Along with duct tape, tie-wraps and 550 cord, super glue is great for fixing something broken or rigging crucial gear when there is no easy replacement. In addition, super glue is useful for adhering wounded areas because of its sterile composition. Just simply apply the glue over the lacerated area and wait for three minutes until completely fastened. Just bear in mind that this is not recommended but possible.
Dental floss is strong, cheap and plentiful, and it can easily help a person in a survival situation to bind gear together. Floss can be wrapped around the threads to waterproof a container, rigged as a warning trip wire, used to make a snare for catching small animals or as fishing line, or to build a shelter from the elements. However, properly utilizing floss, cord or rope requires practiced knowledge of tying knots and lashings before a crisis, so part of a complete preparedness plan needs to include learning knot-tying ahead of time.
Heavy-duty, 55-gallon garbage bags are exceptionally useful for many chores. Cutting a hole in the top of a large trash bag can also help minimize your exposure to wet and cold. Just slipping your head through it instantly makes it a rain poncho. They can also be used as overhead cover from the sun, or to sit or lie on to keep you from getting your body wet on the damp ground. Garbage bags can be filled with air and used for flotation or spread out to collect dew. Black bags can be filled with snow to absorb the sun’s heat to make water.
Great for keeping items dry and separated but very visible, zip-seal bags are also perfect for holding fire-starting items, personal electronics, first-aid items and important documents. You will need a safe, dry place to carry insurance papers, titles and photos of loved ones during an emergency, so if they go missing, a recent image will increase their odds of being located. Also, road maps as well as good topographical maps of your area can be protected and read through the plastic. Also, use them to store extra cash you have on hand for an emergency.
The tools and knowledge it takes to start a fire should be part of every survival plan, but because lighters can fail and you can run out of matches, a person should have multiple ways to produce and sustain a spark to get a flame. Cotton balls saturated with hand sanitizer will create a small, persistent flame. Even better are the individual, alcohol-based hand sanitizer wipes. These sealed packages containing alcohol-soaked towels will ignite not only with matches, but with flint, steel wool, a battery or even friction heat, to produce a hot, blue flame for 30 seconds. The small packages will prevent the loss of any alcohol over a longer period of time, allowing a decently usable shelf life.
A soda can be used to collect and store rainwater or the morning dew from plants. Detached soda can tabs can be fashioned into fishhooks by bending the top, removing a small chunk to leave a sharp angle and then further sharpening the tab’s point. Attach it to a string or a piece of floss and you’ve got a fishing line. It’s even possible to start a fire with a soda can and some chocolate. Rub the chocolate on the bottom of the can, and then use the wrapper to polish the bottom until it looks like a mirror. Now you have a reflective surface with which you can smoke tinder.
While typically used to celebrate, during a crisis, birthday candles can be very useful for illumination or even signaling, because an open flame can be seen by the naked eye up to a mile away. Once lit and secured to a base using its own melted wax, a single birthday candle can provide a small area with approximately eight minutes of enough light to read a map, prepare a meal or tend a wound. A full box of candles is easily transported, and if placed in a plastic bag or sealed pill box, these candles will remain dry until needed.
Bugs and mosquitoes can make traveling and living outdoors unbearable at times. Simple dryer sheets repel bugs amazingly well. They are cheap, light and available, so they can be used in pockets, stuffed in collars, tied to belt loops and hung at campsites to keep bugs away. In addition, they can be rubbed directly on most people’s skin as a direct barrier to discourage biting insects, so if you have kids with you, they can be protected without smelly or caustic bug repellants like DEET. Also, dryer sheets are not usually cleaned out during a buying frenzy, so obtaining more on the road is very possible.
Wood matches that “strike anywhere” are great, as are “waterproof” matches. But if you can’t buy them, you can waterproof regular wood matches with paraffin or turpentine (placed head-down in a shot glass with a half-inch of turpentine for five minutes and then laid out flat on newspaper to dry). You will need to keep the striker dry, but these modified matches will work with and not against the user.
One way to purify bacteria-laden water is with a simple bottle of household bleach that has about 5.35-percent chlorine content. Just two drops of bleach can kill off any microorganisms in a quart or liter of water. Let the mixture stand for a half hour before drinking. If the water is cloudy, then filter the water as best you can and then double the amount of bleach. When chlorine kills the microorganisms, the bleach is actually consumed in the process, so if you can’t smell any bleach, it means that the chlorine has been totally expended so there could still be some lurking microorganisms. What is preferred is a very slight aroma of bleach after half an hour.
Disaster preparedness efforts should satisfy one or all of the basic needs for survival, which are water, food, health and security. Pre-positioning some everyday items found in most homes can be very useful in a crisis situation.
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Everything from dental floss to dryer sheets can serve as lifesaving items during an emergency. Learn how to put them to good use. Here are 10 survival items that are probably already in your home and can be added to your emergency supplies to help keep a family or group safe, fed and dry.
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Winter 2016 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
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by Real World Survivor Editor / Oct 1, 2015