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Survival Myths that Need to be Forgotten

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There’s a lot of misinformation out there on how to survive in emergency scenarios. Movies, television shows old wives tales and even myths have perpetuated incorrect ideas. If you want to know how to survive in a life threatening scenario, then you should equip yourself with the right information. This can make all the difference between living and dying.

What is a survival scenario?

A survival scenario is any situation where your life could be in danger. Although people tend to think that such scenarios are a result of random occurences, more often than not, that isn’t true.

Accidents like plane crashes, car crashes, getting lost in the woods, or getting stranded in sudden cold weather do happen randomly. However, usually human error is the main cause that leads to a survival situations.

Let’s say you went hiking for a day. You thought that your phone wouldn’t run out of charge since you were only going to need to use it for a day. 

However, you get lost while hiking and your phone doesn’t have a connection. In this situation, you would have no way of reaching out to people to find help. Without connectivity, your phone’s GPS wouldn’t work either. 

These situations do happen in real life. That is why it’s always better to be prepared for survival scenarios. That way, you can secure your health and safety. Equipped with this knowledge, you will also be able to protect your loved ones.

Survival Myths Related to Surviving in a Forest

People get lost while hiking or camping more often than you realize. That’s why bringing along the right survival kit is essential. Your Outdoors Survival Kit should contain enough food, water, and medicines to help you in case you get lost. A torch, some flares, a compass and a map of the area are also essential components of the Survival Kit.

In case you get lost in a forest or other wooded area, these are the survival myths you need to be aware of:

  • Finding food should be your first priority: This is false. A healthy human being with no underlying health conditions can survive for as long as six weeks without regular food. What is more likely to kill you is exposure to the elements or dehydration. If you find yourself lost in a forest and aren’t sure that help is arriving soon, then always find shelter first. This is to keep yourself safe from any sudden weather changes such as the rain, snow, winds, and even animals. Once you’ve found your shelter, the next order of the day is to find a clean source of water.
  • A lean-in makes a great shelter: A lean-in is easy to build, but it’s not a good shelter that can help you survive in the woods. A Lean-in can provide shelter again the Sun’s rays. It can also protect you from wind from only one direction. But when it comes to the rain or animals, a lean-in doesn’t help. Your shelter should be able to give you insulation and keep you warm. A Lean-in fails to provide these as well. Ideally, you should find a cave to take shelter in, or build a more durable shelter that provides protection against the weather and the elements.
  • Fire beats shelter: Again, this does not work in a real life survival scenario. The issue of insulation is important here as well. A fire doesn’t provide any insulation between you and the ground. It can also be put out by rain, snow, or even large gusts of wind. A shelter always takes priority if you find yourself having to spend the night outside without a tent or camping gear.
  • GPS always works: Unfortunately, technology is not infallible. While a GPS is easy to use and helps you find accurate bearings in most situations. However, it can also fail you. If your phone runs out of charge, or if you’re in an area with bad connectivity, the GPS will not work. For this reason, you should always carry and know how to use a compass and a map of the area.
  • You can drink the same water that other animals are drinking: If you try to drink from the same water source as other animals, you could fall seriously sick. The water you normally drink has been treated and its impurities have been removed. In nature, water contains sediments and biological contaminants. Sometimes, chemical contaminants can be present as well. You could wind up upsetting your stomach, or ingesting harmful bacteria that adversely affects your health.
  • Boiling water will solve all your problems: While boiling water can to a large extent remove the presence of biological impurities, the sediments ane chemical impurities would still remain. The safest way to drink water collected in the wilderness is to boil it, strain it, and purify it before consumption.

Now that you have some idea on how to get yourself set up in an emergency survival scenario, let’s look at some more myths that could put you in danger.

Myths on sustained survival in the wilderness

Don’t always assume that help will be coming soon. Unless you’ve informed the authorities already, or you’ve asked a contact to call someone if you don’t reach out within a certain time period, help may take time in coming to you.

Even in situations where you’ve informed the authority, there’s usually a procedure that is followed before help reaches you. Whe you inform the authorities, that information is relayed to emergency personnel. Then, you could be put on a waitlist depending on other emergency scenarios that are active, and how urgently you need help. While help will reach you, it’s always best to be prepared in case help takes time to arrive.

