Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood

Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood

When it comes to flood survival, it is important to know as much as you can about this natural disaster. There is no need to be reminded of the devastation caused by floods since they happen every year in our country. Properties are destroyed, lives are lost, and recovery is painful and difficult. You have two goals when it comes to natural disasters. One: Survive. Two: Recover. With the proper knowledge of flood survival, you can do both excellently. Here’s how!

Critical Flood Survival Tips You Should Know!

Before a Flood

Before a Flood | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Remember: Where there is rain, there may be a flood. Preparing for this natural disaster is still the best way to ensure survival. Know the history of your area when it comes to flooding. Preparing before a disaster strikes will give you a higher chance of survival, plus recovery will be easier and faster. You may even save a good portion of your property. It is important to note though, life matters more than any of the property you have.
See more at http://www.ready.gov/floods.

1. Build an Emergency Kit

Build an Emergency Kit | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Deluxe 3-Day Emergency Preparedness Kit Photo by American Red Cross

This is a comprehensive flood survival kit list as suggested by the American Red Cross. You can also check this emergency survival kit list: Survival Life’s Comprehensive Checklist For A 72 Hour Survival Kit

2. Make a Family Communications Plan

Make a Family Communications Plan | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Preparing for Emergencies: Ready in 3 Photo by The City of Columbus

Communication is essential to flood survival for you and members of your family.

3. Avoid Property Construction in a Floodplain

Avoid Property Construction in a Floodplain | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Flood Plain Photo by Thomas Township

Try to build on higher ground to avoid being hit by floods.

4. Put Up Barriers

Build floodwalls, levees, or beams to prevent floodwater from rushing to your home, fast.

5. Seal Your Basement

Seal Your Basement | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Enjoy your Investment with Foundation Waterproofing Photo by Vendermicasa
Waterproof your basement and protect it from seepage by sealing the walls, cracks, and crevices. There is a greater chance of protecting your property and yourself with a sealed basement.

6. Look for Warnings

Flood Survival Tips | How to Survive Natural Disasters by Survival Life at http://survivallife.com/2015/05/18/flood-survival-tips-natural-disaster-survival

Monitor a central weather station or local news for flood warnings or updates. Continue reading here.

7. Check Gutters, Downspouts, and Drains

Check Gutters, Downspouts, and Drains | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Best Gutter Cleaning Tips – How to Get Rid Debris and Simple Repair Tips Photo by Better Housekeeper

Clogged drains and gutters can destroy your roof and let water in your home faster than you can save everything in it. Regularly clear your roof of debris.

8. Clear the Floor

Move electronics and furniture off the floor and transfer them to higher and secured places.

9. Roll up your Rugs

Wet rugs are bad news for your wallet and your health. Roll them up and secure them well so they don’t get wet and moldy or totally destroyed.

10. Prepare an Evacuation Kit

Prepare an Evacuation Kit | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
DIY Family And Home Management Binder + Free Printables Photo by Penelope’s Oasis

Secure your important documents in sealed or waterproof bags. Trying to reapply for these documents again after a calamity can be a hassle, and having these documents handy will help you when you need assistance.

11. Inspect Sump Pumps and Drains to Ensure Proper Operation

Inspect Sump Pumps and Drains to Ensure Proper Operation | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Way Electrical Floor Plan Of Wire Well Pump Wiring Diagram Chandelier Light Romex Photo by Jenny Lares

Flood survival requires many steps, like inspecting the sump pump in your basement. Get your sump pump fresh batteries.

12. Turn off the Power

Flood Survival Tips | How to Survive Natural Disasters by Survival Life at http://survivallife.com/2015/05/18/flood-survival-tips-natural-disaster-survival
Electrical Panel Projects Installing A Circuit Breaker Photo by Danny Chesnut

One way to achieve flood survival is by turning off the power supply to your home. Turn off the main breaker of your electrical system.

13. Move your Appliances

Elevate all your electrical appliances. See more here.

During an Evacuation

  • If asked to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Make sure that every person in your family has the same contact person (friend or family member) in case you should become separated during the evacuation.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for evacuation instructions.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes.
  • Leave early to avoid being trapped by flooded roadways.

Click here to know more.

