Being Found: How to Increase your Survivability by Understanding How Search and Rescue Personnel Work

When was the last time you were hiking and looked up only to realize that your real and perceived locations no longer matched? It’s a common and unsettling experience to say the least. In these moments, humans tend to use a combination of observational, logical and investigative techniques to reorient themselves and get back on track. However, any combination of factors can undermine a person’s chances for success:

  • Lack of familiarity with the environment (causing perception error)
  • Decreased cognitive capability (due to medical issues, environment, panic, exhaustion, etc.)
  • Inability to use key skills and techniques (due to training, experience, lack of awareness, etc.)
  • Equipment failure, physical disability or an overwhelming dose of Murphy’s Law.

The result is being lost, which can be a terrifying and life threatening experience. One of the most dangerous environments in which this can happen is the rural/wilderness areas that surround our familiar man-made environments. Since most people aren’t trained or equipped to survive in these circumstances indefinitely, a key part of survival for the lost person is being found.

This article shares what the average hiker/camper/outdoor enthusiast can do to increase their chances of being found by examining how Wilderness Search and Rescue Personnel approach the missing person incident.

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