The Survival Acronym

If you are faced with a survival situation or any difficult task really, the Survival Acronym could get you through. They key is to stop and think before you act and run through SURVIVAL.

S – Size up the Situation (surroundings, equipment, physical condition).
U – Undue Haste Makes Waste and Use Your Senses.
R – Remember Where You Are.
V – Vanquish Panic and Fear.
I – Improvise.
V – Value Life.
A – Act like the Natives.
L – Live by Your Wits or Learn Basic Skills.


S – Size up the Situation.

Study the area you are in. Are you in a dangerous situation where you need to move immediately or can you hunker down and think? What is going on around you? Listen to the sound of birds, the sound of nature, or other activities going on around you. Check your equipment, take a quick inventory and assess the condition of your supplies. Check yourself and I there are others with you, check them too. Is everyone okay? Does everyone have shelter, food water, or other necessities? If not, can you where will you get it?


U – Undue Haste Makes Waste and Use Your Senses.

Don’t react before you think, as this could cause you to make a mistake. Use all your senses to observe the area around you. Take note of sounds, smells, touch, taste, and even listen to your sixth sense. Plan and prepare and whenever possible, make a well thought out decision before you make your next move.


R – Remember Where You Are.

Do you have a map and compass? If so, use the compass and map to determine your exact location using terrain association and other navigation skills. Look around. Does anything look familiar? Are there any dangers that you are aware of? Where are the safe areas? Where is there water, shelter, food or other resources?


V – Vanquish Panic and Fear.

Stop and calm yourself. Most people make a bad situation worse by panicking. Panic leads to poor judgement and poor decision-making which leads to more panic, a vicious downward spiral you’ll want to avoid. Stay focused on what needs to be done to get you safe.


I – Improvise.

Use your imagination to find ways to use whatever you have or what nature provides. Be creative and work efficiently.


V- Value Life.

Think about what makes you happy and gives you a reason to live. Replay that thought in your mind over and over again. Do you have family back home that wants to see you again? Is your dog locked up at home and needs to go for a walk? Do you want to drive your sports car one last time or is there a movie you want to get back and see? Nothing is too small so long as it keeps you going. Stay strong and never lose hope.


A – Act Like the Natives.

If you’re stranded in unfamiliar territory, watch the natives’ even if the natives are animals. Where are they eating, where they get water, are the fleeing from something else besides you? Observe and learn from them.


L – Live by Your Wits.

There are priorities in survival. Know them and live by them. Make a task list and a plan and execute. Follow through on these priorities and tasks each day. If your situation changes, your pattern will change. Your wits will prevail over your skills. Your skills will sharpen your wits. Learn basic skills!