Survival During Floods

This overflow of large volumes of water is the effect of many events: heavy rainfall, damaged levee or dam, or the melting of ice up in the mountains. The destructive power of floods should never be underestimated. Houses, cars, trees and even bridges do not stand a chance against the treacherous waters.

It is important to remember that there is more to a flood than water. The debris it carries are not always visible and doubles the flood’s destructive power. During a flood, going for higher ground as soon as possible could be your best chance of flood survival. Flood survival may seem impossible when everything is in deep water. These tips could help you stay safe when caught in a flood:

1. Find Higher Ground

Getting to higher ground is instinctive when there is a flood. But you also have to be smart about it. Make sure the structure is secure and stable. If you’re going up hills or mountains, watch out for landslides and flash floods.

2. Avoid Streams and Roads

Attempting to cross rushing waters or driving through flooded roads is extremely dangerous. Avoid doing so at all cost.

3. Go to the Roof

Flood Survival Tips | How to Survive Natural Disasters by Survival Life at http://survivallife.com/2015/05/18/flood-survival-tips-natural-disaster-survival
Go to the Roof Photo by Washington Post

Go to the highest part of your home or the roof as soon as the water starts to rise too fast.

4. Listen for Updates

Keep a battery-operated radio in your preparedness stash. Getting fresh information about the disaster you are in is vital to your survival. Any new development will help you calculate or plan your next move.

5. Keep Utilities Powered Off

Whether it’s electricity, gas, or water, try turning them all off before the water starts coming in.

6. Stay Clean

Flood waters are almost always filled with contaminants and water-borne diseases. Whether you have open cuts and wounds or not, stay clean to prevent infection. More info available at floodsmart.gov.

7. Know Your Surroundings

Flood Survival Tips | How to Survive Natural Disasters by Survival Life at http://survivallife.com/2015/05/18/flood-survival-tips-natural-disaster-survival
Know Your Surroundings Photo by Country Financial

It pays to check the landscape and history of your area for floods and other natural disasters. Rivers, dams, streams, and canyons are high-risk areas for floods. See more here.

8. Watch for Evacuation Orders

This is related to the previous flood survival tip. Knowing your area will help you plan your route to an evacuation area.

9. Don’t Drive Around Barricades

Don't Drive Around Barricades | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Superstorm Sandy leaves destruction, darkness and death in its wake Photo by The Dark Room

Flood survival is easy if you are extra careful.

10. Don’t Risk It

Stay away from a flooded road or turn around, whether you are walking or driving.

11. Evacuate Your Vehicle

If your car gets caught in flood water get out of it as quickly as you safely can and get to higher ground.  Click here to view or download this quick reference guide.

After the Flood

After the Flood | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Hope for Flood Victims Desperate to Return Home as Rivers Finally Start to Recede Photo by Daily Mail Reporter

Flood survival is also about believing that the disaster always has to end and the human spirit is stronger.

1. Check the News

Listen to news updates for warning of water contamination and safety precautions against the spread of disease or social unrest.

2. Avoid Floodwaters

Floodwaters may have not yet receded in some areas so steer clear of these areas as they may be deep, muddy, or contaminated.

3. Keep Off of Flooded Roads

Keep Off of Flooded Roads | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Area rivers continue to flood; dry-out expected this weekend (Video) Photo by Q13 Fox

Waters may have receded in some roads but it might not be safe to drive in yet. The road may have softened and could give in while you drive through it.

4. Enter Buildings with Caution

Take great caution when inspecting homes and buildings as there may be dangers lurking by.

5. Keep Your Home Clean

As we’ve stated, flood water may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals. Make sure to not only clean but disinfect your property or your things before you come into contact with them. Read more.

6. Avoid Electrical Wires

Keep away from electrical wires and knocked power lines — electrocution is often a major cause of death in floods. It is also best to report the situation to authorities. Continue reading.

7. Check for Animals

Both dead and alive snakes and other dangerous animals may have been swept with the flood. Exercise precaution when clearing up debris in your property.

8. Be Alert for Gas Leaks

Keeping flashlights handy is very important. Avoid using matches or candles to inspect your place and use flashlights instead to avoid the risk of igniting a gas-contaminated area. Click here to learn more.

9. Repair Sewage Systems

Whether in a flood or not, a broken-down sewage system poses serious health threats–more so after a flood. Make sure to report damaged sewage system to authorities and fix it first as soon as possible.

