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9 August, 2002

A spark, puff of smoke, a roaring fire. One of the "H's" in our "Learn to Return" training received here at CRREL. The H stands for heat, in a program called "Learn to Return" which was developed and taught by Brian Horner, a search and rescue expert who owns a company called "Learn to Return Training Systems" based in Alaska. His mission was to give us a basic primer on cold weather survival, which he sums up with two words: HIS and HER.

The HIS portion means: Hazards, Injury and Shelter, which is the basic order you attempt to deal with any disaster scenario. What this means is that you must remove yourself from the hazard, next treat any injury and then find shelter. The HER means to make sure you are not losing body Heat, and get sources of heat Energy (food as well as combustibles). Finally Rest while awaiting rescue. Sounds simple enough but when placed in a field situation, things can come unglued quickly.

Brian's basic message for us was to have confidence, stop, think, and have a plan. In order for us to be able to have a plan, he taught us various survival techniques and strategies, starting with knots, moving to first aid, on to shelter and finally food, we learned and practiced the skills we would need in event of an emergency. To many of us, it was a reminder of skills already learned, to others it was new information, but to all of us, the lessons were invaluable.

Today was one that got us looking forward to our upcoming adventures through different eyes; Brian helped to sharpen our vision.

Until next time,


1. What the best dressed survivor wears

2. Some survival rations may not meet Julia Childs specifications as Amy's face tells us!

3. Halloween or rain gear?

4. I hope I can smile if this happens in the field!

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