When you consider the number of looming natural disasters and the urban disorder that can hit at any moment, it’s enough to give anyone an existential crisis.
However, your stress stems from a lack of preparedness. To help you handle whichever situation comes along, there are 50 beginner survival tips everyone should know.
When it comes to prepper tips, keep reading to learn about the basics. Then, find out what you need to know about every situation from earthquakes to attacks.
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Basic Beginner Survival Tips
When it comes to surviving a crisis situation, some prepper tips are universal to all problems. These beginner survival tips involve fulfilling your basic needs to stay alive.
Humans can survive for three weeks without food but can only go three days without water, and start to feel dehydration after one. Stocking up on a few extra cases of water and canned foods with a long shelf life will give you a buffer zone to find additional resources during a disaster.
In addition, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine will help ensure you have the physical fitness necessary to combat crisis situations.
For potential injuries along the way, keep a first aid kit handy.
Having available modern utilities like a cellphone, radio, batteries, knife, matches, automobile gas and extra cash are also useful.
Lastly, it’s important to create disaster plans you can practice with your family for various situations. To learn more about what to do in specific scenarios, check out the list below.
Earthquakes are defined as a violent sudden shaking of the ground due to movement in the Earth’s crust.
1. Plan for flying objects.
To prepare for an earthquake, position your furniture and belongings in safe locations that will not injure or harm your family.
This includes strapping shelves, televisions and other heavy accessories to the wall securely, storing breakable and toxic materials in low cabinets and moving mirrors and decor away from the bed.
2. Locate safe zones.
It’s important to know which areas of your house and outside are safe during an earthquake.
Inside the house, try to protect yourself by crawling under a large piece of furniture, which is often safer than the doorway. Avoid areas of your house with glass. Outside, aim for an open area away from buildings, wires and flammable objects.
3. Don’t try to move too far.
The easiest way to injure yourself during an earthquake is trying to switch rooms or areas while the ground is rocking and rolling.
The best defense is to drop in close proximity to where you are. If this means you can’t get to one of your safe zones, you may have to improvise. For example, if you are laying in bed, it’s safer to stay where you are than to risk injury trying to get under a table.
4. Protect your head and neck.
During an earthquake, the most important area of your body to protect is your head and neck. These areas will undergo the most damage if struck by a flying object.
Tucking your body into itself and holding on also protects vital organs like your lungs and heart.
5. Check your utilities.
After an earthquake, expect subsequent aftershocks. When the shaking finally ceases, it’s vital to inspect your utilities. This includes checking for gas leaks and keeping matches and lighters away from any potential flammable areas.
Also stay away from your light switches, which can cause electrical shocks after the shaking.
A tsunami is defined as a long, high series of sea waves caused by a disturbance like an earthquake or volcanic eruption.
1. Learn how to swim.
While a tsunami may not be the most common natural disaster on the list, learning to swim is a good skill to acquire just in case. While even the strongest swimmer won’t survive a tsunami if they’re in the ocean at the time, knowing how to swim is useful when it comes to floods during the aftermath.
If worst comes to worst and you’re in an area that floods after a tsunami hits, those few extra swimming classes can save you from drowning.
2. Know what to look for.
With a tsunami capable of cutting through the ocean at the speed of a jet plane, if you’re close enough to see one, it’s likely already too late.
However, signs on land and in the ocean indicate a tsunami is coming. These include earthquakes and ocean water that quickly recedes deeply. Like the tide, the water will suck into the ocean before spitting the dangerous waves toward the shore.
3. Stay away from the ocean.
In general, if a tsunami hits, stay away from the ocean. The immediate shore will take the strongest impact of the wave and is the most fatal area.
If you are at the beach, your safety is at great risk because of the waves’ speed and range. Leave immediately.
4. Move to higher ground.
Travel inland and get to the highest ground possible. A tsunami is capable of traveling 10 miles from the beach. However, even after the wave subsides, the result is mass flooding which can range even further.
Getting to high ground will help you avoid being submerged in fast-moving waters and risk drowning.
5. Avoid the flood water if possible.
Wading in the flood water when not necessary can expose you to harmful materials in the debris. If you aren’t trapped in an area only accessible by water, try to avoid it.
It’s also important to contact your family and confirm you are not missing, which is common as people are often displaced during a tsunami.
