If a disaster strikes your area suddenly and you find yourself frozen in place, unsure of what to do next, you can use the letters in the word “survival” to help. This is known as “The Survival Acronym” or “The Survival Memory Device.”
S – Size up the Situation (surroundings, equipment, physical condition).
U – Undue Haste Makes Waste and Use Your Senses.
R – Remember Where You Are.
V – Vanquish Panic and Fear.
I – Improvise.
V – Value Life.
A – Act like the Natives.
L – Live by Your Wits or Learn Basic Skills.
S – Size up the Situation. This means you need to hide yourself and determine who and where are your enemies. Study the area you are in for patterns (the sound of birds, the movement of cars, the activities of other people). Check your equipment, take a quick inventory and assess the condition of your supplies. Check yourself and the others in your group. Is everyone okay? Everyone will need food, water and clothing. Do you have access to these things and if not, where will you get it?
U – Undue Haste Makes Waste. If you immediately react without thinking ahead and planning, you could make a deadly mistake. Use all your senses to observe the area around you, taking note of sounds, smells, etc. Plan and prepare for your next move based on your observations.
R – Remember Where You Are. Use a compass and a map to determine your exact location. Where are the enemy areas? Where are the safe areas? Where is there water and shelter? Don’t rely on other people to lead you.
V – Vanquish Panic and Fear. Panic and fear lead to rash actions and poor decision-making which leads to more panic and fear, a vicious downward spiral you’ll want to avoid. Stay focused on the tasks at hand.
I – Improvise. Use your imagination to find ways to use whatever you have (like using a helmet as a scoop, etc.). Be creative.
V- Value Life. When things get ugly and all your ordinary comforts are gone, you’ll have to stay strong. Remember that whatever future happiness life has to offer is worth living for. Never lose hope.
A – Act Like the Natives. If you’re stranded in unfamiliar territory, watch the natives’ daily routine: where they eat, where they get water, when they sleep, etc. and learn from them. Caution: Don’t let animals guide you to water. Sometimes animals drink water that is poisonous to humans.
L – Live by Your Wits. Develop a “pattern of survival.” This means setting your priorities for each day and taking care of them in order. If your situation changes, your pattern will change. And for now, Learn Basic Skills so you’ll be able to take care of yourself when things get bad.
Memorize this now so you can use it when you need it.