10. Disinfect Everything

Flood survival is also about getting up and moving on. Floodwater can be contaminated and affect everything it came in contact with. Clean up and disinfect everything you can still save before you use them. See more.

Here is an infographic from the CDC to make prepping a bit easier:

Getting ready and armed with the proper flood survival know-how can mean the difference between survival and demise in this kind of natural disaster (or any other, for that matter). Knowing flood safety tips and flood survival rules can lessen the impact of this natural disaster on you and your family. Whether a flood is coming, happening, or has passed, take heed of these tips to help you get through the ordeal.

What would you do yourself to prepare for a flood or survive one? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Infographic | Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood

Up Next: Critical Wildfire Survival Tips To Keep You Safe [2018 Updated]

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The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 18, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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How To Survive A Gun Pointed To Your Head

How To Survive A Gun Pointed To Your Head

A gun to your head is probably one of the worst situations you can be in. You can’t simply reach for your weapon without risking immediate death. If you’re to survive this situation, you have to be smart about it. Find out how to respond to a gun held to your head and live to tell it, here!

Gun To Head: What To Do

1. Stay Calm

Stay Calm | Gun To Head: What To Do

What you need to do first, of course, is do as you’re told by the assailant. Be sure to stay calm. You can properly react with a calm nerve and a clear head. When you are calm, you have the capacity for quick thinking. In any survival situation, staying calm is the most important piece of advice. It is also the hardest to do. It would seem panic is always our first reaction and it’s only natural. This is why staying calm is an attitude to muster and master.

2. Asses Situation

Asses Situation | Gun To Head: What To Do

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A gun pointed at your head is not an easy situation to handle. It will take a lot of guts and quick movements to escape. First of all, you need to assess the scenario very carefully. Self-preservation should be your top priority.

What are you being held up for? If the bad guy wants your phone, wallet, or the keys to your car then give it to him. Think about it: are the items more important than your life? These are only material things and you can always get a replacement after the incident. No item is worth dying for.

3. Quick Thinking

Quick Thinking | Gun To Head: What To Do

These kinds of situations happen in split seconds, you have to think as fast, too. Stay calming, assessing the situation, and quick thinking has to happen within a split-second of each other. Quick thinking will allow you to buy some time. Try to look your assailant in the eye, but not in a pleading or defiant manner. Your primary purpose is to try to appeal to his/her humanity. Even stone-cold killers will not look their victim in the eye.

4. Always Be Prepared

Always Be Prepared | Gun To Head: What To Do

It’s important to remember that the gun is loaded and any mistake from you could lead to fatal consequences. Make sure your body is in tiptop shape, exercise regularly and watch your diet. Getting enough rest will also help. It’s easy to see how fitness can help in the long-term. You will be more confident about defending yourself when the need arises.

5. Act Fast

Act Fast | Gun To Head: What To Do

In Episode 3 of “Don’t Be A Victim” from our sister-site GunCarrier.com, you’ll learn how to disarm a gunman who has a gun pointed at your head.  These techniques could save your life in one of the most dangerous situations you might ever face. But remember, this should only serve as your last recourse!

If the assailant is not after your things but is intent on taking your life then it is time to act and act quickly. This video demonstrates how to defend yourself when you have a gun pointed at your head. It may look easy but if you want to master the technique, then you need to practice it over and over. This way when you get into the situation, your movements will be almost like second nature.


Watch this video from Gun Carrier for the detailed guide:

A gun to the head is a situation no one will dream of getting into, let alone, deal with an assailant. Anticipating these kinds of situations and taking steps to help you handle them will not hurt. In fact, it could help save lives. Take the steps in surviving a gun-to-your-head situation and survive!

What do you think you would do when a gun is pointed at you? Share your insights in the comments section below! 

Up Next: The Ultimate Survival Gun Safe Guide


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 26, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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How to Survive Martial Law

How to Survive Martial Law

Martial law is a terrifying thing to experience. Imagine waking up to find the world in chaos. Looting and riots spread like wildfire, while law enforcement guns down civilians in the streets. The power grid is down, and there’s no telling if it’s ever coming back. Rape and murder spiral out of control as society collapses around you. Everything you’ve come to rely on is gone due to martial law.

Do you have what it takes to protect your family from the scum of humanity?

