SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy SEAL's Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster

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Think and act like a Navy SEAL, and you can survive anything. The world is a dangerous place. You can live scared—or be prepared.

“We never thought it would happen to us.” From random shootings to deadly wildfires to terrorist attacks, the reality is that modern life is unpredictable and dangerous. Don’t live in fear or rely on luck. Learn the SEAL mindset: Be prepared, feel confident, step up, and know exactly how to survive any ...

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SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy SEAL's Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster

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Think and act like a Navy SEAL, and you can survive anything. The world is a dangerous place. You can live scared—or be prepared.

“We never thought it would happen to us.” From random shootings to deadly wildfires to terrorist attacks, the reality is that modern life is unpredictable and dangerous. Don’t live in fear or rely on luck. Learn the SEAL mindset: Be prepared, feel confident, step up, and know exactly how to survive any life-threatening situation.

Former Navy SEAL and preeminent American survivalist Cade Courtley delivers step-by-step instructions anyone can master in this illustrated, user-friendly guide. You’ll learn to think like a SEAL and how to:

improvise weapons from everyday items
• pack a go bag escape mass-shootings
• treat injuries at the scene subdue a hijacker
• survive extreme climates
• travel safely abroad defend against animal attacks
• survive pandemic
• and much more

Don’t be taken by surprise. Don’t be a target. Fight back, protect yourself, and beat the odds with the essential manual no one in the twenty-first century should be without.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451690293
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 206,051
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Cade Courtley was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Boulder, Colorado. He spent most of his young adult life in the outdoors and upon graduation from the University of San Diego he was immediately commissioned as an Officer in the United States Navy and began Navy SEAL training (BUD/S). After several intense tours as a Platoon Commander that had him operating around the world, Cade decided to leave the SEAL teams to pursue other challenges. He was the host of the Spike TV and Discovery Channel show Surviving Disaster and appears as a regular commentator on CNN and Fox News.

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Read an Excerpt


You know your current comfort zone, defined as the daily routine you do and the things that make you feel secure, content, and in control. However, most of our daily comfort-zone rituals will leave us unprepared to deal with even the smallest discomfort and will certainly render us incapable of handling an emergency or life-threatening challenge.

Challenge Your Limits and Daily Routines

Push the boundaries of your comfort zone at least once a day. There are so many opportunities to do this without attempting all at once to become an ultra-marathon runner, although this is a great goal. You must first expand your mind to the possibilities of doing certain things that you previously believed unachievable. Start with small steps and note progress by keeping track; make a list, and check off all the things you do each day to challenge yourself, both physically and mentally. Ultimately, by expanding your comfort zone you will increase both your physical and mental toughness, which are the keys to survival.

I believe that if you first focus on changing small things, you can begin the process of thinking differently, and ultimately achieve the goal of acquiring the SEAL mindset of survival, which will allow you to endure anything. You will quickly see that doing things differently makes you think differently. Observe your current routine and then start by doing simple things another way. For example, use the stairs instead of the elevator to take you up only a few floors. Climb at a reasonable pace and know that when you reach the top, you have just expanded your comfort zone. When in your car, don’t fight to get the space closest to the store, but purposely look for one that will make you walk. Force yourself to meet three new people and learn at least five things about them. If you have to balance your checkbook, leave the calculator in the desk and make your brain complete this task. Open up the contact list in your phone and memorize five numbers each day. You must seek out ways to expand both mind and body. Start paying attention to how you think about things. If you expand your comfort zone in this manner, you will be better able to do the rest. If you already exercise or jog, for example, increase your distance or speed. Run that extra mile, or run it a minute faster. Do that one additional push-up. Try holding your breath for a minute, and then try two. When in the shower, after scrubbing down with the warm water you usually prefer, finish the last thirty seconds with a blast of cold water. By pushing your physical limits, you are also forcing your brain to expand its comfort boundaries, thus gradually making yourself physically and mentally tougher.

Now that I am out of the Navy and getting older every day, I continue to push my comfort zone by engaging in activities I did when I was in SEAL team, including skydiving, shooting, climbing, and long swims. Instead of doing these things in preparation for a mission, I do them not only to maintain these very perishable skills, but also to keep my mind and body sharp—I still push the comfort zone and know that this will allow me to be every bit of the warrior I used to be.

Everyone’s comfort zone is different, so for some of us, expanding it means starting with drinking one less beer or forgoing dessert. Yet all of these little daily victories will bring us confidence later, especially when our lives depend on it. It’s so much easier to do nothing, and it seems natural not to bother, but I tell you: These first exercises are essential in changing your mindset and eventually can be the very things that will separate the survivors from the victims.

