Peter Kummerfeldt will not teach you how to rub sticks together to create fire.
He will, however, show you how to plan and prepare so you can avoid getting lost in the first place, and survive a wilderness emergency if you do happen to get lost.
”I run counter to the typical survival training programs,” Kummerfeldt says. ”They assume a person can do all these elaborate tasks, and it's contrary to the typical survivor.”
Kummerfeldt, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., grew up in Kenya (East Africa) and spent 30 years as a survival instructor for the U.S. Air Force.
He will bring his expertise to Redmond for the Central Oregon Sportsmen's Show, set for March 2-5 at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. Kummerfeldt will have his own booth at the show and will conduct seminars throughout the four days.
He is also offering an outdoor survival clinic on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, which includes a GPS session by Blake Miller of Redmond.
Kummerfeldt, 60, focuses on practical survival skills.
”It's not rocket science,” he says. ”It's common sense from training and the application of training in certain circumstances.”
Kummerfeldt teaches both the psychological and the physiological aspects of surviving a wilderness emergency.
He discusses survival stresses that can sometimes lead to panic or even death.
The instructor places emphasis on having a survival kit and developing survival skills, such as building shelters, finding and purifying water, and signaling for help. He also discusses wilderness medicine and the prevention of cold and heat injuries such as hypothermia and dehydration.
Kummerfeldt's survival training tips can be applied to hunters, anglers, climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and basically anybody who spends significant time in the outdoors.
”It's better to be prepared and equipped than to improvise what you need,” Kummerfeldt says. ”If you're not prepared and you're out there by yourself, the chances of making it depends on a huge amount of luck and getting rescued quickly.”
Kummerfeldt says that most people are poorly informed when it comes to survival skills. Most of the popular outdoor press focuses on primitive survival, Kummerfeldt explains, rather than practical survival.
”Rubbing sticks together has its place, but a person needs to be very, very practical,” he says. ”It's better to be practical than primitive.”
Growing up in Kenya, Kummerfeldt lived on a small farm until he was 19. He hunted, fished, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and spent most of his youth in the outdoors.
In 1965, Kummerfeldt came to the United States and began a 30-year career as a survival instructor for the U.S. Air Force. He taught at the Basic Survival School in Spokane, Wash.; the Arctic Survival School in Fairbanks, Alaska; and the Jungle Survival School in the Philippines. He spent his last 12 years of military service as the survival training director for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
In the early 1990s, Kummerfeldt started the Survival Consultant Group and later OutdoorSafe, which offers information on outdoor safety. He has addressed more than 18,000 people as the featured speaker at numerous seminars and conferences.
”I speak as one who has been lost a number of times,” Kummerfeldt says. ”It's hard to imagine how terrible it feels when you're lost.”
Kummerfeldt hopes his work can help to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in the outdoors each year. He said he often receives feedback from people who have used his information.
”Somebody always comes back and tells me how they applied the training,” he says.