and testing.  It was two weekends.  The first being a mix of classroom and field work.  The second weekend was the hell weekend where they start a 14:00 on Friday.  They do some classroom work then send you out for a night search exercise (my team found the victim.)  They worked us until 02:00 Saturday morning then showed us the area we could set up a makeshift shelter and spend the night.  I was in bed by 02:30.  Lucky there was no rain because I would not have kept dry and it was in the high 30s out.  At 07:00 they got us up and let us go to our motel.  We had to be back by 09:00.  More class and field work then the written test.  We got to leave around 18:00.  I stopped at Subway because I had little to nothing to eat for two days.  I got back to the motel room just as a storm was blowing in.  I was not half way though my sandwich when the power went out.  Well when I got up at 06:00 Sunday morning it was still out.  I saw the instructors in the parking lot and asked them how they were able to get the power shut off for the whole town just for our training.  That Sunday was the SARTech II practical training.  They found the gnarliest place in the whole county (maybe the state) to set up the land nav course.  I am still covered with bramble scratches.  Anyway I passed and so did the 4 others from my team.  It was a lot of fun and I would do it again.  Just not right away. 

Offline OhCanada

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2014, 02:40:11 AM »
I took a winter "Survival" course back when the city's outdoor centre taught such things. It should have been called a winter camping course due to the fact that we were expected to bring a bow saw one does not normally have on a day hike; the amount of wood we cut was kinda crazy if you are looking for a survive with whats in your daypack kinda class.

I did construct a lean-to against a rock face and learned not to put the fire too close to the entry as it melted ice off the rock and onto our sleeping bags. I also learned to watch where you put your feet as I melted my rubber pac boots so they looked like a big white marshmellow, used Shoe Goop and fixed them up for the "advanced" (2 nighter) course the following weekend.

I'd love to attend a Yeoman course but work has my off days split into two, a day here, a day there.
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Offline comis

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2014, 10:36:49 AM »
I have never taken a class , but I would love to have the opportunity if time/space permits.

I don't know whether it will be related to insurance or protocols, but given everyone is not against the idea, I'd love to participate in an exercise/course regardless of the weather(certainly, in a somewhat controlled safe environment).  Given your group is experienced, I think it may be beneficial to try those skills in a little less than ideal situation(under stress, less than ideal light, single-armed after injury, etc)to see whether how skills could be best applied and it probably may help those who need those skills in real survival situation.

What Draco and OhCanada said are great, nothing probably bring more experience to the participants if they were to actual live in those shelters/find water/spend the night/signal for help.

Offline Woodsbum

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2014, 11:09:12 AM »
I teach hunter's safety and bowhunter's education classes regularly. I also teach some bush related classes locally when time permits. What I have found, particularly with the survival part, is that there is a lot of "I see it on TV so I can do it, too" type attitude. The quickest way to get them (that I have found) to shut up and listen is to open with a friction fire demo, then have each one start something on fire with a fire steel. Not one student ever was able to use it until I showed them and gave them tips. It really puts the whole "seen vs done" aspect into perspective.

Only 2 hours for those sections is REALLY rough to cover. I split mine up a bit where I cover shelters at the same time that I cover improvised ground blinds. Since I am lashing already it doesn't take much to add in the survival aspect, insulation beds, how to use vegetation to cover a shelter, reflectors for your fire, and how a space blanket is a pathetic excuse for a survival shelter. I simply take a survival blanket out and show how it doesn't cover you completely and how easily it rips....  Important lessons.

Getting students to listen in today's fast paced, ADD world is difficult. Putting them in their place a bit (letting them know that YouTube doesn't teach everything) is important to break through that barrier. Of course each area of the country is different in that regard, but it really helps get them on my side from the onset.

Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2014, 05:17:45 PM »
I got roped into giving some boy scouts instructions on finding direction without a compass at some big local event.  Should be fun.  Our SAR group does this kind of thing once in a while instead of exercises for that month.  I guess I need to get out and remind myself how to tell direction with a watch. 

