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Search and Rescue Team: Children Know They Are Lost

In her book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit tells the story of her friend Sallie who is part of a search-and-rescue team in the Rocky Mountains. Sallie still remembers the frantic search for a lost eleven-year-old boy who was deaf and losing his eyesight. The boy wandered off during a late afternoon game of hide-and-seek. Because he was deaf, he was particularly hard to find. He had been blowing a whistle given him for just such an occasion, but could not hear how close he was to a nearby stream. The roar of the water made his signal impossible for those searching for him to hear. After a harrowing night on his own, the sun came up, and he started blowing his whistle again. The search-and-rescue team finally found him, very cold but okay.

Sallie and other search-and-rescue experts say that the key to survival often hinges on one thing: knowing and admitting that you are lost. That's why kids are found more often than adults. Kids don't stray as far. They usually curl up in a sheltered place and wait for their rescuers. And unlike many adults who get lost in the Rockies, kids don't desperately try to save themselves. Instead, they aren't afraid to stop and admit that they need help.

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