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TitlePrepare for Anything Survival Manual
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Page 2

Be prepared.
Such a clear commandment. But like so many imperatives (“Eat your vegetables!”), it’s

been diluted by repetition, and some people may associate those two words more with

merit badges and Boy Scout jamborees than with personal protection.

But that couplet is the purpose of this book, and it’s a directive that we hope guides you

through our unpredictable, chaotic, and sometimes turbulent world. Whether it’s enduring

a Category 4 hurricane, protecting yourself and your family from a regime-toppling mob,

or simply making it through an extended blackout with your sanity and possessions intact,

this book is your ultimate what-if insurance policy.

We show you how to disaster-proof your home, stock a pantry (and why a bottle of vodka

should be part of it), bar your front door, make a duct-tape belt, and stash your emergency

cash. Learn how to grow a survival garden, should your grocery store be leveled, or build

your own bicycle-powered generator, should your lights go out for good.

While those are critical survival techniques, Prepare for Anything is also a primer in

workaday skills that every well-rounded human should know—whether or not the

apocalypse is coming. These include how to throw a knife, start a fire, filter water, make

your own jerky (and beer), dress a rabbit, tie down a tarp, and deliver a knockout punch.

Survival instructor Tim MacWelch is your guide and mentor through all these topics.

For MacWelch, who operates a wilderness-skills school in Virginia and blogs on disaster

preparedness for Outdoor Life, survival isn’t accidental. It’s the result of preparation and

knowledge. His favorite skill is fire building, but he’s also an expert on emergency shelters,

water and food gathering, and backcountry medical skills. We asked him to open his kit

and teach us everything we need to know to survive a weekend—or a year.

Want to learn how to make an oil lamp? Read on. How about using a signal mirror?

That’s here, too, along with the reasons to keep a tin of sardines in your pack. Learn how to

shoot a shotgun, build a blowgun, and fletch your own arrows, plus hundreds more skills

and perspectives. Plus, if the shit does hit the fan, it’s a great read while you wait for the

end to arrive. And when it does, the pages burn pretty well.

Be prepared. Because it’s much, much better than the alternative.

Andrew McKean
Editor-in-Chief, Outdoor Life

Page 11

Having skills and experience in a wide range of survival
techniques can take a person much further than gear alone.
When supplies run low, a well-rounded survival skill set can
keep providing for you and for those in your care.

In this second chapter, we will have a look at a diverse assortment of survival and self-

sufficiency skills. These pages will help you in every aspect of survival, from shelter and

water to food, medicine, and self-defense. But this book is of little use if you don’t pay

attention to one particular cornerstone of survival—practice. A mind full of facts and data

is better than a mind full of trivial nonsense, but knowing the information and performing

the skills are two very different things. You need practical, hands-on learning before an

emergency hits in order to make a useful difference—and you must learn these things for

yourself because, ultimately, you are the only one truly responsible for yourself.

It’s high time more people decided to take responsibility for themselves. We live in an

era when a professional is always available to solve your problems and there’s a 24-hour

store stocked with food and supplies around every corner. People have become dependent

on these support systems to the point of being slaves to them. Generations are growing up

without the skills to provide for themselves, the knowledge to repair the things around

them, or the ability to either improvise the tools they need or simply do without.

I have always been a big believer in practical skills. Even if your materials or supplies are

lacking, a little creativity and some solid self-reliance can make all the

difference in any situation, especially in an emergency. And once

you’ve learned a skill, it’s with you forever. For example, you may

run out of fishing gear, but you’ll never run out of fishing

techniques. Your food supplies may dwindle, but once you learn

to garden, you’ll never forget how you grew your own vegetables.

A set of skills is the one thing that can’t be lost, broken, used up,

destroyed, or taken from you during a survival situation. Skills are

weightless, easy to carry, and they will last a lifetime.

Page 12

99 100



The skin is the body’s largest organ
and its primary defense system. A
burn’s severity (and its course of
treatment) depends on how deep it
penetrates the layers of tissues.