Offline wolfy

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 05:22:12 PM »
I got roped into giving some boy scouts instructions on finding direction without a compass at some big local event.  Should be fun.  Our SAR group does this kind of thing once in a while instead of exercises for that month.  I guess I need to get out and remind myself how to tell direction with a watch. 

Get out you Seidman book, Draco.....the 'watch method' SUCKS! :doh: :lol:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2014, 05:36:00 PM »
I got roped into giving some boy scouts instructions on finding direction without a compass at some big local event.  Should be fun.  Our SAR group does this kind of thing once in a while instead of exercises for that month.  I guess I need to get out and remind myself how to tell direction with a watch. 

Get out you Seidman book, Draco.....the 'watch method' SUCKS! :doh: :lol:

I don't know who created the stations and what they would be.  I'm just along for the ride. 

Offline sobondrums

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2014, 08:46:37 PM »
we used to have a primitive camp weekend with our scouts which included a 4 mile hike to camp that limited what they could carry in. the weeks before we supervised their planning using the principal of mistakes equal learning we as leaders would guide their planning and then we as leaders would plan to carry for possible shortfalls. was always surprised with how well those kids would do on their first real experience at primitive camping. and at the shelters they came up with and the bush
bush craft items they would make so there is definitely hope for the next generation..
Soby

Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2014, 03:16:56 PM »
I did not end up doing the Scout rally.  We had an actual SAR deployment that weekend.  Maybe next year. 

Offline Yeoman

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Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2014, 03:09:10 PM »
So I'm teaching the course again in two weeks. This time focus will be on Fall/winter conditions. I'll teach the theory portion on Wed evening and again on Sat morning, then we go into the woods Sat afternoon to do a few practical stations. Two hours before sunset the will have to find an area, construct a shelter, build a fire, and spend the night. (I have the fun task of staying up all night monitoring progress and safety. I have to re-read the above comments to see what I can steal....er, umm, I mean borrow. ;)

Any tips, advice, experiences, opinions or stories would be most welcome.

Thanks everyone.
Yeo



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Offline wolfy

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2014, 03:33:14 PM »
How many in your group & how cold do you expect it to be?  Plenty of natural material available for fire & shelter?
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2014, 07:35:18 PM »
Are you allowing any gear or is it all natural materials?   If all natural materials two hours might be a challenge for first time builders depending on material availability. 

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2014, 08:34:01 PM »
  Yeoman,


  If you can't "show"/"demonstrate" to them how it can be done, and done in the time required... then you should not ask them to do it.


   "Don't ask them to do, what you cannot do yourself."


Fall/winter conditions.


Two hours before sunset they will have to find an area, construct a shelter, build a fire, and spend the night.




Show them how it is done by YOU. Then see how THEY do.


If YOU can't do it in that time, then you cannot expect them to do it in that time.
 ;)


Along the way...You might find out how well YOU have instructed THEM, in how well they do, in doing what you showed/demonstrated/taught them.
 ;)


The sign of a good teacher, is when the students teach the teacher,eh?
 :)


That is advice from an old USMC D.I..  If you can't do it, don't ask/tell/order anyone else to do it & you better be able to do it over & over...  even when they cannot...
 ;)


I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2014, 08:44:17 PM »
Rather than Edit my prior post, I just want to say that we called it,


"Leadership by Example",


back in them days...






Don't know what they call it now though. Good leadership principle though.
;D
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2014, 09:51:54 AM »

How many in your group & how cold do you expect it to be?  Plenty of natural material available for fire & shelter?

I actually don't know how many will show up. Likely under 20 though. Temps could be high 15-20C and low 0-10C. A local woodlot owner lets us use some of his land near the SAR Hall. Mixed spruce/maple/birch/red oak. Some old large pine. We can use fallen and standing dead but no cutting live trees. Can use boughs and saplings though.


