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Hit a home run when life throws a curveball

Life is unpredictable and sometimes, ruthless too. Tragedies don’t knock on doors before entering someone’s life. Unfortunate events come unannounced and wreak havoc like a tropical storm. To face such situations with dexterity, one needs courage, resolve, resilience and life-saving skills—skills that can help people survive dire situations by enabling them to think logically, and make wise decisions with, perhaps, a calmer mind.

Apart from saving oneself, these skills help save others as well. Before Bristol-based IT consultant John Volanthen dove into the flooded caves in Thailand to rescue 12 boys and their coach, he did not know that his passion for diving could actually help him save the lives of those children. In this feature, Soulveda explores five important life skills that can help people survive tragedies, and above all, save lives.


It’s not every day that one comes across a sportsman defeating his opponents and saving their lives on a single day. But that’s what happened earlier this year in Michigan. Fifteen-year-old high school student Xavier saved his opponent from drowning. After a few lapses in the training session, Xavier saw his competitor struggling to keep his head above water, after losing control over his breath. Xavier swam to him and saved his opponent from drowning.

This is probably why swimming tops the list of life-saving skills. It’s not just a skill that improves wellbeing but also ends up being instrumental in saving lives. Whether it is saving someone from drowning, or pulling someone out from rip-currents, or saving lives in circumstances like floods, or even a tsunami, a good swimmer has their job cut out for them.


A 36-year-old bus driver in central China, Wang Fei, was lauded for his courage when he saved 16 passengers from a fatal accident. A huge metal plate came crashing down on the windshield putting the lives of passengers at risk. But Fei didn’t lose his cool. He carefully parked the bus away from the moving traffic and saved the lives of passengers.

Driving is certainly a skill everyone must learn, not only for functional reasons, but for handling emergencies as well. For instance, if someone is having a stroke, and time is of the essence, driving the victim to a hospital could sometimes be a wiser decision than waiting for an ambulance. An individual with good driving skills can be quite helpful in such incidents.


For campers and hikers, lighting fire naturally is by far the most important skill according to their survival manuals.


Self-defence can help people, especially women, protect themselves at home and on the streets. In light of increasing reports of abuse and assaults, women can learn martial art forms like jujitsu, which is a sport for people with small stature. Jujitsu can enable anyone with a lean body to use their opponent’s height, weight, and strength against them.


One need not be a medical professional to provide first-aid to an injured person. If it’s a wound, and not a fracture, anyone with the right knowledge can do the trick. Dressing up a wound is the most common first-aid procedure. Another is the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

According to studies, 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur while the patient is at home. In such cases, the knowledge of CPR can make a huge difference to the person. An Oswego teen Alicia Alexander performed CPR on a 67-year-old man. John Brickert had had a heart attack when Alicia found him lying on the ground. She knew what she had to do when she found him unconscious. With CPR, Alicia revived John who began to move even before the paramedics arrived!

Lighting fire 

For campers and hikers, lighting fire naturally is by far the most important skill according to their survival manuals. In a situation where someone is lost in the woods, fire can be handy—with just a few twigs or dry leaves, one can easily light fire. Besides, it not only helps in keeping bodies warm at night, but also helps with water purification, cooking, warding off predators, and creating SOS signals.

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