Surviving during a disaster event takes a lot of preparation and determination, even more so if it is a SHTF event. You need to be ready if you are going to survive. But, how do you achieve “ready”? If you are new to prepping, it might seem a daunting task to get prepared to survive. Here are 35 survival tips to keep in mind that will help you to be ready for anything that comes your way.

survival tip - get out of debt

Survival Tip #1: Get out of debt.

If there is an economic crisis, being in debt is one of the worst positions you can be in. Instead of using your financial resources to take care of your family, you’ll be worried about holding on to your assets.

The only way to ensure that no one will be knocking on your door, wanting to take everything you own because you defaulted on your debt is to eliminate your debt.

Create a plan to get out of debt and work your plan until you’re free. If you need help, here is a link to help you get out of debt fast.

Survival tip - build emergency fund

Survival Tip #2: Create an emergency fund.

It’s wise to have at least six months of your income in savings once you’ve become debt free. Having a cash reserve is the smartest first step to achieving financial independence and security. This money can be used to handle expenses should there be an economic collapse, illness, injury, or job loss.

The fastest and easiest way to build your cash reserves is to continue the money saving and budgeting you used to get out of debt until you have enough where you could live your current lifestyle for six full months, even if you didn’t earn another penny in income.

Here is a worksheet to help you budget out your expenses and find the room to save.

Create a cash cushion

Survival tip - 72 hour kit

Survival Tip #3: Make sure you have a 72 Hour Emergency Kit.

This is the ultimate survival tip for all new preppers.  In an emergency, you will have to be able to take care of yourself. The bare minimum for that is to have what is called a 72 hour emergency kit. It contains the food, water, and other supplies you will need for at least 72 hours.

In an emergency that requires evacuation, you need to have a bug out bag emergency kit ready that you can grab and go. This kit must also have food, water, and basic necessities for everyone in your family for three days.

Here are a couple of links to get you started putting together your own kit.

Build a Kit
Bug Out Bags for Rookies

Survival tip - Store water

Survival Tip #4: Storing water is a top priority.

You can only survive for three days without water. Any emergency preparation needs to include water storage. The more you store the better. Begin storing water now and look into options like rain barrels that help you store water for free.

If you think that storing water is no big deal, just take a look at the deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria wiped out their infrastructure. They might have access to water, but it is not clean water, and it is killing people to drink it.

How to Store Water for Drinking and Cooking
Hydration for the Apocalypse

survival tip - grow food

Survival Tip #5: Learn to grow your own food.

When you can’t run down to the corner store to buy food, knowing how to grow your own food will be a huge asset. Start now by growing your own garden and learning how to preserve your harvest.

Even if you have more than a year’s worth of food storage, your disaster situation can outlast your pantry. Having the ability to grow more is essential should we experience a SHTF event.

This is much more a lifestyle change than merely a survival tip, but it is hugely important should we go through a long-term SHTF event.

The Joys and Woes of Gardening is my experience in growing food for the first time.

Survival tip - important documents

Survival Tip #6: Keep important documents together.

In an emergency, you’ll need to have copies of important documents such as your driver’s license, passport, marriage license, home deed, automobile titles, and insurance policies. Keep copies of them with your emergency kit – both paper copies and electronic copies on a flash drive. – financial preparedness
Critical documents to safeguard

Survival tip - dont do too much

Survival Tip #7: Don’t try to do everything all at once.

A rookie mistake made by a lot of new preppers is trying to do everything at once, getting overwhelmed, and giving up.

Once you have decided that preparing is your only option to survive any potential disasters, you must take steady action to get prepared. If you give up, survival during SHTF will not be an option.

Don’t quit! Instead, choose a few things to work on each month. When those are complete, move on to your next step. Baby steps will ensure you are ready and able to survive.

survival tip - first aid

Survival Tip #8: Learn first aid skills.

This survival tip can mean the difference between life and death.  It’s important to have a first aid kit – in fact that’s one of the first preps that beginners should concentrate on. If you or your loved one are hurt during an emergency, you must be able to care for that injury before anything else.

Live first, then survive!