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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2014, 09:59:30 AM »

Are you allowing any gear or is it all natural materials?   If all natural materials two hours might be a challenge for first time builders depending on material availability.

Draco,
The old instructor made the team do all natural shelters, but they got all day to do it. Taught everyone how much time was required, but was not realistic.
I allow people to use what's in their SAR backpack as that is the equipment people will have when they are searching. I teach to the likely scenario of "searcher lost" or "long tasking requiring overnight".
That being said, people are encouraged to use as little as they are comfortable with, especially people doing the training for a repeat time.


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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2014, 10:14:37 AM »

Are you allowing any gear or is it all natural materials?   If all natural materials two hours might be a challenge for first time builders depending on material availability.

Draco,
The old instructor made the team do all natural shelters, but they got all day to do it. Taught everyone how much time was required, but was not realistic.
I allow people to use what's in their SAR backpack as that is the equipment people will have when they are searching. I teach to the likely scenario of "searcher lost" or "long tasking requiring overnight".
That being said, people are encouraged to use as little as they are comfortable with, especially people doing the training for a repeat time.


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Yeoman, I sent you a PM regarding this, but I see you posted here and addressed the same concerns I had with your post to Draco. I too, was wondering if a 2 hour limit to do the tasks required was enough for the caliber of students, as I thought it was not enough time if the folks were inexperienced. But, since I have read your post to Draco, I still stand by my earlier posts, but see that you have allowed for them to have a more enjoyable experience than what I figured would happen if you had not tried to do the same thing in a 2 hour time span. Being able to demonstrate to them yourself, what ya ask your students to do in 2 hours was basically what I meant. I would be tough to make a shelter, find enough firewood for the night to stay warm, & make & keep the fire going in a 2 hour time span.
 :)


Unless ya count burrowing into a pile of leaves as a natural shelter. But fire then might be a concern, eh? LOL
 ;)


I hope I said that right. My skills at forming a good post are sometimes lacking. But I am trying to get better.
 ;)


 G'luck in your teaching the class & to all of ya for doing what you are doing.
 :D

Edit: removed a sentence that was out of place.
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2014, 10:28:24 AM »

Rather than Edit my prior post, I just want to say that we called it,


"Leadership by Example",


back in them days...






Don't know what they call it now though. Good leadership principle though.
;D

I think that most good militaries still stress leadership by example. It's how I was instructed and it's how I try to lead my guys.

Good point above though about demonstrating how I do things first. I break it down into sections. We wander for an hour to get "lost" and we examine desirable and poor natural features and resources. I then do an hour on fires and demo different natural thunders etc. I then erect a shelter to show some of the basic techniques: ridgepoles, guylines, stakes, bough beds, risers.
During the same two hours that the team members have to set up their shelters and fires, I do the same as them. Afterwards we tour each site and each person explains what they did and why. The others then ask questions and make comments (positive and negative).
As far as doing a demo of my set-up, I never did as the whole program is designed around the adult-ed concepts of self and group learning and the instructor "guiding" the learning. I didn't want to prejudice their outcomes. I'm going to reconsider this though. For one, as you say, to set the example. Another though, is that they cannot replicate my techniques as we all have different gear. So they are forced to adapt the concepts to the terrain, to the natural resources and to their gear and skills.
Spending three or so days lost in the woods is easy if you have a minimum of gear, a bit of knowledge and most importantly, the ability to stay calm. One way to do that is to have confidence and they overnight portion of the training is to increase that confidence.
The truth is the grand majority of people have never spent a night out in the woods alone. It's creepy and unnatural for us and having done it a few times really changes the game.


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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2014, 10:38:36 AM »


Are you allowing any gear or is it all natural materials?   If all natural materials two hours might be a challenge for first time builders depending on material availability.

