None of us plan to be in a life or death situation of survival- but they can happen whether you plan for them or not. And the better prepared you are, the better your chances are at handling the situation properly and minimizing the damage done.

In the modern age, we all have a pretty comfortable standard of living. However, no matter how comfortable your lifestyle is – emergencies and situations of survival arise. If you are unprepared, you could risk losing a limb, enduring permanent damage to your body and at the very worst- you could risk death.

Many of these tips are simple to implement- and hopefully, you will never have to use them. But when I stumbled upon them, there were many I wish I had known sooner. Check out these 14 survival hacks, and let us know how many could have saved you a lot of strife in past situations.

1. Making an emergency fire.

Fire gives us heat, provides us with a means to cook food, and can also keep wild animals away. Having a fire in a dire situation can mean the difference between life and death. I highly suggest carrying flint and steel if you go on an outdoor adventure, and keeping one handy around your house (along with lighters, candles, etc.) for emergencies in which you need a fire. A flint and steel is a great tool that creates a spark and costs less than a coffee at Starbucks.

2. Know how to purify water.

Clean water will keep you hydrated- which is necessary for survival. It can also help you to clean wounds, wash your body, wash your clothes or sanitize items in a bind.

The National Park Service suggests that once you have collected your water, you should use a filtration device to filter any protozoa or bacteria. These can be purchased online. Once the water has been filtered, you need to disinfect (purify) the water. Purifying the water can be done by boiling it until it is clear. You can also buy a chemical disinfection kit or a UV light to do this- but boiling it works just fine.

3. Waterproof your matches to ensure they stay dry.

Use a coat of clear nail polish to waterproof your matches and keep them from getting wet. Soggy matches won’t spark, and if you are dependent on matches for starting a fire, you will be in bad shape if they get soggy. Try this tip to ensure they stay dry.

4. Staying cold in the woods.

Getting and staying warm in the cold can be a difficult task. But there are ways to achieve just that. The following tips are wonderful for when you are cold & in a pinch to stay warm.

-Snuggle up to your camping partner or whoever is with you to share body heat and keep the both of you warm.

-Layer, layer layer! To stay warm, you should do whatever it takes to keep heat from escaping from your body. This can be achieved by wearing as many layers as possible.

-Keep your head covered: your body heat is mainly escaping through your head and to prevent this, it helps to wear a hat or something warm on your head.

5. Find the north star.

If you get lost but know what direction you should be going in, find the north star. If the sky is cloudless, it will be simple. First, look for the big dipper constellation (which looks like a giant bowl with a handle) and then find the two stars that make the edge of the bowl (the pointer stars.) Draw an imaginary line to join them and extend it out until you find the bright star. This is the north star and it always points true north, no matter what.

6. Create a DIY raft.

Collect strong branches and gather them together into a bundle. Once you have them bundled, take a tarp and wrap it and secure it until you have something that resembles a raft. Place it in the water and sit on it before trying to float to make sure it has been properly balanced.

7. Use your keys as a weapon.

If you are walking through an alley or in a dark parking lot and feel unsafe, take your keys and intertwine them between your fingers. Use them like brass knuckles if someone comes upon you, or comes near you with bad intentions. This could help you to at least get the perpetrator to back down and run, so you can find safety.

8. Keep insects away.

Collect leaves from plants with needle-like leaves. Then, crush these leaves and use them to rub down your outfit. The smell will deter insects, and in turn, less of them will come your way.

9. Waterproof your shoes.

If you are in a situation in which you will have to walk through water or are trying to avoid your shoes getting completely soaked (which could ultimately make you colder,) try lighting and melting a wax candle down, and then rub the wax on the surface of your shoe. Once the wax dries, the shoes should repel water. And the best part is that this tip is super easy and quick!

10. Keep a mirror on hand in case you need a distress signal.

If you find yourself in a bind, you can use a mirror or any reflective device to signal for help. If you notice a car, boat, airplane, or helicopter, you can use the mirror to reflect light. Check out this video for more information.

11. Predict the weather.

Understanding weather conditions can be truly beneficial. And if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot access the internet, try these tips. First, try to see if there are rings around the moon. Rings around the moon typically mean that rain will come tomorrow. You can also detect the direction of the wind. Westerly winds indicate good weather and bad weather is suggested by easterly winds.

12. Leave a trail to find your way back.

If you are traveling outdoors, there is a high risk of getting lost. Minimize this risk by leaving a trail. Charred sticks are perfect for this, and you can use them to draw arrows along the way. Then, you can identify the right way by following the directions you have drawn with the charcoal.

13. Build a shelter.

Using a tarp and some ropes can easily help you to create a decent shelter. Tie cords or ropes between two trees. Then drape the tarp over the rope and anchor the sides. You can also use fallen trees to create the same effect. This shelter will keep you warm, dry, and undercover.

14. Make a temporary sling.

If you or someone with you is injured, you can make a sling. This can be done by using a bandana, towel, blanket, or ripped clothing item. Cut the cloth down to make it fit properly, and then use it to hold your injured limb. Tie it to fit.

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