Here is a visualization I use: I like to imagine that pushing my comfort zone daily is similar to rolling a boulder up a hill. If I let it, the rock will always want to tumble back down, and I’ll have to start from the bottom again. Expanding the comfort zone on a daily basis will actually make it easier to get that boulder closer to the summit—and to our success or ultimate survival.

COMFORT ZONE CHECKLIST (all answers need to be yes):

Did I challenge myself today?

Did I do something positive that my mind initially didn’t want to do?

Did I do something positive that my body initially didn’t want to do?

Can I do more?

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Part 1 SEAL Mindset and Survival Psychology 1

Expand Your Comfort Zone 3

Increase Your Physical Toughness 5

Increase Your Mental Toughness 7

Mental Preparation 10

Emergency Conditioning



Muscle Memory

Create a Trigger

Violence of Action

Situational Awareness

Composure Under Pressure

Combat Breathing


Use the Rule of Three 23

Long-Haul Survival 24

Part 2 Survival Scenarios 27

Abandon Ship 29

What to Do When Boarding a Ship or Boat

What to Do When a Ship Is Taking On Water

Abandoning Ship


Going into the Water

Active Shooter 37

Active-Shooter Incidents

Police Response Time

Situational Awareness: Exits, Cover, People

Once a Shooting Begins 0 Reverse 911

Movement Techniques

Bullet Penetration


Moving as a Group

Set an Ambush

Encountering Law Enforcement

Airplane Crash 58

Preflight Preparation

Where to Sit

Gathering Intelligence on Your Plane

Situational Awareness on the Plane

Impact Brace Positions


Finding the Best Exit

What to Do Once You're Out

Animal Attack 66


Black Bears

Brown Bears

Polar Bears

Mountain Lions

Auto Accident 77

Seat Belts

Air Bags

Other Safety Features and Precautions

Avoiding and Minimizing Accidents

Four O'clock and Eight O'clock Hand Positions

Tire Blowouts

Postaccident Actions

Biochemical Attack 84


Early Signs

How to Protect Yourself and Escape

Improvised Gas Mask

Shelter In

If You've Been Exposed

Bomb 91

Car Bomb

Situational Awareness

Individual Precautions for Community Safety

Structural Safety

IED and Booby Trap

Suicide Bombers

If a Bomb Detonates

Bridge Collapse 100

Crumbling Infrastructure

Bracing for Impact

How to Escape a Submerged Vehicle

On the Surface

Burglary and Robbery 106

Crime Facts


Point of Entry

Being a Good Neighbor

Neighborhood Watches

Exterior Lighting

Doors and Locks


Interior Lighting



When a Burglary Happens

When a Robbery Happens

Encountering the Invader

Convenience Store and Bank Robberies

Carjacking 119

Being Alert

Typical Strategies Carjackers Use

The Bump and Jump

The Good Samaritan

The Ruse

The Trap

Surprise Attack


During a Carjacking

When a Carjacking Becomes an Abduction

Carjacked as a Passenger

Locked in Your Trunk

Earthquake 128

Secure the Compound

If You Are Outdoors

If You Are in a Vehicle

If You Are Inside

Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Triangle of Life


Buried in Rubble


Elevator Emergency 135

Situational Awareness

Elevator Entrapment

Free Fall

Falling Through Ice 141

Going In

Swimming Out

Rolling Out

Stop and Save It

If You Are a Bystander

Fighting 146


Commanding Presence 'Distance

The Fight

Protect Your Face

Stay On Your Feet

Hit Hard

Vulnerable Points on the Body


Palm Strikes





Thumb Drops

If They Have a Knife or a Gun

Final Note on Fighting

Fire: Forests, Buildings, Homes 160

Situational Awareness: Know Your Risk

Outdoor Fire Threats

Preparation Checklists

Building and House Fires


What to Do in a Fire

Flash Flood, Flooding, and Tsunami 167

During a Flood

Aftermath of a Flood


Know Your Location

Animal Behaviors

Foot Pursuit and Being Chased 171


Use Your Environment

Gang Violence 174

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Distance and De-escalation

Punch and Run: Fight and Flight

Hijacking 178

Before You Board

Settling Into Your Seat

Observe Your Passengers

Air Marshals

Assess the Hijacker


Improvised Weapons


Search, Handle, Restrain

The Outside World's Response

Home Invasion 186

Tiger Kidnapping

Prevention and Rehearsal

Safe Rooms

When Violence Comes

SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape)

