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Turn Your Cell Phone Into a Survival Tool

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There are many survival situations where a working cell phone would be your go-to piece of equipment. A phone call could have help on the way in an instant. Unfortunately, cell phones also break quite easily. Even a slight impact can leave them unusable for communication, which at first glance appears to be the only thing they are good for. You may be surprised to discover, however, that you can use the components of a broken cell phone to create multiple survival tools.

More than 5 billion people in the world carry cell phones, and out of that group 1 billion are smartphone users, according to Forbes. Even if you are without your survival kit, you or someone you are with will likely have a smartphone. It can be said that major companies are moving from cell phones to smartphones to stay alive. BlackBerry knows all about survival, and has made a major move from only offering business cell phones of the past to smartphones anyone would enjoy using. Let’s begin be stating that you should only use your cell phone in these ways if it is already broken. A working smartphone is far more useful than any of these other tools. Even if you cannot get signal at first, you may be able to later. Emergency crews may be able to locate you through your phone as well.


Broken phone image by MattHurst via Flickr.

1. Fire Starter

Daily Infographic offers up one of the best tips in the world for surviving out in the woods — using your phone to start a fire. Anyone who has ever tried to start a fire with only found materials — with a fire bow, for instance — understands just how challenging it can be. Starting a fire without a reliable ignition source requires practice, and you do not have this luxury in a survival situation.

When you take a wire from your phone and use it to connect the positive and negative connectors on your phone’s battery, the wire will get extremely hot. It is definitely hot enough to light dry, lightweight tinder. However, you need to have your fire all set up beforehand and your tinder ready, as the heat generated by this process will cause the wire to disintegrate very quickly. One wire will give you one chance.

2. Make a Signal Mirror

When you break your phone apart layer by layer, you will discover a metallic, shiny section. This makes a perfect signal mirror. Signal mirrors have been used throughout history as survival tools.

Make a peace sign with your fingers and use it to target the reflection of your mirror towards rescuers. Reflections can be seen from miles away, so try to flash any potential help you see.

3. Cutting Tools and Fishing Lures

The metal backing in your phone and the circuit board can both be shaped into numerous tools, including sharp knife edges and fishing lures. Art of Manliness even shows how to sharpen the circuit board into a spear point which you can then use to protect yourself or spear fish.

A broken phone is filled with useful survival materials. You may have nothing else on hand, but if you have your phone and a little know-how, you could conceivably survive for some time with what you find inside. A phone call may be better, but sometimes you do not have that option.

by Zachary Hayes

Zach enjoys writing about hunting and outdoor living. He’s from Wyoming and teaches hunter safety courses.


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    Total 4 comments
    • ElOregonian

      If you truly want to survive get rid of your cancer-causing cellphone.

      • sysbuster

        My thoughts exactly :)

    • Country Blumpkin

      Or you can always call for help.

    • Fisherman

      This is a stupid post!

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