As much as we hope our families will never face a disaster, the truth is we cannot prevent it from happening. That’s why your family needs to know what to do when one occurs.
Whether your child gets lost in the woods or your family experiences a natural disaster while in separate locations, your family needs to know what to do to survive. Teaching your family members these 12 essential survival skills today may save their lives in the future.
1: How to locate safe spaces
Part of disaster planning is identifying safe spaces. Your family needs to know where to go if disaster strikes, such as where to go if you have a tornado warning (i.e., an interior room without windows). Additionally, your family should identify where to go if you are separated during an emergency and cannot get home. Designate a family meeting place that is easy to find, such as a nearby church.
2: How to get help
With most people relying on cell phones for communication, we no longer memorize phone numbers. Make sure everyone in your family memorizes Mom’s and Dad’s phone numbers – even your youngest family members. Teach little kids your address and your phone number and teach them how to call 911. Explain who they should give contact information to in an emergency (such as a policeman or doctor).
3: How to signal for help
Unfortunately, we can’t always rely on cell phone communication – especially during and immediately after disasters. Cell phone towers may be down, or you may be stranded. In these types of situations, you need to know how to get a rescuer’s attention. For example, teach your family members to use a flashlight, whistle loudly, or tie a piece of bright clothing to the car’s antenna to get attention.
Make sure everyone in your family knows the rules of three. Three of anything is widely recognized as an SOS. This can be three loud whistles, three shots from a flare, or even three piles of rocks.
4: How to find or make clean water
People can live for weeks without food, but only 3 to 4 days without water. This is why it’s vital you teach family members how to find or make clean water. For example, teached your family the following ways to collect clean water:
- Collect rainwater from leaves.
- Look for water in ground moss.
- Drink from the morning dew.
- Create a means to collect condensation from tree branches.
- Discuss the safest places to drink from, such as small creeks rather than ponds.
Even better – Keep your family water prepared by purchasing the Survival Spring Personal Water Filter by Alexapure for everyone.
5: How to eat in an emergency
Your youngest family members need to know how to eat in an emergency (some of your oldest members may need a reminder). But they also need to understand that drinking water is more important than eating. In an emergency, food is scarce, so you must ration it. Ideally, your family should know how to cook, forage, identify edible plants, and hunt for food.
6: How to build a fire
A key survival skill is knowing how to build a fire. Fire can help you cook food, boil water, stay warm, and signal rescuers. We recently published The 8 Types of Fire Every Survivalist Needs to Know How to Build. The article covers everything from the supplies you need to build fires to how to construct different types of fires.
7: How to stay warm
While knowing how to build a fire can go a long way toward keeping you warm in a disaster, there are other things to consider. For example, teach your family different ways to stay warm, such as insulating their clothing using things from nature. Point out how they can stuff their clothing with leaves and vegetation and then tuck their shirts into their pants and their pants into their shoes in desperate situations. Moreover, explain why it is important to always dress appropriately, such as wearing clothing made of materials that provide insulation like wool, down, and polyester fleece in cold weather.
8: How to find and build shelter
Teach each member of your family how to build a shelter to protect them from the elements. Show them how to build a sturdy frame using trees and branches and how to insulate the walls using vegetation. Likewise, discuss the different types of natural shelters family members can use, such as caves or coves.
9: How to pack an emergency kit
In the best-case scenario, your family members will have a fully packed emergency kit on them when disaster strikes. If they do, then they will have access to water, food, basic first aid, and survival tools. We recommend always having a prepared emergency kit in your vehicle and on you when you go on outdoor adventures. According to a National Geographic study, 40% of national park rescues occurred from day hikers accidentally going off the trail. Having a packed emergency kit when you get lost can make all the difference.
We offer a variety of survival gear for your emergency kit, or you can purchase a premade 46-piece Emergency Survival Kit to put in each family member’s car or backpack.
10: How to perform basic first aid
While having an emergency kit is important, it is useless if you don’t know how to use the tools included, such as first aid supplies. Everyone needs to know how to perform basic first aid, including:
- How to clean a wound.
- How to stop bleeding.
- How to treat a burn.
- How to help with an allergic reaction.
11: How to tie a knot
In survival situations, knowing how to tie a secure knot can be life-saving. Whether you need a knot to secure a shelter, hold something high above the ground, or perform first aid, knowing different ways to tie knots is beneficial. If you were not a Scout and did not learn this survival skill as a youth, you can find plenty of YouTube videos demonstrating how to tie various survival knots.
12: How to handle a knife
Another important survival lesson the Scouts teach is how to handle a knife, with young Scouts introduced to pocketknives. Keeping a pocketknife on you can save your life in disaster situations. You can use it as a tool to cut, as well as for self-defense and starting fires.
Make sure your family knows the essential skills before disaster strikes, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply