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    Survival Handbook

    Survival Handbook
    By Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht

    C H R O N I C L E


    SAN F R A N C I S C O

    The authors wish to thank all the experts
    who contributed to the making of this book,
    as well as Jay Schaefer, Laura Lovett, Steve
    Mockus, and the entire team at Chronicle Books.
    Copyright © 1999 by book soup publishing, inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in
    any form without written permission from the publisher.
    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available.
    ISBN 0-8118-2555-8
    Printed in the United States of America
    Designed by book soup publishing, inc.
    Typeset in Adobe Caslon, Bundesbahn Pi, and Zapf Dingbats
    Illustrations by Brenda Brown
    a book soup publishing book

    Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books
    9050 Shaughnessy Street
    Vancouver, British Columbia V6P 6E5

    20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12
    Chronicle Books LLC
    85 Second Street
    San Francisco, California 94105

    When a life is imperiled or a dire situation is at
    hand, safe alternatives may not exist. To deal with
    the worst-case scenarios presented in this book,
    we highly recommend—insist, actually—that the
    best course of action is to consult a professionally
    trained expert. Do NOT ATTEMPT TO UNDERTAKE
    YOURSELF. But because highly trained professionals
    may not always be available when the safety of
    individuals is at risk, we have asked experts on
    various subjects to describe the techniques they
    might employ in those emergency situations. THE
    ANY LIABILITY from any injury that may result from
    the use, proper or improper, of the information
    contained in this book. All the information in this
    book comes directly from experts in the situation
    at hand, but we do not guarantee that the information contained herein is complete, safe, or accurate,
    nor should it be considered a substitute for your
    good judgment and common sense. And finally,
    nothing in this book should be construed or interpreted to infringe on the rights of other persons
    or to violate criminal statutes: we urge you to obey
    all laws and respect all rights, including property
    rights, of others.
    —The Authors

    Foreword by "Mountain"
    Preface.. .14

    Great Escapes and Entrances. . .17
    How to Escape from Quicksand... 18
    How to Break Down a Door... 20
    How to Break into a Car... 24
    How to Hot-wire a Car... 28
    How to Perform a Fast 180-Degree Turn
    with Your Car... 31

    How to Ram a Car.. .34
    How to Escape from a Sinking Car.. .36
    How to Deal with
    a Downed Power Line.. .39
    The Best Defense... 41
    How to Survive a Poisonous Snake Attack... 42
    How to Fend Off a Shark...46
    How to Escape from a Bear.. .50
    How to Escape from a Mountain Lion... 54

    How to Wrestle Free from an Alligator...57
    How to Escape from Killer Bees...60
    How to Deal with a Charging Bull...64
    How to Win a Sword Fight...66
    How to Take a Punch.. .69
    Leaps of Faith...73
    How to Jump from a Bridge or Cliff into
    a River...74
    How to Jump from a Building into
    a Dumpster...77
    How to Maneuver on Top of a Moving Train
    and Get Inside...79
    How to Jump from a Moving Car...82
    How to Leap from a Motorcycle to a Car...84
    Emergencies... 87
    How to Perform a Tracheotomy...88
    How to Use a Defibrillator
    to Restore a Heartbeat...91
    How to Identify a Bomb...94
    How to Deliver a Baby in a Taxicab...99

    How to Treat Frostbite...103
    How to Treat a Leg Fracture.. .106
    How to Treat a Bullet or Knife Wound...109
    Adventure Survival...113
    How to Land a Plane...114
    How to Survive an Earthquake... 120
    How to Survive Adrift at Sea... 125
    How to Survive When Lost in the Desert...129
    How to Survive If Your Parachute
    Fails to Open...l37
    How to Survive an Avalanche... 140
    How to Survive If You Are in the Line
    How to Survive When Lost
    in the Mountains.. .146
    How to Make Fire Without Matches... 150
    How to Avoid Being Struck by Lightning... 155
    How to Get to the Surface
    If Your Scuba Tank Runs Out of Air...l60
    The Experts... 163
    About the Authors...176

