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Advanced Survival Training 

 September 10, 2020

By  Matt Smith

Its Monday on a cold, dark and wet February morning just west of Glasgow in a small field near Alexandria where 60 employees arrive for another course.

The men who assemble are hardy blokes used to the outdoors, varying weather conditions and a hard day’s graft, they don’t suffer fools gladly and will happily exploit any weakness in Instructors on a new course such as this.

Having been employed to rewire high voltage power cables up the West Coast of Scotland where weather conditions can turn arctic in minutes and remote areas are commonplace.  In these scenarios a good understanding of medical survival skills, along with practical training and effective communication from Managers back at base can massively help save and preserve life in an emergency.

Having served 22 years in the military I have been on my fair share of outdoor courses.  As I looked around the faces on this cold, dark morning I could see the same look in the eyes of the men stood before me, as I had seen on so many courses several years before.  Some non-emotional, some bored, others inquisitive, some excited and some of the older and bolder chilled out as they huddled together to keep warm and waited to find out what the rest of the week held in store for them.

Training comprised of 2 days practical medical skills alongside 2 days of survival skills and emergency equipment used.  Different scenarios and discussions on how teams would react and overcome certain life-threatening situations were also taught, incident control room procedures and emergency communication was key to overall success.  This culminated in a realistic practical team assessment on the last day, with current practises and protocols being overhauled, removed or amended and updated.

Getting to know the blokes and their previous incident experiences always helps to enhance training and make the delivery of content relevant and more realistic.  During the course of the week I learned some harrowing stories from some of the older and more experienced guys on the course.  I would like to stress that these incidents happened years previous in various locations across the world but still added value to scenarios.  As the week went on moods changed, smiles appeared and the banter began to fly, as blokes relaxed into what they realised was going to be an awesome week of realistic training.

Matt Smith


Founder of Primal Bushcraft &Survival

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