Natural disasters and other catastrophes aren’t just occurrences that happen “somewhere else.” No matter where you live or who you are, you could eventually find yourself facing a life or death survival situation. While it’s fine to hope for the best, it also pays to be prepared.
Preparedness is about more than just preventing a possible catastrophe. It’s also about knowing exactly what to do during or afterward. That said, you’d do well to keep the following survival hacks in mind. They could quite literally save your life one day!
1. Know how to make a fire in a pinch.
You may already know that you can start a fire with the aid of a magnifying glass, but if you don’t have one, your eyeglasses will also do the job. So will a chunk of ice. Simply form it into a smooth sphere with your hands and use it exactly the same way.
2. Get use out of even the wrong batteries.
Stuck in a situation where it’s critical that you get your flashlight or radio working but only have batteries that are way too short? You can use them anyway. Simply ball up some aluminum foil and add it to the battery compartment to fill in the gap. Your device will work just fine.
3. Know how to stay hydrated in snowy terrain.
Although it might be tempting to think the best way to stay hydrated when lost or stuck in cold, snowy conditions would be to simply eat some snow, doing so can eventually lead to hypothermia. Always melt the snow first, and then simply drink it.
4. Create makeshift candles.
Stuck in the middle of a blackout? Need some light but don’t have any candles? If you have crayons on hand, light one of those instead. Crayons are made from paraffin wax and will burn the same way a candle does for up to 30 minutes. The paper wrapping acts as the wick, so make sure you leave it in place.
5. Gain access to safe water to drink.
Even the healthiest person in the best possible physical condition will die after three days without water. However, a catastrophe could easily leave the usual water supplies polluted or unavailable. Add items like portable water filters and purifying tablets to your survival packs or bunkers for a safe, reliable way to maintain access to drinkable water via just about any source, including streams, lakes, or polluted tap supplies. Fresh out of purifier tablets? Add a few drops of iodine or bleach to your water and leave it to sit for about half an hour.
6. Keep critical items reliably dry.
Need to make absolutely sure your cell phone, medication, or other critical item stays completely dry during a flood, storm, or hurricane? Put it inside a condom. Anything you put in it will stay pristinely dry. Condoms can also be used to contain water or double as latex gloves.
7. Create a makeshift lantern.
You can quickly and easily create an effective source of ambient light if you have a headlamp and a gallon of water on hand. Simply strap the headlamp to the jug of water and turn it on. The water will disperse the light in a way that’s perfect for your needs.
8. Get creative with nylon stockings.
Like condoms, nylon stockings are another everyday item you’re likely to have on hand that’s also capable of serving multiple purposes. Stuck with access to only dirty water filled with sediment? Filter it through a stocking to clean it up. Stockings can also double as ropes, lashings, tourniquets, and more if you’re really desperate.
9. Protect yourself from tornadoes.
Stuck out on the road with a tornado headed your way? Forget about taking shelter under a bridge or similar structure. It could collapse! Drive to the nearest safe space if at all possible. If you can’t do that, you’re better off simply pulling over, making sure your seat belt’s buckled, and taking measures to protect your head.
10. Increase your chances of surviving an earthquake.
You can drastically increase your chances of surviving an earthquake in one piece by curling up into the fetal position. This allows you to survive in a smaller space should a structure collapse on top of you. If you can, curl up next to a big object with lots of bulk (i.e., a sofa). If pressed, such an object will leave room for you, too.