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Survival Stories: Are You Kidding Me?

In the business we are in, self-defense and home security products specialists, we hear some pretty amazing stories. But at least, in our opinion, none of them can match stories of survival.

I have to admit that I am not much of a reality TV show enthusiast. But maybe I am changing my mind because the reality show on the History Channel called Alone has absolutely captivated me. The show is about 10 men all of whom are rugged outdoor survival experts, put on Vancouver Island to see who can last the longest. The island is inhabited by a huge concentration of black bears, cougars, wolves and no other humans. The men are each allowed to pick 10 survival items of their own choosing to aid in their quest to last the longest. At the end of the rainbow is $500,000 to the survival king.

The men are placed strategically around the island so that they have no contact with each other. They are each given a satellite phone in case they want to bail out. By week three, five of them have done so. Bear (no pun intended) in mind these are not wimpy guys. One of the recent departees freaked out when two black bears wanted to cuddle up next to him in his tent. It just so happened he was a veteran policeman. He made the comment that he had never been stalked by anyone or anything before. It was a deeply disconcerting idea, at least to him, to be stalked by two black bears.

“These men must hunt, build shelters and fend off predators. They will endure extreme isolation and psychological distress as they plunge into the unknown and document the experience themselves. No camera crew. No producers. It is the ultimate test of man’s will.”

Are you kidding me? This is not “survivor” or even Bear Grylls. It is much closer to “Naked And Afraid” without the camera crew-ALONE where the biggest challenge may be inside your head.

At any rate back on topic. It got me to thinking about survival as a topic for some of our stories. We will talk more about Alone next month in a different story. But for now we will be highlighting different survival stories, because at least in our mind, they bring out the best in what is human-courage and self-determination.

Everyone is familiar with the National Weather Service weather alerts that are broadcast over TV and radio stations to bring listeners and viewers the latest warnings about severe weather that can cause damage to life and liberty.

This story about two escaped murderers from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, have evaded capture for nearly two weeks but wilderness survival experts are skeptical they will be able to do so for much longer.

Since that story was published, one of the men was shot and killed while the other was just recently captured. The U.S. Marshals service put him on the 15 most wanted fugitives list.

Experts say that it is one thing to disappear and yet another to survive in the wilderness. Wilderness survival requires a unique skill set that, as far as authorities know, neither of these two had.  Speculation was that they would stay close to areas that were familiar, and indeed that is exactly what happened.

ABC news is reporting that three missing sisters were found out in Wyoming near Jackson Hole. They had been missing for days when a search team on a helicopter spotted them. The three sisters from Wisconsin had spent years hiking but got completely disoriented in the Teton Mountains. Their father said that their good backcountry skills were responsible for their survival and eventual rescue. The biggest thing that they did was the number one rule of survival in the wilderness-stay in one place.

The trio of sisters had food and camping gear and little else. But they apparently had good common sense. They had been missing for 10 days.

In another story from ABC news, a California man went on a day fishing trip the turned into a fight for survival and Five Days In The Wilderness. Mike Vilhauer left his fishing site to look for more bait. He told his rescuers he zigzaged up and down the mountain looking for grasshoppers to use as bait in the hopes of catching more fish. He quickly became disoriented and could not find his way back to the fishing site. His attempts to call 911 were thwarted because of a weak signal. Because he wasn’t eating he lost his energy. He was drinking water out of any stream he could find which is not a good idea.

He could hear helicopters overhead but they did not see him on the first pass. Finally after five days he was discovered by a search and rescue party.

These stories bring to mind the manhunt for Eric Frein not long ago, accused of assassinating a Pennsylvania State trooper, who was on the loose for 48 days before his capture in 2014. At one time he had hundreds of law enforcement agents looking for him but he managed to elude them because of his survival training. Frein was an experienced survivalist.

For anyone who goes into the backcountry we highly recommend this “go bag” Survival Kit, including dehydrated foodthat contains enough food and items for personal needs for five days including a 42-piece first-aid kit and 37-piece bandage kit. It also includes five water pouches a portable stove 24 fuel tablets and 32 servings of gourmet entrées all in a survival backpack. This survival kit can also be used for every day camping and hiking into the backcountry. You never know when an emergency may occur which is why this “go bag” survival kit is so valuable.

Come on and share with us your survival stories!

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