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Teaching Basic Survival in the U.K.

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#1 wearethesound



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Posted 26 June 2017 - 12:51 PM

So, to start, I have been approached by my sons teacher to come into her classroom and teach her pupils some basics of survival. The problem falls with what is safe to teach to a class of British youngsters? Firearms are nearly all but banned (only select few rifles/shotguns can be owned by special permit only by someone with a "good" reason). So Firearm safety is out. Knives are heavily restricted, cannot be carried in public places or villages/cities (must have a "good" reason to carry one, can't be a fixed blade unless it is less than 3" blade/6" total, folding knives are ok as long as they do not lock or have serrations) and most British people freak out if ever the need arise for me to use one of the knives I carry, and I mean FREAK OUT. So anything survival to do with knives/cutting/chopping is out. (also they have a general weapons ban here, which pretty much means any item that could be, has ever been anywhere, or might be able to be used to harm someone is illegal to have, on you or in your car, unless you can prove a good reason. i.e. hatchets, axes, saws, even baseball bats.)


Which leaves me with LandNav, Hydration, simple shelter building, Fire, First Aid, Self Defense and Food.  But these are 9 yr olds, now my kids know how to build a fire (several diff ways, taught over the years/daily in winter), how to build a shelter, (but how practical is that in a one time class?), Basic LandNav (but that has been taught to them over several years and just the very basics/constellations/how to find the north star), water purification (but again just the basics taught over several trips into the wild), some very basic First Aid (as much as a 9yr old can do), basic Self Defense,  but not so much with food since its illegal to snare animals here and everything req's a license focused more on what not to eat.


My concern is I could see teaching how to start a fire a liability issue, Self Defense again liability issues. Snaring small animals/edible plants liability issues. First aid should be safe. Shelter building should be safe as well but all we could do is talk about it, nothing practical. How to filter/sanitize water should be gtg.


I guess I'm looking for suggestions or if anyone else has ever taught young kids in a classroom setting. The teacher didn't give me any input on what she would like me to teach so I have no direction. She just wanted something that would "interesting".  I almost thought about just bringing in my EDC msn bag (stripped down to legal items) and just talk them through what I carry, why I carry it and tell them some "PG" stories from past ops/scenarios I've encountered. (esp since everyone loves Bear Grylls *sp?) 


I can teach grown men, but kids that aren't mine....... never had to, feel silly asking but i could use some help.

#2 ArkansasFan


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Posted 26 June 2017 - 03:22 PM

I think most of us will have difficulty commentating via the perceived social and legal differences between the cultural groups of the UK and US.  


Here, in the South, I could still show kids how to start a fire in a parking lot and most parents and teachers would be ok with it.  Out in Southern California, I'd probably get arrested.  


Some suggestions that immediately come to mind you might incorporate:


-What to do when lost, i.e. "hug a tree,"  but perhaps avoiding tops of windy peaks, bottoms of cold valleys, floodplains, etc.  

-Signaling and safe signal tools that a kid might have like whistle, flashlight, signal mirror, phone, high visibility colors, SOS, series of 3's, etc.-

-Hike/Adventure with a buddy, let others know when/where you're going

-"Safe" water sources and/or importance of hydration, signs of dehydration

-Avoiding cold and wet

-Heat-related injury

-Lying/sitting on pine boughs for insulation

-Ideas (pictures) of rudimentary cover/shelter
-Solar and Lunar movement for navigation (conceptually more complicated)

-A useful knot (again more complicated)


A lot of the above is really innocuous and has practicality in urban and rural environments.  Hope that helps.  

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#3 pira114


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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:40 PM

Kids at my school actually go out into the woods behind the school and learn how to make shelter, fire, etc. Even snow caves. Totally different world than Southern Ca! Haha.

For the UK? Maybe teach them how to emigrate to a free country? Just kidding, just kidding.

Maybe focus a lot on how to help rescuers find them? Staying on trails, never go hiking in the woods without water and warm clothes. Once lost, staying put, making brightly colored signals for aircraft and spotters to see. Videos of shelter making. I don't know what else. It's tough when you're not allowed to carry much
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#4 ducttapedave


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Posted 01 July 2017 - 02:46 PM

Have you looked at the Adventure Smart PSAR programs as a starting point?


But in all honesty teaching does open yourself up to liability. In a pretty big way. If liability is a concern, it'd be worth it to address it. Waivers would be a must. I'm not overly familiar with the uk legal system so I'm not sure how much protection you can get or would need.

Is there active SAR activities? They may be able to help you out as well.

#5 wearethesound



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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:36 PM

ArkansasFan, I think we are on the same page, defiantly pointed out specifics on what to lean towards.


pira114, all good points, especially about emigration. I offered to take them on a local camping trip, even talked to a few land owners about it but the parents got all sketched out, like I was asking to take their kids with me on a training op to the arctic circle or something.


ducttapedave, I have not but I will take sometime to go through the sites programs. From a quick glance I like the format of their programs as apposed to my mission oriented thought process.   And liability is my biggest concern. Information can be deadly especially since I have seen first hand how most of the kids are being raised, or lack of proper parenting (in my opinion). I worry about them not having a strong foundation in responsibility and awareness, then using what I teach them in the wrong way. My unit provides the SAR for this region, and by that I mean U.K. and supports all NATO SAR msns. I contacted a buddy in the S.A.S. and he said they focus on fire prevention and safety, buddy system, and never participating in anything that is beyond your skill set. But he also said they mostly only deal with Cadets and the Scouts. I even talked to some buddies in NSW who all echoed what I was thinking and what y'all have said.


Seems like I'll go with these topics and see where I end up. Thank you all for the responses. ill let y'all know if I end up getting sued or if I piss off any parents. ha!


btw I'm not very good with forums and haven't a clue how to quote you guys for individual replies.

#6 ducttapedave


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Posted 08 July 2017 - 03:12 PM

Good luck and  I am looking forward to the follow up!


My biggest thing I've learned when presenting to kids is interactivity is key. Even just the tactile of touching things is big. I'm involved in a volunteer swift water/flood response unit and we were just out at a police show case. The kids loved being able to look at the hover craft, play with paracord, touch PFDs and put on helmets. Some of the older kids were interested in the haul systems I had set up, some kids wanted to use my stethoscope to listen to a heart beat. Treat them like people and don't condescend and it'll go off like gang busters.

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#7 Blanquito582



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Posted 30 July 2017 - 01:07 AM

Have you thought about getting with the Army Cadet Force or RAF Cadets and see what they teach?


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