Survival 101: What Survival Is

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Many, Many Jokes

Survival is not necessarily thriving

Survival goes beyond being physically prepared

  • When things go bad, being mentally prepared is more important than anything else
    • Emergency supplies can keep you going for days, weeks or even months, but your ability to take advantage of your environment will be more defined by your mindset
    • Knowing what to do before it actually happens is more important than having a bunch of stuff ready for it
    • Knowing how to acquire what you need is more important than having things ready
  • Don’t be surprised by what happens
    • Beware normalcy bias, which is the tendency to underestimate the chances or severity of a disaster
    • Civilization is convenient, but it also requires a number of variables that can vanish at any moment
    • Natural disasters, enough political instability or a government coup could completely undo the way of life you’re familiar with
    • By being prepared physically, you’ll face the hardship with more confidence and therefore more successfully
  • At the same time, don’t sabotage your opportunities in civilized society
    • Though there are subcultures that value survivalism, most people don’t like to think about it from their own normalcy bias
      • If you value others, you’ll respect their desire to not think about it
    • Being obsessed with survival is often a sign of obsession, and can operate contrary to success
  • Aspire for minimalism
    • Only hold onto things based on their value to you and not on their use
      • This is important because it makes it easier to distinguish between what is important and unimportant in a crisis
      • Possessions have little to no value if you haven’t thought about them in over 6 months

There are some things that you can easily do to increase your chance of surviving any disaster

  • Keep an emergency card with you at all times with known allergies, medical conditions and treatments, and an emergency contact phone number
  • Keep the approximate shelf lives of food in mind, since refrigeration isn’t guaranteed in a prolonged disaster
  • Keep your most important valuables safe by hiding in places nobody will think to look
    • Inside a clean diaper
    • Taped to the top of a bathroom sink cabinet
    • Behind power outlets
    • Put it in a container and bury it
  • Never sleep naked, since you’ll be unprepared when disaster strikes
  • Stay in shape and healthy
  • Keep a powered-off phone without a cell phone plan always available in your car
    • All working cell phones can call 911, even without having any paid service
    • Give your location first when calling 911 to allow the dispatcher to send a vehicle, since they can’t triangulate your phone’s location
  • Be mindful of your environment
    • If you have to be searched before entering a club, it’s a dangerous place to be
    • If you are well-dressed in a poor part of town, you are in danger
    • If you must text and drive, do it at a stoplight
  • If you are walking through a bad part of town at night
    • Play at full volume a police scanner phone app or a police scanner recording
    • Call someone and stay on the line with them so they can call the police if a problem comes
  • While driving, there are ways to manage being tailed by someone
    • Drive erratically and unpredictably or make 4 left turns to confirm that you’re being tailed
    • If you’re trying to lose a tail, turn on the windshield wiper fluid or try to navigate something they can’t follow you on
  • Even if you’re a victim of a crime, you can still be in control
    • If your mouth is duct-taped and hands are tied together, lick the tape until it falls off
    • If you’re stuffed in a car’s trunk:
      1. Disconnect the back light wires
      2. Kick the trunk lid as hard as you can when a cop pulls you over
    • If you’re being buried, tie your shirt around your face to keep from suffocating
  • You can be safer with vehicles even as the accident is happening
    • If you are about to get hit by a car and can’t jump out of the way, jump upwards
    • Staying at the back of a plane in a crash increases your chances of survival
    • If your car has gone underwater and you’re trapped, use the car seat headrest to break the window to get out
  • Many dangers while in nature can be averted with a little knowledge
    • In general, being noisy will scare away most land animals
    • Avoid using deodorants or perfumes while in the wild, since they will attract bugs and some perfumes will attract animals
    • Most dangerous bugs like wasps and bees will leave you alone if you don’t move, since they won’t see you as a threat
    • There are different ways to handle animal attacks
      • A killing gunshot for a bear is anywhere in the face, up the nose, in the ears or in the chest
      • If you are attacked by a brown bear, play dead
      • If you are attacked by a black bear, punch it in the nose
      • To escape a shark, punch it in the nose
      • When attacked by a moose, stand up against a tree
      • If a crocodile has you in his jaws, jam your thumbs deep into his eyeballs
    • If you are swimming in the ocean and seem to be moving out to sea, you are probably caught in a riptide
      • Swim parallel to the shore to escape it
    • Avoid sinking into quicksand by raising your legs slowly and lying on your back
    • If you’re buried under an avalanche, spit and drool will follow gravity, so you can know which way to dig
    • If you’re disoriented underwater, bubbles always move upwards
  • When a natural disaster strikes, it can save your life to know where to be
    • When lightning strikes happen, don’t lie on the ground, since the electrical current runs through your body
      • Head for lower ground or sit cross-legged to allow the electricity to skip your vital organs
    • In earthquakes, the doorway isn’t stronger than anywhere else in a building, look for a table instead

