08/08/2012 08:37 am ET Updated Oct 08, 2012

9 Most Crucial Survival Tips (PHOTOS)

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." -Charles Darwin

Life can change in an instant. One moment you're trekking along a mountain ridge, and you're suddenly struck by a rattlesnake. One minute you're skiing down a mountain, the next you're facing an oncoming avalanche.

Navy SEALs are trained to face dangerous situations all over the world - at sea, in the air and on land. We understand that every time we launch a mission, unforeseen circumstances - flash floods, aircraft crashes, poisonous insects, animal or marine life bites, etc. - can cause us to be trapped in an unfriendly environment, cut-off from communication to outside support. With every tick of the clock our situation can become more desperate.

We are trained to deal with these emergencies - to survive in the harshest of environments without food and water.

But what if, God forbid, something like that happens to you? Will you know how to treat yourself if bitten by a poisonous snake? Will you know what plants you can extract water from if trapped in the desert with your loved ones? Or how to protect you and your teammates from freezing to death in the mountains? The answer to all these questions should be "yes."

The U.S. Navy SEAL Survival Handbook [Skyhorse Publishing, $14.95] is all about developing the SEAL survival mindset, and arming yourself with the appropriate survival techniques for numerous potentially fatal scenarios.

We live in a dangerous world. It's your responsibility to be prepared.

Survival tips