  • Building a fire in a cave will keep you warm: When rock interacts with fire, it expands. So if you start a fire inside a cave, you could create a Cave-in.
  • Rubbing two sticks together will create fire: If you don’t have matches or a lighter, you may feel tempted to try this idea. Popularized in movies and cartoons, rubbing two sticks to create fire doesn’t always work in real life. The idea is that the friction caused by rubbing the two sticks together will help create fire. The reality is that this technique is purely based on luck and consistently trying to create fire. There is no sure fire way to start a fire using this method.
  • Wet matches will work fine after they’ve dried up: In case you brought matches along, that’s great news! However, if the matches get wet, they would be useless. There is a myth that matches work once again when they are dry. But this isn’t true. The chemical makeup in a matchstick that causes the match to light on fire is disturbed if the match comes in contact with water. After this, the match will no longer work. Either bring waterproof matches with you, or keep your matches in a waterproof box.

A big danger you could face in an outdoor survival scenario is hypothermia. What should you do if you or someone you love gets hypothermia or frostbite?

Survival Myths on Hypothermia and Frostbite

Hypothermia and Frostbite can both be life threatening situations. You may also have to amputate your limbs if you aren’t careful. Avoid listening to these survival myths to escape such situations.

  • Immerse a person suffering from hypothermia into a hot water bath: This is a disastrous idea. If a person is suffering from hypothermia, then they need to be warmed slowly. By immersing them in hot water, you could shock their body or induce a heart attack. Instead, warm them by covering them with blankets. Place hot water bottles under their arms and legs, and slowly help them recover their core temperature.
  • Feeding a hypothermia victim: A hypothermia victim is almost always drowsy and tired. If you try to feed them to help them, they may choke on their food. Feed high calorie food in small quantities only when the person is suffering from either mild or moderate hypothermia.
  • Let a hypothermia victim sleep: Thie could cause their death. You must always keep a hypothermia victim from falling asleep until professional help arrives.
  • Rub the skin of someone suffering from frostbite: Frostbite is a result of frost forming on the person’s skin and tissues. By rubbing them, you could cause tissue damage. Instead, give the painkillers and slowly help their bodies return to a warmer core temperature.
  • Drinking alcohol when it’s cold will help warm you up: The reverse is actually true. Alcohol is known to dilate the skin. This causes the body to lose heat more quickly. Unless as a last resort, a drink like hot tea will help you warm up better.

Dehydration is another life threatening situation. What are the myths associated with dehydration?

Survival Myths about Dehydration

Dehydration can kill you. Being dehydrated is also a reality you would have to face in the wilderness. But there are some survival myths that can turn your situation from bad to worse.

  • Suck on a rock or a button: The idea is that if you suck on a rock or a button, this induces salivation in your mouth. You can then drink your saliva and satiate your thirst. However, since no actual water is being provided to your body, this doesn’t help to alleviate thirst at all. You could also choke yourself if you swallow the button or the rock.
  • Drink urine: Urine contains impurities from the body and must never be drank, not even as a last resort.
  • Drink blood: Blood does contain water, but this won’t help quench your thirst. Tribes that drink blood do it to get protein.
  • Water in cactus can save you: The water you can obtain from a cactus is scant and bitter. You’re more likely to vomit, lose the water in your body. This will make you more dehydrated than before.

The best way to drink water in a survival scenario is after filtering it properly. Not even drinking from the same source as an animal is a good idea without filtering the water to remove impurities. Rainwater harvesting however, can help you survive.

Survival Myths related to Animals

There are plenty of survival myths about animals that don’t work. Some can get you killed. A few of these include:

  • Sucking the venom out of a snake bite: This doesn’t help the victim at all. You could make their situation worse if bacteria from your mouth reaches their wounds. You could accidentally ingest the venom. This is dangerous for you as well. The best way to treat a snake bite is to keep the person calm, keep the wound below the level of the heart, and to find a hospital as soon as possible.
  • If a bear attacks you, play dead: This will not save you. First determine if the bear is defending itself or trying to attack you. If its defending itself or its cubs, then make yourself appear taller. Then slowly back away from the bear. If its attacking you, then your best shot at survival is to attack it back. Aim for the eyes or other weak areas.
  • Eating raw food or what animals eat is okay: This is always dangerous as such food contains harmful bacteria that could kill you. Sushi is different as certain species of fish contain bacteria that can’t survive in the human body.

