The onslaught of disaster news each year can make preparing for an emergency feel a little overwhelming. As we head into the second half of 2021, we believe that preparedness is the best response. 

This season, we are hosting the following virtual classes:

Preparing to Prepare: Tuesday, Aug 10th at 6pm MT

Gearing Up: Tuesday, Aug 17th at 6pm MT

Hunkering Down: Tuesday, Aug 24th at 6pm MT

From having a plan, to preparing a "go bag", to learning about regional risks—your local REI Co-op is here to ensure you're set with the best resources and products. David Yen, REI Emergency Preparedness expert and host of our virtual Emergency Preparedness Essentials virtual classes, is one of those resources! Have a question for David? Didn't get your question answered during one of the Emergency Preparedness classes? Submit a question to our "Ask David" thread below, your direct line to David and all of his knowledge!

Looking for more great Emergency Preparedness info? We've put together the ultimate resource page to help ensure you and your family are ready for any emergency. Explore our emergency preparedness shopping lists, REI-led virtual courses and programs, expert advice articles, and more -- because preparing now can make all the difference!

Two notes:

1. Please tag @REI-DavidY in your questions so David can be sure to see them!

2. Please allow 1-3 days for a response, since David might be helping customers at the Santa Rosa REI store, teaching an outdoor class, or working with his local Search and Rescue Team. We'll get to your questions as soon as we can! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-DavidY First, I love REI and have been a member for decades. However, due to travel and other concerns I've been looking at a couple of purported "survival skills" operations other than REI. But how do you know if they're as good as their website says they are? 


@greenfroggii - Thanks for your question. I'd say, pursue the usual channels--look into the instructors' bios for their experience in the field, check feedback from folks who have taken the program, etc. A good marketing team can make things appear good, but facts are facts--if they don't have the experience that makes you feel comfortable with their instruction, move on to someone else. (And if you don't see what you need, don't hesitate to contact the company for more information--if they are hesitant, it's a good sign you should shop elsewhere.)
If you're in the Bay Area/northern California, I teach a Wilderness Survival program through the Outdoor School/Experiences group with REI. Check REI's Classes and Events for a full listing, even if you're *not* in the area. Good luck!

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

@REI-DavidY Just curious, with you being readily prepared for emergency/survival situations, if you had ever used your own supplies to help others in emergency/survival situations?

While backpacking, I have offered water/food/help to other I have come across on the trail that I felt needed it.

If you have, would you share a story and highlight the weight of your choice to help them while knowingly giving up some of your own supplies.

I typically carry a first aid kit and an extra  sealed bottled water when I'm hiking and my "home trail" is about a 2.5 mile loop with about 800' of elevation gain. It's a popular trail on the weekends but I typically go after work during the week.
A few months or so ago, I was on my way up the mountain and passed some younger ladies heading up. We had a quick conversation (they had never hiked it and had some questions about how to navigate, etc ). After a few minutes, we parted ways and I headed up the mountain. I spent 10 or so minutes at the top and headed back down the other side of the loop. I met 2 of the 3 ladies on their way up. We exchanged pleasantries and continued on. A bit further down, I ran into the third. She was sitting down, short of breath, very red and not really sweating anymore. She was coherent, but clearly not in good shape. I offered my spare water but she declined and just said her friends were on their way back any minute. I took the hint and headed on down the mountain but alerted another couple that she was on the trail and briefly what had happened. That was the last month heard of her and haven't seen her or her friends since, but it seemed sad the state of things these days.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

 I and a climbing buddy decided to climb a nearby technical peak and he invited a third couple whom I had not met.  The trip involved an overnight camp just before parties roped up.

As we departed our car, i noticed that my buddy had brought his SAR radio.  We knew that a large group was also doing the climb a day ahead of us.  I persuaded him to pack the radio on the climb since the deep canyon in which we parked our vehicle blocked short wave transmission.

Wee had just reached the camp site when someone came down the steep slope above, saying that there had been a serious injury.  We started immediately for the scene and as we arrived, I could hear my buddy making contact back in Tucson.

Our victim had fortunately been wearing a hard hat, which was now badly broken and he had a very noticeable contusion on his forehead.  At this point, our third companion turned to me and said, "we haven't talked about my job.  I am an MD and for the past three years I have been working in the St Mary's Emergency room."

With SAR notified and a helicopter due to arrive within an hour, the rest was straightforward.  We trained volunteers with a quick course in litter carrying (due to arrive on the chopper), tended to his injury by fabricating a cervical splint from the bottom 6 inches of my foam mattress with a lot of duct tape, and lit  signal fire for the arriving chopper (night had fallen).

Within two hours, our victim had reached an ER and was receiving definitive care.  This was well before the cell phone era (1987) and without the radio, the operation could easily have lasted a day, with unknown consequences.  Our patient made a full recovery...

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.


When I served as an Advanced-EMT with the Back Country Medical Rescue Team, a state trained advanced life support resource, within Idaho Emergency Medical Services, we typically would utilized “Team” Equipment, supplemented with our own personal hardware, if required to effectively perform a medical rescue mission.

Willing to share when needed, we wanted to be sure each team member got his/her personal equipment back after the mission was completed. 

To be sure of that outcome, each team member would color code their own hardware with a specific color vinyl tape. 

By doing so, it helped expedite organizing our equipment for the next mission. 

@ARHertlein - Thanks so much for your question. One of the hardest lessons for me to learn when I became a Wilderness First Responder was that I must take care of myself--I don't want to double the amount of patients in the situation. That being said, however, I always carry a little extra "just in case" for others: some extra food is already part of the ten essentials, for example--I just double my "extra" amount". (A concrete example of this: I usually carry two ProBar Meal bars and two gels with me at all times--one is for me, one is expendable.) I can then, without hesitation (and have, on several occasions) give something to someone to help them out. 

Hope this helps--and thanks, everyone else, for your stories!


“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

@REI-DavidY Is there a link to a replay of Tuesdays Zoom and the resource materials ie. Davids personal take everywhere kit. 




Hi, @KenSoutham

We are working on a viewable replay of the presentations, but that might be a bit before it's released to the public. Did you get the resource sheet for session two in your email yet?

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden