5 Items You Can Carry That Might Just Save Your Life

With the right candle in your pocket, you’ll never suffocate again
5 Items You Can Carry That Might Just Save Your Life

The typical prepper owns a basement outfitted for disaster, storing water, batteries and a whole lot of guns. Paranoid people on the move, meanwhile, carry their useful tools on them, including a compass, trail mix and a whole lot of guns. You should in no way feel satisfied with such obvious essentials. Instead, you should consider such additional life-saving objects as...

Oxygen Candles

Fire normally consumes oxygen. That’s one of the first things any of us are taught about fire — when we’re children, we learn about the “fire triangle,” which says every fire needs oxygen, heat and fuel. We’re too young at the time to know what a chemical reaction is or how fire both needs heat and produces heat, but we know fire eats up oxygen. If you’re ever short of oxygen, lighting fires is not the route you want to take.

Unless, that is, you’re lighting a special candle that releases oxygen as it burns, rather than absorbing oxygen. This candle is made of some chemical that contains oxygen and undergoes thermal decomposition. For example, when you light a candle of sodium chlorate (NaClO₃) and iron, it won’t combust, but it will smolder, and the chlorate breaks down. Though the iron part of the candle does oxidize, the reaction overall releases oxygen gas. Five ounces of the mixture produce enough oxygen to keep you alive for an hour, which is a unit of oxygen known as a man-hour.

oxygen candle

U.S. Navy

When man-energy is divided by man-hours, we get manpower. 

This can offer you a little extra breathing room in case, say, you find yourself bolted in a cask and dropped in a lake and are awaiting rescue. Just be sure to keep your candle sealed away until needed and free from any material that burns in a conventional manner. In 2007, the crew aboard a British nuclear submarine under the Arctic icecap lit an oxygen candle. The candle had absorbed some oil, so instead of releasing oxygen, it exploded and killed two men. Fortunately, this didn’t set off a chain reaction that detonated the nukes, because that would be impossible, no matter how cool it sounds. 

Ass Cream

Let’s say you have some ass cream at home, for your ass. You suffer from anal fissures, and it’s none of our business exactly why. Maybe it’s because of all those rocks you insist on eating and shitting out, or maybe it’s your insistence on wiping your butt with sandpaper. Whatever the reason, it makes your ass hurt, and so you own a tube of ass cream, for your ass. 

Nifedipine Ointment

Transmed Pharma

Ass cream. For when you have a literal pain in the ass.

Though you may find it most convenient to apply this ointment when you’re in a private setting, consider also taking it with you wherever you go. For starters, if you offend someone, and you accuse them of being butthurt, you can now elevate the insult by offering them the ointment, as a form of prop humor. Also, this medication might save you after a snake strikes

When a venomous snake bites you, rubbing on some ass cream can slow how the venom circulates through your system. This might quadruple the length of time that the venom takes to kill you, buying you a chance at surviving till doctors find you and administer antivenin. If you’re wondering “why don’t I just carry antivenin,” that's because you'd have to carry one specific to the snake species, and you never know in advance which snake will attack. 

When it comes to stopping the spread of venom, when you can’t counter the venom, ass cream might well do the job better than any other medicine we know of. It certainly does the job better than the old folk remedy of sucking the venom out, which does not work at all. If someone offers to do it, they’re not going to save you, they’re just trying to kiss your ass. 

The Five-Year Beacon

Suppose you get totally lost in the wilderness. How do expect anyone to track you? By tracing your phone, which has its own dedicated GPS chip? Impossible, as you already pried out that chip, for fear that people were using it to track you. However, there exists another way of locating people in distress, and it’s far more reliable.

Carry with you an emergency beacon, known as a “406-beacon” after the frequency that it transmits. It’s part of something called the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme, which was conceived of at the start of the 1970s, before GPS was even a thing. By the end of the decade, despite the Cold War, a memorandum was signed between the U.S., Soviet Union, France and Canada, to collaborate on sharing satellites to rescue anyone broadcasting these distress signals. 

COSPAS-SARSAT international satellite system, search for ships and aircraft in distress. Stamp of USSR, 1987.

via Wiki Commons

Space scientists laugh at our wars and are all secretly friends.

The beacons have evolved since then and now use precise GPS tech. The advantage over your phone is a beacon connects straight to a satellite and sends out a ping to a relevant rescue team without needing cell service and without your even having any idea whom to call. And until you activate the beacon, it will sit comfortably dormant, its battery lasting several years. Your phone, meanwhile, will be out of juice in mere minutes, especially because you insist on watching Saw X while awaiting rescue. 

A Mask

No, we’re not going to tell you to wear a mask on your face. That only protects you from germs, and germs never killed anyone. You should instead fear a much more intimidating foe: tigers. And the solution to defeat tigers is to wear a mask on the back of your head. This way, when you have your back turned, the tiger will still think you’re looking at it and think twice before attacking. 

Granted, tigers sometimes do still attack people head-on, and if it’s determined to spring, this mask will offer no protection. But when people in the Sundarbans started wearing these masks in the 1980s, they reported 100-percent effectiveness in preventing tiger attacks. People without the mask continued to be attacked and to die, but not the mask-wearers. One guy took off his mask for lunch (unnecessary, as the mask didn’t cover his mouth), and a tiger immediately hit him from behind. Always be vigilant. 

A Bag to Hide In

Speaking of tigers, here’s an old riddle, which is really a motivational story in disguise: You’re in the jungle being chased by a tiger. You can’t climb a tree to safety, because there are no trees in sight. What do you do? Answer: You climb the nearest tree. Because there has to be a tree.

While that story does not quite work when taken literally (for starters, because tigers climb trees), here’s a real-world version: You’re in the woods, and a wildfire is quickly approaching you. You can’t outrun it. There’s no shelter in sight. What do you do? Answer: You crawl into a shelter. Because you brought a shelter. It’s called a fire shelter and is a small bag made of aluminum and fiberglass. Deploy it, and you can slip in, let the fire wash over you and wait for it to pass. 

US federal government-issue fire shelters in the deployed state


Also it’s sure to confuse tigers.

Looking at those shelters, you might think whoever’s inside will be baked like a potato, but the aluminum reflects heat well. You also might worry about swiftly suffocating, but it’s the air outside the shelter, hot and smoky, that’s the real danger. Inside the shelter, which is little bigger than a human body, people have waited out fires for longer than an hour and emerged safe and well. And if you need more air than that, well, you could always light an oxygen candle. 

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