Draco,
The old instructor made the team do all natural shelters, but they got all day to do it. Taught everyone how much time was required, but was not realistic.
...


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Yeoman, I sent you a PM regarding this, but I see you posted here and addressed the ....
 going in a 2 hour time span.
 :)


Unless ya count burrowing into a pile of leaves as a natural shelter. But fire then might be a concern, eh? LOL
 ;)


I hope I said that right. My skills at forming a good post are sometimes lacking. But I am trying to get better.
 ;)


 G'luck in your teaching the class & to all of ya for doing what you are doing.
 :D

Edit: removed a sentence that was out of place.

No worries. I knew exactly where you were going and that without better details, it's hard to know what I'm doing. It's that kind of input I'm seeking. Thanks again.
Others, feel free. What have you done, seen, taught or been taught? Good, bad, ugly?


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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2014, 06:59:06 PM »

Are you allowing any gear or is it all natural materials?   If all natural materials two hours might be a challenge for first time builders depending on material availability.

Draco,
The old instructor made the team do all natural shelters, but they got all day to do it. Taught everyone how much time was required, but was not realistic.
I allow people to use what's in their SAR backpack as that is the equipment people will have when they are searching. I teach to the likely scenario of "searcher lost" or "long tasking requiring overnight".
That being said, people are encouraged to use as little as they are comfortable with, especially people doing the training for a repeat time.


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Oh okay.  Well I just did the SAR Tech II cert last spring so I can tell you exactly what the group I was with did.  They told us to go pick an area to set up.  I headed right for what looked like the best cover and flat area with my group.  I had a tarp shelter set up in about 5 minutes and started cooking dinner which I only got about half eaten before they came and got us for the night search.  All in all I don't think we had 45 minutes to set up and some in our group had never set up a tarp shelter before.   

They encouraged us to do a tube type set up to hold heat in.  The night we were out was around 35 degrees.  Since I knew it was only going to be the one night I followed their directions though if it was going to be longer I would have done a lean-to because the problem with the tube shelter is it condensates something terrible.  They let us take tarp clips to enclose the front with a garbage bag.  I used pebbles to just tie mine on but then did not put it down because it never rained and I was trying to keep the condensation down.

On another note the SAR Tech II ready pack list from NASAR is kind of dumb if you ask me.  It looks like a list by committee.  I don't know if you noticed but they did finally update the list and removed the most stupid items the two quarters.  I always joked that you would need to activate a search team to find a pay phone these days.  Much of the list does not make sense.  The PSK is too large to keep in a pocket and if it is in my pack what good is it?   After all I have my pack I don't need it.  If I lose my pack I lose my PSK.   :shrug:   I would rather see a dedicated FAK and a few required pocket items to make a PSK.   Your PSK is for your use only but yet there is no required gear for treating victims.   :shrug:

Offline wolfy

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2014, 07:34:19 PM »
You're gon'na have to start wearin' bibs, Draco.....then you'll always have everything with you! :thumbsup:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2014, 07:45:32 PM »
Draco,
Thanks very much for that. If you don't mind, I'd like to PM you some questions about your SAR team, program, training etc. maybe compare notes. I'll look up NASAR and see if I can see their lists. National SAR recommendations here are modified by each Provincial jurisdiction and each team then has their hack at it. Our team has recommendations but in the end people carry as much or as little as they want/need. What my training tries to emphasize is actually using what they bring. I like the idea above of having anyone with a spark stick having to use it to start their fire. Why have it if you can't use it?


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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2014, 05:43:04 PM »
Draco,
Thanks very much for that. If you don't mind, I'd like to PM you some questions about your SAR team, program, training etc. maybe compare notes. I'll look up NASAR and see if I can see their lists. National SAR recommendations here are modified by each Provincial jurisdiction and each team then has their hack at it. Our team has recommendations but in the end people carry as much or as little as they want/need. What my training tries to emphasize is actually using what they bring. I like the idea above of having anyone with a spark stick having to use it to start their fire. Why have it if you can't use it?


