WINSAR Helps Produce New ‘Hug A Tree’ Video

August 22, 2015

2015 HAT Emily

Winnipeg Search and Rescue volunteers are often called out when people get lost, but they also put a lot of energy into preventing people from getting lost in the first place.

Working with AdventureSmart, Winnipeg Search and Rescue (WINSAR) volunteers, along with Winnipeg Police and RCMP helped to produce a new instructional video for the national Hug a Tree and Survive program.

“(This program) was started to prevent kids from getting lost in the first place and to help searchers find them faster,” said Jacqueline Bannach of the National Search and Rescue Secretariat. “It teaches them four basic rules: Always tell an adult where you’re going; if you get lost hug-a-tree and stay put; keep warm and dry; and help searchers find you by answering their calls.”

The film will be shown to children from kindergarten to Grade 6. The updated video will be available on the web site later this year in both official languages.

Four simple rules that are core to Hug-a-Tree presentations:

  • Tell an adult where you are going.
  • If you are lost, “Hug-a-Tree” and stay put.
  • Keep warm and dry.
  • Help searchers find you by answering their calls.

“With those simple messages, we believe we can reduce the number of search and rescue incidents in this country,” said Winnipeg Police Sgt. Randy Antonio, who teaches the program to schools, scout troops and other community groups. The lessons also apply to adults, although the message to them concentrates on the three T’s: Trip planning, training and 10 essentials.

“When I teach this program, there are always adults present whether they are teachers or scout leaders,” said Antonio, whose daughter Emily played the daughter of the family in the updated video. “The last question I always ask the kids is, ‘Are these rules just applicable for children or are they applicable for adults as well?’ The answer is yes, these messages are definitely applicable to adults.”

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