Survival 101 > Survival Statistics: Survival Of The Common Sense Challenged


Seems human stupidity and arrogance is big news these days. I routinely come across outdoor gear ads featuring "survival celebs", who have gained notoriety based on their bad choices; being unprepared and breaking cardinal backcountry rules. Survival of the "common sense" challenged??

I wonder what Darwin would have to say about this, and the following statistics??

Between the years 1992 to 2007, our national parks were host to 78,488 individuals involved in 65,439 search and rescue (SAR) incidents. The results of these "call-outs":  2,659 fatalities, 24,288 ill or injured individuals, and 13,212 saved.


More Fun Facts....

1. Estimated number of SAR missions in US each year: 50,000

2. Percent of SAR operations aiding lost individuals: 36%

3. Percent of SAR operations in national parks to find lost hikers: 40%

4. Duration of average search: 10 hours

5. Average daily cost to operate a full scale SAR operation: $32,000

6. Most likely group to be SAR targets: Men, ages 20 to 25/ 2nd- Men, ages 50 to 60

7. Leading activities requiring assistance: Hiking (48%) and boating (21%)

8. Fatalities: Hiking (22.8%), suicides (12.1%), swimming (10.1%), and boating (10.1%)


Be Prepared - Tips to Staying Found:

  • Carry a survival kit at all times, even if only out for a day hike. Most survival situations occur while on short afternoon or day outings.
  • Get into the habit of leaving emergency contact information with at least two responsible individuals.
  • Study weather patterns, geography, environmental hazards, (e.g. avalanche, flash flooding, dangerous animals, etc.).
  • Know your limits. Don’t overestimate your skill or underestimate Mother Nature.
  • If part of a group, know each member’s strengths and weaknesses. Set your pace to the slowest member of your group.
  • Your #1 survival tool is your brain. Use common sense.
  • Plan for the unexpected.

Don't become a statistic....

**"Dead Men Walking: Search and Rescue in U.S. National Parks", Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (Volume 20, Number 3), 2009.



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