How to Escape Restraints

Alerting Others

Hurricane and Tornado 199

Hurricane Preparation

When to Evacuate

Holding Your Position

Caught Outside

It's Not Over Yet

Tornado Survival

Jail 206

Jail Types and Stats

Mental Preparation

Just Locked Up

What Not to Do

Violence Behind Bars

Be Good

Lightning 211

Know the Enemy


The 30/30 Rule

Action Checklist

Lost at Sea 214

Survival Priorities

Staying Afloat

Retaining Heat

Avoiding Sunstroke

Getting Water

Getting Food


Raft Survival

Sea-Induced Delusions

The Long Haul

Shark Attack

Lost in the Desert 228

Survival Priorities


Finding Water

Building a Solar Still

Types of Shelters

Walking Out

Lost in the Frozen Mountains 235

Survival Priorities

Finding Shelter

Building a Quinze

Starting and Maintaining a Fire

Dry Clothing

Getting Water

Getting Food



Moving and Navigation

Improvised Compasses

Nuclear Attack 245

How a Bomb Works

EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse)

How to React

Materials That Protect from Radiation

Avoiding Radiation by Sheltering In

Avoiding Radiation by Outrunning It


Pandemic 252

Methods of Transmission

Preventing Infection

Pandemic in Effect

Disruption of Services

Minimum Food Essentials

Your Crew

When You're the Sick One


Homemade Protective Gear

Handling the Dead

Riots and Stampedes 259

Awareness of Likelihood

If You Are in a Riot

If You Live in an Area Where Riots Are Occurring


Road Rage: Defensive and Evasive Driving 266

Letting Go of Anger on the Road

Defensive Driving: Expect the Worst

Evasive Driving

Basic Techniques for a High-Speed Chase

Advanced Techniques



Barricade Breaching

Being Rammed

Driver Down

Search and Rescue 273

Step Up and Help!

Gear Up

Going In

Marking Your Results

Extracting Survivors


Cribbing and Shoring

Stalker and Surveillance Detection 277

Stalking Stats

If You Are Being Followed

Change Your Routine

Surveillance Detection Route


Torture and Being Held Hostage 280

Torture's Many Forms

Why Me?

Accepting Your Situation

Stress Management


Thoughts of Escape

Become the Gray Man

Managing the Pain

Give Something vs. Give Nothing

Trouble in a Foreign Country 286

Before You Go

Friendly Embassies

Avoid Trouble

In Trouble

On the Run

Part Three: Gear and Improvised Weapons 293

Gear 295

Go Bag Essentials

Go Bag Advanced

Firearms 298

Thoughts on Firearms

What Weapon Is Best?

Basic Firearm Operation and Safety

Improvised Weapons 301

Part 4 Survival Medicine 305

Step Up and Help! 308

Casualty Assessment

Get into Action

Initial Assessment


Immediate Priorities for Treating the Injured 312

ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)

Rescue Breathing

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

Stopping the Bleeding

Dressing the Wound


Protecting Wounds



Transporting the Injured

Shock 329


Prevention and Treatment

Heat Injuries 331


Heat Cramps

Heat Exhaustion


Cold Injuries 333



Trench Foot

Trench Foot 339

Choking 339

How to Help Someone Who's Choking

If You Are Alone and Choking

If the Victim Is Unconscious

Burns 341

Burn Types

Short-term Treatment

Long-term Treatment

Bites and Stings 343

Bees and Wasps

Spiders and Scorpions


Acknowledgments 345

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Hated to put is down

    Great characters, I loved the plot, constant excitment and twists.
    I think it would be best if you knew the background of Lincoln
    and friends but I would still recommend if you like good guys and constant thrills.


    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Waiting for my chance to read this... I've known and worked with

    Waiting for my chance to read this... I've known and worked with Cade for 12 years... he's the real deal and I know what he offers up in this book will be life-saving!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 17, 2013

    Mr. Courtley writes about the everyday dangerous situations that

    Mr. Courtley writes about the everyday dangerous situations that average people may face in a clear, intelligent and matter-of-fact manner. In fact, he had a few scenarios that had never crossed my mind - such as an active shooter in the mall. Sure enough, after reading that chapter I found myself walking to the Sephora at my local mall with an eye on where the potted trees were located (you'll have to read the book to see what I mean). I found his honestly and style of writing appealing in a genre that is too often filled with macho grandstanding. I will look for books from this author in the future and I am recommending this to all of my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Excellent Read

    This is a very good book. Lots of useful information that can be used everyday in many cases.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Great book.

    This book was unlikely to have any relevance until we made it through December, 2012. After we beat back the Mayan's, it's my number one guide.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Good book

    Good book very informative gives you tue basics to survive many emergencies

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    This is awesome

    Amazing book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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