A flood is defined as an overflowing of water in an area that is typically dry land.
1. Learn about your flood risk.
Beginner survival tips are about being prepared, which means doing your research ahead of time.
Learn which zones are prone to flooding in your area. In addition, devise alternate routes of travel around those zones. If possible, avoid driving and being outside during a flood altogether,
2. Prepare your house if it’s in a flood zone.
If you live in a zone that is prone to floods, think ahead when it comes to your flooring.
Floods easily damage carpets because the material absorbs too much water and develops mold. Even worse, wood flooring is typically permanently damaged after a flood. The best flooring option is to go with ceramic and porcelain tile or concrete.
3. Don’t underestimate the water.
Floods are dangerous even when they don’t reach great depths. All it takes to sweep you off your feet is six inches of water. A foot of water can even move your car.
In addition to the water concerns, floods can also cause landslides and power outages.
4. Stay away from bridges and low areas.
Floods don’t just bring water to dry areas. They also often cause bodies of water to overflow.
Rivers and streams can rapidly rise during a flood. Avoid these areas, including the surrounding bridges and low highway or grass areas.
5. Check your house for structural damage.
In addition to water damage and gas leaks, it’s important to check your house for structural damage. The safest option is to have inspectors check for cracks, leaks and electrical problems after a flood.
Even after the waters dissipate, entering a fragile house too quickly can lead to injury and even death.
A hurricane is defined as a tropical cyclone, or a storm with a violent wind.
1. Anticipate evacuation.
When it comes to hurricanes, calls for evacuation are common. Instead of waiting for mid-storm to come up with a plan, devise routes to safety ahead of time.
In areas where hurricanes are common, it’s also useful to sign up for your community’s warning system that will provide alerts in an emergency situation. Pay extra attention in September when hurricanes are most likely to occur.
2. Take inventory and insure your property.
One of the biggest reasons people are at risk during a hurricane is they insist on going down with their ship. While your home holds priceless memories and belongings, your life is more important. If the warnings advise to evacuate, listen.
While you may not be able to recover all your valuable items, taking inventory of your belongings and insuring your property will reduce some of the hardships associated with the tropical storm’s aftermath.
3. Travel inland.
Weather forecasters can usually predict that a hurricane is approaching within a few days of the storm. The safest thing to do if you get an advance warning is to travel inland.
Similar to tsunamis, hurricanes form over the ocean, specifically in warm waters. This means their range extends out from the coast. However, hurricanes can move further inland, spanning about 100 miles.
4. If it’s too late to evacuate, find safe shelter.
If the window to evacuate passed and you find yourself in the midst of a raging hurricane, finding immediate shelter is pertinent.
Seek out a local storm shelter or building that can withstand high winds. Take cover and wait out the storm.
5. Avoid wet electrical equipment.
After a hurricane, there’s a need for damage control. Once your area is cleared for re-entrance it’s important to immediately document your property damage with photos and an updated inventory.
In addition, avoid any electrical equipment that might have been exposed to water. Power lines that fell during the storm can also electrically charge water pooled on the ground outside.
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A fire is defined as the rapid oxidation of material during combustion that releases heat and light.
1. Analyze your house to find the best exit strategy.
In the case of a house fire, it’s important to know potential exits in each room, including features like doors and windows.
Play out potential scenarios with your family to figure out multiple solutions to escape blocked pathways and the flames.
2. Choose clothes that don’t contain flammable materials.
Looser, heavier materials catch on fire more easily. Reversely, tight-fitting denser materials are more likely to resist the flames.
Natural materials are typically slow-burning, while synthetic materials like nylon will melt and can cause severe burns. Products that mix both materials are at the highest risk.
3. Stop, drop and roll.
In the worst case scenario, fast flames lead to you or your clothes catching on fire. If this is the case, the best beginner survival tips are to fight the initial urge to panic and run.
Instead, stop what you’re doing immediately, drop to the ground and roll in an attempt to put the flames out. Running while on fire can make the situation worse and cause fatal burns and injuries.
4. Soothe burns with cool water.
If you get burned during a fire, first extinguish any live flames. After the fire is put out, nursing your wounds is necessary.
Submerge the burned area in cool water to soothe the inflammation. Then seek further medical attention.
