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Our training is based on the current Canadian Air Force doctrine. This course is both informative and entertaining through real life examples. The basic principles learned, can be used in all environments whether it’s land, marine or urban based emergencies. Ask questions, handle equipment and start fires. We show you the best equipment on the market, saving you $100's and possibly your life. A confidence builder for everyone! You will receive a certificate upon completion.

Main teaching points include (but not limited to):
•Pre-trip planning and preparation
•Psychology of Survival
•S.A.R. Response in Canada
•The Survival Pattern
•Environmental Injuries
•Water and Food

Duration: 1 Day - 8 hours of lectures with some hands on activities outdoors (please dress accordingly)

Cost: $ 125.00 per person (+GST)
Group Rates Available
Certificates provided for all training.

Our instructors have national/international survival training expertise in various habitats and environmental conditions. Each of our staff members possesses a minimum of 20 years serving Canada, in various positions as members of the Canadian Forces. These professionals have unique skills in the outdoors and a desire to pass on their knowledge to you. 

Check out our instructor biographies and compare our experience levels with other survival training companies and ask yourself: who better to teach survival than ICSOS?


Wilderness Safety and Survival Level 1

Brief introduction of instructors, course material to be covered and distribution of materials

Psychology of Survival
Performance Objective (PO): How to mitigate the physiological and psychological enemies of survival.
Teaching Points (TP’s): Psychological challenges, physiological challenges, enemies of survival, available weapons, the good survival prospect, the survival pattern.

Clothing and Equipment
Performance Objective:
Recognize pros and cons of clothing materials, layering principle, and equipment.Teaching Points: man made versus, natural material, layering system, body heat gain and lost, principles of keeping warm, survival, equipment

Environmental Injuries
Performance Objective: Prevent, Recognize, and Treat environmental injuries with the emphasis on prevention methods.
Teaching Points: Emergency Scene management, review first aid kit, treatment of wounds, fractures, insect bites and stings, snow blindness, burns, heat & cold injuries, cold water immersions, dehydration, diarrhoea/constipation

Performance Objective: Identify and construct various shelters thus enabling you to have some knowledge & experience if you are ever put in a survival situation.Teaching Points: Importance of a shelters, selecting a shelter site, principle of construction, materials, types of shelters, one man lean-too.

Performance Objective: To supply you with the knowledge and experience to be effective with both active and passive signaling devices and to assist you in effecting your own rescue. 
Teaching Points:Radio communication, homing, operate survival radio’s, active & passive signals, ground to air signals, pyrotechnics, improvised signals

Performance Objective: To allow you to collect, purify and consume sufficient quality and quantity of drinking water to stay hydrated.
Teaching Points: Daily water requirements, water balance, dehydration, water sources, methods of purifying water, absorption of water, water discipline, purification devices


Performance Objective: To provide the basic knowledge and skills to start and maintain a fire. Teaching Points: Description of the benefits of fire, description of the hazards of fire, conditions and needs of starting and maintaining a fire. Fire lighting techniques. Demonstrations and practice exercise.


Performance Objective:To learn how to obtain and consume food and apply this knowledge during a survival situation. 
Teaching Points: Survival calorie requirements, emergency ration pack, survival trapping techniques, how to prepare small game, plants, fish, insects, edibility test, berries, survival kit.

Search and Rescue Organization 

Performance Objective: To familiarize you with the Provincial and Canadian Federal Search and Rescue (SAR) system in the Canadian ICAO area of responsibility.
Teaching Points: Description of Provincial and Federal SAR organizations, description of primary resources devoted to SAR, secondary resources devoted to SAR, description of SAR response, description of degrees of urgency, description of the SARSAT.


