It’s easy to take basic safety and survival skills for granted, but the world’s a jungle. Whether you’re an adventurous soul or a cautious homebody, it doesn’t hurt to have some survival knowledge about building a fire out of potato chips, turning a needle into a compass, or knowing how to survive a zombie apocalypse. So take note, because these genius life hacks could save your life, someone else’s life, or multiple lives. Because while we hope you never find yourself in a dangerous situation, you do know what they say: it’s always better to be prepared.
#1 What to do if your hair stands on end during a thunderstorm
If you notice that your hair is starting to have a static reaction during a thunderstorm, seek cover immediately because you are about to be struck by lightning. By immediate, we mean approximately 15 seconds. In the event that you can’t scurry away to safety with 15 seconds, plant both your feet together, squat down on the balls of your feet, and grab your ankles. In case you are struck by lightning, this will give the electricity a direct path down to the ground and potentially minimize the damage to your body.
#2 If you think you are being followed, make 4 right turns
If you’re driving and you think someone is following you, make 4 right turns. Since you will return to the same road, they shouldn’t be behind you anymore. If they are still on your tail, then the odds are that they’ve got shady intentions. And if you ever do find yourself being followed, do not go home. Instead, head directly to the nearest police station.
#3 If you are hurt in public, do not appeal to the crowd
In case you are hurt in a public place, do not ask help from the crowd. Instead, address one person in particular. This way, you are more likely to actually get help. This phenomenon is called the “bystander effect”, wherein everyone will think that someone else will help you.
#4 What to do if you see a service dog without an owner
If you ever encounter a service dog who is looking for your attention, it could be a cry for help for someone who could be injured. Find help from authorities immediately in order to locate the pet’s owner. You could be saving a life.
#5 What to do if you’ve been stabbed
If you were stabbed by a knife, glass, metal, or anything that caused a deep wound, do not pull the weapon out; as it could be slowing down a massive amount of blood loss. Instead, go ahead and call for help, and put pressure around the object to keep the bleeding under control until emergency responders arrive.
#6 Start a fire with chips
Sometimes, starting a fire can be a struggle due to damp tinder. If you ever stumble across this issue, grab any high-calorie food items you have (like chips) and light’em up.
#7 A belt can be used as a tourniquet
If you accidentally cut yourself and you’re losing blood, you can use a belt as a tourniquet to limit the flow of blood. Strap the belt at least 5 cm above the wound or 5 cm above the joint if the wound is on the lower limb. It’s important to never place a tourniquet over a joint. In any case, it pays to always wear a belt, it could save someone’s life.
#8 what to do in case someone has a seizure
In case you witness someone having a seizure, do not move them. Instead, call an ambulance and time the episode. When they come around, they will likely be confused or experience memory loss. Tell them who you are, where they are, and that help is on the way.
#9 If you see someone choking and coughing, assess before you intervene
Not every choking situation requires the Heimlich maneuver. If you see them coughing, that means that air is able to pass through due to partial obstruction. Allow them to cough as much as they need to clear their airways. If you intervene with back blows, it could cause the obstruction to fully block the airways.
On the other hand, if they seem to have stopped breathing, you should definitely resort to the Heimlich maneuver. If you aren’t familiar with this procedure, find someone who does. Call an ambulance if needed.
#10 In case you get caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore
It may be unlikely, but swimming in the ocean is all fun and games until a riptide traps you. If this happens to you, try your best to swim parallel to the shore, not towards it. Even if you end up swimming further out, you will eventually be free of the current and then you can calmly make your way back inland.
#11 How to break a car window
If you ever find yourself in a situation that prompts you to break your car window, use the metal ends of the detachable headrests to smash the glass. This is especially helpful if you happen to be in a sinking car, and it works best before the water pressure equalizes. So, think fast and do it ASAP!
#12 If you see a lion, do not run
Adventures in the great savannas of the world are great, but if you ever find yourself face to face with a predator, do not run. Running may be your first instinct, but try your best to stay calm. If you run, you will be exhibiting prey behavior, which encourages the lion to chase you, and unless you’re faster than the Usain Bolt, they will catch up with you.
Your best bet at surviving such an encounter would be to stand your ground, make as much noise as possible while waving your hands around. Otherwise, you can slowly walk in reverse until you are far enough to scurry to safety. Make it predator versus predator.
#13 How to perform CPR
Having basic knowledge of CPR could save a life, so it won’t hurt to learn this essential procedure. But first, check if the scene is safe. Then ask a bystander to call 911. If no one else is around, dial 911 on speaker and talk to them while you start CPR.
According to the Red Cross, you should begin CPR by placing one of your hands on top of the other in the middle of the other person’s chest. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep. Deliver them at a rate of 100 compressions per minute.
