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True North Announces New Partnership

True North Announces New Partnership

True North Wilderness Survival School is proud to officially announce that it is partnering with the Allegheny County Parks Department to run a series of outdoor education programs throughout 2015.  The schedule will include courses in wilderness survival, land navigation, and first-aid, to name just a few. These events will help to meet several goals all around, but, more importantly, will offer many benefits to the Western Pennsylvania region. ACPD is eager to develop and manage programs that will help contribute to its mission of enhancing the quality of life and well being of the residents of Allegheny County by showcasing the beauty and diversity of its extensive park system, while also offering outdoor educational opportunities that will help foster a deeper respect for the conservation of its natural and cultural resources. In turn, True North is excited at the prospect of working with a broader range of outdoor enthusiasts to help develop […]

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Emergency Water Sources

Emergency Water Sources

In a wilderness emergency, especially one in which you suspect that you may not be rescued within 72 hours, potable water can be critical to your survival.  This is because by that point – perhaps even sooner depending upon certain factors like the weather, your level of physical exertion, and medical condition – your bodily functions begin to become impeded and your mental status impaired. So, while you may have the necessary equipment to filter and purify water, you have to first find it. Can you? Just in case you are uncertain, let me share with you a few ideas and tips to consider. Where to Look Here are a few suggestions on finding sources of water: Keep in mind the basic truism that water doesn’t flow uphill or run along the top of ridgelines, so you’ll have much better luck looking in low spots, like valleys and drainages. There, not only […]

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Staying Warm on a Cold Night

Staying Warm on a Cold Night

Speaking from experience, it’s seems that whenever one has to suddenly deal with an unexpected problem, rarely does it occur in perfect conditions.  This, most especially, when it involves the outdoors.  So, in this vein, my mind regularly ponders varying ways and means to effectively stay warm if one of my “day hikes” should ever turn into a overnight.  Out of this, then, let me share with you a product that you may want to consider adding to you gear inventory. Now, of course, whenever I head out into the woods on some adventure, I am properly prepared to meet my seven priorities of survival — in particular, Priority #3 Shelter — but my concern is that even if I can protect myself from the wind and rain, it may still be hard to stay warm. Build a fire, right? Building a fire to dovetail with my shelter seems to be a […]

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Preparation: The Key to Dealing with an Emergency

Preparation: The Key to Dealing with an Emergency

As I regularly explain to our students in our wilderness survival and medicine courses, one doesn’t need to be an Army Ranger or a medical professional to benefit from these types of emergency training.  After all, whether it’s a mountain top, a state park, a roadside accident, or a burning building, each of us may still at any moment be called upon to protect ourselves or the lives of others from some threat.  Then, thereafter, we may need to live with the consequences of our action or inaction — Or, heck, perhaps we won’t live. At the moment of truth, it really doesn’t matter so much the size of your backpack, the fancy equipment in it, or your general professional training (I’ve heard of a group cardiologists who froze when a colleague collapsed of a cardiac arrest during a conference).  Rather it is your head and heart that most matters. So […]

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Our Newest WFA Providers!

Our Newest WFA Providers!

On behalf of True North, I am really pleased to announce our newest group of certified Wilderness First Aid (WFA) providers.  Travelling from as far away as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and representing a diverse mix of backgrounds including an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), an outdoor educator, and a geologist, the group all shared the same desire to learn how to stabilize, assess, and treat patients in wilderness or other austere locations when frontcountry help isn’t immediately available. After they learned the fundamentals of keeping themselves safe while properly assessing a patient, they learned such important topics as dealing with traumatic injuries, environmental issues, like hypothermia and hyperthermia, and a mix of medical problems.  Then they ended the course by running through an involved scenario — with four of the best “patients” around! — that tested their newly acquired skills and knowledge. I want to thank each of them for all of their […]

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WMS Approves our Courses

WMS Approves our Courses

True North is proud to announce that the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) has recently accepted our Basic Wilderness Navigation and Basic Wilderness Survival as approved courses in its Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) program.  This former, then, provides 6-credits of “Land Navigation” (05-15), while the latter provides 11.5-credits through a mix of core and elective components as part of the FAWM Survival, Field Craft & Equipment topic area. The FAWM is geared towards those professionals, like physicians, nurses, paramedics, and other related outdoor educators, in any recognized medical discipline or vocation, or who are a current student or resident of such a program.  The fundamental purpose of the Academy is the support the mission of the WMS to advance healthcare, research, and education related to wilderness medicine. This addition to our programming is just another in True North’s ongoing efforts to provide superior outdoors training at fair and reasonable prices that meets the demands of […]

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The New Year Ahead

The New Year Ahead

I am sure that many of you, like me, take advantage of the slow and peaceful days between Christmas and the New Year, to quietly reflect on the preceding twelve months.  Doing so offers us an opportunity to consider what went well, and just as importantly — perhaps even more so — what didn’t, with the hope that we can make the most of our future. So, as I sit here planning the year ahead for True North, I cannot help but appreciate how terrific the current year has been, and be thankful for it.  This most especially since we were able to build upon what we had started in years past to bring some of the finest in outdoors education and programming to an expanding list of clients, friends, and partners.  Now I’m even more excited about what we can do in 2015! The Year in Review 2014 stands as a milestone for several reasons, but I […]

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The Real Survival Skill – Shelter Craft

The Real Survival Skill - Shelter Craft

I just read a news article this morning about how a Canadian father and his 14-year-old daughter found themselves in a wilderness survival situation this past weekend after getting lost while skiing in British Columbia.  I regularly read such accounts because I believe that they offer us good lessons about what to do in a such an emergency, but, just as importantly, what not to do.  In this situation, what caught my interest was this pair’s focus on making a shelter instead of making a fire as many of us may have been inclined to do. On Saturday during our most recent Wilderness Survival 101 course, I stressed to my clients that the most important survival skill that they should hone, at least in my personal view, is making an emergency shelter.  This is different from many other survival programs which stress making a fire. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I believe that fire […]

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Gift Certificates are Available!

Gift Certificates are Available!

True North is very pleased to announce that it is now making gift certificates available for you to give to your family or friends.  This offers an easy and convenient way to surprise the survivor in your life! We can customize your certificate in any number of formats that best serves your wishes.  One way is to purchase a certificate for a specific course, like Basic Wilderness Survival or Wilderness First Aid.  Another way is to purchase a certificate which reflects some dollar amount which your survivor can then redeem towards a course.  Or, if you have some specific idea in mind, just let us know and we’ll work with you to design a format.  In any case, once your survivor receives the certificate, we’ll work with him or her directly to register for a course. Better yet, our certificates are absolutely risk and worry free since your survivor can work with us […]

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Bugs, It’s What’s for Dinner

Bugs, It's What's for Dinner

As a wilderness survival instructor, every so often I have the sense that a client believes that I’ve let him down when I fail to cover wild edibles as a food source.  Such an expectation, though, is understandable since the general consensus certainly seems to be that a knowledge of wild edibles is vital to properly dealing with an emergency outdoors.  After all, consider the millions of television viewers who tune in each week to watch a wide mix of survival reality shows as their hosts and contestants busily forage for plants, berries, and mushrooms during their scripted emergency.  In turn, there are countless books, articles, and websites that vigorously promote the topic.  But the actual reality is that I truly would be letting down my clients if I continued to foster this notion. That’s because in a survival situation, wild edibles should not be your primary food source.  In fact, at the risk of further appearing […]

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