Wilderness Survival / Primitive Skills/Risk Assesment



im taking a course on wilderness guiding, my teacher says the i need to be more thorough on my risk assessment in a particular assignment. i would ask him, but wheni have in the past they've only told me to look it up on google.

so on a hike through the west coast trail these are the risks that i have assessed. do you think i could have missed anything?

1.  blisters
2. sprained ankle
3. sprained knee
4. strained back
5. wash out
6. burn
7. near drown
8. beaver fever
9. hypothermia
10. heart attack/stroke
11. bear encounter
12. cougar attack
13. tsunami

1. boot adjustments in the first four hours of the expedition and adequate first aid equipment

2. tensor bandages, use walking poles if available

3. tensor bandages, splints, use walking poles if available

4. rearrange bags, maybe relive the injured of their pack, if
necessary walk person out.

5. Review current tide tables before camping near ocean, view weather

6. fires are not necessary except in cases of mild hypothermia

7. ocean swimming is prohibited, river crossings will be conducted by experienced guide only

8. all drinking water will either be boiled or filtered adequately,

9. assess all participants hourly during cold or wet weather, take necessary actions to reheat participant. During the event of moderate hypothermia a runner will be sent to trail head, mid station, or foot. If moderate developers into severe hypothermia, runner will engage emergency evacuation of participant.

10. Expidition leader will evaluate afflicted paricipant and administer first aid as necisarry. Help will be saught.
11. Amaruk's guidelines on bear encounters will be followed as per 3.9.23. pawgi wilderness guide manual: canada (second edition)

12. all participants will cary a knife easyly accessable, and treat a cougar attack as battle for life and death. Participants will be informed of how to show a cougar its life is in danger.

13. In the event of a tsunami the tide will recede dramaticly, an earth quake may also signify this. All participants will drop packs and head up hill. Personal locator beacons and satelite phone will be taken with

Hypothermia is the number one outdoor injury.  It is weather related and a forecast as part of your trip planning may be part of what your instructor is looking for.  Also, including the appropriate layering systems (wicking layer, insulation layers, and weather shell) as part of the gear/gear list may also be what they are looking for.  Evac routes, difficulty of terrain, and the fitness, existing allergies medical conditions, and experience level of the group are also missing from your list and are important items regarding risk assessment.  As is the type if terrain and length of time out.  Second to hypothermia is dehydration.  Making sure each person is well equipped with water bottles and water purification, even on water born excursions, is a must.  Hope this helps.  Remember the priorities of awareness level (trip planning, experience, client limitations and needs), shelter (appropriate tarps/tents/sleeping bags & pads for climate, terrain, and weather), water (sources, purification, and signs/treatment of dehydration), fire/warmth (stoves, fuel, emergency fire making devices), and food (caloric requirements, camp hygiene, bear/pest management) and you should be all right.

Wilderness Survival / Primitive Skills

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Michael James Douglas


I can answer questions about wilderness survival, primitive skills, bushcraft, mentoring, outdoor education, nature, awareness and tracking. The subsets of these skill areas are vast and include Shelter Building, dressing for the out of doors, fiber arts, wild crafting, making cordage from plants, trees, and animal parts, flint knapping and stone tools, bone tool making, crafting and using hunting tools from the landscape, tracking, trailing, track interpretation, edible, medicinal, and utilitarian plants, trees, and shrubs, primitive pottery, fermentation, fungi for food and medicine, identifying hazards, movement, camouflage, and concealment, making baskets and containers, water gathering and purification, using bird language to read the landscape for survival needs and the movement/location of other living things on the landscape, primitive/modern navigation, fire making off the landscape, fire by friction, ice lenses, and approaches to survival atttude.


Student of Survival and Primitive Skills since 1980. Founded The Maine Primitive Skills School. Have been sharing and learning skills professionally since August 4, 1989. Studied with Tom Brown jr., Charles Worsham, Paul Rezendes, Jon Young, Mark Elbroch, Arnie Neptune, Ray Rietze, and all of the students, volunteers, interns, instructors, and staff at The Maine Primitive Skills School and the schools that have been started by its community. We go on full survival outings at least twice a year to build community and develop our skill sets. New instructors are allowed to bring a metal knife. These trips usually last between 5 and 10 days. We have also been weaving in permaculture and sustainable land management concepts at our main campus.

New England Environmental Educators Alliance Maine Environmental Educators Alliance

MAMLE-Middle Association of Middle Level Education Ancestral Plants-A Primitive Skills Guide to Important Edible, Medicinal, and Udeful Plants of the Northeast.

B.S. University of Maine, College of Education, Environmental Education USMC-Numerous military Survival Schools (SERE, JWS, Cold Weather) Tracker School (16 courses from 1989-2003) Kamana (Wilderness Awareness School) Paul Resendez (numerous Tracking Workshops)

Awards and Honors
Vigil Honor-BSA-1984 Primitive Skills in the Modern Classroom-1992 Volunteers of America Star Award-2002

Past/Present Clients
U.S. Military Unity College Bowdoin College Colby College Scouting Maine Conservation School 4H

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