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Sure PM away.  We had training yesterday and we were deployed today.  I hurt all over right at the moment.   :crazy:  It is days like these I am thinking I might be getting too old for this. 

Then I would look like a farmer Wolfy.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.   :taunt:  Seriously I am the only guy in my group who wears one of those multi pocket vest.  The joke is I look like a zoo keeper.  They don't laugh when I have what I need at my finger tips. 

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2014, 01:28:27 PM »
So I taught the Basic Survival classroom portion to my SAR Team on Wed evening. I had about 25 people attend which is a pretty decent turnout. Lots of questions were asked and the group really got behind some of the collaborative learning exercises.

I had planned to repeat the training Sat morning for any who had missed it or for those who wanted to repeat it. Sadly only about 4 showed up and three of them were repeats and the fourth had done it a couple of times previously. Being flexible, we turned it into a show-and-tell gear class. So many different theories and preferences. Quite the eye opener for all of us.

At noon, we left for the training area and decided to do some more advanced training due to the small class size and the relatively high skill set. We did some cordage from grass, improvised lashings with intertwined fork sticks and withies, bent sapling arched structures, raised pole and bush beds, wet weather fire lighting (although the day was fine, it had rained the last three days and the woods were sopping) and setting up improvised tarp shelters.

At 3:30 I used my PSK to demo a basic overnight setup. I found a good site, strung a space blanket as a leanto, built a bough bed and made a knee high fire in 70 minutes. I explained how much wood would be appropriate and how lng it could take. I didn't demo it as I was going to cut into the students' setup time.

Only two members stayed for the overnight portion. They went off to find sites and set up at about 4:45 and sunset was at about 6:30. Both agreed that they should have gathered firewood first and made simpler shelters. All three of us noted a lack of water. They each had two litres and I took only one.

We all got through the night and we each came away with many lessons learned. One student is a pro photographer and sent me some pics. I'll see if I can post some interesting ones.


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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2014, 01:34:14 PM »
Sounds like a good time.  I am looking forward to the pictures.  I wish I had taken some on our outing.  I guess I will have another chance in a couple of years.  Did you see that NASAR now says the SARTech has to be renewed every three years?  I figured that was coming.  :) 

Offline Yeoman

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Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2014, 05:26:11 PM »
Edited because the pics didn't work.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 02:42:47 PM by Yeoman »
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2014, 06:08:47 PM »
Yeoman,


  Thanks for sharing your class review!
:thumbsup:


  I have not looked at the links you just provided, but I will, in a couple of minutes.


Before I did go look,
I just wanted to mention that here at B&B, the topic of what folks thought is a first (#1) priority in survival; 


  Be it fire, shelter, food, water, etc., was brought up some months ago. Living where I do, in a more Northerly climate, in that topic, I believe I said, "Fire, then shelter", (other than your clothing for the conditions). I find it very interesting that your "students" thought the same, based upon their situation.


  It seems that this is a "climate" oriented choice, dependent on where you are at, at the time of your survival "situation".


THe choice I had made was based on living in a climate that if you don't have fire & wait, your need for shelter may be moot. The Fire being first, providing light to see, & the heat to remain warm to build a shelter in the twilight into dark, rather than shelter & then trying to make fire after. In the case of not having the means to make fire, at ease... then shelter would then become priority. eh?


Just thought I would mention that in regard to your topic here. It is very interesting to me the choices that folks make as far as the priorities in taking care of their survival in different climates, or different parts of the world.


  Your reflections & review of your latest class just reinforced what I was thinking about our likely shared environment & how we set priorities in a survival situation.


