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Life Skills 3, Survival Skills List and Life Helps

Why a survival skills list?

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

That time-tested saying makes perfect sense. If you ensure that you have what you need for those emergency situations, the worst that can happen is that they don’t happen.


1. Stay Safe, important in any Survival Skills List

We, humans, have a natural instinct to want to stay safe and to avoid situations that might put us in harm’s way. Yet turn on the news any day and you see examples of people who went against that instinct and put themselves in an unsafe situation. Maybe they chose to drive after drinking too much. Or they might have walked by themselves in a dangerous neighborhood.

With every hurricane warning, we see a few people choosing to surf in the stormy ocean. More often than not, some need to be rescued. And sometimes that doesn’t happen. Of course, you can’t avoid every risk. But you can make sensible choices. Call a friend or a car service for a ride home if you need it.

This can keep you safe when you have had too much to drink or when you need to get somewhere through a less than the safe neighborhood. And while surfing in such storm-filled high waves might seem exciting, is it worth risking your life? You may have heard that common sense isn’t that common. Yet most of us know the sensible thing to do. We just sometimes make bad choices.

Save the risks for some safer choices. Keep yourself and your friends and family, safe.


survival skills list | blizzard



2. Prepare for those Emergencies with our Survival Skills List

Growing up in the rural area of the Snowbelt, we prepared for blizzards and being snowed in. Our cars carried extra flashlights, flares, and even an extra blanket, in case we ended up in a ditch, covered with snow. People sometimes died of the extreme cold when their car slid off the road and they were not found until much later. My Dad was a self-employed mechanic with a tow truck. He made sure none of us were caught unprepared.

When we moved to Florida, we discovered a new foe, the hurricane. Now we needed generators, flashlights, and other essentials in case we lost power for days or weeks. And that has happened more than once. We also have extra food and water stored, just in case. So when the pandemic hit, we already had most of the essentials we needed to prepare for emergencies.

But not everyone did.

Prepare for disasters. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and even house fires happen. And who could have seen the COVID-19 pandemic? Keeping essentials on hand helps keep you and your family safe. But it also provides peace of mind. You know you are ready and can manage the situation as needed.


3. Basic First Aid Skills using our Survival Skills List

Disasters such as those mentioned in item 2 can cause physical injuries. But sometimes these happen during your daily routine, too. Hikers and bikers might know that fact better than the average person.

Would you know what to do if someone had a deep cut or a broken bone? Can you identify the signs of a heart attack or a stroke? Would you be able to assess a concussion? Putting together a basic first aid kit and keeping the first-aid book handy will help you in such needed times.

With your kit and book at hand, you are better able to stay calm and manage the situation until help arrives.


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4. Life Without Electricity

When the electricity goes out, many people feel unprepared. A flashlight helps for a short time in the event of a storm outage. But sometimes those outages last much longer. Our entire area had no electricity for about three weeks after one set of hurricanes.

It happens.

How many have the skills to live without electricity today? No technology. No running water. Those electrical appliances become useless.TV and cell phones are gone. Air conditioning? That’s gone, too. And those refrigerators and freezers? They are now just like your camping cooler.

When it happens, we bring out the generator to keep the food essentials from spoiling. Our stash of camping lanterns and flashlights have a backup supply of batteries ready, too. For those times you might not have electric power, consider the things you need that won’t work. For coffee and basic cooking, a gas grill steps up to the task. Your e-books are gone but those books on the shelf you’ve been meaning to read are right at hand. No computer? Pull out the notepad. You kept a supply of pens, right?

We live by electricity but we can live without it. Planning ahead is essential.


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5. Location, Location, Location

Yes, you rely on your GPS. Your car probably has one and your smartphone is always at hand, too. But if you don’t have those, can you read a paper map?

While most of the older generation grew up with those folding maps and large map atlases, few of the younger people have even seen one. They have missed the joys of trying to refold that map into its original form. (little hint here–it rarely happened!) Even if the electricity is on and you have a smartphone, some areas have very spotty or even non-existent cell service.

Map reading may seem antiquated, but consider brushing up on your skills, just in case.


survival skills list | maps

     Additionally, consider learning to track your location.

Have you ever been in a mall parking lot or a parking garage and forgotten where you left your car? It’s frustrating! There’s a reason that Disney assigns cute character names to each part of their parking. Who can forget that they left their car in “Pluto 29”?

Use a similar strategy for other places. Note the location and any obvious landmarks that can direct you back. Perhaps you see a purple sign hanging from a pole. Or maybe you are in the twelfth spot from the loading entrance. Anything that will still be in place when you return will help.

You might also consider some notable characteristics of your vehicle. Older cars with antennae often had some decor attached that could be seen from a distance. That’s not available in newer vehicles with the antenna embedded within the windshield or other car location.