1ST DEGREE These types of burns are
superficial and are caused by anything
from sun exposure to hot fluids. They
heal on their own but you can apply
cool compresses or aloe vera gel, and
speed along the healing process with

2ND DEGREE Partial-thickness
burns, a.k.a. second-degree burns,
penetrate the dermis and can raise
blisters. Flood the area with cool
water and trim loose skin (but leave
blisters alone to avoid infection).
Aloe vera and bandages are
recommended, but if the injury
is to the face, hands, feet, or groin,
seek skilled medical attention.

3RD DEGREE These are also called
full-thickness burns, having
penetrated all layers of the skin.
Tissues are often dry, stiff, leathery,
and painless (due to nerve damage).
Cover with a dry dressing and
immediately get help.

4TH DEGREE These burns penetrate
through skin and into muscle, fat, and
bone. These are the most severe and
require extensive, skilled medical care.

Identify and
Treat Burns

Someone who’s truly choking
cannot breathe or tell you
what’s happening. He’ll often
grab at his throat, but it’s up to
you to recognize the situation
and act quickly.

Stand behind the victim
and put your arms around his
waist, with one fist below the
ribs and above the navel, and
your other hand covering your
fist. Pull your fist upward and
into the abdomen, pressing
firmly with both hands.
Repeat the motion until the
airway is cleared.

If you can’t reach around
the person or he passes out,
lay him on his back and then
perform the maneuver while
straddling his legs or hips.

If you’re dealing with a
very small child or infant who

is choking, cradle her in one
arm and compress her chest
with your fingertips five
times, alternating this with
turning her over and applying
five firm slaps to her midback
until the airway is cleared.

Perform the
Heimlich Maneuver

If a fracture is misaligned, blood circulation is reduced,
healing time is extended, and worse, the limb may be
lost if the break is bad enough.

First, assess the break. Many won’t need to be set,
but if the bone is displaced you might have to. If the
bone is protruding, don’t move it. Cover it with a moist
saline dressing, immobilize it, and get medical help.

Check for blood flow by gently compressing the skin
below the fracture. If the skin does not quickly restore

Set Broken

Trauma will cause the body to divert blood to vital
internal organs, leading to shock—which can be
fatal if not treated properly. Signs include paleness,
rapid pulse, and cold, clammy skin. Other signs like
vomiting or gasping for air occur as shock worsens.

Lay the victim down, elevate her legs, and keep
her head low. Treat any visible injuries, and loosen
restrictive clothing. Keep her warm with blankets
or coats, and keep her talking to focus her mind.
Reassure her that everything will be okay.

Treat for

to normal color, you should set the bone to
restore circulation. Pull slowly but firmly along
the long axis of the bone to reset the break.

Apply a splint and wrap with bandages. The
splint can be an air cast or a rigid cardboard,
plastic, aluminum, or wood panel with padding
for stability and comfort. Secure the cast above
and below neighboring limb joints, or
immobilize with a sling.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Page 22



336 337


One of the worst survival scenarios you may face is a
situation in which you have to survive with only the
clothes on your back (or less). This could happen in
wilderness survival or a bug-out gone horribly
wrong. However your story may unfold, you’ve
got to have the skills to turn nothing into

The first step is take stock of
your situation. If you lost your
gear because an angry mob tore
off your BOB, then escape and
evasion are your tools for safety.
If people are threatening you in
postdisaster lawlessness, then
self-defense will be your top
priority. Arm yourself as best you
can—in the wilderness, in your
home, or in the wreckage.

Survive with

Your clothing is your first line of shelter from the
elements. Each extra layer is like another insurance policy
to keep you safe, so insulate if you can. Seek shelter from
heat or cold as best as you can. You don’t need tools to
build insulated nests from castoff materials—think of the
nests you’ve seen in nature, and create one that you can
just squeeze into. Make it open and breezy to combat
the heat, or make it thick and fluffy to fight the cold.