Invest in a first aid kit that can cover most injuries you could potentially face, including cuts, burns, broken bones, and other traumatic injuries. Be sure that it also contains medications such as pain relievers, antihistamines, burn cream, etc.

Of course, if you don’t know how to use the supplies, they don’t do much good. Take classes to learn basic first aid so you’re ready in an emergency.

Recommended: Trauma First Responder Trauma Medical Kit

survival tip - prepper library

Survival Tip #9: Build a survival library.

The more resources and information that you have the better. There are many valuable videos, eBooks, and guides that can help you to learn more about what you need to do to prepare your family for any disaster.

Decide which areas that you want to learn and keep the knowledge in your head. Then, for other less important subjects, build reference libraries that you can refer to when needed.

Remember, the knowledge and skills you have are the only preps guaranteed to you during an emergency. Make the investment to learn what you can before you rely on your library.

Survival Tip #10: Prepare based on your area.

There are some survival events everyone needs to prepare for such as an economic collapse or a fire. But you should also think about natural disasters that are most likely to happen in your area such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or wildfires.

If you live in an urban area you should be prepared for civil unrest and violence. If you live near a chemical plant you should be prepared for a chemical accident. Knowing your area helps you to target your survival efforts.

Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Why would you prepare for a hurricane if you live a thousand miles from the ocean? Concentrate on what you need specifically, in both disasters and skills to learn.

Pay attention to this survival tip to stay focused on making sure you are prepared for what you will encounter in your own area.  Leave the other crap for someone else.

Survival tip - evacuation plan

Survival Tip #11: Develop an evacuation strategy.

Plan ahead for situations that require evacuations. You never know when you will have to leave in a moment’s notice. If you cannot prepare and plan for evacuation when the need arises, you had better have a plan in place already.

Determine several routes and possible destinations such as the homes of family members or friends. You should also map out appropriate hotels or motels along the way. Keep a paper map with these routes and locations highlighted.

Also, plan for a family communication and reunification plan should the need for evacuation occur when your family is not together. It is important to know where to meet, how to communicate, and who is responsible for what during an emergency. – Plan to Evacuate

Survival tip - gas half tank

Survival Tip #12: Keep at least a half tank of gas at all times.

If you’re one who has a tendency to let the gas gauge hit E before you fill up again, change your habits. Instead, fill up your tank whenever you get to a half tank.

Always having at least a half tank of gas will help you to get further during an emergency when you can’t stop for fuel. You won’t get far on an empty gas tank during an emergency where the only way to survive is to evacuate immediately.

Survival Tip #13: Have regular disaster drills at home.

Do you know why the military is always ready to respond in any given situation? It’s because they train constantly for any possible situation they might encounter.

But, training isn’t just for the military. It’s important that everyone knows what to do when there’s an emergency and the only way to ensure that is to train. You’ll want to have fire drills, earthquake drills, tornado drills, evacuation drills, and any other type of survival need you have in your area.

The more you practice, the calmer you’ll be when there’s a real emergency. This will help everyone to stay safe. Make plans for how you’ll leave your home or where you’ll go in specific emergencies. Don’t forget to plan a common meeting place.

Survival Tip #14: Build your food storage a little at a time.

You don’t have to have a two year supply of food purchased in your first month of prepping. Instead, buy a little at a time. Most people can add a few items each time they go to the grocery store to add to their storage.

Concentrate first on making sure that you have enough of a staple food that will prevent starvation for every member of your family. For most of us, that means storing grains like wheat or rice.

Then, slowly add to your staple of food with items that add in more nutrients (think fat, protein, vitamins, etc.). Store for a month, then 3 months, then 6 months, etc.

Survival Tip #15: Get to know your neighbors.

During a disaster, it really helps to know the people who live around you. Those relationships will help others to be more inclined to give you assistance if you need it. In turn, you can give aid where you’re needed for neighbors who are worse off than you.

Having a sense of community during a disaster can build synergy. You’ll get more done together than you will by completely isolating yourself. Knowing your neighbors will help you to know who to trust and who isn’t reliable.

The information and relationships can make the difference between life and death in an emergency.

