Al Modin (foreground) and Corey Peterson at David Stoddart School

Al Modin (foreground) and Corey Peterson at David Stoddart School

Clinton kids get lesson in outdoor safety

Search and Rescue tips for students

by Susan Swan

Al Modin of Squamish Search and Rescue (SAR) and Corey Peterson of the South Cariboo SAR were in Clinton on Monday, March 28 to make presentations to the students of David Stoddart School.

At 11 am, students in grades 6-12 attended the ‘Survive Outside’ presentation. This program teaches how to be prepared when going into the outdoors. Students learned about SAR in their region; the Code of Responsibility, including 10 Essentials, Trip Plan, Do’s and Don’ts; and Outdoor Travel Tips. A handout with the information was given to each student so they can be more prepared for future outdoor activities.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 attended the Hug-A-Tree & Survive presentation at 1 pm. A brief video showed a young boy who got lost on a family camping trip and after a moment of panic used the proper techniques to survive alone in the woods at night.

The young students were told the rules for going outdoors and what to do if they do happen to get lost. The little ones were very enthusiastic about the program and had lots of questions for the presenters. Volunteers were instructed in how to use the emergency shelter that each student received as well as demonstrate which is louder, the whistle they also received or a child’s scream. The students were given a package to take home to let their parents know what they had learned.

The main things learned were to always tell someone where you are going; always carry water, a snack, a bright orange plastic bag (with a hole for your face) and a whistle; admit when you are lost and don’t panic. Once you know you are lost Hug a Tree. You will know you are not alone and if you stay put searchers can find you faster. Make a nest of dry branches and sit on it in your survival shelter (orange bag) and periodically blow your whistle in three short blasts to alert searchers where you are. Find a tree to hug near a small clearing and use branches to make an arrow pointing to the tree where you are, or use stones to make a SOS that can be seen from a helicopter. Wave your orange bag if you hear a helicopter or ground searchers.

Children need to be taught that searchers are there to help them even if they are strangers. They also need to know that animals in the forest will run away if they shout or blow their whistle. They need to stay put and be safe.

Schools and groups that routinely spend time in the outdoors are welcome to check out the website at and ask for a presentation. It is certainly worth while. It can save your life.