Chief Instructor Bio

Charley Hiking

Hiking near Ft. Collins, CO after the Denver Self Reliance Expo

Charley and Dave

Charley with Dave Canterbury from The Pathfinder School and Discovery Channel’s “Dual Survival”

Charley Hunting

Hunting in the Florida Panhandle

Born and raised in Florida, Charley is our resident Chief Instructor on emergency preparedness and disaster readiness. He is also the The Survival Group Handbookauthor of the leading resource on Leadership and Survival Groups titled “The Survival Group Handbook: How to Plan, Organize and Lead People for Short or Long Term Survival” (Formerly titled MAGS: The People Part of Prepping).

Prior to focusing his life to personal emergency preparedness, he served  over 15 years in both the U.S. Army and the Florida National Guard. He was an honors student in a class of 436 soldiers at the Leadership Development School in Fort Benning, Georgia, among many other leadership and survival certifications. His experience has been tested on several continents and in many natural disasters.

Compass NavigationDuring his time as a Lead Scout with the 11th Armored Cavalry, U.S. Army, he spent years deployed to Europe honing his skills in reconnaissance, first aid and humanitarian missions.

In the aftermath of the Chernobyl incident, he was deployed to monitor the radiation dispersal that covered much of the fresh food system of Eastern and Western Europe. Large areas of agriculture and livestock were contaminated and had to be destroyed as governments rushed to provide safe food to millions of citizens who were used to having easy access to food. As an active member of the U.S. Army, he was charged with border security operations including planning and participating in patrolling and security operations, rapid reaction deployment and security of several international incidents. He also has experience in radiation detection and chemical warfare among many other tactical and leadership skills.

After returning to the United States, he was in one of the first units of National Guard to be deployed to the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. His unit provided support by establishing relief areas to take care of basic human needs. Charley was also responsible for local security measures, including planning and participation of patrol units, looting prevention and serving as a liaison to local law enforcement to maintain order in a time of chaos and disarray.

Jungle ExpertAs an Infantry Squad Leader with the Florida National Guard, he was qualified as Jungle Expert at the US Army Jungle Survival School and did several tours through the Panama Canal Zone. Skills that are now shared with others to prove the theory that more knowledge means less need for materials.

In addition, he has provided security for both foreign dignitaries and government officials. After leaving the armed forces, Charley has continued fortify his skills in disaster and family emergency preparedness.

As a business owner specializing in utility infrastructure construction and project management, he has extensive experience in preparing both home and business for any sort of disaster. Living in South Florida with our ever-present hurricane and increasing terrorism risk, he was quick to learn what works in an emergency, and what doesn’t. His tips and tricks will help you remain calm in an emergency situation, whether it’s an impending storm or the aftermath of a home invasion. This combination of military and civilian skills has made him a valuable teacher and mentor.

​Charley added to his knowledge of emergency management and preparedness by becoming a Certified SkyWarn severe weather spotter. A program developed by the National Weather Service. Charley is now part of a network of members who recognize severe weather patterns and report their observations directly to the National Weather Service which are then broadcast on the Emergency Alert System to the public within minutes.

In addition, Charley is now a Palm Beach County CERT Team Leader. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. As head of his local CERT team, he has undergone additional training in Disaster Preparedness, Fire Suppression, Medical Triage, Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology, and Terrorism Threats. He recently completed program level training and holds a certificate in Community Emergency Response program management.

Pathfinder SchoolCharley is also a certified graduate of the Pathfinder School’s Advanced Swamp Survival Course. This course was hosted by David Canterbury of the Discovery Channel’s Dual Survivor program along with several experts in various fields of survival. The Course was held deep in the Everglades Swamp in South Florida. The program was developed to understand the physical and mental difficulties of survival in an austere environment. While being deprived of normal sources of food, water, rest, first aid and equipment, students were challenged to perform a constant delivery of tasks while cognitive abilities were purposely deteriorated.

Charley is a registered Disaster Inspector, Certified Wind Zone Mitigation Inspector and holds several State level Certified construction licenses.

He holds a certificate in Emergency Management and has 49 FEMA certificates with 100s of hours of training and instruction in disaster readiness, business contingency and continuity planning, emergency operations policies and procedures, mass prophylaxis planning, nuclear WMD responder operations, rapid disaster impact assessment, volunteer management and more. He is also a speaker with Palm Beach County’s Emergency Operations Center Speakers Bureau, presenting on emergency management topics such as hurricane preparedness.

Charley’s long list of career achievements combine the worlds of urban and wilderness survival and public emergency response together in a unique way. Whether you want to learn about disaster and response, primitive wilderness survival, advanced urban survival, wish to completely leave the grid or build your ultimate survival group, we have the skills and supplies you need.

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