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05.11.2014 admin
If you missed one of the meetings, the class notes for completing the merit badge worksheet are available.
For the outdoor (fun) part of the merit badge, we are meeting out where Tuskegee Drive turns into a gravel road (just past the disk golf course) at noon on Saturday, April 26th. This exercise simulated getting lost in the woods so scouts showed up dressed and packed for a day hike. On the way up the side of the ridge, we stopped let each scout practice signaling with a mirror. Once we reached the top the scouts built their emergency shelters for the night and then worked on starting fires using three different methods other than matches or a lighter. Flint and steel, magnesium strikers, steel wool and a battery, Fresnel lenses, and a parabolic mirror were all used successfully.
Even though we brought an extra gallon of water, we were running low by late afternoon, so a group of scouts took the water filter and found a small creek to filter water. On Sunday morning we got up, had breakfast, tore down the shelters and hiked back down to the road.
On this trip we went to Ockinican, and instead of sleeping in tents we did something different. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Your shelter can be as simple as sitting under the overhanging branches of a large tree or rock outcrop.
A large garbage bag (a bright color is best, but any will do) is a very effective, inexpensive and compact personal emergency shelter or poncho that will fit in your pocket.
To use, hold the bag upside down and go to one of the corners (a bottom corner, but now on top as you hold it), drop down about eight inches along the crease, and cut or tear a slit or hole only big enough for your face. If you have something to use as a flag (an excellent reason to carry a brightly colored bandanna with you, it also has many other uses), that will be far more effective than your arms and hands alone.
Most survivors are found by ground search teams and a whistle is the most effective signaling device. The shrill and unmistakable blast of a whistle repeated three times is a universal signal for help and will definitely attract the attention of anyone within earshot. At night, your greatest fear is likely the result of an overactive imagination fed by the TV and movies you have seen. For the limited length of time you might be out, water is a lot more important for you than food.
The best place to store water is in your stomach, so don't be afraid to drink what you have. While it is best to purify water found in the wilderness before drinking, don't let a lack of purification stop you drinking from a stream or spring, as long as the water looks reasonably clear. Improvisation, the ability to use things for other than what they were originally designed for, is an important survival skill. Think of your personal belongings and the natural environment as your own private wilderness equipment store. The only time the wilderness will bite back is if you panic and forget these basic survival lessons.
No matter how bad your situation, you can be sure others have survived far worse with much less.
A few inexpensive pieces of equipment that will fit in your pockets are all you need to make survival and rescue a sure bet and your unforeseen stay in the wilderness a lot more comfortable.

A Loud Whistle (On a lanyard around your neck so it can't be lost -- useful all the time, not just in the wilds. Two other items can make a big difference and are considered among the most fundamental survival tools by experienced outdoors persons, if you know how to use them properly and safely. Fire starter (matches, lighter or flint and steel) These are not toys and can be dangerous and destructive if misused. To see more photos, see homepage and click on link below named "Photos Troop 522", and it will open the Photobucket website. Once we reached the location the younger scouts were taught how to make a wilderness survival shelter while the rest of us made temporary homes for the night. Take a deep breath, sit down if possible, calm yourself and recognize that whatever has happened to get you here is past and cannot be undone. Prioritize your immediate needs and develop a plan to systematically deal with the emergency and contingencies while conserving your energy. Before long a lot of volunteers and professional search and rescue people will join in the search. Beneath the bottom branches of a large evergreen there is often a clear dry area, even in heavy snow. Pull the bag over your body so that the corner rests on top of your head and your face sticks through the hole. If you must use your hands alone, always wave wildly with both hands in an emergency situation. A whistle is far superior to shouting because your voice just doesn't carry very far, especially in the woods.
Blow three clear blasts, pausing for a few seconds between each, then wait for five minutes and repeat until you are rescued.
While the sounds of the wilderness at night may be unfamiliar, there's nothing out there that has any in interest in harming you. It's always a good idea to have at least a quart of water with you at all times, more is better, especially in the desert. Keeping your body fluids at a safe level (hydrated) is more important than the slim chance you might catch some bug from the water. It's not what things were that's important, it's what they can become, what they can be used for. They should never be carried or employed unless you have received instruction from an adult in their safe use. If you have two items that will serve the same function, pick the one you can use for another function. I highly recommend visiting this site for resources prior to training for Wilderness Survival. All boy scouts are hard at work collecting Merit Badges and Rank advancements toward becoming a leader! Unrecoverable mistakes and injuries, potentially serious in a survival situation, occur when we act before we engage our brain.
Be sure to keep your head out where you can breath, you can suffocate inside the plastic if it covers your mouth and nose.
You can be hard to see when wearing dark clothing, so it's always a good idea to wear bright colors when you go out. If there is enough room, the letters should be 12 feet tall with lines at least two feet wide.

If you don't have any water, keep from sweating and breath through your nose to retain as much as you can. That way, if you don't come back when expected, they can start a search and the searchers will know where to look for you. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and wait for someone to find you or for morning when you can see well enough to continue your travels. Once you know how to use these tools safely, you should never venture into the wilds without them. For the case, you might want to use a Band-Aid box, a first aid case, an ammunition pouch, or another suitable case. If you have another bag and you're tall enough so one bag won't cover you completely, pull the other bag up from your feet. If you hear a helicopter, lie down in a clear dry space to make the biggest possible target for them to see. You will also be able to signal for much longer periods of time, whereas your vocal cords will give out very quickly. If you don't have a whistle, you can make a loud signal by banging two rocks together or beating on a dead tree with a stick or rock (but, be careful you don't hurt yourself or that the tree or branches don't fall on you if it is still standing).
As with most things in life, dealing with this sort of emergency is a lot easier if you already anticipated the possibility that you might someday find yourself in this situation and have equipped yourself to deal with it, both with knowledge and equipment. Instead they just made shelter out of rocks and sticks and used pine needles to make a roof.
Take stock of your supplies, equipment, surroundings, your personal capabilities and, if there are any, the abilities of your fellow survivors.
However, if you stay put you will be found, likely in only a few hours.BSA Troop 780 Home Page Don't make it harder for searchers by moving around. Pick the best convenient location for your shelter, as dry as possible in wet or cold weather, and away from natural hazards.
If you can, stuff the bags and your clothing with dry leaves for added insulation, but be careful not to introduce any unwelcome pests into your improvised shelter. If the ground is soft and you can do so without overexerting yourself and wasting precious water, scoop out a hollow in the shade, it can be 30 degrees cooler 12 inches below the surface. If you prepare yourself with a few bits of basic survival gear recommended here, then you will really be set to enjoy, not just survive, your unexpected wilderness adventure. Starting with Kroger fundraiser to replenish local food pantry, Paoli Peak Ski Resort, District campouts, Boxwell Scout Reservation, Grimes Canoe Base, Mammoth Caverns, Yearly service project and popcorn fundraisers, Merit Badge University coming soon! Don't go far to find something better or perfect, make do with the best you can find right where you are. Finally, remember that your only responsibilities are to stay alive, and if at all possible, make yourself easier to find by actively working at attracting attention to yourself. If you've taken shelter where it might be hard for anyone to see you, try to leave some sign or marker, sticks or some rocks, out in the open pointing to your shelter.

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Rubric: Survival First Aid Kit


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