In today’s technological world, far too many people have grown out-of-touch with their basic survival instincts. This can spell serious trouble if you become stranded in a remote location or simply lose your way while out camping or hiking. Thankfully, there are five basic survival skills that can help you get through even the worst of times.
While you may think that simply remaining calm is not really a skill, you will quickly understand why this skill made the list when you find yourself facing a life or death situation. In these situations, far too many people immediately begin to panic. This will prevent them from making rational decisions and executing a survival plan.
When faced with a survival situation, you will want to remember the acronym SPEAR.
By keeping this acronym in mind, you will be able to remain calm and develop a plan to meet all of your basic needs until you can find a way out of your current situation.
Finding Or Building Shelter
The average person can die from exposure to the elements in as little as three hours when faced with extreme temperatures or other extreme weather conditions. Therefore, one of the first things you will need to do is to find or build a shelter.
When choosing a shelter, you will need to keep in mind the need for protection from the elements, the ability to retain heat or moisture as needed, and the ability to keep potential predators out.
Begin by selecting a location that is close the materials that you will need, such as firewood and water. Next, you will want to ensure that the area is free of any hazards, such as sliding rocks or large animals. Finally, you will want to ensure that the area is large enough to accommodate the number of people that you are traveling with.
If you are not skilled at building a shelter or there simply are not adequate materials available for the job, you will need to search for natural shelters that can be used. Caves and hollow logs can serve as good natural shelters. Just be sure to scout the location first to ensure a predator is not already calling this location home.
Fire can be used for a variety of survival tasks, such as cooking food, heating your shelter, and purifying nearby water sources. Consequently, it is important to ensure you always have as many options as possible for creating fire.
While carrying a matchbook or lighter with you at all times is a great start when it comes to ensuring you are prepared for any survival situation, there simply is no guarantee that that these sources of fire will be available when a survival situation arises. Therefore, it is important to ensure you are also able to create fire with your gear, as well as with the materials that are likely to be found in your environment.
Learning to create fire using items found in nature is a skill that can take some time to master. Practicing this skill long before an emergency arises can ensure that you are prepared for whatever comes your way. After all, the last thing you want is to find yourself freezing to death as you desperately try striking rocks together hoping to create a spark.
Once you learn how to create fire, you will also need to learn how to sustain a fire while minimizing your use of fuel. One of the most effective ways to do this if by placing your firewood in a star shaped pattern and then pushing the logs inwards as the fire requires additional fuel.
Obtaining Safe Drinking Water
While a person can survive as long as three days without water, the physical effects of dehydration can often be felt after just a few hours without drinking water. Consequently, one of the first things you should do in a survival situation is to locate a source of adequate, and safe drinking water.
Consuming water that contains high levels of mineral deposits, pollution, or other contaminates can be just as dangerous and not drinking any water at all. In order to ensure your water supply is safe, always look for springs or head-water springs when possible. If you are not able to verify the purity of the water you will be drinking, it is always best to bring the water to a boil over an open fire for several minutes before allowing it to cool, and ultimately consuming it. This will ensure that all bacteria in the water is killed and that it is safe for consumption.
If you are having trouble locating a source of water, using buckets or other containers to collect rain water and morning dew can provide you with enough water to survive until you can find a more substantial source of drinking water.
While your body will likely begin to react to hunger within a few hours, you can actually survive for several weeks without eating. This is extremely important to remember as you set out in search of a food supply.
One of the most abundant food supplies in the wild is edible plants. In many cases, both the fruit produced by a plant, as well as the root or shoot of the plant will be safe for consumption. However, not all plants can be safely consumed. Consuming a poisonous plant can result in issues as mild as an upset stomach or as serious as death. Therefore, you should never consume any plants that you are not able to confidently identify.
Nuts and meat are excellent sources of protein during a survival situation. If you choose to hunt, be sure to always hunt a safe distance away from your shelter as you do not want to attract vultures or other scavenging animals towards your temporary home.
You will also need to remember that fresh meat does not possess the same preservatives that are used to keep meat fresh at your local supermarket. Therefore, you will need to cure or cook and eat this meat as quickly as possible in order to prevent the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.