Prepared for Anything
by Roger A. Storey
Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation
As the popularity of aviation as a career
and as a hobby increases, so does the concern for safety.
One such concern is survival after a crash. As a Survival
Instructor with the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute's
Airman Education Division, I am often asked: "What is the
most important piece of equipment to have in a survival
situation?" The answer is simple: Me, the survivor.
In any survival situation, there will be
specific priorities. The priorities will include medical
first-aid, shelter from the elements, rest, water, and food.
The order of importance you place on each of these
priorities will be dictated by each situation. For instance,
the priorities for a pilot forced into a survival situation
in rural Missouri during the month of August will vary from
a pilot who has to survive in northern Michigan during
January. One thing is for certain, without a "will to
survive," the chances of survival will be greatly reduced.
If you do not have a desire to survive, there is no
equipment available that will help you survive.
There are two simple, but important, ways
you can increase your chances of survival. These involve
preparation'before you ever find yourself in an actual
survival situation. The first is to admit to yourself "It
Can Happen To Me." The next step is to prepare yourself,
both mentally and physically. It is not enough to prepare
mentally if you cannot withstand the physical requirements
of a survival situation.
The mental preparation can come in the form
of educational courses, books, or conversations. There are
various survival courses conducted around the United States
that deal specifically with the climate, terrain, and many
other factors that you may be exposed to in a particular
region. Along with these courses, there are a great number
of books on survival techniques for the desert, arctic, and
sea. You can find these at most bookstores or at the
library. Another way to gain knowledge is to ask people who
have been through a survival situation what to expect.
Training also includes learning how to use and practicing
the use of survival gear you may already have.
Preparing yourself physically for a survival
situation depends greatly on the shape you are in now. Keep
in mind that your situation may require you to walk, climb,
or even carry a fellow crewmember or passenger a distance.
You will want to be as physically fit, as you would expect
the person, who might have to carry you, to be.
By improving your knowledge and physical
capabilities, you will also increase your confidence, which
will benefit you a great deal. The more informed you are
about your own capabilities and on the climate and terrain
over which you fly, the easier it will be to decide what
your priorities for survival will be.
The priorities of survival will vary from
situation to situation and region to region. Using the
priorities established earlier you could start to evaluate
what equipment would be best suited for your personal
survival kit (PSK).
Once you have decided what your needs are in
accordance to your priorities and typical flying area you
can decide what equipment will best suit your needs. Below
is a basic list of suggested equipment you might consider
for your PSK. Keep in mind a PSK is a survival kit that is
designed to supplement your survival needs, but must be
readily and easily accessible in the event of an emergency
evacuation from the aircraft.
Mr. Storey is an instructor in the Civil
Aerospace Medical Institute's (CAMI) Airman Education
This article originally appeared on the FAA
Web site for pilots under training, Airman Education