It Isn't Just for Kids

After school is out and vacations have begun, many of us begin looking for fun new adventures to entertain ourselves and our families.  Frequently the more daring and curious among us seek those adventures in our nearby hills, mountains, and national parks.  As much fun as the great outdoors can be, we should all take a moment before heading out to just consider the risks and have a plan for what we should do in certain situations, after all, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” as the old saying goes. 

There is no shortage of books that have been written on wilderness preparation and survival, but for now let’s just take a minute to think about how prepared our younger members may be, or may not be, in the event they get separated from the family or group.  Enter, the “Hug-A-Tree and Survive” philosophy.  The National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR), promotes a program known as “Hug-A-Tree and Survive” or simply “Hug-a-Tree”.  Developed in 1981 by Ab Taylor, an expert man tracker who served with the U.S. Border Patrol for more than three decades, the program is simple by design and intended to help children remember what to do if they become lost or separated.  The plan isn’t just for kids though, it can work equally well for big kids too!  

There are seven simple steps to the process:

1.       Hug a Tree once you know you are lost.

2.       Always carry a trash bag and whistle on a picnic,               hike, or camping trip.

3.       My parents won’t be angry at me.

4.       Make Yourself Big.

5.       There are no animals out there that can hurt you in            this country.

6.       You have hundreds of friends looking for you.

7.       Take an imprint of your child’s footprint prior to                     hiking.

Remember, the goal is to have fun, have adventures and enjoy the great outdoors, but to do it with the minimal amount of risk possible.  A little preparation and planning go a long way to a fantastic memory making trip with friends and family!

For more information about the “Hug-A-Tree and Survive” program, NASAR provides some great information on their website at:

Mission Statement

"To provide highly skilled and dedicated volunteers to assist the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and other agencies requesting mutual aid in search and rescue operations."

Subpages (1): Fresno SAR Newsletter