This isn’t a Mad Max movie. It’s the very real threat of martial law. If you’ve been paying attention to recent events, you know it’s only a matter of time before our government turns against us. Even though we live in relative comfort and safety, the truth is, the world around us is a very unstable place.


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Martial Law | A Very Real Threat


How Possible Is Martial Law?

The current political divide between conservatives and liberals threatens to destabilize America. Corporations and corrupt government have brought us to the brink of class war. The mistrust of police and authority causes riots in the streets and only gets worse as the number of cops and civilian deaths increase. Our monetary system is connected to the rest of the world, but, just like England, who’s to say that our government won’t pass a law that sends the US economy into the Stone Age? What about the possibility of a coup d’etat?

Even if none of these things come to pass, the fact is, the bubble we currently live in cannot hold out forever. With the retirement of the baby boomer generation, America is going to find itself financially bankrupt. When that day comes, you’re going to find yourself in the middle of a situation you can’t control. Civil courts will fail and military courts will take the reins. Regardless of how much you have prepared for it, you’re have to make some tough decisions. If you want to survive, you need a plan. So what is the first thing you should do?


Stock Up on Food and Water (Well Ahead of Time)

Just like in a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, store shelves will empty in a matter of hours! Make sure you have plenty of food and water stocked and stored long at all times! (At least 3 days’ worth of food should always be on hand.) Water is particularly valuable as it is the first thing that will run out of in an emergency.

Following a disaster, your regular water source could be cut off or contaminated, so it is vital that you secure as much clean water as possible. The average person needs about 1 gallon of water a day for drinking and an additional 2 gallons for proper sanitation. You need twice as much if you live in a hot climate. You won’t have time to gather supplies in an emergency and everyone else will have the same idea, so again, stock up long before a disaster hits! 


If you do find yourself caught without something you know you’ll need, I recommend sticking to gas stations and avoiding large stores like Walmart. Remember, credit card machines may crash during a crisis, so it’s always a good idea to carry cash… and prepare to pay extra for supplies (the law of supply and demand goes into overdrive in a crisis.)

If it’s too dangerous to leave your house, fill up your bathtub to use as drinking water later. Once you have as much food and water as possible, its best to hunker down and play it safe until you can assess the situation.


Avoid Authority At All Costs

With riots and looting happening around you, the last thing you want to do is confront police or the military. In this stage, civil liberties will play second fiddle to whatever congress decides the Constiution should be. Unless your life is directly at risk, you should stay indoors and avoid any situation where you might deal with by authorities. Once the violence starts, you’re just as likely to get shot down in the street as the rioters next to you.

The authorities are only concerned with their own safety and won’t think twice about murdering you if they think their lives are in danger. Public safety becomes a secondary objective. The president might even completely legalize something like this. Police and the National Guard have been ready for martial law since 9/11 and are trained to view all civilians as the enemy. If possible, avoid them at all cost. If you’re held at gunpoint by the authorities, do whatever they say. Any sign of resistance will get you killed.


Stay Informed

The best thing you can do in a crisis situation is to know exactly what’s happening around you. In today’s digital age we have access to the latest information at the touch of a button, but we take for granted how much we rely on it. American citzens have relied on fast, immediate communications that when civil unrest becomes commonplace, we would be at a disadvantage.

If the government has resorted to martial law, there is a good chance they will shut off cell towers to try and contain the situation. Television might also be useless if the power grid goes down. Your best bet is a wind-up radio to pick up AM and FM stations. This will become increasingly important if you decide you have to leave your house and flee the city.

(Image via)
(Image via)


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This is the most important question you have to ask yourself. The safest place for you and your family is inside your house with the lights out. But what if you can no longer stay in your home? Running out of food or water is one of the worst things that can happen to you under martial law.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to make a plan. The National Guard military forces are trained to respond to these kinds of situations in a very fast, very calculated manner. Know how many days you can stay in one spot and have a backup location ready in case you have to leave in a hurry. Just because it’s your home doesn’t mean you have to die for it. Always be prepared to leave.

Run for the Hills?

If you run out of supplies or find your location is no longer safe, you’re better off bugging out. If you live in a major city it’s in your best interest to flee to the outskirts or just head out into the surrounding countryside. No writ or habeas will hassle you here. The problem with leaving the city is that new supplies will be harder to find.

