5 Survival Guides We Hope You’ll Never Need

You never know when you might find yourself in a serious pickle

Only the savvy survive!
Whether you’re a closet doomsday planner or a disaster film addict, knowing what to do in the worst-case scenario should be at the top of your reading list. Why? Well, you never know when you might find yourself in a serious pickle, and sometimes the only thing between you and death is what you know — only the savvy survive!

How To: Get Out Of A Coffin If You’ve Been Buried Alive

Once upon a time, graves had bells attached to them so that in the event of a premature burial, the not-dead-yets could ring it to alert the gravekeeper that they were, in fact, alive. That’s where the term saved by the bell originates.

In modern times, if your family is clever enough, you might find yourself buried with a ringer of a different kind — a cellphone. Yes, some people have actually buried loved ones with a cell phone. You know.

Just in case. But if you find yourself buried alive and either 1. without a cellphone or 2. without full bars, here are a few tips for escaping.

1. Firstly, don’t panic. If you panic, you’ll start to hyperventilate and suck up what little oxygen you have to work with. In a typical coffin, you’ll have enough air to last an hour or two at most, so be conservative.

2. Hope that your family has been relatively cheap in choosing your afterlife accommodations. If the lid of your coffin is pine, it should be fairly light and easy to either lift up or break through. If it’s hardwood or, God forbid, metal, you’re probably screwed (unless you’d like to use morse code to tap out an S.O.S).

3. Take stock of your possessions — were you buried with any tokens? Are any of them helpful? Are you wearing jewelry of any kind, or even have a ballpoint pen? In these instances, being the kind of person who always leaves random things in your suit jacket pockets for years and years may be your saving grace.

4. Remove your shirt. In a small enclosure it won’t be easy, but your goal is to get it off and tied over your head. No, you’re not going to smother yourself — you’re going to prevent the cascade of inbound dirt from smothering you. Pray that your family didn’t bury you in your ‘80s roller rink mesh top.

5. Kick the coffin lid upward until you make an opening — the closer to your head, the better. If the coffin was cheaply made, you may not have much work ahead of you, as the weight of the dirt above may have cracked it.

6. As the dirt fills in, use your hands to push it away from your face, toward your feet. Again, work quickly but calmly so to conserve your strength and your air.

When you’ve cleared enough space to sit up, do so and continue pushing dirt down until you can stand. At this point, you should be able to climb out. Or, alternatively, have caused enough of a show that someone above ground has heard you and is rushing to your aid.

How To: Survive An Avalanche

1. It might seem obvious, but the most important thing you can do to avoid perishing in an avalanche is to thrash around, effectively swimming, above the cascade of snow.

2. If you can manage it, keep one arm above your head as you thrash about — this helps alert rescuers to your location for one and, two, should you end up beneath the surface, it will help you orient yourself.

3. Speaking of orienting yourself amid the snow, another way to figure out which direction you want to dig (read: UP) is to spit. Figure out what direction your spit is falling in — and dig the other way.

4. Unlike being buried in a coffin, your air supply under mounds of snow is considerably less; about fifteen minutes. So again, don’t panic —
and use your energy for digging.

How To: Escape Your Car If It’s Submerged In Water

1. Leave everything behind. Time is of the essence here, so do not reach for your cell phone, or unplug your AUX cable, or reach for your Garmin. Just get out of the car.

2. Do not open the door (it’s harder to do and speeds up the sinking process) — roll down your windows instead. You’ll have about thirty seconds to a minute before the car fills with water. This is what’s called the “floating period” and it’ll be the most crucial for your escape. Once this period of time elapses, the water pressure will push the car down faster — taking you with it.

3. Got electric windows so the circuits shorted the minute you hit the water? Break the window instead. You can actually buy tools specifically for this purpose. They even come in keychain size.

4. Once the window is open, you should be able to swim up and out — if you can’t open the window, you still have a chance once the pressure has equalized to open the door. The catch being, in order to get to the surface, you’ll need the near super-human ability to hold your breath.

How To: Properly Control Bleeding (and when NOT to use a tourniquet)

Basic First Aid courses are widely available and highly encouraged. Often times it’s what happens before first responders arrive that can make the most difference to those involved in a serious accident.

Knowing a little first aid, and the proper way to do CPR, can and does save lives.

