Homeless people are the ultimate survivors, and understanding how they live on the streets can teach people a thing or two about staying alive even in the worst conditions. When disaster strikes, you could very well end up homeless yourself. When that happens, keep in mind the following survival habits that help keep homeless people alive, according to AskaPrepper.com:
- Stock up on newspapers – Old newspapers are easy to find, and they can be used in many ways. They are particularly useful for keeping warm: You can stuff them inside your clothes or use it as kindling to build a fire. You can also use newspaper sheets as blankets, or use a crumpled one as a pillow. If you’ve built a shelter, you can use newspapers to insulate the insides as well.
- Wear layers – There is wisdom in the way homeless people wear all their clothes at once. Aside from having less items to carry with your hands, dressing in layers can keep you protected whatever the weather. Wearing extra layers keeps you warm in the cold, and layers can be easily removed when the temperature gets warmer. The extra clothing is also a fabric supply that you can use when the need arises — for instance, as a bandage, a napkin, or a rope.
- Use a space blanket or hot water bottle to stay warm when you sleep – Keeping a fire alive while you sleep may not always be ideal, so finding other way to stay warm can be helpful. If you can boil water, use it to fill an empty bottle to place under your blanket. Better yet, use a cheap Mylar blanket. This can keep you warm by reflecting your body heat back to you. Aside from that, Mylar blankets have many other uses — for instance, according to UrbanSurvivalSite.com, it can be used as a solar oven, a rain shelter, or even as a signal booster for a radio or phone.
- Use a coffee can for fire – An old coffee can (or any discarded can for that matter) can double as a stove or a portable fire — simply fill it with petroleum jelly and light it up.
- Clean yourself with baking soda – Hygiene shouldn’t suffer even in a survival situation, and the best way to maintain it on the cheap is with baking soda. The multipurpose product can work as deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, even as soap, and shampoo. At the same time, locate the public bathrooms nearest you. Most city shelters will have showers, and public pools and parks will also have shower facilities where you can clean up.
- Know where to get free food – Many fast food restaurants throw out excess food at the end of the day, so you can lurk there at the end of the day to ask for the leftovers before they hit the dumpster. Of course, businesses may not be in operation in a survival situation, so this trick might not be applicable. Having a stash of food in your backpack is still your best bet in avoiding hunger in an emergency.
- Stay mobile – Learning how to live out of a backpack is important for survival, because it means you can leave your current dwelling the second you need to. Homeless people never unpack, making it easier for them to move around.
- Stay vigilant – When you’re living on the streets or out in the open, all of your possessions can easily be stolen. Whenever you turn in, make sure you keep your backpack protected by using it as a pillow, or slinging it over your shoulder.
- Familiarize yourself with your current location – Before you settle down in any one place, get the lay of the land, know where the food sources and shelters are, figure out the safest areas, and know the best exit points. Also, getting to know the people around you is a good way to gauge the safety and livability of an area.
- Stay positive – It may be easy to fall into hopelessness when disaster strikes, but it is important to fight that. Having a positive outlook and staying focused on a goal (such as reuniting with family or returning to normalcy), can keep you motivated and inspire you to keep going despite the challenges.
- Always have a back-up plan – Wherever you end up, it is important to have a plan B. Homeless people can attest that life on the streets brings new challenges every day, so being able to adjust when circumstances change is crucial to staying alive.
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