    By "Mountain" Mel Deweese

    I am a Survival Evasion Resistance Escape
    Instructor. I have developed, written, attended,
    and taught courses around the world to more
    than 100,000 students—civilians, naval aviators,
    and elite Navy SEAL teams. I have more than
    30 years of survival training experience, from
    the Arctic Circle to the Canadian wilderness,
    from the jungles of the Philippines to the
    Australian desert.
    Let's just say that I've learned a few things
    about survival over the years.
    Whatever the situation, whether you're out
    in the mountains, on board a plane, or driving
    cross-country, to "survive" means "To outlive, to
    remain alive or in existence; live on. To continue
    to exist or live after." After all, that's what it's
    really all about—about continuing to exist, no
    matter how dire the circumstances.
    • You have to be prepared—mentally, physically,
    and equipment-wise.
    I would have to call my training in the

    Arctic Circle the ultimate survival adventure.
    The Arctic is an extremely harsh and unforgiving
    environment, and yet the Inuit people (Eskimos)
    not only survive, they live here at the top of
    the world. Most of the items you need for Arctic
    survival must come with you when you go—
    the Arctic offers little for improvisation.
    One morning, as we huddled inside our
    igloo drinking tea to warm up, I noticed that
    our senior Inuit guide drank several more cups
    of tea than the rest of us. "He must be thirsty,"
    I thought. We then proceeded outside for our
    morning trek across the frozen landscape. After
    we reached our camp, the senior instructor
    walked over to a small knoll. Our young Inuit
    guide interpreted his words: "This is where the
    fox will come to seek a high lookout point. This
    is a good place to set a trap." The older man
    then took out his steel trap, set it, laid out the
    chain, and to my surprise, urinated upon the
    end of the chain!
    The younger instructor explained: "That's
    why he drank all that tea this morning—to
    anchor it!" Indeed, the chain had frozen securely
    to the ground.
    The lesson: Resources and improvisation
    equals survival.

    • You must not ignore the importance of the
    mental aspects of survival; in particular, you must
    stay calm and you must not panic. And remember
    that willpower is the most crucial survival skill
    of all—don't catch that terrible disease of "Giveup-itis." All these mental strengths especially
    come into play when someone makes a mistake—
    which is inevitable.
    One trip into the jungles of the Philippines,
    our old guide Gunny selected and gathered various
    plants while we were trekking. Upon arrival at
    the camp, Gunny skillfully prepared bamboo to use
    for cooking tubes. To these he added leaves, snails
    (he claimed only the old men catch snails because
    they are slow—young men catch fast shrimp),
    and a few slices of green mango. He also added
    a few things I could not discern. Topping this off
    with leaves from the taro plant, he added water
    and placed the bamboo cooking tube on the fire.
    After the jungle feast, we settled into
    the darkness for sleep. During the night, I
    experienced pain, contraction, and itching in
    my throat. We were in pitch darkness, far from
    civilization, and my airways were progressively
    closing. The following morning, the condition
    worsened and my breathing was becoming restricted. I questioned the instructor, and he agreed he

    had the same problem. That we shared our
    distress was reassuring and it led to our determining the source of the problem. It turned out
    we had not boiled the taro leaves long enough.
    Recovering hours later, I mentally logged this as
    a lesson learned the hard way: Even the old man
    of the jungle can make mistakes.
    We all make mistakes. Overcoming them is
    survival as well.
    • You must have a survival plan. And your
    plan should consider the following essential
    elements: food, fire, water, and shelter, as well
    as signals and first aid.
    I remember a military survival training course
    I took in another jungle. A tropical environment
    is one of the easiest to survive, if you know where
    to look. It offers all of the needs for survival—
    food, fire, water, shelter. We needed water badly
    but could not head for the major streams, rivers,
    or bodies of water to quench our thirst, as the
    "enemy" was tracking us. The enemy knew our
    dire need for water, and he would be watching
    those areas. Looking into the jungle foliage, our
    guide Pepe pulled his jungle bolo (a large knife)
    from its wooden case and pointed to a thick,
    grapelike vine, 3-4 inches in diameter. He cut the

