Eight Household Items That Could Save Your Life

Categories: Survival

There's a group of people who believe that in a world of extreme natural disasters (think Superstorm Sandy or the recent Chilean earthquake), being ready for any catastrophe—natural, manmade, or otherwise—is more than just a precaution. It’s practical.

One such person is Creek Stewart, owner of the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival and Preparedness and author of the book "Build the Perfect Bug-Out Bag." Stewart preaches the gospel of disaster preparedness, teaching individuals and groups how to survive—and thrive—no matter the circumstances.

Sometimes that means adapting regular household items, even trash, when more specialized tools aren't on hand. "Innovation may very well be the most important survival skill," says Stewart. So whether you think the world is coming to an end or just want to prepare for an accident in the backcountry, you'll need the following everyday objects in your bug-out bag if (or should we say when?) disaster strikes.

Bra Cup Debris Mask

Survivors can face serious respiratory problems as the result of breathing in toxic ash, pulverized concrete, particles, and dust. "Believe it or not, the cup of a bra can make an impressive debris mask in a pinch," Stewart says. Most are sized perfectly to cover the nose and mouth, and the straps can be reworked to tie around the head for hands-free use.

Chewing Gum Fire Starter

In the middle of a catastrophe, that pack of Juicy Fruit serves a far greater purpose than just staving off hunger or freshening your breath. Use the foil-backed wrapper to short circuit an AA battery and create a flame. First, tear the wrapper into an hourglass shape and touch the foil to the positive and negative battery terminals. The electrical current will briefly cause the paper wrapper to ignite. Use the flame to light a candle or tinder.

Tuna Can Emergency Light

In case of a mass power outage, you’ll need to illuminate your surroundings. If the flashlight batteries are dead, a can of tuna can provide hours of light. Stab a small hole in the top of an oil-packed tuna can, then roll a two-by-five inch piece of newspaper into a wick. Shove the wick into the hole, leaving a half-inch exposed. Wait a moment for the oil to soak to the top of the wick, then light with matches. "Your new oil lamp will burn for almost two hours," Stewart says, "and the tuna will still be good to eat afterward."

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