5. Get away from plants during a wildfire.
When it comes to a wildfire, foliage is highly flammable. If you’re caught in the forest during a wildfire, it’s best to find a safe clearing away from plants.
If you can’t escape the burning area, laying flat and seeking coverage from a ditch can add protection.
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A blizzard is defined as a severe snowstorm with high winds and low visibility.
1. Stock up on cold weather resources.
If you’re in an area prone to snow storms and extreme weather, it’s important to head to the store for clothing options like sweaters, thermals and snow boots.
However, clothes shouldn’t be your only concern. Don’t forget to pick up chains for your vehicle to improve your driving capability on snowy roads.
2. Avoid driving.
Chains offer some solace when you’re caught on the road when a storm hits. However if you receive advanced warning, the best option is to avoid driving in dangerous conditions altogether.
Not only do you face the danger of slippery roads during a blizzard, visibility is also very slim and the possibility of hitting something in the road or getting in an accident is much higher.
3. Stay indoors.
Driving isn’t the only dangerous activity you can do during a blizzard. In addition to staying off the roads, you should stay inside your house or a secure shelter.
Even walking during a blizzard can make you lost or lead to injury because it’s so hard to see. Freezing conditions can cause hypothermia after three hours, making the situation even more serious. .
4. Learn how to access a shelter.
In the case that you get trapped in your house without any food or water, eventually venturing into the storm may be necessary.
If you’re in need of an emergency shelter and have a working cell phone, you can text SHELTER and your zip code to 43352 (4FEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will notify you where the nearest shelter is.
5. Watch out for carbon monoxide.
Blizzards often come with power outages. When it’s cold and the power is out, bringing your charcoal grill inside may seem like a viable option to heat up the house.
However, this is not only a dangerous but deadly decision. Grills meant for the outdoors emit carbon monoxide indoors, which will poison you silently. The gas is colorless and odorless making it impossible to detect without a sensor.
A tornado is defined as a rapidly rotating column of air that is connected to the Earth and the clouds.
1. Find a storm cellar.
With winds upwards of 70 miles per hour and even reaching 200 miles per hour, a tornado can rip your house right off of its foundation.
So, whether you have to build your own bunker or find neighbors with a shelter and some open space, preparing solace underground will protect you from a tornado better than your house can.
2. Learn the siren system.
When winds of 70 miles per hour are present or a tornado is spotted, sirens activate in the cities expected to be affected.
If you are outside when the sirens sound, contact loved ones and seek shelter immediately.
3. If you can’t go underground or evacuate, take cover.
With their fast-paced nature, tornadoes can quickly move in on your city before you have time to act. If staying in the house is your best option, stay in a small interior room.
Another option is to pull the mattress off a bed and climb into the bath tub. The heaviness of the tub and the added protection from the mattress helps shield your body from dangerous winds and flying objects.
4. Don’t race the tornado.
Trying to outrun a tornado is a bad decision that will likely give you and your car the ride of a lifetime, and not in a good way.
Instead, follow the prepper tips of having a house or shelter ready beforehand because your car won’t offer much help when the tornado is close by.
5. Don’t panic, if you’re trapped.
If a tornado leaves you trapped, try your best to save your energy, analyze your surroundings and find a way to notify others where you are.
Cover your mouth to avoid breathing in dust and send a text, call an emergency line or make noise with surrounding materials to get noticed.
The following beginner survival tips will help you out if you’re lost in the wilderness.
1. Find a water source but stay dry.
Water is necessary for survival. If you find yourself lost for more than a day, it’s necessary to find drinkable water. Carrying iodine is useful when venturing into the woods because it can purify water.
At the same time, water also acts as your enemy when you’re lost. If you get wet and the temperatures drop, your ability to stay warm greatly decreases.
2. Start a fire.
Knowing how to start a fire is important for survival in the wilderness because it allows your body temperature to stay at a normal level, offers a heating source for food, provides light in a dark forest and uses its smoke to signal for help.
To start a fire, first gather dry wood. With the right branches and the air around you, all you need is the heat.
Using a flint and steel or reflective material like a mirror or magnifying glass and the sun offers the spark necessary to create fire. For a thick smoke signal, burn leafy plants with the wood.
3. Build a shelter.
Damp grounds, high cliffs and tight valleys are places you should never choose to set up camp.
