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Mr. Raia's Survival Challenge

posted Apr 5, 2015, 7:51 PM by Shawn O'Hea
Below are the details of the survival situation Mr. Raia presented at the troop meeting.
All scouts should should bring their answers to the next troop meeting.


You and your companions have just survived the crash of a small plane.  Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash.  It is mid-January , and you are in Northern Canada.  The daily temperature is 25 below zero, and the night time temperature is 40 below zero.  There is snow on the ground,
and the countryside is wooded with several creeks criss-crossing the area.  The nearest town is 20 miles away.  You are all dressed in city clothes appropriate for a business meeting.  Your group of survivors managed to salvage the following items:

A ball of steel wool
A small ax
A  loaded  .45-caliber pistol
Can of Crisco shortening
Newspapers (one per person)
Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
20 x 20 ft. piece of heavy-duty canvas
A sectional air map made of plastic
One peanut butter jar of iodine water purification tablets
A  compass
Family-size chocolate bars (one per person)

Your task as a group is to list the above 12 items in order of importance for your survival.  List the uses for each.  You  MUST come to agreement as a group.

Mid-January is the coldest time of year in Northern Canada.  The first problem the survivors face is the preservation of body heat and the protection against its loss.  This problem can be solved by building a fire, minimizing movement and exertion, using as much insulation as possible, and
constructing a shelter.

The participants have just crash-landed.  Many individuals tend to overlook the enormous shock reaction this has on the human body, and the deaths of the pilot and co-pilot increases the shock. Decision-making under such circumstances is extremely difficult.  Such a situation requires a strong emphasis on the use of reasoning for making decisions and for reducing fear and panic.  Shock would be shown in the survivors by feelings of helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness, and fear.  These feelings have brought about more fatalities than perhaps any other cause in survival situations.  Certainly the state of shock means the movement of the survivors should be at a minimum, and that an attempt to calm them should be made.

Before taking off, a pilot has to file a flight plan which contains vital information such as the course, speed, estimated time of arrival, type of aircraft, and number of passengers.  Search-and-rescue operations begin shortly after the failure of a plane to appear at its destination at the estimated time of arrival.

The 20 miles to the nearest town is a long walk under even ideal conditions, particularly if one is not used to walking such distances.  In this situation, the walk is even more difficult due to shock, snow, dress,  and water barriers.  It would mean almost certain death from freezing and exhaustion.  At temperatures of minus 25 to minus 40, the loss of body heat through exertion is a very serious matter.

Once the survivors have found ways to keep warm, their next task is to attract the attention of search planes. Thus, all the items the group has salvaged must be assessed for their value in signaling the group’s whereabouts.

The ranking of the survivors items was made by Mark Wanvig, a former  instructor in survival training for the Reconnaissance School of the 101st Division of the U.S. Army.  Mr. Wanvig  currently conducts wilderness survival training programs in the Minneapolis, Minnesota  area.  This survival simulation game is used in military training classrooms