Wilderness Survival Rescue

About what to do if you are lost in the wilderness, your chances or expectations for being rescued.


Do not expect to be rescued. Even when someone figures you're lost and sends out a party, rescue is far from certain. Signing up at park headquarters or trail heads is a good idea, but this doesn't guarantee being found. People have died in the Yosemite Valley area while waiting several days for rescue from the cliffs.

What this means is that if you can get yourself out, do so; but if one of your party is injured, or for some other reason you can't move far, you have to work hard to get help to reach you. Build a bright fire at night and a smoky fire by day. Clear an area visible from the air and lay out a message with rocks or brush. Use bright colors, shiny metal, or flashing mirrors to signal aircraft.

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