However roughing it in the forest overnight without shelter puts you at the mercy of predators and cold temperatures.
At the very least, make yourself a bed with leaves to provide a barrier between you and the ground. If sticks are available create a makeshift tent reinforced with leaves and brush.
4. Tell direction without a compass.
Certain cues in nature can help you figure out which direction you’re traveling without the need for a compass.
For example, moss typically grows away from the sunlight. Heavy moss on one side of a tree or rock indicates the north side.
At night, finding the North Star in the sky will also point you in a true north direction.
5. Keep your food and shelter separate.
To avoid unwanted house guests in your makeshift shelter, make sure to keep your food preparation away from your tent.
Leftover smells and scraps attracts animals searching for food. Keeping your preparation too close to your temporary lodging puts you in danger of being something’s next meal.
Blackout / EMP
A blackout is defined as a period of darkness caused by electrical failure.
1. Keep battery-powered tools on hand.
If the power grid goes down, anything you have to plug in goes with it. That’s why it’s important to stock up on items like a radio and flashlight that operate off batteries.
In addition, keep extra batteries available in case the power stays out for an extended period of time.
2. Keep your refrigerator closed.
If your power goes out, the refrigerator loses its ability to stay cold. However, its possible to keep your food from going bad.
Since power outages are typically short-lived, keeping your refrigerator closed during the waiting period helps prevent your food from spoiling for about four hours. However, opening it even once immediately starts the warming process.
3. Disconnect appliances.
While you may be tempted to keep testing if your appliances have come back on yet, it’s actually best to unplug for awhile.
Dangerously, keeping your appliances plugged in after a power outage can lead to electrical surges.
4. Properly handle your medicines.
Some medicines need to be refrigerated. Similar to the food that will go bad after four hours, if the power stays out for more than a day, discard your current medicine and call your doctor for a new prescription.
If throwing away your medicine prompts a life-threatening situation, seek out medical attention immediately instead of biting the bullet.
Taking bad medicine can be just as harmful to your health as not taking it on time.
5. Consider investing in a generator.
If power outages or storms are common in your area, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a back up generator.
If the power goes down, a generator will still allow you access to basic necessities like your refrigerator and heating and cooling system.Shop Now
Attacks can range from robberies to shootings to standoffs with an animal.
1. Prepare yourself against human attackers.
When it comes to beginner survival tips for attacks like robberies or assault, it’s important to learn self defense. Always become aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions like using headphones when walking alone.
Investing in pepper spray also offers another form of defense that helps give you time to get away.
2. Have a plan if confronted with an active shooter.
Mass shootings at large events and venues are far too common and occur at an alarming rate. While it’s comforting to think it will never happen to you, it’s better to be prepared.
When you enter an event, become aware of entrances and exits that provide you an escape strategy. When shooting is active, run away from the area if possible. If this puts you in immediate danger, find a safe place to hide silently and make your best effort to block access to yourself.
3. If faced with a bear, play dead, sometimes.
If you’re faced with a bear attack, playing dead is only the right solution when the bear is a mother protecting her cubs.
On the other hand, if you are facing a male or obviously aggressive bear with no cubs in sight, playing dead won’t offer you much protection. Instead, use your fists, rocks and anything else you can find to fight it off.
4. If faced with a shark, punch it in the gills.
Like an angry male bear, playing dead with a shark will just make you an easier meal. If you’re being circled by a shark, the best thing to do is maintain eye contact and make yourself look bigger.
While punching a shark in the nose is effective in disorienting it, this also puts your hand a little too close to its mouth. Instead, push an approaching shark away by its sensitive gills.
5. Hike in groups to avoid mountain lions.
If you encounter a mountain lion on a hike, it’s likely already struck you. Mountain lions are especially dangerous because they sneak up on you and attack from behind. However, attacks on humans are rare.
Sticking in groups makes mountain lions less likely to come near because they like to attack singled out prey. Be extra aware when climbing around rock croppings where they like to lounge.
Implementing beginner survival tips into your routine
Now that you’ve read through the 50 beginner survival tips every prepper should know, you’ll be prepared if you find yourself faced with a natural disaster or urban crisis.
Since you upped your knowledge, it’s time to share these prepper tips with your friends and family to make sure you all know the beginner survival tips to keep yourselves alive.