How Survival Savvy Is Your Family?
Massachusetts native Nicholas Joy, 17, survived two nights in the snow covered wilds of Maine by building a snow cave for shelter and drinking water from a nearby river. He and his father were doing their final ski run down Sugar Loaf Mountain when Nicolas took a wrong turn. He attributes his survival to the things he learned on survival shows.
His account presents a challenge to all parents. If that had been your son or daughter would they have fared as well? Would they have had the faintest idea what to do?
Consider this next scenario. A group of LaSalle University Students got lost in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky while hiking. This group of 40 from Pennsylvania hiked to a popular spot above the Bad Branch Falls waterfall. Darkness inhibited their ability to find their way back . The group was not dressed for the weather that dipped into the 20s after the sun went down. Only a few had flashlights. When they got disoriented, they called 911 from their cell phones and were able to talk rescuers toward them. It took several hours for the rescuers to get them safely off the mountain.
They were fortunate they had cell phone reception. Had they not, this might have turned out differently. Being unfamiliar with the terrain made it a total mystery after dark. They were wise to wait for help to come to them.
How well are you prepared?
Most of us are not going to get lost skiing or hiking. However, something as simple as exiting the car on to a busy street could put us in the hospital. We could slip down a river bank while fishing and be caught in a heavy current.
Review the list below. Are you safety savvy?
Do you have an exit route planned out in case of fire? Do you practice fire drills? What is the safest way to exit a building during a fire? Do your children know how to use fire safely?
Have you trained your teen how to properly start your grill or what the proper flame level should be on the stove when cooking? By the time your child is a teen, cooking and other chores that might require safety instructions should be second nature to them.
- City Safety
Are you kids street wise? Do they know how to cross the street safely? Are they prepared to seek help if they are lost? Have you discussed what grown-ups to seek out if they are lost?
- Weather safety
Have you discussed steps to survive in a snowstorm? Do teens know how to safely drive on rain soaked streets? Would your child know what to do if he is outside during a thunderstorm.Weather safety.
- Cyber safety
Do your teens believe everything they read on the internet? Don’t try this at home is a good mantra. Have you had talks regarding sex offenders who stalk kids on the internet? Do they know how to respond to cyber bullying?
- Outdoor safety
Whether you camp or just go for a picnic and walk the nature trail, there are common safety practices that need to be observed. Do you have a first aid kit in your picnic basket? How about fishing protocols? Hooks in eyes and drowning in swollen rivers can be avoided with safety training. Can your child swim? Could he save himself if he were caught in an undertow?
- Equipment safety
Is your son trained in proper lawnmower and snow blower safety? Farmers are very cautious in training their children regarding farming equipment. City parents should do the same. If you have power tools, what are the rules for their use?
This list is to stimulate your thinking. If we prepare our children now, they will have the wisdom necessary to survive those unexpected emergencies like Nicholas Joy.
Be preemptive by taking a safety class or reading up on safety before an adventure. Younger children can be taught what to do if they are lost in a crowd. A police officer or security guard may not be handy. Cell phones don’t always have reception in malls. Select a place to meet if you get separated. Panic is minimized if you have a plan. It is no fun to lose a child at a museum and spend several panic–filled minutes searching for them.
Scouting and Canoe clubs are fun ways for kids to get safety training in regards to water and outdoor activities. Even babies can be taught to avoid drowning in pools. Click here.
Teenage drivers in Gilroy California were offered an advanced driving workshop called Street Survival that covered wet pavement and other obstacles not covered in a traditional drivers ed class. This may not be available in your area or it may be cost prohibitive so take the time to train your child. Illinois require up to 50 hours of supervised driving time before your student can take the driving test. Use some of that time to help your teen feel comfortable driving in bad weather, near construction, and on winding roads. Choose times when there is less traffic the first time out.
Be proactive in safety training. Enroll your child in self-defense classes, first aid and CPR classes to insure they know what to do. Encourage creative play by building outdoor shelters. Prepare a survival toolkit filled with essentials when hiking, fishing, biking, camping or picnicking. You don’t have to be a boy scout to always be prepared.