Urban Survival: Fight Back Against a House Fire/Escape a Sinking Car!

Excerpts from How To Survive Anything

We all hope that our homes never suffer a calamity, like a house fire. And we can do much in the way of preventing these blazes, such as fire-proofing the home’s interior and exterior. But if the act of prevention fails, there may be a golden moment when you could stop a small fire before it grows.

Fire extinguishers have saved countless lives and properties, but they aren’t fool-proof devices. It pays to know how to properly operate a modern fire extinguisher and which type to have.

When should you try to use an extinguisher? Try it AFTER you’ve called 911 – and made sure that others in the home are safe – and you’ve remembered your planned escape route – AND if the fire is small with minimal smoke. Here’s what you need to know to select the right one of these life-saving tools.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Class A: Puts out fires involving paper, plastics, cloth, wood, and rubber.

Class B: Puts out fires involving grease, oil, gasoline, and oil-based paints.

Class C: Puts out fires involving electrical equipment.

Class K: Puts out fires involving animal or vegetable oils, or any other combustible cooking material.

Check the gauge on your extinguisher seasonally, to make sure the pressure needle is in the “green”, and keep the extinguisher accessible.

Power windows may still work after a water landing!
Power windows may still work after a water landing!

How to Escape a Sinking Car
One of the scariest and most dangerous vehicle scenarios involves a submerged vehicle.

Thus, a “survival must,” is learning how to get out of a sinking car. Whether your truck slid off an icy road into a frozen lake, your car went off the bridge into a river, or your vehicle went through thin ice while going ice fishing, the risk of being trapped in the vehicle and drowning is high when looking at water landings.

In situations like these, it’s easy to panic, wasting precious time and air. Focus on tasks. Get your seat belt off (after the initial impact to the water). Instruct any passengers to do the same. Roll down one window, get a big lung full of air, and climb out. Swim to the surface, and make sure everyone is out. Be prepared to swim to shore, potentially pulling others with you (if you are able to do so).

And don’t assume that power windows won’t work when your vehicle is in the drink. Many electrically powered systems and components in the modern automobile can continue operating in the event of a submerged vehicle accident.

If the battery is still operational as the car goes under, the electrical system could continue to work for up to three minutes (not that you have three minutes to spare!). Try the window button as soon as the vehicle has hit the water and you are out of your seat belt. If it doesn’t work, be prepared to break the window with your escape tool. Try to get out before the car goes under. Leave the vehicle lights on, too. These electronics are somewhat waterproofed, and the vehicle lights can help rescuers to find you.

These tips, and many more survival skills, are available in MacWelch’s books:

How to Survive Anything

Prepare For Anything

Hunting and Gathering Survival Manual 

And if that’s not enough, you can:
Follow Tim on Twitter @timmacwelch

Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist ( link http://survival.outdoorlife.com )

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.

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