    vine at the top, then sliced off a 2-3 foot section,
    motioned to me, and held it above my parched
    lips. Excellent! In total, it produced almost a large
    glass of water. Then he cut into a rattan vine that
    provided nearly the same amount.
    That evening we tapped into the trunk of
    a taboy tree, placed bamboo tube reservoirs we
    had constructed beneath the tap, and left them
    overnight. Early the next morning, I was surprised
    to find 6-8 quarts of water in our reservoirs.
    The next morning in the rain, Pepe stopped to
    cut a tall bundle of grass. He selected a smoothbarked tree and wrapped the grass around the
    tree to form a spigot. He then placed his bamboo
    drinking cup under the grass spigot. I was not
    convinced about the quality of his filter, but it was
    a good way for us to gather rainwater. That night,
    after we had reached the safe area, the jungle
    darkness fell upon us and we sat in the flicker of
    the bamboo fire. Pepe smiled at me and said,
    "Once again we've evaded the enemy and learned
    to return."
    That simple phrase became our motto—and
    in fact, is the motto of every survival trainer,
    whether or not they know it. "Learn to return."
    This guide might help you do just that.

    Anything that can go wrong will.
    —Murphy's Law

    Be prepared.
    —Boy Scout motto
    The principle behind this book is a simple one:
    You just never know.
    You never really know what curves life will
    throw at you, what is lurking around the corner,
    what is hovering above, what is swimming
    beneath the surface. You never know when you
    might to be called upon to perform an act of
    extreme bravery and to choose life or death with
    your own actions.
    But when you are called, we want to be sure
    that you know what to do. And that is why we
    wrote this book. We want you to know what to
    do when the pilots pass out and you have to land
    the plane. We want you to know what to do
    when you see that shark fin heading toward you.
    We want you to know how to make fire in the
    wilderness without any matches. We want you to
    know what to do in these and in dozens of other
    life-threatening situations, from being forced to

    jump from a bridge to being forced to jump
    from a car, from taking a punch correctly to
    outsmarting a charging bull, and from escaping
    a sniper to treating a bullet wound.
    We were not survival experts ourselves when
    we undertook this project—just regular, everyday
    folk like you. Joshua grew up in the East—a
    street-smart city boy. David grew up in the West
    and spent his youth hiking and camping and fishing (even though his family used a Volkswagen
    van most of the time). We were just a couple of
    inquisitive journalists from different backgrounds
    who worried a lot and were interested in knowing
    how to survive a variety of crisis situations, likely
    or unlikely (mostly the latter). Together, we consulted experts in a variety of fields to compile the
    handbook you have before you. The information
    in this book comes directly from dozens of expert
    sources—stuntmen, physicians, EMT instructors,
    bomb squad officers, bullfighters, survival experts,
    scuba instructors, demolition derby drivers,
    locksmiths, sky divers, alligator farmers, marine
    biologists, and avalanche rescue patrol members,
    to name a few.
    Within this book, you will find simple, stepby-step instructions for dealing with 40 life- and
    limb-threatening situations, with instructive

    illustrations throughout. We've also provided
    other essential tips and information—marked
    with red bullets—that you must know. Any
    and each of them could save your life. Ever
    wonder how you would deal with the kinds of
    situations that usually only come up when you
    are a movie action hero? Now you can find
    out. And then, like the Boy Scouts, you too will
    be prepared.
    So keep this book on hand at all times. It is
    informative and entertaining, but useful, too. Get
    a copy and keep it in your glove compartment.
    Take it with you when you travel. Give a copy
    to your friends and loved ones. Because the Boy
    Scouts know what they're talking about.
    And you just never know.
    —Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht



    When walking in quicksand country, carry
    a stout pole—it will help you get out should
    you need to.
    As soon as you start to sink, lay the pole on the
    surface of the quicksand.
    Flop onto your back on top of the pole.
    After a minute or two, equilibrium in the quicksand
    will be achieved, and you will no longer sink.
    Work the pole to a new position: under your hips
    and at right angles to your spine.
    The pole will keep your hips from sinking, as you
    (slowly) pull out first one leg and then the other.
    Take the shortest route to firmer ground,
    moving slowly.

    Quicksand is just ordinary sand mixed with upwelling
    water, which makes it behave like a liquid. However,
    quicksand—unlike water—does not easily let go. If
    you try to pull a limb out of quicksand, you have
    to work against the vacuum left behind. Here are a
    few tips:

    •The viscosity of quicksand increases with
    shearing—move slowly so the viscosity is as low
    as possible.
    • Floating on quicksand is relatively easy and is
    the best way to avoid its clutches. You are more
    buoyant in quicksand than you are in water.
    Humans are less dense than freshwater, and
    saltwater is slightly more dense. Floating is easier
    in saltwater than freshwater and much easier in
    quicksand. Spread your arms and legs far apart
    and try to float on your back.
    When in an area with quicksand, bring a stout pole
    and use it to put your back into a floating position.

    Place the pole at a right angle from your spine
    to keep your hips afloat.

    Give the door a well-placed kick or two to the lock
    area to break it down.
    Running at the door and slamming against it with
    your shoulder or body is not usually as effective as
    kicking with your foot. Your foot exerts more force
    than your shoulder, and you will be able to direct this
    force toward the area of the locking mechanism more
    succinctly with your foot.

    Alternate Method
    (if you have a screwdriver)
    Look on the front of the doorknob for a small
    hole or keyhole.
    Most interior doors have what are called privacy sets.
    These locks are usually installed on bedrooms and
    bathrooms and can be locked from the inside when
    the door is shut, but have an emergency access hole in
    the center of the door handle which allows entry to
    the locking mechanism inside. Insert the screwdriver
    or probe into the handle and push the locking mechanism, or turn the mechanism to open the lock.

    If you are trying to break down an exterior door, you
    will need more force. Exterior doors are of sturdier
    construction and are designed with security in mind,
    for obvious reasons. In general, you can expect to see
    two kinds of latches on outside doors: a passage- or
    entry-lock set for latching and a dead-bolt lock for
    security. The passage set is used for keeping the door
    from swinging open and does not lock. The entrylock set utilizes a dead latch and can be locked before
    closing the door.

    Exterior doors are of
    sturdier construction.
    Kick at the point where
    the lock is mounted.

    Give the door several well-placed kicks at the point
    where the lock is mounted.
    An exterior door usually takes several tries to break
    down this way, so keep at it.
    Alternate Method
    (if you have a sturdy piece of steel)
    Wrench or pry the lock off the door by inserting
    the tool between the lock and the door and prying
    back and forth.
    Alternate Method
    (if you have a screwdriver, hammer, and awl)
    Remove the pins from the hinges (if the door opens
    toward you) and then force the door open from the
    hinge side.
    Get a screwdriver or an awl and a hammer. Place the
    awl or screwdriver underneath the hinge, with the
    pointy end touching the end of the bolt or screw.
    Using the hammer, strike the other end of the awl or
    screwdriver until the hinge comes out.

    Interior doors in general are of a lighter construction
    than exterior doors and usually are thinner— 1 3/8"
    thick to 1 5/8" thick—than exterior doors, which generally are 1 3/4" thick. In general, older homes will be
    more likely to have solid wood doors, while newer
    ones will have the cheaper, hollow core models.
    Knowing what type of door you are dealing with will

    help you determine how to break it