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Hug-a-Tree Program Can Save Lost Children

On Saturday, March 4, Ohio Special Response Team (OSRT) Captain Bill Menker presented a “Hug-a-Tree and Survive” program to a group of children and their parents at Centerville Library. This interactive program was designed to show younger adventurers what to do in the event they get separated from their parents or legal guardians while outdoors in the woods.   Inspired by the search for nine-year-old Jimmy Beveridge in 1981 in southern California, the Hug-a-Tree and Survive program teaches children how to survive in the woods should they become lost. The program was developed to educate children in a select few of the most basic and vital survival principles. These include:

  • Children should always tell an adult where they are going.

  • If lost, the best move is to “hug a tree” and stay put.

  • Keeping warm and dry is important.

  • Lost children can help their searchers by answering their calls.

  • Carrying an emergency shelter (or a trash bag) and whistle will help keep a child dry and alert searchers.

After the program, one attendee wrote: “I brought my 7- and 10-year-old grandsons to your Hug-a-Tree program at Centerville Library today. The boys were engaged and I’m sure they gained survival skills, which is exactly what I want for them. Thank you for your presentation and the services you perform for Ohio.” OSRT is a FEMA rated ESF-9 Search and Rescue Team. Members are credentialed in search and rescue by the National Association for Search and Rescue and the Mountain Rescue Association. To request this presentation for your classroom, scout troop, or community group, contact Capt. Menker at 937-554-0502 or


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