You find yourself in a life threatening survival situation with a couple friends or family. Your group is all alone, lost or stranded and you DO NOT see signs of rescue or civilization. One member in your group has taken a severe injury; no question the injury will lead to death before help arrives. You applied all first aid to save the members life nothing has worked and it's all a matter of time. The other members, plus yourself are panicked and hopeless. You have not only lost a member and a friend, you lost a resource to survive and to assist with rescue.
Dealing With Death:
First thing you do is make your friend as comfortable as possible, and if they are lucid and conscious, they will most likely be panicked and read off of yours and the others behavior. You will really need to try to keep a level head to avoid causing additional mental anguish to the dying. Remember, you have to still survive and attain either rescue or self rescue. Your friend has passed away in front of your eyes and in your arms. Naturally everyone is going to be sensitive and upset with the entire situation. Depending on location and environment you will need to secure the body properly, Protect it from animals and insects as well as cover the body to block it from exposure and for a sense of peace. You need to tend to the surviving members of the group, you must do your very best to be focused. You need to be certain to clearly mark the location for a recovery team and note down easily identifiable landmarks and/or terrain features. If you intend to transport the body during self rescue efforts there are a few Litter Carry methods you may use. This really needs to have a lot of safety considerations to the group. You must take into consideration the physical abilities and health of each member, additionally their true limitations.
The first consideration will be weather, terrain, distance and the actuality of success in order to evacuate the deceased. While taking the deceased with you put in jeopardy you and the other members? Remember, you are all still in survival mode. You still need to survive by the fundamentals of survival and the priorities. That means Shelter, Fire, Water and Food, need to take the forefront of concern. You still need to establish group tasks and responsibilities. You also need to work towards signal and communication by cell, radio, sound, and sight. Remember you may not be able to rely on your tech devices due to failure, malfunction, signal, or battery power. You may need to rely on mirror, fire, smoke, noise, or markings.
Making The Decision:
Either you and the group have decided it's best to recover the body and carry it out with you to attain rescue, or leave it behind in an easy to find location. You will want to cover the body with rocks to prevent wildlife from tampering with the remains. If you do not have that option then you will want to dig a grave and cover with debris and clearly mark it with contrasting colors. Leaving behind anyone goes against the social norm but sometimes you have no choice for the safety of the group. It might be for the greater good, but you need to focus on the living and stay focused on survival tasks.
Record down in writing, photography or video if possible as much key information about the location of the remains before departure. The more information you attain, the easier it makes recovery of the remains later, The hardest thing anyone can deal with in a survival situation is the death of another. It will play against your psychology and add to the fear factor of the group. You will need to continue to defeat fear, do not let fear defeat you. Your survival depends on it, if you allow fear to overtake you bad things happen.
Take everything you recorded and/or wrote down and had it over to law enforcement immediately. Be prepared to be interviewed extensively and share as many details as you can remember and remain calm. Once the authorities gather the information they will send out teams to locate and recover the body.
Article by Daniel W. Shrigley
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