MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Michigan Backcountry Search and Rescue MibSAR is a civilian, all-volunteer special operations group (LRSOG) that works on unsolved long-term missing person cases and cold-case murder investigations that other work on has been suspended by the agency of jurisdiction. President of MibSAR, Michael Neiger, has multiple certifications from the National Association for Search and Rescue including SAR Tech I and Crew Leader certifications.
Neiger says no one plans to get lost or injured on a trail, so preparedness is essential.
“I see a lot of people out carrying nothing, their either out for an hour sometimes they’re out for a half a day and maybe they just have a water bottle and granola bar so I would say no one plans on getting lost,” said Neiger. “You know if we know we’re going to get lost we would certainly be carrying a ton of stuff, I would be carrying more than this, than I normally carry if I knew I was going to get lost.”
If it’s late in the day or you’re not on a populated trail, carrying the ten essentials can come in handy in case of an emergency.
“These should be on your person whether they’re possibly in your pocket which would be good in case you got separated from your pack but otherwise they should be in your pack,” said Neiger. “A common item is a shelter, an emergency blanket it’s good if it’s reflective on one side for signaling and reflecting your heat back to you and it’s also good if the other side is really bright like a bright orange, both of those work really good for conserving your heat and also allowing search and rescues to spot you easily.”
In this video, Michael Neiger talks about signal mirrors.
Michael Neiger talks about some tools for starting a fire.
Learning about survival resources is possible to do online for free, by reading books or even taking a class.
“Classes are good especially if they’re taught by someone who’s really knowledgable in the field I highly recommend that but you can do a lot of self-study,” said Neiger. “One thing you can do is go to the library in our case here you can go to the Peter White Public Library they have tremendous resources there and you can pick up a hardcopy book on wilderness survival.”
Watch the video to learn about what uses knives have in the woods.
The ten essentials include fire-starting devices, a knife, a compass and map, emergency shelter, signaling device personal insulation like a hat and jacket, flashlight, first aid supplies, some food, water and sun protection.
“One of the most important things to have is a map of the area you’re going to visit so that you can reduce the chances you’re going to get disoriented,” said Neiger. “…You can get a hard copy of it you can also go online and you know print off a copy, and you can basically do that for about anywhere you’re going to hike.”
Neiger says that for more serious exploring a topographical map is good to have for helping relate surroundings to where you are. He also says that keeping hard copies is ideal even if you have the map on your phone in case your phone goes down. Hard copies should be kept in a zip top bag or another waterproof container to be kept dry.
Another measure for ensuring safety on an adventure is leaving a trip plan with a trusted individual for longer trips can also aid in the event that search and rescue operations need to be deployed.
“I have developed a form for people it’s free, you can contact me for it, and it basically lists, it prompts you with everything you should leave behind in terms of what you’re doing and whatnot,” said Neiger. “It has a place where you can put your route on it, what kind of equipment you’re using, color of your clothing, whether you have a cell phone, who your emergency contacts are, who your doctor is, things like that, and so I’m happy to provide that for free and that’s one of the most important things people can do is leave this type of information behind with a reliable person who knows when you should be considered overdue and when they can call the authorities in to look for you or double-check on you.”
You can email Neiger for the form at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will also be doing some free backpacking and wilderness classes in Marquette coming up soon.