I am glad to see your "review" & thanks for taking the time to share your information with all of us here at B&B!
:D

I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2014, 09:35:44 AM »
I volunteer with Ground Search and Rescue in my area and do the survival training for my team.
The requirement is for basic three + day survival skills. The focus is on finding/building shelter, making/using fire and getting safe water.
We don't do wilderness living skills, trapping, cordage making, abo skills etc. We teach to realistic conditions and expectations for our area and for our SAR duties (ie: spend a night out caring for a victim until air assets can do a pick-up in the morning).

I was supposed to teach a two hour theory phase last Wed but it got cancelled due to weather.
I adjusted my training and did the theory on Sat morning, since I was doing the field phase that day anyway.
I had an even dozen for the classroom and I had seven in the field.

In the classroom we covered:
1. Priorities (Based on Rule of Threes)
2. Psychology
3. First Aid
4. Shelter: Clothing, Structures, Fire)
5. Water
6. Signals
7. Survival kits
8. Food

One problem I always had with the theory component was that it was designed to be given as a PowerPoint lecture: blah, blah, blah.
I finally got around to redoing the whole thing from scratch and this was my first time presenting it with interactive components designed with adult education principles in mind. There was some lecture, some question and answer, some group work, some exercises, a video, board work, group presentations etc. ,I'm quite proud of it, and now know where more tweaking needs to occur. More importantly, I was very proud of the students, as all of the required knowledge was existent in the group. They just needed to be asked the right questions to get it out there. I finally got to be a facilitator instead of a droning teacher.

We then went into the field for the practical skills phase. Because of the rescheduling, I decided to focus on one specific skill well instead of covering a bunch in less detail. I divided the seven remaining students into three groups of two and one solo, and gave them each a shelter kit. I had prepared these a few weeks ago and they all contained a small garbage bag, a few hanks of various lines, cords, strings, ropes, para chords etc. (Usually about three arm-spans in total). As well, the kit might contain a space blanket, emerg bivy, piece of plastic sheeting, Tyvek, tube tent, tarp, etc. The idea was each group would have different materials to work with and come up with a different shelter from the others.
I gave them the "lost-hiker(s)-one-hour-before-sunset-and-rain-is-coming" scenario and set them off to find a location and build a shelter for two (or one in one case). Everyone finished within about 40 minutes and then the group toured the shelters and the builders gave an explanation of what they were given, why the chose their area and how they constructed their shelter.

I must say, lots of learning occured and it was not just limited to the students. I feel very privileged to be allowed to instruct my
team-mates and as always I am amazed that the old saying "the best way to learn is to teach" is so true.

I now have to find schedule time in the Spring for another theory session and another field phase. I think the next field phase will focus primarily on fire and water.

Does anyone here have experiences to share either as instructors or as students?

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions of what they'd like to see in a practical survival course?

  I'm not a survival instructor, and I don't play one on TV,  but one of my sons served as a team leader in a ground search and rescue team for a couple of years before being transferred,  his best method of teaching was actual doing,  most team members have been doing it for a while and have their own kits assembled that they have at the ready to grab & go when called,  new team members usually go by the book or get advice from seasoned members about assembling their go bags and gear.
  Outside of the routine class room type programs my son had the most success with holding an overnight two day training event,  he would pick a date and notify the team as to the location and time,  and that they should attend with what ever gear they carried when responding to a call out.
  The team members were responsible for themselves as far as shelter, food, water, and fire,  they had to use what they carried individually,  if they were missing something or uncomfortable with their gear they suffered through it as they would if it were the real deal,  they also got the benefit of seeing what other members carried and learned from each other what worked and what didn't.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 09:41:31 AM by Moe M. »
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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2014, 02:22:46 PM »
That is what our group does Moe.  There is no pack check.  If you are without something it is your tough luck.  You will know better next time. 

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2014, 11:43:39 AM »
That is what our group does Moe.  There is no pack check.  If you are without something it is your tough luck.  You will know better next time.

