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There are a lot of items you may start reaching for when SHTF – a gun, a HAM radio, even duct tape and its seemingly endless list of uses may come to mind. One item that probably doesn’t come to mind is the lowly safety pin. It turns out, you can do a lot with these pointy little clasps.
To be clear, stockpiling a bunch of safety pins probably isn’t sound prepping advice. But if the time comes where you are having to make do with what you have, and you happen to have a few dozen safety pins stored somewhere (as most people do), refer back to this list of safety pin survival hacks and put them to use.
1. Make a Fishing Hook
A tackle box full of fishing gear is a great thing to have in a disaster scenario. After all, if you live next to a body of water, fish are an abundant and easily attainable source of protein.
If you find yourself without a tackle box, though, and are having to make do with what you do have, a safety pin can be fashioned into an admirably serviceable fishing hook. From there, all you need is line, stick, and bait – all things that are much easier to come up with than hooks.
To make a safety pin fishing hook, take a pair of pliers and bend the pin into a J shape. The metal will likely bend too easily to keep big fish on the line, but it’ll work just fine for smaller varieties. Watch the video below to see it done.
2. Secure Your Bug Out Bags
If your bug out bag has a zipper on it, as most bags do, and that zipper gets loose over time, as zippers often do, you could find yourself in a disastrous situation where your zipper comes open and all of your stuff spills onto the ground. And you know it will happen at the most inopportune time, like when you’re making a hasty getaway.
Thankfully, there’s a really simple trick to keep this from happening. All you need to do is take a safety pin, hook through the eye of the zipper, then pin it to the fabric of your bag so that the zipper is securely closed.
3. Hold Bandages in Place
The bandages you find in a first aid kit are made to stick together. This makes it easy to wrap them tightly around a wound and ensure they’ll stay that way. If you’re having to use an old t-shirt or some other non-bandage cloth as a bandage, though, holding it in place can be a problem. The second you let go of it, it’s going to come unraveled and no longer apply pressure to the wound.
To keep this from happening, wrap your cloth tightly around your wound then secure it in place using as many safety pins as is necessary to keep it from coming unraveled.
4. Use them as Sutures
If applying a bandage isn’t good enough to stop the bleeding, you’ll need to escalate to sutures. Fortunately, safety pins can serve this function as well.
You can probably imagine what it takes to use safety pins to bring a wound together and hold it closed. You can’t just go straight across. You have to go back and forth from one side of the wound to the other with a single pin.
Watch the video below to see what I mean. WARNING: Don’t watch if you have a weak stomach.
It’s not pretty, but if nothing else is available, it could save someone from bleeding out.
Make sure you sterilize the pins before using them. There are a number of effective ways to do this, including boiling the safety pin, heating it with a lighter, or dousing it in alcohol.
5. Use them as a Needle
When it comes down to it, a safety pin is really nothing more than a needle with a fastening mechanism, and needles have a lot of functions in first aid situations.
If you have a splinter, you can use a safety pin to remove it. If you have a blister that needs to be lanced, safety pins can take care of this task as well.
And as I mentioned above, make sure you sterilize your safety pin before doing this.
6. Build a Tent
If you’ve got material such as plastic sheeting or a canvas tarp, a few tree branches for support, and a handful of safety pins, you’ve got all the makings for a makeshift tent.
The idea is to drape your material over the tree branches then pin it in place using the safety pins. Since you’ll be having to run the pin through the wood itself, green wood that you can actually push a safety pin through at its thinnest parts will work best.
7. Adjust Your Clothing
With all of the novel uses for safety pins that exist, it’s easy to forget one of their primary function – adjusting clothing.
Adjusting the fit of your clothes may not sound like priority number one in a disaster situation, but there are instances where it’s important. For example, if the button on your pants breaks you’re going to have a hard time running from danger with your pants falling down around your ankles. To fix this problem, though, all you need to do is pin your pants closed using a safety pin.
There are also situations where you may want to hem the leg of your pants up. If you’re having to ford a shallow stream and don’t want to walk around in wet pants all day afterward, you can use a safety pin to hem up the leg of your pants and keep them out of the water.
8. Pick a Lock
Talented locksmiths can easily pick a lock using rigid yet bendable items such as paperclips, bobby pins, and, of course, safety pins.
Picking a lock using a safety pin probably won’t be quite as simple as Hollywood makes it out to be, and it’s definitely something you are going to want to practice beforehand. Thankfully, there are a lot of great lock-picking tutorials that will teach you how.
Once you’ve mastered the art of picking locks with a safety pin, you’ll be better prepared to handle an urban disaster.