If you really feel bold about survivalism, you can go for an alternative lifestyle

  • Create a bunker for yourself to protect what’s most important to you
    • Watch for corroding metal from the soil’s acidity
  • Living in a small home is the easiest way to become prepared for disasters
    • You can convert a shipping container into a house by cutting windows and doorways
    • If you can live with less, where you buy only what you need, you’ll be able to live with less when scarcity is a natural occurrence
  • A recreational vehicle (RV) is a mobile home that can weather most disasters
    • Don’t store items necessarily near where they’re used, since the whole vehicle isn’t hard to find things in
    • Use the inner cabinet doors by hanging extra storage racks in them
    • Watch for heavy slides, since they can be cumbersome to move
    • The bigger the RV, the harder it is to navigate
    • Think through everything before doing it, since it can be hard to make changes later
    • Travel with the weather
    • There are many great public camping grounds to experience with an RV
    • There are many expenses connected to an RV that don’t always come to mind (RV dump, mail, propane, RV insurance)
    • Manage your food more carefully
      • Learn how to intricately pack your fridge and freezer to take advantage of every cubic centimeter
      • Buy and prepare groceries all at once in advance
      • Freeze the food from room temperature to allow the food to expand, and store them in freezer and microwave safe containers
      • Avoid rounded containers, since they aren’t very good for space
      • Use resealable food bags whenever possible for both food and drinks
  • An even further alternative lifestyle is to live out of a car
    • When living out of a car, everything you need will be spread apart
      • Cooking will be at peoples’ houses or some other creative arrangement
        • You can shape aluminum foil and cook on the exhaust manifold of most vehicles
        • Find a way to boil water, then store it in a high-quality Thermos all day
      • Electricity will be sparse and will rely more heavily on the battery
      • Some expenses will increase (car battery replacement, recreational time)
      • A storage unit and PO box/family’s mailbox are vital
      • Hygiene needs can be met in different ways
        • Use a gym, preferably one with multiple sites
        • If you live near a beach or lake, go swimming in it to clean up
        • Some truck stops have showers that you can pay to use
        • Keep wet wipes on hand consistently
      • Sleeping will be in the car
        • Use silica bags as a fog remover for the car
        • Get a chalkboard eraser to wipe off fog from body heat
        • Don’t put your feet on the car’s dashboard, since the airbags can go off
        • Always keep plenty of extra blankets to ensure you stay warm enough
      • Store enough clothes to last a day and a half: 7 pairs of socks, 2 outfits, a hooded rain jacket and extra underwear
      • Internet needs can be met from many fast food restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, retail stores, office supply stores, or public libraries
        • Most companies keep their wireless internet on even after closing time
    • Never stay in one place consistently, since residents or store owners can become alarmed
      • Sleep in parking lots that don’t cause much trouble about it, such as Wal-Mart
      • If you’re traveling through an area and don’t mind being observed, stay in a bank parking lot to safely have cameras on you if you’re a victim of a crime
    • Your choice of car matters if you intend to live in it
      • Every square inch of that car will be used
      • Choose or paint an earth-toned color that isn’t conspicuous
  • If you are at a low point without a place to sleep, you can always sleep during the day at parks or beaches without any interruptions
  • Learn a universally marketable skill that you can take anywhere
    • Art skills: busking (playing a musical instrument for money), drawing, singing/rapping
      • Only allow a few dollars to accumulate in your jar if you’re performing in public
      • Art skills will be one of the lowest-demand if hardship hits too hard
    • Necessary basic skills: window cleaning, custodial, manual labor, trench digging
    • Technical skills: plumbing, electrician, computers, accountant, nurse, etc.
    • Search around the gig section of Craigslist
    • Look around in dumpsters for broken items, then fix them to sell
Next: Survival 102: Applying Basic First Aid