Knife Handling Safety

Over 8 million people in the U.S. were treated for knife injuries between 1990 and 2008. There are millions more - unreported cases of knife injuries. Learn how to tame your blade and stay safe.

Whatever you like carrying, whether it’s a hunting knife or an OTF - your knife is your number one survival gear. It’ll help gather food, make shelter, and protect you from enemies. It’ll even make you some comfy, easy cornbread muffins on a dull day, or a 3-course lamb dinner for your partner. While it’s highly unlikely that most of you will ever be called on duty to skin or gut an elk, there are countless reasons why you should carry an EDC pocket knife or even a hunting knife. It can help you save lives - of loved ones and strangers. Hopefully, you’ll never be called upon for any such incident. It’s a tool that can help breach glass barriers, cut seat belts … save a helpless person from street mugs - and even help astronauts in space stations orbiting around the earth. Yes, it’s the most versatile tool of all, even in the modern world of gadgets and multi-tools.

However, this fine survival tool can turn against us when careless. Over 8,250,000 people were treated for knife injuries in less than twenty years. Knife injuries happen for many reasons, but the most common we know is accidental injury. Accidents happen, and it’s normal to get pricked a few times in the kitchen or in the backcountry. But we do not need those nasty gashes. So, can we lower the chances of knife injuries with precationary measures? We certainly can. And here’s how.


Knife Safety Checklist. A Lot Less ‘Ouch’

Small knife accidents happen all the time, whether you’re in the jungle gutting with a hunting knife or in the kitchen chopping vegetables while sipping on ice-chilled semi-dry Chardonnay. Unmindfulness is the number one cause behind these accidental injuries which can result in anything from small knicks to more serious wounds that require medical attention.

To begin with, start being mindful when using a knife, especially cleavers, hunting knives, and chef knives. Put the wine down, and pay attention to the blade in hand, so the other hand is spared and safe.

Next, avoid common mistakes and pitfalls. Even something apparently insignificant like using the wrong kind of knife can lead to injuries. More on that later. Follow the dos and don’t. Here’s a checklist that if you follow, will considerably lower the chances of knife mishaps.

  1. Use a proper knife. This means using a hunting knife when gutting in the wild, a chef’s knife in the kitchen, a cleaver for raw meat and bones, and a paring knife  for garden greens.
  2. Use a sharp knife. Blunt knives lead to more accidents. Keep your blades sharp.
  3. Use a flat, stable surface to cut. Do not put the chopping board on your lap.
  4. Point the blade tip south when walking with a knife.
  5. Store knives in the right places, and out of reach of children.
  6. Teach your child how to hold and use knives when they come of age.

  1. Try not to leave knives unattended in easy-to-reach places.
  2. Never try catching a falling knife. Resist your lizard instinct.
  3. Do not use a knife as a can opener.
  4. Never leave a minor with a knife.
  5. DO NOT ever run with an open knife.

Be mindful when using any tool, especially ones that can be used as weapons. Just doing that will save you a ton of ‘ouch’ and those costly Band-Aids.