7 Surprising Items Under $15 That Could Save Your Life

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Potato chips
bestbee / Shutterstock.com

Fortunately, most of us will never experience a true life-or-death emergency. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared on the off-chance we somehow draw the short straw.

Although it’s virtually impossible to anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong, there are a few life-threatening scenarios for which you can plan to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Following are seven surprising items that could save your life. Some you may already have on hand, and others you’ll want to order ASAP. The best part? All of these products cost less than $15 each, with several under $5. That’s a small price to pay to save a life — especially your own.

Baking soda

Baking soda
Alexander Ruiz Acevedo / Shutterstock.com

The common household item baking soda isn’t just for baking. If you find yourself face-to-face with a small fire and don’t have access to a working extinguisher, you can use baking soda to fight off the flames before they rage out of control.

The inexpensive leavening agent is especially effective for fighting grease fires and in instances where you can’t afford to waste precious water. Note: Always call 9-1-1 in the event of fire, even if the flames appear to be under control.


Potato chips
Volodymyr Plysiuk / Shutterstock.com

Need an excuse to always keep your favorite snack food on hand? If you find yourself in a situation where you need to start a signal fire, junk food — such as oily potato chips — can serve as makeshift kindling.

Simply grab your lighter or matches, set the entire bag ablaze and wait for the smoke to beckon rescuers. Just be sure that you have plenty of other food on hand before turning your savory snack into inedible ash.

Super glue

wk1003mike / Shutterstock.com

You may already have a tube of super glue at home for repairing broken items. But did you know that this magical bonding agent also doubles as liquid stitches?

If you (or a friend or family member) get a minor laceration that clearly requires sutures, and you don’t have immediate access to a medical professional, you can use the sealant to close the wound until new skin has a chance to form. Just be sure to clean the cut out first so it doesn’t become infected.

Super glue really should only be used this way in a pinch. But it can work when it is all you have.

Car hammer

Submerged car
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

True story: I had never heard of a car hammer until my very practical husband bought me this one for Mother’s Day. (Not to worry — it was accompanied by a bouquet of flowers!)

The invaluable tool features a “double solid cone head” that can break window glass should your vehicle become submerged in water, such as being stuck in a flood or veering off a road into a lake. There’s also a steel blade that can be used to cut you out of a seat belt in an emergency. Lastly, the bright orange shade is easy to spot, even when you’re panicking.

Personal water filter

Makistock / Shutterstock.com

If you run out of food while hiking, camping or backpacking, you don’t have to worry for quite a while. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t hold true for water. According to Business Insider:

A human can go for more than three weeks without food — Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation — but water is a different story. … The maximum time an individual can go without water seems to be a week, an estimate that is based on observations of people at the end of their lives, when food and water intake has been stopped.

That’s where a personal water filter, like the LifeStraw, comes in. It removes a multitude of potentially harmful bacteria and protozoa from water without using chemicals, making it safe for human consumption. No doubt it will be my next birthday gift from my husband.

Fire blanket

MoreThanPicture / Shutterstock.com

When you think of fighting fire, water probably immediately comes to mind. However, you also can suppress a small fire with a flame-retardant blanket suitable for smothering both liquid and grease fires.

A fire blanket is not only less messy than a traditional fire extinguisher, but it also can serve as a personal heat shield. Simply wrap the blanket around your body to create a protective barrier as you escape a fire. Note: Always call 9-1-1 in the event of fire, even if the flames appear to be under control.

Emergency blanket

Survival blanket
ShutterDivision / Shutterstock.com

Unforeseen crises are no match for thermal emergency blankets, like this sunproof, windproof, waterproof one, above. Not only can this emergency blanket help prevent hypothermia, but it can also be fashioned into a makeshift shelter or used for insulation, as ground cover or hung as a distress flag.

So, stash one in your car and another in your backpack. According to the manufacturer, this particular model when folded is “small enough to easily fit in the palm of your hand” and yet “large enough to wrap around even the tallest person.” And yes, my husband bought one of these for me, too.

Do you know of more inexpensive items that could save someone’s life? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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