On the other hand, you will generally find safety outside any city limits and away from the chaos. This is where any survival skills will come in handy. Be prepared to live off the grid in a tent and forage for food and water. If you live in a super dense populated area, like the East Coast, be prepared to keep traveling for a while. Also, be sure to keep your safehouse secure from armed forces by setting up listening posts and defensive positions around it.



Ditch Your Car

If you live in a major city and you decide to leave, you’re probably not alone. In a crisis situation the roads will fill up and come to a standstill almost immediately. Have an exit planned that stays away from major highways and intersections. Be prepared to abandon your vehicle and proceed on foot or bicycle if necessary. Although it is not preferred if you have a lot of supplies, this might be the only way to get your family out of danger. Bicycles might seem like a slow option when you are fleeing for your life, but you are much safer than being trapped on the highway with everybody else.

Arm Yourself

Whether fleeing an emergency or scouting for supplies, it is in your best interest to carry a weapon for defense. You never know what sort of situation you will walk into and should stay prepared for the worst.

Once society breaks down, it will be every man, woman, and child for themselves. Don’t be a victim of society — protect yourself and your loved ones. I recommend a good hunting rifle for protection as well as a means to feed yourself should supplies run low.

Make sure that you don’t just OWN your weapon, make sure that you have the proper training with your firearm. You need to understand it, know exactly how to use it, how to clean it, and how to fix it if it breaks. I can’t stress that enough!

Safety In Numbers

Even without weapons, the safest thing you can do is join a group. Staying on your own might feel safer in the short term, but in the long run, you’re going to need people you can count on to protect you and ease your burden. It puts you in a safer situation when facing federal troops.


In a survival situation you’re safer having other people with you, but it’s important to choose the right group. A mob of people all working together can get more accomplished but are harder to control.

Be wary of groups that make poor survival choices that can get you killed. If they won’t listen to you, don’t hesitate to leave them behind.

Long Term Plans

If the government does decide to enact widespread martial law against its citizens, there is no telling how long it will last. It could go on for days, weeks, or even longer. Would you have what it takes to endure the harsh realities of life after the government and its military has lost control? How does someone prepare for a widespread collapse of banks and the economy? The best way is to learn from the past. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, its citizens went through a similar ordeal.

After the fall, most people stopped going to work because they were no longer being paid. The banks collapsed and everyone lost their savings. In order to not starve, families were forced to work on farms and barter their possessions for bread. After the collapse, crime became an ever-present threat and it was no longer safe to leave one’s house.

Martial Law in Russia in 1991. (Image via)
Martial Law in Russia in 1991. (Image via)

A lot of the population could not handle the sudden change from a secure existence to that of no work and no hope for the future. Drugs and alcohol became prevalent in society and the average lifespan went way down. Their currency became nearly worthless and jobs that paid in foreign currency were desperately sought after. Corruption set in and the average citizen found themselves forced to pay for protection from street gangs and ex-law enforcement.

This is a worst case scenario but its lessons are clear: you should learn to grow your own food and practice it daily. Keep a small amount of money out of the bank in case of a banking failure, and if you’re going to buy any future possessions, make sure they retain value if you have to trade them for something down the line.

Be Prepared

The number one way to survive martial law is to be prepared. Grow your own food, stock up on canned goods, and learn the skills necessary to provide for yourself in the wild. Have a bugout bag ready and make plans for every type of disaster you can think of. Knowledge is the ultimate preparation for anything life can throw at you. Learning from the past and staying informed are your best weapons in the world we live in. Don’t trust authority to keep you and your loved ones safe, trust yourself.

This video from FullSpectrumSurvival gives some amazing tips on how to survive martial law:

Imagine waking up to find yourself prepared for martial law. Others are panicking, but you’re calm. You have a plan.

Instead of loading up the car and jumping on the highway you quietly bide your time until it’s safe to leave your home. You stay away from any authorities until you find somewhere safe where you can live off the land. Martial law is coming and when it does you need to stay strong.  With the way society is heading… Martial Law is not a matter of if… It’s a matter of when…  And when it all comes crashing down, how well off will you find yourself? Will you scramble in the streets or stay calm, collected, and well on your way to safety?

What do you think?  Do you have any other recommendations to survive martial law?  What would you do differently?  Let me know in the comments below.

