Though we take for granted the vast majority of LEOs in the US will never need any sort of ‘survival’ gear, it’s hard to argue the need for preparedness. If there is ever the slightest chance you could be in a rural situation unable to advise your exact location to call for help or extraction, then you might consider the SESS/c from SAR Global. It takes up virtually no space and won’t add anything to the weight of your gear. We’ll eschew any actual reviews; there are many out there. Instead we’ll relay a story from a Federal drug enforcement agent from the other side of the border and how the SESS/c played a role in saving his life. We will not be providing any more specifics than the author did, for obvious reasons, but it’s a good argument towards why you should be prepared for even that unlikely eventuality.
It’s also a hard look at what our counterparts in Mexico are dealing with.
“…I work for the Mexican federal government; I’m a member of the regional operations group. My group does everything form executive protection to anti-narcotics operations all over the north western part of Mexico. Sometimes our activities take us to very rural areas were we do foot patrols to try to detect marihuana fields or narco camps. A few months ago we were dropped of via helicopter in the sierra de San Pedro Martyr in the state of Baja. After a few days on patrol we spotted a few black irrigation hoses, which is a sign of a marihuana field.
After a few minutes we started taking fire from a nearby hill, what started out as a single shooter turned in to a fire storm after the 6 other narco guys that were grading the camp joined in. My 5 man team had to split up, with 3 of guys trying to flank the enemy’s position. During the fire fight we hit a fuel drum that caught fire. The whole valley went up in flames and in the confusion I got separated from my team. The fire spread fast. I had to make a run to a nearby canyon to take cover from the fire and the bullets that were still flying. I soon realized that more narco guys were coming in to the fight from the nearby hills—it wasn’t the only narco camp up there—so I went for my radio to warn the other members of my group. It was then that I realized that I had lost it during my dash down the hill side.
I evaded the narco guys all night, and I tried to find the other members of my team with no luck. A walked all night and took shelter near a lake, and waited for the fire to pass and the narcos to go. I spent four days [emphasis added] laying low till I finally spotted a friendly helicopter. I had [the SESS/c] in my survival tin. Making a fire to signal would have done no good in this situation. I pulled out your signal mirror and proceeded to signal the helicopter. They spotted me right away even with all the pines covering my position.
They took my back to base where I was welcomed by my team, all of them safe. They had, with some much needed help form the Mexican army, successfully tracked and captured most of the narco guys that were up there.
Your little signal mirror came in real handy that day. It’s always with me as part of my escape an evasion tin.”