  Nothing sinks in quicker than being cold and hungry while watching a seasoned teammate comfortable and well organized,  it usually doesn't take long to come up to speed with gear and skills when you're the one that has to endure the discomfort.
  Any instructor can tell you what you need to know or carry in the way of skills and gear,  but it's a good instructor who can get you to understand what you need to know and how to use it.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2015, 07:47:58 PM »
So I'm teaching survival to my SAR Team again tomorrow. First time I've taught in deep winter. Classroom in the morning, field skills in the afternoon followed by an overnight test. Wish us luck.
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2015, 07:58:17 PM »
Good luck. Details and pictures when you get back. 

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2015, 01:22:18 AM »
0516 and just lay down in a tube tent super shelter on a log bed. Stoked fire for third time since 0100ish. Two students out with me all night. One was out just for the evening. Two others were there for the theory/classroom work. For a team of 120 members, I'm a little disappointed at the turnout but lots of learning happened. On their part as well as mine. Can't wait to get to Tim Horton's for a coffee in an hour or so.
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2015, 01:23:33 AM »
Thanks Draco! One of the trainees took tons of pics. I'll get some and post.
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2015, 05:36:13 AM »
Congrats to you and the few that completed the journey with you.  Enjoy the coffee.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2015, 09:08:43 AM »
The turnout was disappointing, but not much of a surprise I guess.  You have to take into consideration that most people have never camped out in cold weather like that.....kind of have to ease into it, I guess.


That first cup of coffee after a cold night in the sticks always makes the day look brighter! :coffee:

The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
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Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2015, 10:52:17 AM »
Our team is only 15 people but then again we are not in a area that gets a lot of deployments.  Maybe 10 a year. 

We have a high turnout for trainings but we don't do regular retraining on survival.  They have one required survival training when they are prospects but they don't have to retrain after that.  So far I have not seen any takers for retraining. 

If you guys need 120 team members you must have a lot of deployments.  How does your process work to become a team member? 

Offline Yeoman

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Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2015, 09:26:19 AM »
Our SAR systems probably differ considerably. Here in Canada, ground SAR is a Provincial responsibility and in Nova Scotia is run under DOJ through EMO. We usually get called out by the RCMP or sometimes by Halifax Police. It is completely volunteer with only mileage and other small expenses being paid (and free car registration and plates and a tax rebate). There are 24 teams across the province the largest in Halifax has a couple of hundred, I think and some of the smaller have 20 or so.
Of our 120, there's a core group of 20-30 maybe that do the majority of the planning, admin and training. For a large search we might get say 50-60 people coming out. Overhead team (logistics, operations plans and support etc) might be 10 or 12 people, and so we might field say, 40 people. That's 8 four-person teams.
My team is rural. To join, a person comes to an orientation night, fills in the application, and provides a criminal record check.  That are then a basic searcher. They then have to do: map and compass, GPS, first aid, safety and survival (I may have missed something). This and a test qualifies them as a Searcher. They can do some more training and a test and become a Search Team Leader later on. After that is Search Manager.
Some teams have strict policies on attendance and training timelines and others, like mine, are more relaxed. Our way of thinking is that in a volunteer organization people's time commitments ebb and flow with their lives and we're not going to kick someone out because family or work has gotten busy for awhile.
As for number of callouts, it's up and down. When I joined, the team had not had a call in two years. The year I joined we had six. Two or three years ago I think we had a dozen including evidence searches and multi-team callouts.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:44:23 AM by Yeoman »
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline Draco

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2015, 04:25:36 PM »
Intresting.  Ours started out being limited to 15 people and if you were a prospect you had to take our team SARTech II training (about 6 months of once a week) and a two weekend official SARTech II authorized class.  Then of course pass the SARTech II exam.   To participate as a ground searcher in an actual search you have to be SARTech II but we have occasionally waived that for prospects that have shown skills during exercises. 

Now we have loosened it up some.  We will allow people who are just SARTech III to work the incident command post.  These are generally people who are not able to do the ground search.  I have mixed feelings as our communications vehicle is an old ambulance and it is getting pretty crowded in there. 

