3 Little Survival Tools You Can Make With Random Things Around Your House

How bizarre survival tools (like a tuna can, old bra, and lip balm) can help you survive power outages, fires, and more.

home painted with emergency cross
Yasu+Junko for Reader’s Digest

Turn a Tuna Can Into … An Emergency Light
A power outage left you in the dark, and the batteries in your flashlight are dead. Quick fix: Stab a small hole in the top of a can of oil-packed tuna, and roll a two-by-five-inch piece of newspaper into a wick. Shove the wick into the hole, leaving a half inch exposed. Wait a moment for the wick to absorb the oil, then light with a match. “Your new oil lamp will burn for almost two hours,” says Creek Stewart, owner of the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival and Preparedness. “And the tuna will still be good to eat afterward.”

Turn a Bra Cup Into … A Debris Mask
If a fire breaks out and air gets smoky, cover your face with a bra cup to keep harmful particles from entering your lungs, says Stewart. Most cups are sized perfectly to cover the nose and mouth, and you can tie the bra straps around your head for hands-free use. Once your DIY mask is in place, quickly move to safety.

Turn a Tube of Lip-Balm Into … A Space Heater
Snowed into your car without any heat? “It may surprise you to learn that a candle can actually raise the temperature of a small space a few lifesaving degrees,” Stewart says. Take the cotton string from a tampon, and using a paper clip, stick it into a tube of lip balm, which contains wax that will make your handmade wick burn steadily. Light the end, and you’ll get an instant candle that can burn for hours. Keep the plastic tube from catching fire by slowly twisting out the lip balm as the wick burns down.

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