Survival Tip #16: Save money by purchasing used supplies.

There are some supplies you can find at thrift stores, garage sales, and even on online flea markets. For example, camp stoves, mess kits, and tools are often inexpensive in these places. Find time to browse these alternative marketplaces for items that will be a priority in a disaster situation.

Survival Tip #17: Don’t advertise your prepping.

People who are known to stockpile survival items will be the first ones targeted by looters. Quietly get your preparations together without being obvious about it.

If you do want to build a prepper community, be sure that the others you discuss your preps with are actually preppers themselves. The last thing you want to do is become someone else’s prep if the SHTF.

Survival Tip #18: Increase your exercise.

One important part of preparation is being healthy and fit. Exercise regularly so that you can be strong and lower your risk for illness, disease, and injury. Being physically fit insures that you can walk long distances if needed and have strength to lift, push, and pull when necessary.

Remember, during a long-term disaster, you probably won’t have access to health care. If you are not healthy and fit, you most likely won’t survive without traditional health care.

This is prep #1!

Survival Tip #19: Don’t give up.

Many people get burned out with prepping. It can be overwhelming to think about how much you need to do. Never give up! Instead, make sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew at a time.

The small steps you’re taking may not seem like much, but anything you do is going to be better than the nothing you did before. Have patience with yourself – this is a marathon, not a sprint. One of the advantages of not waiting until there’s an emergency to prepare is that you have more time when life is good to get ready.

Survival Tip #20: Make prepping a priority.

Mahatma Gandhi said that your actions express your priorities. If surviving any emergency you encounter is a priority for you, your actions will show that to be true.

Sure, there are many things in your life that need your attention – but, don’t let prepping fall on the back burner. Set goals every month so that it’s always a part of your routine. Make your survival preparation a line item on your monthly budget.

Continue to take action to store supplies, learn skills, and practice what you learn to be ready in the real event of an emergency.

Survival Tip #21: Learn water purification techniques.

Water is critical to our survival. The human can live at most 3 days without water. What will you do if your water supply runs out or becomes tainted?

Even if you store a lot of water, you’ll eventually need more. When you can’t trust the safety of your local water, you need to know how to purify it. Water purification tablets are one choice. Straining and boiling water is another. Keep the supplies on hand to make your water safe to drink.

If you take the chance and drink dirty water, you run the risk of becoming so sick that you could die from the infection. Don’t underestimate the importance of clean water!

Survival Tip #22: Keep a get home bag in the car.

You never know where you’ll be when disaster strikes. Keeping a bag with supplies and gear in your car can help you to be prepared even when you’re not home. You need to be able to get home to grab your 72 hour emergency kit and further evacuate. Or you need to shelter in place.

The get home bag will put you in a position to do this. Think of what you might need in your car should you encounter a disaster – things like solid shoes if you need to walk, a multitool, food and water, a map, emergency contact information, etc.

How to build a get home bag

Survival Tip #23: Don’t forget entertainment.

It might not seem like a big priority when it comes to disaster preparedness, but having some items for entertainment can be lifesaving. During a disaster, you might spend long periods of time in one place without much to do.

A deck of cards, a board game, and coloring books for the kids can go a long way toward keeping sanity and peace during trying times. Make sure to have some entertainment items in your 72 hour emergency kit.

Survival Tip #24: Prepare for cold weather.

Hot weather can be miserable, but most people will be able to handle it well enough with proper hydration and shelter. Cold weather, on the other hand, can be very deadly if you’re not able to stay warm.

Your disaster supplies need to contain extra blankets, warm clothing, and some source of heat such as a kerosene heater. You also need to keep emergency blankets in your vehicle to help you stay warm.

You also need to learn how to build a fire and have the gear on hand to do so. A fire can be the difference between living and freezing to death.

Survival Tip #25: Don’t forget a can opener.

If you don’t know how to open a can with a knife, you better have a can opener in your supplies. One of the worst things that could happen is to have a stockpile of cans with no can opener. Don’t rely on an electric can opener during a disaster. Purchase a high quality manual opener built to last – you may even want to have multiples.