Martial Law | 10 Martial Law Survival Tactics You Need to Know Now

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8 Steps to Survive Anything

8 Steps to Survive Anything

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

You never know when disaster will strike, so you must be prepared for every eventuality. Check out this article for 8 steps to survive anything.

As a young Airman teaching students at the U.S. Air Force Survival School, I was posed a riddle by one of my officer students.  He said to me, “Imagine you are lost in the woods, it’s freezing cold, hypothermia is setting in, and you come across a cabin in the middle of nowhere. You enter the cabin and there is a lantern, fully functional and ready to go.  There is also a wood-burning stove and a stone fireplace with paper and kindling.  What do you light first?”  I replied, “I would light the fireplace.”  A large smile spread across his space and he said, “Nope, you light the match first!”  Then it was my turn to smile and reply, “But sir, we don’t use matches!”  And I also reiterated that as an Air Force Survival Instructor, we NEVER became lost.

It was refreshing to see that the lieutenant was thinking about survival matters and possible scenarios one might encounter. Over the course of nearly two decades, instructing various students all around the world, I encountered many people who had never camped, never hiked, and didn’t know the first thing about what to do in a “survival situation.”  

As a professional instructor, it brought me great satisfaction to see those same people less than two weeks later leave with the confidence to survive on the basic skills they had learned.  The majority of the students that go through the Air Force Survival School MUST have this knowledge to accomplish their mission and continue in their chosen field. This article will be a short introduction to the basics of survival that could save your life.

1. Increase your will to survive

First and foremost is the Will to Survive, W2S.  You can have nearly every tool at your disposal and perish because you gave up, or you can have next to nothing and refuse to die through sheer force of will. As the old adage says, “You can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, three minutes without air, but not three seconds without hope!”  

Nearly everyone has heard tales of incredulous ordeals endured only by the will to survive. Various movies have been made about such topics, such as the soccer team stuck in the Andes or Shackelton’s voyage to the Antarctic.  The will to survive is something that everyone is born with; however, it is an attribute that can be bolstered even more. The mental desire and discipline to live can be hardened to the point where giving up is not an option. Learning new skills, new techniques, and acquiring knowledge are a few ways to help yourself and those you love. W2S is vital to stay alive and to get out of a bad situation intact, just as vital as having a plan to help you accomplish that goal.

2. Take a minute and…S.T.O.P

Your mindset and your willingness to endure hardships will be the basic keys to survival anywhere in the world and in any condition. The will is equally as important as knowledge, equipment, and skills. And you obtain all of these through study and practice. Though it seems counterproductive in a survival situation, one of the first things you must do is: S.T.O.P

Stop!- Literally, stop. Take two seconds to grasp your situation, check yourself medically. Especially check your body because if adrenaline is pumping, you may have been injured without realizing it. Then, check your inventory and get ready for what is to come. Mentally and physically ensure you are ready for the ordeal in store.

Think – Consider your body, mind, equipment, environment, and location in that environment.  Look for potential communication and signaling possibilities. How likely is rescue to arrive and how soon?  Weigh your situation and then…

Organize- Your gear, your body, whatever you have to help improve your situation or whatever you can scrounge from the vehicle, the aircraft or the environment you are in. Take anything you can find because you never know what use you will have for it.  Too often survivors have left behind valuable equipment because they did not want the few extra pounds of weight or because they did not think they would need that particular item.

Plan – Prioritize your needs based on necessity and prepare your next move.  Keep in mind that your plan must be flexible in such a turbulent situation, and it is subject to change. But instead of exerting energy blindly or moving in a random direction, plan what you are going to do next and how you are going to do it.  Having a plan will greatly help you to achieve the ultimate goal of returning home.

3. Acquire basic medical knowledge

The next basic facet of survival is medical.  Whether it be professional medical knowledge, first-aid know-how, or a medical guide, you must know how to deal with physical emergencies as they arise.  Not only should you consider medical to be a reflexive attribute, such as when a cut, scrape or break occurs, but it should also be a proactive attribute.

For instance, in a colder environment, you must ensure that you aren’t succumbing to frostbite. Or in a desert environment, that you aren’t dehydrating and becoming afflicted with heat exhaustion or heat stroke. In a tropical environment, this includes checking that you are using some type of insect repellent or mud if there are no other options. At times you may have to get creative and use what is in the environment. Local plants are some of the best remedies if you know which ones are edible and how to use them. The best medical treatment is prevention!