There are many more survival myths that don’t work in real life. The best way to prepare yourself is to know about these myths, as well as what is helpful in emergency situations.

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7 Ways to Survive an EMP Attack

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An electromagnetic pulse, or “EMP” for short, is a sudden burst of energy that overloads the fragile components within an electrical system, causing them all to short out. It causes actual hardware damage resulting in the failure of any unprotected electrical devices. Typically EMPs are generated by technically advanced devices such as nuclear weapons. 

The least realistic but most dangerous scenario that can take place is that someone detonates many EMPs over a nation, or crazier, the whole world and renders all the technology and electric grids everywhere useless. If this happens, you should know how to prepare for it to ensure your survival during this unprecedented attack.

Lighting 

Candles are the obvious choice in any scenario like this. We have them handy; they are cheap and readily available everywhere in quantity. The only few negative things one might mention are the strength of light the candles can provide, how unstable they can be depending on which type of candle you use, or how the wind can blow them out anytime. 

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If candles just don’t cut it for you, let me introduce you to an alternative. Oil lamps; works under any condition. No weather or atmosphere is strong enough to keep an oil lamp down.

Faraday Cage

A Faraday cage, named after its inventor, Michael Faraday, is a device or structure made and used to protect the cage’s contents from electrical impulses. It’s an excellent option for security, and easy to make. Nevertheless, an old microwave or a metal cage, i.e., a safe, can be as good.

The Faraday cage may do well against an EMP attack, but we can’t be too sure. We cannot foresee the impact of the electromagnetic pulse or the level of damage it might cause, so it is pretty much impossible to predict if the cage would protect the devices or not.

Communication Devices

Communications would be an arduous task after almost everything is rendered useless because of the EMP attack. It is always good to have many backup options to communicate with those important to you if a situation like this ever strikes. Devices such as a two-way radio, CB radio, or long-range walkie-talkie can be handy. If you find any of these devices in good shape after an EMP attack, put in some batteries and see if it works as there’s a high likelihood it will.

Communication is one of the more essential tasks after any disaster, and it is the very thing that you’d probably overlook. 

Backup Electricity

The primary issue after the attack is the question of electricity and how to source it if the grid becomes empty. Well, one option is to make electricity from solar panels by installing the panels around your home. Another is to set up wind turbine generators and produce electricity. 

Luckily, there are many backup electricity options, but they require preparation and hard work.

Defense

Any type of gun, be it shotgun or rifle, is useful for defending yourself. You can use these weapons to protect yourself and hunt animals, and depending on your preferences, for game. Another resourceful thing to do if you want alarm systems around your house would be to hang bells on the inside of your doors. Even if they seem like nothing, they are very consistent and can make you aware of intruders if they try to sneak in. Try to do this for every entry point in your house so you and your family can rest assured of your safety.

Sourcing Food

Sourcing food will be another significant problem if the restoration of power takes months or even years. Therefore you should know how to grow your food and manage your livestock. Books on farming and breeding livestock will help enormously with this, and there are countless out there.

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Be Ready, So You Don’t Have To Get Ready

Many preppers already know how to live off the grid because they have started living that life to be ready if and when the time comes. All of this will eventually prepare you to survive an EMP attack if you go off the grid entirely and learn not to rely on anything that works with electricity.

Keeping a stock of first aid kits and bare medical essentials is also a requirement if anyone needs medical attention. The EMP attack is often called the ultimate doomsday attack that will eventually happen.

You can always do things on an individual level to help protect you and your loved ones better. The practices and ways that we discussed above are known by much of the preppers community, so if you’re new to being a prepper, now you know how to survive an EMP stack.

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What to Do When You Can’t Afford Food

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The times are tough, and as the pandemic continues to affect us all in many different ways, this article feels like a necessity to show all the other options out there you can opt for to make your life that extra bit more worth living.

