SURVIVAL Memory Aid:
S - Size up the Situation (Surroundings, Physical Condition, Equipment).
In a survival situation, conceal yourself from the enemy. Security is key. "Size up" the area (situation, surroundings, physical condition, and equipment). Determine if the enemy is attacking, defending, or withdrawing. Make your survival plan, considering your basic physical needs—water, food, and shelter.
Surroundings--Figure out what is going on around you and find the rhythm or pattern of your environment. It includes animal and bird noises, and movements and insect sounds. It may also include enemy traffic and civilian movements.
Physical Condition--The pressure of the situation you were in (or the trauma of being in a survival situation) may have caused you to overlook wounds you received. Check your wounds and give yourself first aid. Take care to prevent further bodily harm. For instance, in any climate, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If you are in a cold or wet climate, put on additional clothing to prevent hypothermia.
Equipment--Perhaps during the first few moments of a survival situation, you lost or damaged some of your equipment. Check to see what equipment you have and its condition.
U - Use All Your Senses: Undue Haste Makes Waste.
Evaluate the situation. Note sounds and smells. Note temperature changes. Stay observant and act carefully. An unplanned action can result in your capture or death. Avoid moving just to do something. Consider all aspects of your situation before you do anything. Also, if you act in haste, you might forget or lose some of your equipment. You might also get disoriented and not know which way to go. Plan your moves. Stay ready to move out quickly, but without endangering yourself, if the enemy is near.
R - Remember Where You Are.
Find out who in your group has a map or compass. Find yourself on a map and continually reorient yourself on your location and destination. Ensure others do the same. Rely on yourself to keep track of your route. This will help you make intelligent decisions in a survival or evasion situation. Always try to determine, as a minimum, how your location relates to--
• Enemy forces and controlled
• Friendly forces and controlled areas.
• Local water sources (especially important in the desert).
• Areas that will provide good cover and concealment.
V - Vanquish Fear and Panic.
Fear and panic are your greatest enemies. Uncontrolled, they destroy the ability to make intelligent decisions, or they cause you to react to feelings and imagination rather than the situation. They will drain your energy, and lead to other negative emotions. Control them by remaining self-confident and using what you learned in your survival training.
I - Improvise.
Most individuals are unused to making do. This can hold you back in a survival situation. Learn to improvise. Take a tool designed for a specific purpose and see how many other uses you can find for it. Learn to use natural objects around you for different needs, for example, use a rock for a hammer. When your survival kit inevitably wears out, you must use your imagination. In fact, when you can improvise suitable tools, do so, and save your survival kit items for times when you have no such options.
V - Value Living.
When faced with the stresses, inconveniences, and discomforts of a survival situation, everyone must maintain a high value on living. The experience and knowledge you have gained through life and individual training will have a bearing on your will to live. Perseverance, a refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you the mental and physical strength to endure.
A - Act like the Natives.
Locals (indigenous people and animals) have already adapted to an environment that is strange to you.
• Observe daily routines of local people. Where do they get food and water? When and where do they eat? What time do they go to bed and get up? The answers to these questions can help you avoid capture.
• Watch animals, who also need food, water, and shelter, to help you find the same.
• Remember that animals may react to you, revealing your presence to the enemy.
• In friendly areas, gain rapport with locals by showing interest in their customs. Studying them helps you learn to respect them, allows you to make valuable friends, and, most importantly, helps you adapt to their environment. All of these will increase your chance of survival.
L - Live by your Wits, but for Now Learn Basic Skills.
Having basic survival and evasion skills will help you live through a survival situation. Without these skills, you chance of survival is slight.
• Learn these skills now. Know the environment you are going into and practice basic skills geared to the environment. Equipping yourself for the environment beforehand will help determine whether you survive. For instance, if you are going to a desert, know how to get--and purify--water.
• Practice basic survival skills during all training programs and exercises. Survival training reduces fear of the unknown, gives you self-confidence, and teaches you to live by your wits.