Here's a mnemonic promoted by Ray Mears in his BBC "Extreme Survival" series in March 2000 that spells out the steps you should take to ensure you have the best chance of surviving if caught out in any extreme conditions of nature:

" S-T-O-P "

(Stop, Take Inventory, Orientate, Plan)

"Stop" is used here as an acronym (a word formed from the initial letters of other words) to indicate the four key points that will aid your chances of survival in any extreme conditions of nature (such as breaking down in the desert, being stranded in the jungle or being caught in a snowstorm):

  • Stop: Don't panic - just stop and think carefully about the exact nature of your circumstances. For example, are you in any immediate danger or in a rapidly or slowly worsening situation that you may yet be able to gain control of?
  • Take Inventory: Look around you for any useful items. What do you already have with you that can help you to survive? Separate what you need from what you don't need.
  • Orientate Yourself: Where are North/South/East/West, and in which direction were you heading originally? From what direction would a rescue be most likely to come?
  • Plan Ahead: Are you likely to be rescued? How long must you plan to endure? What is the safest way of ensuring that you can survive until rescue comes? Will anyone be searching for you? What's your best means of effecting your own escape if necessary?
  • The one other key element to survival is actually having the will, the determination to survive. Never think of giving up hope, because if you're determined to survive then you will definitely last longer - and thus greatly increase the probability of either escape or rescue from whatever danger you face.


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