Families are struggling, and on the top of the list of struggles comes the challenge of buying food. This is a growing problem, and it seems that the end is not in sight. If you cannot cope and cannot afford even the essential food items, there may be some other options that can help you out.

Ask

Sometimes, the easiest thing can be the most challenging thing to do. Asking for food is the hardest decision that someone can take. Nevertheless, you can always ask restaurants, grocery stores or markets and many such places. While asking, also make them understand your situation very clearly and explain that the circumstances are challenging for you. Some organizations go from restaurant to restaurant and take leftover food from there and distribute it later to people who don’t have money or are homeless in dire need.

Basic budget

Mapping out your budget is the first thing you should do. List all of your living requirements on paper or digitally, and start with food. Only think about the things that you genuinely need to live and budget accordingly. Once you have a budget set, make it your duty to never go outside of this budget.

SNAP benefits

This is primarily a USA program, but you can find similar programs for your country. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps people get benefits based on their state and income. People will apply to this for many reasons and can be eligible for many reasons, so don’t take it from here but go directly to the Government website and get more information. Suppose you can apply and get approved. You will get a notification with all the information and details, including the period you will continue to receive those benefits. 

WIC

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Another program is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Congress is the one who controls this, and it gets funded through individual states. 

There is a list of criteria that you must meet if you want to qualify for WIC. The requirements include categorical, residential, income and nutritional risk. 

Free lunches

There are many programs specifically made to help people who cannot afford food in their houses. Free lunch summer programs, soup kitchens, or 24/7 kitchens that stay open solely for people to get food are some of the most important options that you can take advantage of. You need to be aware of these programs as they are placed there specifically to help you. 

Food banks

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If, by chance, you do not meet the eligibility criteria for any program, the above solutions will come to your aid. Another organization that helps is local food pantries. They are charitable and not for profit organizations that give away food to people without money or with very little and still cannot afford to buy the absolute necessities. A statistic to put things in perspective, food banks in the UK are helping up to a million people not starve, and the number in the United States of America is probably even higher. 

No matter how you may feel about going to food banks and asking for help, be reassured of your health and safety. 

Coupon expert

Become an expert coupon collector! These are your best friends during trying times. Stores give you coupons, and there are apps on the play store that have coupons for many stores in your neighbourhood. Vouchers can also give you advantages like buying in bulk at low prices or having discounted items that will expire in a week or so. 

NGOs

There are many not for profit governmental organizations that have a scheduled time and place where they distribute food. Going there and having your lunch or dinner is always a good option. 

Apart from NGOs, there are churches, mosques, gurudwaras and various other temples, depending on where you live, which will offer you free food and other benefits if you go to them and ask for help. 

Dumpster diving

As weird as it sounds, dumpster diving is a legitimate thing that people engage in. Dumpster diving is basically what it says. Dive into a dumpster and find sealed packets of food that many restaurants and hotels often throw out, or even grocery shops. These products are usually thrown out because they seem or look bad or are past their sell-by date. 

Nevertheless, however harmful this option may seem, you are doing what you need to do because you need the nutrition and the strength to get through the hardships you are facing right now. 

Stock on pantry items

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If you have even a little money, you can stock up on ramen noodles, crackers, flour, beans and rice. Such items go a long way in feeding you and keeping change in your pocket. These items can also be kept for a long time, so there are no chances of them going off anytime soon, and you can ration them out with no problem at all. 

Social services

Another measure that you can take is contacting social services or their offices, letting them know of your predicament, and asking for their help. They will usually give you food assistance by giving you an EBT card which works like a debit card and is primarily for buying groceries and related items.

Getting a job

Getting a job is the most challenging solution, but if you can make it happen, it will not just solve your food problems but also your living. Even if you get little money from your job, there’s always some food worth eating that you can buy from loose change.

Many people have to decide between giving up food and giving up on other basic needs, and sadly, they believe that giving up food is the way to go. One might think they can live without food but cannot live without shelter. You shouldn’t have to decide between either.

The above solutions are just some suggestions to help make your life a little easier if you ever have a food issue.

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Setting up Your Survival Backpack: What and Why?

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A survival backpack or survival kit is a kit that contains every necessity that you may need in the event of an emergency to survive for an indefinite period until everything gets better again. 

