The SURVIVAL Acronym

If there is anything you need to remember, SURVIVAL is it. It encompasses everything a survivor needs to be aware of. There is a reason why the worlds military forces teach this. The following will expand on the meaning of each letter. It’s highly recommended you study each letter.


S – Size up the Situation
If you find yourself in a disaster situation, stop, analyze your surroundings and use your senses to get a feel for the situation. Find a safe location and start thinking what your next move should be. Ask yourself, what’s happening? Is your family in immediate danger? What are other people doing? What should I do next? Consider what the situation is before you make your survival plan.

S – Size up Your Surroundings
Look around and scan the area. , Get a feel for the rhythm and changes in your environment. Analyze the potential dangers such as broken power lines, gas leaks, toxic and hazardous chemicals. Will the people in your area pose a danger to you?

S – Size up Your Physical Condition
The initial shock and trauma of being in a disaster situation may have caused you to overlook any damage inflicted upon you. Check your body for any wounds and deal with them immediately. During a disaster it is imperative that your safety and health be first priority. If you end up damaging yourself there won’t be a hospital or doctor to take care of you, the hospital and doctors will be overloaded with other problems. It’s better to be safe then sorry.

S – Size up Your Equipment
Check to see what you have and see if they’re in working order. What will you need to survive? What’s useful and what isn’t? We’ll go into survival equipment later in this book.

Now that you have sized up the situation, your surroundings, physical condition, and equipment, you’ll now want to make a plan of action. Prioritize your needs and decide what you and your family need most. Keep in mind food, water, shelter and be sure think long term instead of just being in the present.

If you have a family, an emergency plan should be made ahead of time before any disaster. This book will examine emergency planning in greater detail but for now, the two most important questions for your family to have answered should be:

  • Where will everyone meet up?
  • Who will pick up the children?

U – Use Your Senses
People have a tendency to freeze and make bad decisions when they’re caught in a bad situation. Don’t react impulsively without thinking or planning first. Stay centered and present and keep your head together. A bad move can result in injury or death. Consider all the aspects and potential problems of your situation before you make a decision. Plan your moves but be ready for the unexpected. Take a step back and use your senses to examine and evaluate the situation. Pay attention to the sounds, smells and changes in temperature. Be observant and be aware of your situation.

R – Remember Where You Are
If you live in a city you probably know your way around, but what if the buildings collapsed and were turned to rubble? Would you still know your way around? We orient ourselves in relation to important landmarks. Always pay close attention to where you are in relation to geography. Remember locations with high value like local water sources, food supplies, and groups of people and places of danger.

V – Vanquish Fear and Panic
The greatest danger in an urban disaster situation is fear and panic. If uncontrolled, it can overwhelm you and entirely destroy your ability to think clearly. Take a step back and examine the situation. Reframe your mind and see the situation differently. Prolonged states of fear and panic can drain your energy and morale and lead to more severe problems and emotions. Relax, breath deeply and cut through the “overwhelm”!

I – Improvise
In an urban environment, you have an item for every need. We live in a time were many of these items are cheap and easy to replace. Unfortunately our easy come, easy go, easy-to-replace culture has made our imagination stagnate and has completely eliminated any opportunity to practice improvisation. Our inexperience in improvisation will be a detriment during a crisis situation. Learn to improvise! People of developing, poorer nations have mastered the art of improvisation as necessity for survival. What we see as garbage can be gold to someone who can use it. Go through your recycle bin and make something out of nothing. A simple example is using a brick for a hammer. Learning to improvise is important because no matter how complete your survival kit is, you will eventually wear out your equipment. Your imagination will have to take over and you’ll be left with no other choice but to improvise.

V – Value Living
Sorry to say this but living in the city has turned us into pussies. Are you ready for the hardships of having no microwave, elevator and other comfort technologies? We all have a will to survive but we’ve become accustomed to a soft life. What will happen when we are faced with the stresses, inconveniences, discomforts and horrors of a survival situation? Will you say “fuck it” and give up? How much do you value your life? How much stress are you willing to endure to keep living? Having a high value on living is critical for survival and will determine weather you give up and die or live to see another day. Be stubborn, refuse to give up and it will give you the mental and physical strength to endure the problems and obstacles ahead.

A – Adapt
New situations call for new habits. When the world changes you have to change with it. When shit hits the fan you can say good bye to your old life because you’ll never see it again. Being resistant to change can cause you a lot of problems so instead of changing the world, change yourself and adapt to it. Assess the situation and answer these questions:

  • When and what will I eat?
  • When, where, and how will I get food?
  • When and where do I go for water?
  • Can I change my habits to fit the situation?

L – Live by Your Wits
Without basic survival skills training, your chance of living through a disaster situation is slim. Learn the basic skills now before it’s too late. Study your environment and practice basic skills geared to that environment. For instance, if you live in a city that imports all its food, you need to either improvise and find alternative food sources or grow your own food. If you live in a city at risk of violence, learn self defense. Training now will give you self-confidence and it teaches you to live by your wits.