Without your gear, lighting a fire will be a
monumental task. Considering the myriad of uses of
fire, from boiling water to heating, lighting, and

Know Your lines
of Shelter

Catching rainwater and
locating a natural spring are
two safe ways to get
wholesome drinking water
without any tools or
materials. What you don’t
want to do is emulate the TV
survival gurus who
demonstrate drinking water
out of puddles and
waterways without
disinfecting it. This is the
fast track to dysentery,
which can kill a healthy
person in a short (or long)
few days. Look for helpful
garbage, like bottles and
cans, which can be used as
boiling vessels if you are able
to get a fire going.

Foraging for food can be a
pleasant experience, yielding
delicious results when
you’re at your leisure with a
full spread of cooking
methods and condiments to
work with. But all those
gourmet sensibilities go out
the window when you are
scavenging just to stay alive.
If you don’t know how to
definitively identify the local
wild edible plants, stick with
animal foods. Freshwater
fish, worms, crickets, and
many other critters are safe
for human consumption.
Just make sure that you cook
them thoroughly in case
they are loaded with
parasites or disease-causing

Scrounge for

With no first aid kit, medical
care becomes a whole lot more
difficult. A lack of clean
dressings or antibiotic products
is a sure recipe for infection.
Still, medical aid can be
rendered if you have a working
knowledge of the skills.

You can diagnose ailments
like heat exhaustion
and dehydration
without supplies, and
identify pressure
points to slow
bleeding. If severe
bleeding does not stop
with direct pressure
and elevation, switch
tactics and apply
direct pressure to the
right artery.

When you apply
pressure to an artery,
you stop bleeding by
pushing the artery
against bone. There
are specific major
arteries in the body
where pressure
should be placed (see
illustration). Press
down firmly on the
artery between the

diagnose and
Treat Ailments

An upbeat, positive attitude and a generous streak of
mental toughness can be literal lifesavers, especially under the
dire circumstances outlined here. Surrounded by an emergency
and bereft of gear, it would be easy to give in to despair and cease
fighting for your life. If you can find little ways to maintain your
morale and remain motivated to survive, seemingly insurmountable
odds can be fought, and, for the lucky, fought and overcome.

Keep it

cooking, it makes sense to become a friction-fire-
building master. Or you can take a shortcut by carrying
multiple fire-starting methods on your
person. Keep a lighter in your pocket,
even if you don’t smoke, or get a survival
bracelet with a spark rod in it. Know
how to make a fire by concentrating
light through your glasses. When your
backups have their own backups, your
lost gear won’t matter so much.

bleeding site and the heart,
closer to the heart. After
bleeding stops, do not continue
to apply pressure to an artery for
longer than 5 minutes.

In short, you’re performing
medicine as our ancestors once
did. Use what you have to make
what you need.






Page 23

President, CeO Terry Newell
VP, Publisher Roger Shaw
AssOCiAte Publisher Mariah Bear
editOr Bridget Fitzgerald
editOriAl AssistAnt Ian Cannon
CreAtiVe direCtOr Kelly Booth
Art direCtOr William Mack
designer Allister Fein
illustrAtiOn COOrdinAtOr Conor Buckley
PrOduCtiOn direCtOr Chris Hemesath
AssOCiAte PrOduCtiOn direCtOr Michelle Duggan

415 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

Weldon Owen would like to thank Marisa Solís and
Katharine Moore for editorial assistance, and Andrew
Joron, Rob James, Kirk Lombard, Evan Hill, Scot Hill,
Rick Hueston, Wes Massey, Rod Morey, and R.P.
MacWelch for their contributions.

© 2014 Weldon Owen Inc.

All rights reserved, including the right
of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Library of Congress Control Number on file with
the publisher.

Outdoor Life and Weldon Owen are divisions of

Flexi Edition
ISBN 13: 978-1-61628-673-6
ISBN 10: 1-61628-673-3

Hardcover Edition
ISBN 13: 978-1-61628-839-6
ISBN 10: 1-61628-839-6

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
2014 2015 2016 2017
Printed in China by 1010 Printing International

exeCutiVe ViCe President Eric Zinczenko
Publisher Gregory D. Gatto
editOriAl direCtOr Anthony Licata
editOr-in-Chief Andrew McKean
exeCutiVe editOr John Taranto
mAnAging editOr Jean McKenna
seniOr dePuty editOr John B. Snow
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