"First Priorities and Inventory"

Now you have found your preliminary safety zone, and you are away from any threats. The natural tendency in this moment is reflection. This is the point in time where you try to determine HOW you arrived in this situation. Put that aside as fast as you can. If you can connect the dots and figure it out... great... but if not... move on. All that really matters now is that you ARE in this situation. This DID happen... no... this IS happening!

Remember you are probably still not sheltered and the longer you waste trying to dwell in the past, The less likely you are to remain safe in the present for very long. You need to think fast... and get moving. But before charging out into the unknown wild... you need some planning.
First you will need to do a quick inventory. It is difficult to know WHAT you are capable of accomplishing until you know WHAT you have to work with. It may seem like a waste of time in this situation... no survival kit, backpack... nothing but the clothes on your back... whats to count... you have nothing... right?...

Wrong! No Matter how little you bring with you... there is always an inventory to be done. First and foremost... Make note of your MIND! THIS will be the most POWERFUL tool you could hope to bring into ANY survival situation... and you are lost without it. You need it Calm, Sane, Rational, Cold and Calculating if you are going to make it through this more than two days.
Make a mental promise to yourself right now... say it out load if you must... you WILL keep your mind WITH YOU at ALL TIMES!!! NEVER let emotion or panic interfere with your survival. Some times in Life they have their purpose, and you can enjoy them again IF you live to see civilization again... but when Survival is at stake... these are Just Burdens. They and the actions they produce are ANTI SELF SURVIVAL... and by making this covenant with yourself now... you are telling yourself to put your emotions in CHECK!

Now we can go on with the rest of the inventory... the same way we scanned for danger before... from closest to furthest. What do you have to work with? Good lungs and heart? Strong legs? Two good feet for walking and running? Strength in your arms and hands to manipulate other objects? Two Amazing Hands with the dexterity to perform intricate tasks combined with the strength to power through obstacles?

Do you have clothes on? make a FULL inventory of ANY clothing or footwear... right down to the individual components each item is MADE out of! They are great for clothes of course, but if need for something else is greater... ANY piece of cloth, string, plastic, metal, rubber, glass... even the tiniest piece of thread could be invaluable at some point down the road to serve a greater function than its original design.

Also make Note of when you believe you ate, drank, and slept last. This is also a great time to relieve yourself if you feel a need to go by the way, which you probably do depending on what you may have had to escape from to get to this spot... if anything... and if you hadn't gone in the process.
While your at it... inventory the ground around you... are there sticks? rocks? Trash? anything useful? what about in the area further out around you that you can see from here?

Priority time. First comes defense. If you had to fight to get this far... you all ready know why. If Not... then because you may have to at any time... and doing it barehanded is a LAST resort. There is no telling what is waiting to kill you out there. You need a weapon. It doesn't need to be elaborate right now, you can fashion better stuff later... but anything is better than bare hands.
A broken stick with a sharp end is a tool you will want right away if you can find it. A stone with a sharp edge is also a great find, or a piece of sharp metal or glass can be even better. A Large, Blunt medium sized stone with a little weight to it Can be used like a palm gripped hammer stone or even thrown at threats and ALWAYS grab ANY cordage you can locate, as it is great for lashing and making slings, bows, and even traps. Also keep a close eye out for anything you can later use as a container.

Your next priority should be shelter. You need a place to make camp. You can't sort out everything right away, and things like hunger and thirst and such don't kill right off. Threatening animals, nature, the weather... and other such things CAN kill right off. First and foremost you need a safe place to escape these things. Food and water are priorities also, but they can be searched for along the way... we need to go to a good shelter location.

Look around you. Scan the horizon until your eyes fixate on the tallest place near you that you can get to... a hilltop... building... treetop... and head towards it. You are going to look for shelter, but you need to know which way to go, as well as what dangers lay around you, and where NOT to go.
From your high spot, make a note of dangers and obstacles to avoid in the distance, and search for any prominent landscape features that could offer good shelter locations. A ready made shelter like an abandoned building or a cave in a hillside would be perfect, but don't expect it to be that easy.

Look first for signs of water... as you will want camp as close to it as possible... just far enough away to avoid animal traffic (watering holes are hotspots for predator activity) and flooding but near enough for easy access. If you can't see water signs then go with the most promising direction (usually the greenest and most down hill) and try to find a landscape feature in that direction that would lend itself to shelter. Odds are you will have to MAKE the shelter... but look for any place where nature may have provided support or done part of the work for you.

Anytime there are trees however i recommend trying to find some that lend themselves to shelter that can keep you above ground level... and try to avoid things like holes in the ground... which can fill with water or pests or worse can be fallen into by a predator or poisonous snake. remember only a select few animals can climb... but ANY thing can fall in to a hole in the ground!
If you chose your shelter spot wisely the shelter can be made from fallen and broken off branches interwoven or stacked rock for walls and at least one or two... maybe even three walls and / or a roof will be provided by the natural landscape feature you decided to build around. Use what nature has to offer, then fill in the rest as necessary.

The shelter should cover you overhead from rain and weather and from three... preferably all four sides from wind as well as animals and intruders. It should be near food or water sources if possible. If not it will need to be relocated till it is. It should be large enough to lay down in and have enough overhead space to sit up right in a seated position. It should also contain space for a fire, or a place for one just outside... and have good smoke ventilation. If the fire is inside, there should be room to provide 3 to 4 feet between you and it when sleeping.

Again this doesn't have to be perfect. It does have to be done quickly and be JUST good enough to keep you safe from predators and sheltered from wind rain and cold and sun for one night.

Jason A. Dennison (J.D.)

Jason A. Dennison (J.D.)
Blog Author: Jason A. Dennison (J.D.) ... ... Relaxing @ "Hawks Bluff".

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