Everything that’s in my columns can be considered a survival skill, but some situations are a little bit more immediate than others. After all, if you need to learn to garden, there’s probably time for someone to teach you. However, if you need to learn how to win in a fistfight, that’s a good thing to know before the brawl breaks out. The skills below will help keep you alive and unharmed when the chips are down.
Read A Map
Don’t just rely on a GPS or smartphone’s navigation software. Know your way around a real map, on paper. Learn how to find where you are and how to get where you’re going—and you should know how a compass works, too.
Build A Fire
This is one of humanity’s oldest and most important skills. Even if you have matches or a lighter, you should learn how to start a fire without them; it’s a skill that might save your life.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to swim (or aren’t confident in their abilities), and considering that more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, it’s a lifesaving skill. If all else fails, you should at least know how to tread water and how to float on your back.
Know Basic First Aid
Even knowing how to take care of minor injuries can make a big difference in a difficult situation. Add in some CPR training and the Heimlich maneuver, and you’re well on your way to the foundations of medical care.
Take And Throw A Punch
You might hope never to get into a fight, but if push comes to shove (or jab, or hook, or uppercut), you should learn how to defend yourself and others with your bare hands.
Handle A Gun
Firearms are both a tool and a weapon, and as such owning one involves great responsibility. Plenty of people are unreasonably afraid of guns simply because they don’t know very much about them. Even if you’ve never hunted or don’t expect to have to defend yourself, take a basic firearms course at a local shooting range. You’ll learn how to safely handle and use a gun, should the need ever arise.
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This tip, and 337 more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s new book Prepare For Anything. This latest Outdoor Life survival manual is available at Amazon.
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.