Survival Tip #26: Rotate your food storage.

You don’t want to waste any of the food you’ve stored, but it will expire eventually. Keep track of expiration dates and use your stored food before it expires. Replace the used items with new ones and keep rotating.

This helps keep your food storage good for longer periods of time. It also gives you a chance to make sure you like what you’re storing.

Survival Tip #27: Don’t store food you don’t like.

One of the biggest prepper mistakes is to store food based off of a list you downloaded without considering what you actually like to eat. If you don’t like Vienna sausages now, you’re not going to like them any more in a disaster.

Sure you might be grateful for them and eat them for the calories. But wouldn’t it be better if you actually enjoyed what you have to eat?

Base your food stores off of what you like to eat, but make sure that you know how to properly store your food choices. And, make sure you storing appropriate nutrition. You can’t live off of pop tarts and granola bars.

Survival Tip #28: Learn survival skills.

There are many survival skills that will help you during a disaster. Take the time to not only stock supplies, but to add to your skill set. Some examples include gardening, auto mechanics, building, sewing, livestock care, and cooking.

You may be able to use your survival skills to take care of your own needs as well as to barter for other things that you need.

Start here: 6 Basic Survival Skills That Will Actually Keep You Alive

Survival Tip #29: Go camping.

Camping uses a lot of the skills you’ll need during a disaster, but without the panic and pressure. Camping is a fun way to practice your survival skills and learn to enjoy a new way of living.

If you’ve been camping with your family, it will be easier to adjust to having to live in the great outdoors for an extended period of time should a SHTF event occur. You’ll have a much more peaceful experience if it isn’t all new, not to mention a better chance of surviving. It’s hard to survive when you have to learn everything as you go.

Survival Tip #30: Learn to make a fire without matches.

Starting a fire is a crucial skill. It keeps you warm. It cooks your food. It can purify your water. It can be the difference between life and death. It’s not easy to make a fire with matches, so what will you do when you don’t have matches?

There are many techniques for starting a fire without matches. Learn a few different techniques and practice them until you’ve mastered them. This will mean security and survival during an emergency.

Start here: How to Start a Fire Without Matches

Survival Tip #31: Choose multipurpose tools.

When you’re on the go, you don’t want a lot of heavy equipment weighing you down. Look for tools that do more than one thing. For example, a multipurpose knife with many other tools is very helpful.

You can also find solar powered weather radios that double as lanterns, flashlights, and electronics chargers. The more uses one item has, the better.

Survival Tip #32: Learn to hunt of fish.

Being able to catch your own dinner will be a great advantage when food supplies run short. Learn how to hunt game and/or fish to be able to feed yourself when you run out of food (or have had to leave your food stores behind).

Don’t forget that you also need to know how to clean and butcher the meat that you’ve caught. You may not be able to find someone else to process it. That means practicing. Go hunting and fishing now and clean, cook, and eat what you catch.

Remember, skills can never be stolen from you and this skill will keep you fed during an emergency situation.

Survival Tip #33: Waste not, want not.

Part of becoming self-reliant is to learn to reduce your waste. Learn to recycle and reuse items. Finding new purposes for household objects will be a good skill during a survival situation.

Learn how to repair your tools and other gear. This will keep them working longer and serve as a barter service should you live through a SHTF event. It also protects your budget from having to replace broken gear.

Survival Tip #34: Learn to cook.

Many people rely on fast food and restaurants to get their meals. You may also rely on processed foods to keep you going. But when food supplies are scarce, you’ll be better off if you can take flour, oil, salt, yeast, and honey and turn it into bread. Start now by learning to cook and bake from scratch.

Survival Tip #35: Be prepared and be at peace.

Sometimes preppers are viewed as paranoid or fearful. In reality, being prepared means you don’t have to have fear. As you start gathering supplies and becoming more self-sufficient, you’ll become more confident. This confidence will carry you through tough times.

You won’t have to be in fear that when disaster comes you won’t know what to do. You may still have difficult situations and have to make hard calls, but you’ll be much better off than someone who hasn’t been preparing for an emergency.