email a friend iconprinter friendly iconHow to Survive (Almost) Anything: Survival Schools
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1. Mountain Shepherd, VA
Disaster Readiness: Escape a Rough Landing

A light plane goes down in wooded mountains. The survivors have 20 minutes to gather critical items from the crash site. Hint: Leave the canned peaches; take the trash bags. Virginia-based Mountain Shepherd’s two-day Plane Decisions program teaches students to anticipate the unpredictable and provides them with a vital mental base layer for dealing effectively with a crisis ($295; Students get the benefit of realistic plane wreckage (a crumpled Cessna fuselage) and Blue Ridge Mountain wilderness as the setting for critical decision-making and team building. Instructors Reggie Bennett and Rick Arnold know their crash scenarios: Both are former teachers in the Air Force Survival School’s SERE program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape). "We teach priorities—what you need to take care of right away," says Bennett. Prime among them is your psychological state: avoiding extremes of panic and resignation. Then it’s down to a survival checklist: first aid, shelter craft (hence the trash bags), fire craft, signaling. Why forsake the peaches? "Most survival situations last only 24 hours," Bennett says. "Thinking of your belly first is foolish. You need to stay warm and signal for help."

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