4. Ensure appropriate clothing for the situation

If you find yourself suddenly thrust into a survival situation with literally only the clothes on your back, clothing will become vital.  In those moments, even something as simple as a pair of gloves or an extra pair of socks could be crucial. I will delve more into personal survival kits (PSK’s) in the future but consider what you carry on your body on a day-to-day basis and assess your survival chances if you were stranded this moment.

In 2005 I was deployed to Djibouti, Africa at Camp Lemonier.  I used to carry a large Camelbak with me as well as various items inside the bag that made up my personal survival kit.  One day a Marine officer jokingly asked me if I went to the bathroom with that thing on, I said, “Yes I do sir.”  I went on to explain that if we had an alert for incoming threats, there would be no time to run back to my office, grab the bag, and get to a bunker. I knew that with what I had inside that bag, I would survive for at least two days before my water ran out. 

5. Find shelter immediately

When it comes to shelter there are two types, Immediate Action, and Long-Term.  An Immediate Action shelter can be anything that aids in protecting you from the elements in a short timeframe.  Examples are caves, tree wells, rock overhangs, etc.  A short-term shelter can also be something that you can make or improve upon but something that takes a small amount of time.  A Long-Term shelter is something that is usually man-made or something that needs a large amount of improvement.  These shelters are generally types that take more than 30 minutes to construct.  Perfect examples are teepees, log cabins, snow caves, igloos, etc.

6. Know how to build and maintain a fire

The old “Survival TV” is a universal favorite, from 2-year-olds to 102-year-olds.  Everyone has fond memories of sitting around a fire. Maybe you were relaxing, making s’mores, telling ghost stories, having a beer, or merely enjoying spending time with friends and family. In modern society, the ability to start a fire has become amazingly simplified. However, when people are thrust into a situation where matches, lighters, newspaper and lighter fluid are not readily available, it becomes a very difficult undertaking. As much as firecraft is a physically protective facet, it is also an important psychological factor in survival.

7. Find sustenance for long-term survival

I saved Sustenance for last because, in my general opinion, if you enter a situation in a relatively normal and healthy state, sustenance can be put on hold for a while.  It will most definitely become a vital part of survival, but if you have even a small water bottle then you can worry about water and food later after more pressing concerns.  With all that said, water and food are the key components of sustenance and both are vital to survival.

Water is, of course, necessary to all life. We need water to survive and to maintain our bodies at a stable 98.6 degrees, especially if we are injured or under extreme duress and/or exertion from intense circumstances. In a survival situation, plain water is the best liquid to ingest. Nothing else will substitute for plain, good old-fashioned, H2O.

Unfortunately, due to our ability to procure food immediately from the grocery store, obtaining filling food in the wild will undoubtedly be a challenge. One of the most difficult things to overcome will be food aversions, such as snacking on bugs or wild animals that we aren’t used to eating.  

If plants are the plentiful foodstuffs, there is the danger of eating poisonous or harmful plants. There are great “universal” plants that anyone can identify and that are usually found anywhere around the world, hence the term universal.  Some classic examples are Cattail, Dandelion, and Bamboo.

8. Attempt contact with civilization

Lastly, consider signaling and communication, because either of those things may be your ticket home. In a separate article, I will discuss navigation because “self-rescue” may be the only option depending on the situation.  However, a cell phone, radio, or emergency beacon could greatly aid you in getting out of a sticky situation.  

If none of those are available, then being able to construct a signal with natural materials or flares may get you rescued. Classic examples include an SOS message stamped in the snow or HELP created from logs. A flag made of cloth attracts attention due to the movement. A signal mirror is invaluable, especially out on the ocean when potential rescue vehicles are miles away.  There are many pieces of equipment you can use and many things you can improvise, but all of these signaling and communication items are meant to help you return home, the number one goal in any survival situation.

Hopefully, you now have a broader understanding of how to make it out of survival situations alive.  These are key components to help you survive any situation, regardless of where you find yourself.  I hope this short introduction has jump-started your journey towards preparation.

Take the first step towards becoming a survival guru today! Do you know any more survival tips and tricks? Please share in the comments section below. 

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