Survival backpacks need to be durable to withstand the four elements, i.e., rain, water, fire, and earth. You should also be comfortable strapping it on yourself and trudging through the wilderness. It should be compatible with your body size. 

You are now coming to what you should include in your survival backpack and why.

Water 

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Water is an essential survival element, without which you would not last more than a couple of days. What you should put in your backpack are two things, a water container, and a water purifier. 

While finding a natural source of water like a river or a lake, you should also keep in mind that water will most definitely be contaminated with all kinds of viruses and bacteria. The first thing to do would be to treat it with either purification tablets or use a water filter. Whichever is handier and more comfortable to get. After that, you can pour the now purified water and put it in the water container or bottle you brought along.

Shelter

Come nightfall, you will need a place to rest and boost your energy. As much as you may like fantasizing about sleeping under the stars with nothing but the grass beneath you, it is a little impractical. This is precisely why you should carry items such as a space blanket, which helps you keep warm. The next solution is a sleeping bag. A sleeping bag will also keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night without any issues. 

You can also go ahead and use a tent. When choosing a tent, you should keep in mind that it should be lightweight, waterproof, and spacious enough to accommodate you and your friends.

Food

You should pack ready-to-eat meals and packages that are easy to take care of and lightweight not to affect the backpack’s weight. Canned meats, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, and more canned stuff are excellent options. Ready-to-eat canned meals are also available. Pack many energy bars, granola bars, and candy bars because they are high in nutrients, especially calories and carbs.

A fishing kit might also be a good idea if you want to carry one. It is an easy way to get fresh food whenever you might want to ration out your meals. All you need for the kit is some bait, line, and hook, after which you can tie the line and hook to any decent-sized stick you may find.

Cooking Utensils

While talking about food, you should also have the necessary utensils to prepare it. A regular cooking kit contains one small pot, a cup, two to three metal plates, and some fork and spoons. In almost all the methods, cooking food requires heat, for which you need a stove and, give or take two to three fuel canisters. 

A fire starter is also needed as it helps build the fire for cooking while also providing heat. Bring along matches and a lighter in case the matchsticks do not work. Do not forget to keep the matchsticks and the lighter in a waterproof container or a waterproof package.

Clothing

Clothing takes a vital place next in your survival backpack because you never know what weather you may face. Some suggested clothes include two pairs of underwear, woolen socks, thermal wear, extra shirts, a rain jacket or fleece jacket, or preferably both, and hiking boots.

First Aid Kit

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First aid kits are another must-have for your backpack. They can be used to treat injuries in an emergency. It should include items like bandages, tourniquets, scissors, antiseptic wipes, a roll of gauze, aspirin, sutures and needles, antibiotics, and allergy medicines.

Knife

A knife is both a useful tool and a good option as a self-defense weapon. It has many uses and should be added to your backpack. It has various usages, from cutting bandages to opening cans to prepare food and so on. 

Shovel

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A small shovel makes all the difference in the world. You can use it to dig holes or dig trenches, even a fire pit. It comes in the handiest when you are attempting to build a shelter. 

Saw

Another great tool that should be kept considered is a small saw. A saw will make the cutting branches and gathering wood that much more comfortable and less time-consuming. For example, sawing wood logs to build a campfire or sawing long branches from a tree to help in making a base for the shelter.

Tape and Cord

Duct tape is an excellent addition to your backpack. It is the ideal go-to for any repair because it is waterproof and durable. You can use it instantly to temporarily fix your clothes, your tent, or any other materials that need repairing. 

A cord is a rope that is used to tie anything together. You can use it to connect your wood or tie together a tent making it a temporary shelter. It can also be used to hang washed clothes on; you just need to find two suitable trees and stretch and tie the cord from those two trees. 

Personal Items

Last but not least, the things that you should carry in your backpack are:

  • Identification documents
  • Money
  • Phone and charger
  • Self-defense items (might include pepper sprays and stun guns)

Identification documents include your passport, identification papers, driving license, contracts, cards, and so on. 

One may never know what lies ahead, no matter how hard you try to be prepared for anything and everything that comes your way. But the above list details all the essential things that you should have in your survival backpack or kit, and it is always handy to make a list yourself and check the items off one by one as you put them in.

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