After 1every 15 compressions, deliver two rescue breaths by tilting their head back with the chin lifted. Pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over theirs to create a seal. Blow air into their mouth to make the chest rise. In the event that the chest does not rise, they may be choking. Before attempting the next rescue breath, check for any obstructions and remove them. Keep the cycle of compressions and rescue breaths going until the person starts breathing again or until a trained medical responder arrives.
#14 How to identify if someone is having a stroke
Keep the acronym, F.A.S.T. in mind.
First, check for facial drooping by looking for any irregularities and asking them to smile. If it’s crooked, that could be one of the first signs.
Next, is there arm weakness or the inability to fully raise one’s arms?
Speech difficulties: If they suddenly start speaking incoherently, that’s a red flag.
Lastly, is time. If any of the abovementioned symptoms are manifesting, time is of the essence. Call emergency services or bring them to the hospital immediately.
Also, remember to be as FAST a possible.
#15 How to make a compass with a needle and a leaf
If you ever get lost in the woods, the first thing you need to do is calm down, because panic will only make things worse. Then, check if you have a needle in your bag. Rub the needle’s eye against hair or silk 100 times to magnetize it. Afterward, place the needle on a leaf that can float on water. Try your best to make sure that no wind hits it. If done right and if no other metal objects are in close proximity, the needle should start pointing North and South.
If you do not have a needle with you, you can check rocks and trees to see which side the moss grows on. Follow that direction and it should lead you to a stream. Once you reach the body of water, it could lead you to an exit.
#16 Reach out to your county’s embassy if you need help abroad
If you’re in a foreign country and need help with legal, medical, or other important issues; reach out to your nation’s embassy via their 24-hour emergency number. Always save their number on your phone and have a copy of it written on paper.
#17 If a diabetic person feels dizzy, give them sugar
If someone with diabetes feels dizzy or faints, give them something sweet immediately. Sugar may not be great for them, but it’s a small sacrifice to save their lives in such a situation.
#18 Always carry a first aid kit
Having a basic first aid kit on you at all times is standard. This way, you won’t ever panic if you need a band-aid, isopropyl alcohol, aspirin, or gauze.
#19 If someone is having a heart attack, give them aspirin
In case you see someone having a heart attack, call 911, and administer first aid by having them chew the aspirin for fast absorption. If you want to be 100% sure, ask the emergency operator for confirmation.
#20 Use a flashlight or anything reflective to signal for help
If you are hurt or trapped and need to signal for help, use anything reflective that you can get your hands on. A CD, polished piece of metal, or a flashlight can all be used to reflect light onto a target until someone sees it. It may take some time for someone to take notice of your signal, but don’t give up!
#21 How to dress when the weather is too cold
When the temperature exceeds sweater weather, it would be best to dress in layers and protect your face, hands, and feet from the harsh weather. If you are going to travel far distances over thick layers of snow, always let someone know where you are going and what time they can expect you to be back home.
#22 How to escape quicksand
If you happen to step in quicksand, you might think that it will suck you into the underworld, but don’t panic! Just make yourself as light as possible by tossing your bag and jacket to the side. Next, keep your arms to the side and lie down on your back to float. After that, you can gradually move your way to safety.
Another method that works is reaching for a branch or someone’s hand and use that leverage to be pulled to safety. Remember, move slowly and deliberately.
#23 Liquor can be used as a sanitizer
In case of an emergency, and you’re out of rubbing alcohol, you can use liquor as a sanitizing alternative. Just rub it on the affected area to prevent infections and to help relieve itching or burning sensations.
#24 How to survive a stampede
Getting knocked down in a stampede can cause you to sustain some serious injuries. If this happens to you, it’s difficult to stand up immediately. Assume a protective position by keeping your feet tucked up and your hands covering your face. When you see a window, try to stand up right away.
#25 How to escape from a mugger
Muggers are often more interested in your money and valuables than they are in hurting you. So, whatever you do, value your life more than your wallet. If the culprit holds a weapon against you, do not put up a fight. Just give them your wallet, or better yet toss your wallet far away from you. They will likely turn around to pick up the wallet, giving you time to run as fast as you can. Run to the nearest police station to report the incident or find a crowded area and look for help.
#26 If you leave your beverage unattended in a public area, do not drink it anymore
If you’re at a bar, a party, or any other public event and happen to leave your drink unattended, do not drink it anymore. You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting yourself from harmful substances that shady people could have slipped into your drink. Just order a new drink; it may save your life.
#27 In case of a fire, stay low
In case of fire, stay as low as to the floor as possible. Smoke rises, so the air near the floor is less toxic for you to inhale. Also, if you have time, wrap yourself in a damp blanket or towel and avoid taking the elevator. Stay calm and make your way out of the building as fast as you can.
#28 How to break free if someone grabs your wrist
If you ever find yourself tied up with zip ties, hold your arms up above your head and then bring your wrists down towards your stomach as hard as your can. You may need to do this several times before the ties break, and it will definitely cause cuts; but it’s a small price to pay to reclaim your freedom.