The Five Basic Needs

Jessie Krebs

Lesson time 17:05 min

Jessie introduces the five basic needs of a survivor and talks about how to consider those needs before leaving home.

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Topics include: One: Signal • Two: Take Care of You • Three: Drink Me • Four: Explore • Five: Stay Alive • Cover the Five Basic Needs Before You Go


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Once we've learned a lot of the soft skills and we understand that concept of it's my willpower that'll get me through anything, now we can start looking at some of the really actual hard skills, the concepts that are going to help keep us alive, the things that can make our brain think and figure out the path. So what we use, generally, are the five basic needs of a survivor. And this is the framework that we can drape everything else around. And if we think of these five basic needs and we can remember them quickly in a survival situation, that can help give us something to focus on, to put our energy toward, and give us a purpose, basically a goal to look for, to help us get out of the situation. So let's look at what those are. [MUSIC PLAYING] What is the most important thing to you in a survival situation? This is the main thing that's going to differentiate everything else as well. My number one priority is signaling. We want to get out of here, right? I don't want to be here anymore. So signaling has to be A number 1. And if your mind was going through, oh, I need water, I'm going to need to fire, no. Those are all secondary. Signaling and recovery are my number one priorities. I don't want to be here anymore. At some point during my trip, whatever was going on, I went from, woo-hoo this is fun, or, gee, I wonder what we're going to do for dinner tonight? to, oh, this isn't cool anymore. I suddenly don't want to be here anymore. I tumbled down a cliff. I broke a leg. I got lost and disoriented. I came across somebody else in trouble. The weather kicked in, and I'm like, what's going on right now? At some point, it's no longer just, woo-hoo. And something should switch in your brain to say, okay, I am no longer just out here playing around. I want to get home now. And as soon as that switch happens, yes, all five basic needs are important. And at every opportunity, I'm going to be signaling. We've got three basic types of signaling that we're going to be looking at. And there's kind of a half signal that a lot of people, again, think of, but really isn't a priority. So one might be electronic signals. I want things like beacons, cell phones, little things that will-- something that will tell somebody way out there with electronic signals that I can't find any other way to contact, satellites, and airplanes, and everything else, here I am. So electronic are great. Then pyrotechnic-- this could be things like flares. It could be things like a fire that I build, that I create white smoke or black smoke. Or I might have some kind of a ground-to-air signal. And these can be things like signal mirrors, like we have over here, or even just bright cloth that I lay out on the ground, maybe something that turns the water a different color. These are all different types of signals. So we have those three primary type-- electronic, pyrotechnic, and ground to air. Then a half signal is a...

About the Instructor

As a former Air Force SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) specialist, wilderness survival expert Jessie Krebs spent 30 years preparing people for the unexpected. Now she’s teaching you the mindset and skills to safely explore the outdoors. Learn essential survival techniques—from signaling for help to reading a map, finding water, making shelter, and more—and embark on your next adventure with confidence.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jessie Krebs

Wilderness survival expert and former Air Force SERE specialist Jessie Krebs teaches you the skills to explore nature safely and confidently.

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