Static Survival

This is when you decide to remain at the site of the accident or at least in the nearby areas. There are pros and cons to static survival. Have a look a little further down for more information.

If a travel plan or itinerary has been properly organized and given to your contacts, then someone will come looking for you.

However, even if you have given your itinerary to someone, make your signals after addressing the other priorities in order to attract attention to aircraft or people. Attempt to attract attention and don't wait for you to be missed before starting to signal for help. You'll need your signals to be ready at all times, even if you are involved in a downed aircraft and that a flight plan had been filed before leaving. Follow the survival priorities and place your signals.

It is possible for an airplane to go off course and the pilots couldn't relay their last known position before the plane goes down. In large commercial style air transportation there is a lot of technology keeping track of all aircraft, but anything can happen. Technology is not infallible especially if combined with human error. Decisions will need to be made according to the circumstances in order to make the best decisions possible.

Dare to think for yourself is a good expression when it comes to emergencies. Lists telling us what order to do things in the event of an emergency is a good starter, but you need to be able to think on your feet as well. Every situation has its own unique circumstances, whether great or small when comparing to other similar scenarios.

If no itinerary has been prepared and no-one will know you are missing or where you are, then you'll need to decide whether to stay and attract attention through signaling, or to do what is called self-rescue.

When an emergency is happening there are several things that you need to do. Whether solo or in a group, take into consideration the following courses of action listed below which I adapted (modified) from John 'Lofty' Wiseman's DVD I purchased in 2009 from Trueway Survival. In the DVD you can learn much from it.

1. Get out of immediate danger and stay in the area if safe to do so.

2. Calm down and get your breathing under control. Avoid hyperventilating. Remember the acronym STOP, short for Stop, Think, Observe and Plan.

3. Do a role call if you are in a group to see if anyone is missing.

4. Take care of any that are injured, or yourself if you are alone.

5. Take a look at what resources are available from the wreckage and what you have on your person or as a group.

6. Ration your food, water and other supplies immediately. Prepare to resupply through available resources, if possible.

7. Scout the area you are in for local resources that may be utilized to help you to survive.

Once that is done you need to address the survival priorities of shelter, fire, signaling, water and food acquisition, location/navigation as well as any medical problems. Have a look at the Survival Priorities page for more information on the subject.

Normally you should remain at the site (static survival) of the accident for a couple of reasons.

1. Search and rescue aircraft and personnel will more easily spot where you are because the wreckage is more visible than you are as a person in the background.

2. If an itinerary had been given to someone, search and rescue will more easily locate you because they will know your travel plan which includes information on your intended travel route. If however you headed off into the woods or other it will complicate things for them. If you must move then there are things that you must do to help them. Have a look at Roaming Survival for more information.

Static Survival


1. You can build a better shelter to protect you from the elements.

2. You can have more time to stock up on firewood and other supplies, including food perhaps.

3. You can make better signals for search and rescue to find you.

4. You can more effectively hunt, forage and acquire water by knowing the area more thoroughly, and have the time to do what needs to be done like setting traps and snares. Food is not a priority in the beginning but will need to be addressed if you are going to stay in the area for awhile.

5. Having built a shelter, made a fire, prepared your signals and established a routine, you can make some camp equipment and do other things that will make life a little more comfortable.

6. You can and should make a simple map of the area if you do not have a commercially made map available to you. Take note of the terrain and any prominent natural features while out fetching firewood or setting up traps etc.

7. Injuries and illnesses may have time to heal, depending of course on the gravity and resources available. If in a group the sick and the injured have a better chance at recuperating.

8. You have more time that will enable you to make a better contingency plan if you decide to move from your present location.

I'll add this here instead of in the list above as extras if it so be that your circumstances should require this information.

1. If dangerous predators are a reality in your location, you may be able to build a better shelter to protect yourself.

2. If in enemy territory, you may build a covert shelter and fire to avoid detection. You may also post a watch to ascertain any enemy movement in the area.


1. Local resources may become depleted such as firewood, water, and plants for foraging etc. Having made your presence known through hunting, trapping and walking around doing diverse survival tasks, animals may get scared off as well. This may take a couple of weeks more or less depending on the resources to begin with, number of persons in the group as well as other factors.

2. You are not any closer to getting home by remaining where you are.

3. You are totally dependent on others finding you.

I'll add this here instead of in the list above as extras if it so be that your circumstances should require this information.

1. If in enemy territory, you will need to hide your camp which includes making your shelter 'invisible' or concealed.

2. Your fire may may spotted so you'll need to make a covert fire, and if and when possible to do without a fire.


Lofty Wiseman Survival Course with Trueways Survival School (inc survival tool knife use)