Biography - Dave MacDonald  
President and Lead Instructor at ICSOS

Personal History:

  • Born  in southern Ontario
  • Childhood spent in the outdoors hunting, fishing and exploring the Bay of  Quinte
  • Member of the Army Cadets from the ages of 12 through 18
  • Member of Toronto Scottish Military Regiment at the age of 19
  • Currently residing in Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba
  • Father of  two boys 


Personal Hobbies:

  • Hunting (archery, black powder and rifle) and fishing
  • Back country canoeing and camping
  • Hiking and mountain biking
  • Dog sledding
  • Scuba diving
  • K-9 Search and Rescue training for tracking, searching and urban disaster response


Professional History:

  • Became a full member of the Canadian Military as a Weapons Technician, land, at the age of 20
  • Served in Quebec City with the military for 6 years
  • Served in Nicosia Cyprus as a United Nations Peacekeeper for 6 months
  • Changed trades within the Canadian Military from a Weapons Technician to a Search and Rescue Technician (SARTech) in 1993
  • In 1993, served as a SARTech in Trenton, Ontario for 6 years with 424 Squadron (transport and rescue) 
  • In 1999, served as a SARTech in Winnipeg, Manitoba for 6 years with 435 Squadron (transport, air to air refueling, and rescue) 
  • In 2005, began instructing at the Canadian Forces School of Survival and Aero medical Training (CFSSAT) as a Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) instructor
  • Retired from military 2010, after 25yrs of service.

Professional Instruction Experience:

  • 3 years instructing with ICSOS Inc.
  • 5 1/2 years basic and advanced survival instructor at CFSSAT
  • Guest instructor at NATO winter survival course in Spatin, Norway, 2006 and 2009
  • Guest survival  instructor for SAR Tech pre-selection course in Jarvis Lake, Alberta
  • Instructor for NATO aircrew winter survival course in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Guest speaker for Manitoba Hydro’s safety conference spring 2009  
  • Numerous mobile teaching teams (MTT’s) for air crew pre-deployment briefings prior to going over seas  


Professional Certifications:

  • Military Search and Rescue Technician;               
  • Spill Response Management; 
  • Small Craft Vessel Operator; 
  • Ground Search Manager;
  • HPMA(Human Performance in Military Aviation) program coordinator;
  • ACUC Open Water Diver;  
  • NAUI  Advance and Recue Diver;
  • Bronze Medal, Bronze Cross, and National Lifeguard;
  • Wilderness first aid;
  • CPR level C;
  • A.E.D.;
  • Oxygen theory; 
  • Manitoba Hunting Guide
  • Certified Master Dog Trainer. 


Professional Courses, Skills and Errata:

  • High and low  angle rope rescue;
  • Search and Rescue diver;
  • Parachutist (static line and freefall);
  • Jump Master (static line and freefall);
  • Survival Instructor;
  • Escape and Evasion Instructor;
  • Environmental Officer;
  • Helicopter underwater egress;;
  • Junior leaders course;
  • Arctic survival;
  • Advanced SERE;
  • Aero medical training; 
  • Sea survival;
  • Land survival;
  • Ships diver;
  • Winter warfare crse;
  • Fixed wing multi engine experience;        
  • Rotary wing experience;
  • CASARA spotter trng; 
  • Rigging for rescue crse;
  • Mountain and avalanche training and experience;
  • Power point level 1 & 2 crse;
  • Building a risk -smart  organization crse;
  • Defusing hostility crse;
  • Leading diversity crse;
  • Customer service crse;
  • Managing projects for results crse;
  • Instructional techniques crse;
  • 17 years ER,OR,Cor0ner, & ambulance experience in ON, AB ,BC, & MB; 
  • Working on certificate in Adult and Continuing Education with the U of M. 


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Mission Statement 

Through education and training, we seek to prevent undue suffering and loss of life when faced with unforeseen wilderness accidents and to reduce the burden on our Search and Rescue resources.

Courses and Services:

The main focus of ICSOS is to provide affordable, current, relevant, and standardized survival training. Our survival training is based on current Canadian Air force doctrine. We teach passive survival techniques that will provide you with the most benefits for the least amount of calories burned. 

Our survival training is a graduated process in that, you must progress through the different levels in order to become proficient in the wilderness. Although our main focus is wilderness survival, we also offer consulting, back country guiding, guest speakers and mobile teaching teams.

Corporate: Courses can be modified to meet your specific training needs and schedule. 

Safety is our number one concern. First aid training is always recommended with the exception of Advanced Wilderness survival, where it is a prerequsite. Through education, progressive training, frequent weather checks, safety briefings, standard operating procedures and emergency plans, we will help keep you as safe as possible while you learn. ...

International Canadian School of Survival
PO Box 1106, Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba , Canada R0E 1A0
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