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News and Trends > Safety

6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

First responders, law enforcement and military personnel train for the worst, and you should, too.
Jewel Samad | Getty Images
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The news is filled with horrific headlines involving sick and violent individuals hellbent on harming as many innocent people as possible. What can you do to increase your chances of surviving a deadly attack should you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time? That's what the military veterans who run Route Iron want to teach you during their Da Vinci Seminar, a six-day program focused on medical and security awareness skills for travelers and business people.

To be clear, the Da Vinci Seminar does not make tough guys -- the focus is to help you to spot threats early so you have time to escape. And in the event that it is unavoidable, they teach realistic self-defense tactics and extensive emergency medicine techniques. It’s not about being Jason Bourne, it's about knowing what to do so that you and your loved ones have a better chance of survival.

Here are six things small things we can all do to make a big difference for our personal safety.

6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

1. Simple travel supplies

You're not a Navy SEAL. You aren't carrying 100 pounds of survival gear with you everywhere you go, but a few easy to find items in your pockets and in your suitcase can make all the difference if you need to escape, defend and protect yourself.

Keep a small flashlight on your keychain - darkness is always your enemy! Duct tape is also a must. It can be used for emergency repairs, first aid and a doorstop. It is the easiest way to keep someone out of your room even if they have a key. And when traveling, always have some extra money, backup ID and an alternate credit card in a safe place that is not your wallet in the case it gets stolen or lost.

Related: Learn This Navy SEAL's Plan to Escape an Active Shooter Situation

6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

2. Stay aware of your surroundings

Those looking to commit violent acts are called cowards for good reason -- they are always looking for soft targets, people who appear distracted or lost. While you can't see everything that could come at you, keep your head up and not buried in your cell phone. You can’t react if you don’t see what’s coming. 

Stay situationally aware of your surroundings and walk with confidence. 

Related: 4 Mental Tactics to Increase Your Odds of Staying Alive, According to a Green Beret


6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

3. Know your exit plan

Wherever you go, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the way out. Whether its an office, a restaurant, a hotel room or even in open public spaces -- it’s important you have a direct line out.

Your number one priority during an attack is to flee and create distance from the violence. Knowing which way to run is the difference between life and death.

Related: Check Out This CIA Operative's 11-Step Guide to Safe Travel


6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

4. Create barriers

If fleeing is not an option, then sheltering or bunkering in place becomes the next critical goal. In an active shooter situation, blocking a door with available materials such as furniture can buy you enough time to survive until law enforcement arrives. Temporary is good enough, but be prepared to fight. 

Related: Mental Tricks You Can Use to Get Through Tough Times

6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

5. Be prepared to fight

Use anything around you to make things harder on an assailant. Almost anything can be a weapon, from a credit card curled in your hand to a pen held in your fist to a car key held firmly.

6 Survival Skills for an Increasingly Dangerous World

6. Learn the SCABS technique

If someone is in need of medical attention, every second counts. The most important skill to learn is how to stop massive blood loss. The Da Vinci Seminar teaches the “SCABS” technique:  
  • Safety: Make sure you’re in a safe place while helping others.
  • Circulation: Stop the bleeding with a tourniquet, bandage or cloth.
  • Airway: Be sure the airway is clear. Check for obstructions caused by the victim’s tongue or pooling blood.
  • Breathing: Be sure the victim is breathing and treat with CPR if necessary.
  • Shock: Make sure the victim is laying down and warm.

Related: 10 Inspirational Quotes from Navy SEAL Training