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What to do if you get lost?

If you are afraid of the dark here is a trick you can try. Memorize your surroundings during daylight so that you can see with your memory when it gets dark. Remember, nothing changes just because it gets dark. Try practicing this trick in your bedroom.

There is no punishment for being lost. Mom and Dad, or whoever is looking for you, are going to be very happy to see you again and they won't even think about punishing you.

There are friendly strangers who will help you when needed. Some of these are police officers, fire fighters, ambulance personnel and Search and Rescue teams and search dogs. You don't need to hide. Don't be afraid of searchers, who may be wearing uniforms. Friendly strangers always work in groups. There may be a helicopter or airplane looking for you too. If you hear searchers get in a clearing or meadow where they can see you.

If you see or hear a helicopter get out in the open and lie down flat like you are making a snow angel. This will make you look bigger so that the helicopter pilot can see you.

Don't be afraid of the search dog, it will be wearing a bell and a vest so that you know it is there to help you. If it is night time the dog may even be wearing a bright light on its collar. It will probably look like a spaceship at first, but you will find it is just a fuzzy friend looking for you.

When it isn't too cold, try to stay in the open where searchers can find you. Keep your clothes, jacket, mittens and hat with you because you may need them later, even though it may be a warm day outside. The fastest way to warm up is to cover your head because more than 70% of your body's heat leaves from the top of your head. If you are cold you can get out of the wind and rain by finding shelter under a large tree, or build a nest like the animals do. Build a mattress using available materials such as branches, moss, leaves, etc. This mattress should be as thick as the mattress you sleep on at home! After the mattress is completed, gather the same amount or more, of the same material and use it for the blankets.

When you are lost and really cold, it is o.k. to go inside a cabin or inside of a car or truck, even if it is not yours. If there is a phone there you can dial 911. If you see signs that say "Keep Out" you can still go in, because you are lost and the owner will understand.

If you are warm enough, but have dark clothes on, you can put your white underwear on outside of your clothes. White clothing shows up better than dark clothing to searchers on the ground and in the air. You can make big arrows in the ground for searchers to find or write "SOS" or "HELP" with rocks or in the snow.

Do NOT eat any berries, mushrooms or anything else unless you are 100% sure what they are. You must have drinking water to survive, but be careful where you get it from. Drink from a water supply that is smaller than you are, so you can not fall in. You can lick the little water drops from the leaves of plants.

Make an Emergency Survival Kit in a Small Fanny Pack

Keep your fanny pack around your waist, don't take it off. That way you will have it with you if you ever need it. Make it a habit to put in on if you go camping, fishing, hiking or doing other woods activities.

  1.  A Zip Lock sandwich bag for a container (also used as a cup for drinking water)
  2. A snack of high energy trail mix or Powerbar (contained in its own zip lock bag). Pick something that you won't eat up while you are out and about because it won't be there when you need it.
  3. A whistle used for calling for help when you are tired and cannot shout. (three short blasts is an emergency signal)
  4. A signal flag approximately 1' by 3' (cut from orange plastic garbage bag) to mark the ground so that searchers can see you.
  5. A reflector for sending signals to searchers. (use soft, flexible material)
  6. A "Space Blanket" that you can buy at a Wal-Mart or sporting goods store. This will be your shelter to hold your body heat in and the wind and rain out. The silver reflection of the "Space Blanket" will also help searchers to see you better.