Our deployments are normally by local sheriff or state police.  We have gotten a good enough reputation that we are getting called out by many other counties.  Also the Indian reservations seem to like to use us over the state police.  There is one other county that is ahead of us but we modeled ours after theirs. 

Normally our deployments fall into two categories.  One deployment is night time as most counties don't allow untrained searchers out at night.  I kind of like those as we get to stick together as a team.  Normally two to 4 member teams.  The second and most often when a child is involved is we get to the CP and are split up to lead groups of spontaneous searchers.  Less enjoyable for me because you have to keep reminding them of basic search and safety techniques. 

Offline Dude McLean

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2015, 05:06:04 PM »

 Sounds like you are doing a very good job. by getting down and doing it with them is a great way to go.  that goes beyond theory for the students.
 Ive found during any kind of talk to allow questions from the group , many times they have something that you were not going to cover and opens up a whole area of interest.

 Being positive as a critic is important also.. I try to make as much eye contact as possible with each student, and to pay attention to any one who seems to slack by addressing them with a direct question that will not embarrass them but brings them into focus.
 Each group seems to have its own personality and dynamic and learning how to capture each new group can be a challenge..

 good luck..

 Dude
I have been where the hand of man has never set foot.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2015, 10:05:47 AM »

 Sounds like you are doing a very good job. by getting down and doing it with them is a great way to go.  that goes beyond theory for the students.
 Ive found during any kind of talk to allow questions from the group , many times they have something that you were not going to cover and opens up a whole area of interest.

 Being positive as a critic is important also.. I try to make as much eye contact as possible with each student, and to pay attention to any one who seems to slack by addressing them with a direct question that will not embarrass them but brings them into focus.
 Each group seems to have its own personality and dynamic and learning how to capture each new group can be a challenge..

 good luck..

 Dude

Thanks Dude,
When I inherited the responsibility for the Teams survival training, it usually consisted of a 3 hour lecture based on 120+ Powerpoint slides. They then went out for a weekend and as a group built a lean-to and tripod signal fire and then broke out as individuals to build their own shelters and fires and spend the night. They were limited to a knife, 3 matches, compass, whistle and 1 "comfort" item of their choice.
When I took it over I first cut the theory down to 90 minutes and about half the slides. I later applied a lot of the instructional techniques and adult learning methods I'd learned in the Navy. More Q&A, syndicate/group learning and scenario based training. Last year I got to attend an Incident Command Systems 200 Course put on by EMO for GSAR and the RCMP. It was one of the best facilitated courses I'd attended. A survival instructor from another SAR team who's been doing this a long time, commented that that was how he liked to do the theory portion. I liberally adopted techniques I'd seen demonstrated there and have finally started getting some confidence in the presentation I now do.
As for the field training, I concentrate on fire, shelter and water, as those are the core skills that most people need hands on practice with. I also encourage people to use the contents of their SAR backpacks. Reason for this is that I want to ensure that people know how to use the equipment they carry. This past weekend was my forth time doing the skills session and I'm finally getting it down to an efficient and logical program. One problem I've got is that I've never taken a wilderness survival course and so am learning how to teach survial as I teach it. Mostly I let the students see me demonstrate something and then have them do it as a group or in pairs and then have them do it themselves with assistance if they need it. Lots of the members are old hands in the woods (sometimes explains low attendence) and there is definitely a lot of mutual teaching and learning going on. I haven't come out yet without learning at least as much as any of the others.

"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline Dude McLean

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Re: Taught another Basic Survival Course
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2015, 03:28:20 PM »

 ya know it always gets me that folks think they cannot learn some nuance , no matter their skill set, any little thing can make your day with the skills..
 and folks get rusty and crusty thinking they have a lock on it.. hard to convey that to old hands..

 Dude
I have been where the hand of man has never set foot.