When we think of uncontrollable bleeding, the first word out of our mouths is often “tourniquet!” but in fact, they are a last resort.

1. Apply direct pressure to the wound. If you have some kind of sterile dressing to work with, all the better — otherwise, just look for something clean.

2. As you’re applying pressure, elevate the extremity. If you have another set of hands to help you, they can be doing this while you apply pressure. Otherwise, apply pressure first then find a way to lift the extremity above the level of the heart. This will help slow the amount of blood exiting the body. If the injured person is not already lying down and in shock position, you may want to ease them down.

3. Keep applying pressure and change the dressings if you can, with whatever you have on hand. If you can create a rigid splint to keep the extremity from moving, do so. Pretty much anything strong that’s the length of the extremity will work.

When to apply a tourniquet:
If the injured person’s bleeding does not slow and stop, or if they begin to show signs and symptoms of hypovolemic shock — such as loss of consciousness, blue lips, a weak pulse and shallow breathing — you may need to apply a tourniquet. This should always be your last resort to stop bleeding. If the limb has been entirely amputated, a tourniquet should be applied.

1. Use what you have available (but never wire or anything that will cut into the skin) to first tie a half-knot around the limb, then place something atop the knot (like a small stick) before finishing off the knot.

2. Positionally, it should be above the site of the bleeding but not at the joint. It should ideally be between 2 to 4 inches from the site of the wound.

3. Place the tourniquet itself over the fabric of the person’s clothing if you can; a little padding is helpful and will reduce the likelihood of skin damage. Remember the time you applied it.

4. Use the stick as a handle to twist the tourniquet tight around the limb until the bleeding has stopped.

Other tips:
[*]Do not cover the tourniquet, it should remain visible at all times.[/*][*]Let the first responders know that you have fastened one and keep track of how long it remains on.[/*][*]If limbs have been amputated but are nearby, retrieve them.[/*][*]Once a tourniquet has been applied do not remove it — only a physician or trained medical professional should remove the tourniquet, which requires specific technique and support to reduce the chance of shock.[/*][*]
[/*]How To: Survive If You’re Lost In The Woods

When it comes to avoiding your own version of The Blair Witch Project, there are a few steps to wilderness survival that anyone can—and should—master.

1. Remember the Boy Scouts of America pneumonic STOP: Stop, Think, Observe and Plan. In general, this is a pretty good strategy for life.

2. Find water and make it drinkable: running water, like from a river or stream, is a pretty safe bet if you have the ability to boil it. If you’re lucky enough to get caught in the rain, find something to collect the very drinkable rainwater in. If you’re really stuck, use leaves.

3. Build fire and keep it lit. Gather dry twigs and branches of various sizes and use the smaller ones to build a pyramid-type structure, putting all your tinder at the center of it. Anything with glass — glasses, binoculars or a camera — can be used to light it, as long as the sun is out. If that’s not an option, you can Fire-Plow:

[*]Find a piece of soft wood, and cut a groove into its base.[/*][*]Place tinder at one end.[/*][*]Use a hard stick to “plow” the end up and down in this groove to create friction.[/*][*]As the tinder begins to smolder, blow on it to help it catch.[/*][*]When the fire has caught, place more tinder and small twigs on it to keep it going.[/*][*]
[/*]4. Seek shelter. Caves are awesome, obviously, but if you have to build something of your own design, aim to make a Lean-To. Find a big branch you can lean against a tree and put some smaller branches at a 45 degree angle along the length of it. Then, cover it with leaves and other wood-dwelling objects. Moss is nice.

5. Stay alert to your surroundings — best to avoid being eaten by bears and stuff. If you are confronted with a predator, particularly bears (who live in the woods, do they not?) do not run. This encourages a game of chase which is likely to end with you being lunch.

6. When you’ve managed to get some rest and determined that no one is coming to find you, you’ll want to find a river or stream and follow it downhill — this is your best chance at re-entering civilization.

7. You’ll likely get hungry along the way. While obviously in a pinch, here are some things you should not eat while lost in the woods:

[*]Things that smell faintly of almonds[/*][*]White or yellow berries[/*][*]Mushrooms[/*][*]Thorns[/*][*]Things that taste bitter or soapy[/*][*]Clear leaves[/*][*]Leaves in groups of three[/*][*]Milky sap[/*]


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