Custom Program Example: Survival Training for Businesses & Organizations

Saturday Survival Skills Training for FAA Test Pilots on September 8, 2012

FAA Test Pilots are required to receive survival skills training in case of the unimaginable including having to ditch a plane. We have given training to test pilots that meet their requirement, including this workshop.


9:00 AM Start the workshop with an overview on the order of survival, whether or not you find yourself prepared with adequate gear in the wilderness. We’ll also discuss the most essential tools to carry with you depending on your skill level. For a primer, read our article on the Critical Order of Emergency Survival, and remember, survival requires multi-tasking, so during this time, we will also pass out materials for you to learn the “reverse wrap” method of making rope which you can work on while listening to the morning lectures.

9:30 AM Discuss a big dilemma in survival situations: when to stay and when to go. We have a formula for you to decide, taking into consideration the amount of daylight, your available gear, your position relative to where you are and who you notified about your trip, and how “hungry, angry, lonely, tired and thirsty” you are. Depending on your score, you will either have to make shelter or navigate your way out of a mock survival scenario. To prepare in advance, check out our article called Breathing into Survival Shelters.


10:00 – We will walk you through the Best Way To Make A Fire which is critical for starting fire in the rain. You’ll need to do the same later in the day. We’ll also view a variety of materials to see how they burn as tinder. Can you guess how bark, seed down, leaves, laundry lint, and grass each burn, or which is best for various applications? Finally, we’ll pass out materials for you to make your own tinder bundle.

10:30 – We will start the bow drill portion of the workshop by reflecting the symbolism of the parts of the bow drill kit, and you will realize why this method of fire-by-friction was prefered (and superior even to matches) for lighting fires in cold and wet climates. It should only take 10 seconds to create a coal if your kit is well constructed. You will receive the same quick training all Wolf College instructors receive, plus hand-outs that you can use to pass on this critical “safety plus efficiency” training to your own family or students.

Top 10 Survival Plants: Make Rope, Tinder, Food & Medicine

11:00 – We’ll start this hour with an overview of the Top 10 Most Important Survival Plants which will give you a huge step toward understanding the most critical plants of our region. If you would like to prepare in advance, check out our essays on Grasses, Berries, Nettles, Cattails and Pine. We’ll also spend 15 minutes getting our lunches and preparing for our lunchtime walk.

12:00: You can bring a lunch along on our plant walk to sample wild edibles, collect medicine, make tinder materials, gather tee-pee fire wood, and collect your own bow for making fire-by-friction.

Bow Drill Kits

1:00 PM – You’ll start the afternoon carving your bow into a comfortable size, and tying an adjustable string onto it. We will provide the string, as it is important to use nylon while you are learning because it is critical that you develop good form before worring about whether a natural-made cordage you made will break. We’ll also bring some small-diameter red cedar tree trunks from which you will saw approximate 3 inch and 12 inch sections to finish your fire kit, including spindle, hearth, hand-hold, and coal-catch plate.

2:00 PM – We will stop to show you alternatives you would have to look for in the wilderness to make your fire kit without a knife, but again, it is critical that you use good material for your first kit in order to develop excellent form. You’ll finish this hour using your knife to split a 3 inch piece of cedar to make your hand-hold socket, and do the same with your 12 inch piece to create a bottom board and 2 spindle “blanks.” You’ll carve a spindle to the perfect shape, mold your hand-hold into a comfortable socket, prepare points on your hearth in preparation for drilling, and carve one of those points into a perfect-sized notch where your coal will later be born.

Emergency Shelter & Five Minute Fire Drill

3:00 PM – We will gather back together and split into 2 groups to build the Most Practical Survival Shelter, then end the day by circling-up to review, making sure everyone has the hand-outs they want.

4:00 PM – This is a fun hour as we carry out a mock wilderness survival scenario. You can choose to do it alone or with your group, and you can also use your bow drill kits rather than matches or a lighter! The reason we always emphasize basic fire-making skills along with traditional fire-by-friction is that there’s no reason to bother making a bow-drill coal, let alone striking a match, unless you’ve prepared materials that will sustain your fire. The scenario will require you to choose the best natrual shelter and fire location in the area, then see if you can start and maintain a fire.

Navigation & Safety including Cougar & Bear Encounters

5:00 PM – During our wild edible – supplemented dinner hour, we’re going to introduce you to the Top 10 Hazards to avoid in nature, so that you never experience a survival situation. And by special request, we’ll add a training on what to do in case of encounters with bears, cougars and other wild animals.

6:00 PM – We’ll spend the last hour on Natural Navigation & Orienteering, including use of map and compass, since it is such a critical skill to prevent lost/survival situations, and for getting out of trouble if unexpected disorientation occurs. We’ll start with risk management tips from our Search & Rescue background,  test to see if you are “right or left dominant” when walking in nature, practice awareness skills to improve your spacial recognition including wide-angle vision, give you a hand-out on our Top 10 Lostproofing, Navigation & Orienteering Skills including natural ways to orient yourself to the cardinal directions, methods to negotiate your way through nature without map or compass. We’ll also give you our great 4 step method for navigating with map and compass.

7:00 PM – Questions, Cleanup & Individual Help

Tuition Example

$195 per person with a minimum of 5 participants includes lunch and dinner, survival knife, firesteel, bow drill kit, and more.

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