HUG-A-TREE and SURVIVE
The HUG A TREE and SURVIVE program originated in San Diego, California, U.S.A., following the tragic death of a nine year old boy who became lost. Founders Ab Taylor, Tom Jacobs and others (more here) developed the program to teach children how not to become lost but also what to do should they become lost.
HUG-A-TREE and SURVIVE A Recap of the Presentation ….
ALWAYS TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING so that the searchers will know where to begin their search.
ALWAYS CARRY A GARBAGE BAG AND WHISTLE on a picnic, hike or camping trip. If lost, make a hole in the bag for your face and put it over your head; it will keep you dry and warm. A bright colored bag (orange ) is preferable. The noise from a whistle will carry further than your voice and requires less energy.
ADMIT IT YOURSELF WHEN YOU BECOME LOST. It can happen to anyone, even adults. When you become lost, admit it, and take actions to be comfortable and maintain a positive outlook until searchers arrive. Use your head. It is your best survival tool.
HUG A TREE once you know you are lost. One of the greatest fears a person of any age can have is of being alone. Hugging a tree, sitting by a tree, and even talking to it will calm you down and prevent panic. By staying in one place, you will be found far more quickly and wont be injured trying to find your own way out.
YOUR PARENTS WONT BE ANGRY WITH YOU. Time and again, children have avoided searchers because they were ashamed of getting lost, or afraid of punishment. Please assure your children that both you and the searchers will be happy to find them. If children know a happy reunion filled with love is awaiting, they will be less frightened, less prone to panic and will work hard to be found.
HELP SEARCHERS TO FIND YOU. Listen for their yells and whistles, and respond. Children need to know that searchers are friends and volunteers who do it because they care and want to return them to their parents safe and sound. They need to know that searchers are not strangers who want to hurt them. Children who have not been taught this fact may actually hide from searchers . Children need to understand that if they stay in one spot, its easier for searchers to find them.
MAKE YOURSELF BIG. From helicopters, people are hard to see when they are standing up, especially when they are in a group of trees, or wearing dark and drab clothing. Find your tree to hug near a small clearing if possible. If you are rested, make crosses or other signs with broken shrubbery, rocks, or by dragging your foot in the dirt. Remember to wave your orange bag when you hear the searchers.
THERE ARE NO ANIMALS OUT THERE THAT WANT TO HURT YOU. If you hear a noise at night, yell at it, or blow your whistle. If it is a searcher, you will be found. Fears of the dark and of " lions and tigers and bears" are a big factor in panicking children into running. They need strong reassurance to stay put to be safe.

You can get the HUG-A-TREE and SURVIVE coloring book here…in pdf format

HUG-A-TREE and SURVIVE history from NASAR pdf

HUG-A-TREE and SURVIVE future from NASAR pdf

NASAR HUG-A-TREE and SURVIVE web link..

CARLETON GROUND SEARCH & RESCUE INC.
Additional Information for parents that might be helpful:

TRY TO KEEP YOUR CHILD FROM GETTING LOST in the first place. Children are easily distracted off the trail, so teach them to stay on the trail. Never let your child walk trails alone. Teach them to pick out a high landmark such as a prominent hill, or note the direction of the sun; this prevents disorientation.
FOOT PRINTING YOUR CHILD is a five-minute exercise that could cut down the time of a search by several hours. Place a piece of aluminum foil on a soft surface such as carpeting or a folded towel. Have the child step on the aluminum foil with his/her hiking shoe. Mark the foil with the childs name. With this print, trackers from the rescue team can separate your childs track from the many others in the area and quickly determine the direction of travel.
CALL THE POLICE QUICKLY if your child is lost. The search area expands so quickly due to the lost childs possible movements that rapid response is critical. A slow response can be dangerous, especially if bad weather wipes out the track. Exposure and hypothermia are also considerations.
BE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWING. Clues which lead to finding the child in good health usually come from family and friends who remain on the scene and talk openly and accurately with the search team. Any personal information will be kept confidential.

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