You might need to get creative. And of course, know your license plate number. Security in a large lot usually provides help if you can tell them your vehicle’s basics, including a plate number. Why the big deal about locating a vehicle?

Think about the possible scenarios. If the weather turns bad, you don’t want to wander in a rainstorm searching for your car. And if it’s dark, the task is much harder.

       But security concerns me even more.

If I am wandering around, obviously lost in the pursuit of my car, I become an instant target for a thief or other type of criminal. Although I might usually be cautious, it’s easy to let down your guard when you are frustrated and trying to locate your car. Stay safe. Know the location and keep a close watch around you.


6. Car Repair 101, can you change a tire?

For those living in the city and using public transportation, you might read through this just for fun. But, if you have a car, you need some basic skills. Of course, roadside assistance steps in when you have it. But you may be waiting for some time if it’s a busy day.

At the very least, you should know how to check and fill the fluids (oil, transmission, coolant, and washer fluid), change a tire, and fill up the gas tank. Even if you use the local service station, knowing these basics may save you when they are closed or if you are away from home.

Don’t laugh if you think it’s crazy that someone might not know how to fill a gas tank. In a few areas, full-service stations still pump gas for you. But when you travel to other areas, you need to know the basics. And some of the newer cars have some interesting gas caps! Read your owner’s manual, if you aren’t sure.


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7. The Go-Bag: Essential paperwork and supplies

Preparing for the worse, while hoping for the best brings to mind our Go-Bag. Some call it a “Bug-Out Bag” as they keep it ready in case they need to leave quickly (aka bug-out).

While some might think this pertains only to an apocalypse, in reality, life emergencies might happen anytime. In the event of an impending storm or other emergencies, consider what you need with you at all times. These will vary from person-to-person, but consider the following as you make your list.

Our Safe Box is always ready and includes:

Paperwork/Cash – We keep this in a safe place at all times. We include copies of birth certificates, IDs, insurance policies and prescriptions in the kit. You might also save encrypted copies/photos of them on a secure online storage spot. A map with evacuation routes highlighted also will be helpful if you must evacuate. 

Make sure you have cash — preferably smaller bills — in the kit. During storms, the power is often out, and you may not be able to use your credit cards and ATMs. TIP:  Print out a list of important phone numbers and keep in your Go-Bag. Often, storms cause power outages and interrupt cell service. As I mentioned, we keep this together at all times. Although we usually have plenty of notice of impending weather disasters, it’s one less thing to think about when emergencies happen. I also recommend keeping these papers in a waterproof, secure box.


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The Rest of our Go-Bag is kept virtual until we see an impending need.

This includes:

  • Personal Needs such as eyeglasses, contact lenses and solutions, hygiene supplies, medications (over-the-counter and prescription), and other basics. If you have a baby, include diapers, food, and supplies. I also recommend keeping a note of any allergies, medication alerts, and other medical notes in case something happens and you are not able to communicate directly.
  • Clothing for at least 3 days for each family member. And remember that storms (snow, hurricane, or whatever) often require sturdy shoes or boots, rain or snow gear, and hats.
  • Safety Supplies to include your first-aid kit, a flashlight (or 2) and extra batteries, and a few basic tools. Experts also recommend you have a survival whistle (aka: loud!) in case you get lost or stuck. If you are storing this for any time, consider keeping the batteries out of the flashlight to avoid corrosion.
  • Human Creature Comforts for evacuation times include a few blankets and pillows, should you need to stay at a relative’s home until the storm passes. You might also want cards, board games, and other activities for the kids and the adults if you have to stay elsewhere, including in a hotel, for even a couple of days. It helps to keep focused on other activities to relieve stress.
  • Pet Plans need to be decided, too. If you have pets, will you leave them at a shelter or take them with you? What type and size of carrier do you need for them? You will need to pack a copy of veterinary and vaccination records, pet food, water bowl, and leash.


 A Survival Skills List seems almost too extreme a term.

Certainly, we are not suggesting that each day could be a disaster. But when you are prepared for those cases, you can relax, knowing you can manage them. You are ready. Consider it a bit like taking a test in school. They didn’t happen every day. But if you had read the material, done the homework, and studied, you were ready for the test. Even a pop quiz didn’t stress you out if you were prepared.

Life is like that. Prepare. Prepare some more. Then allow yourself to relax, stress-free, knowing that you can manage the storms of life. You are ready for that pop-quiz!

Just as important, teach these skills to your children. Print out this survival skills list to share with them. Give them the confidence to manage these situations. When an emergency does happen, they will be ready to help you, rather than being afraid.

Read our previous life skills:

Life Skills Everyone Should Know, Part 1

Life skills, part 2


Family Life Focus



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