I happened upon a link to a post at SurvivalPreparednessBlog.com with a very similar title (I “borrowed heavily” for this post) and began reading because, after all, who doesn’t like lists?
To summarize, the list included 10 skills: stick welding, small engine repair, how to fish, how to butcher animals, learn to trap, gunsmithing, basic carpentry, auto repair, ham radio, hunting, advanced first aid.
I looked at the list and thought, “ok, I understand, sort of” but it’s not what I would consider skills that everyone should learn. After all, I can’t think of a time I’ve ever needed to stick weld anything, after all, I’m pretty sure that’s why they invented duct tape. ;) Most of the rest of the list is understandable and would also be good skills to have.
For this post I’m thinking about 5 skills that preppers should learn. Of course, this is just my humble opinion. Take from it what you will…
- Basic wound care – I think we tend to underestimate how critical proper wound care is to our health given that we not only have the proper supplies to care for wounds but the knowledgeable personnel to help us we we need more than just a bandage. The same can be said for the fact that we live in fairly sanitary conditions with proper waste disposal and clean water. When these things either disappear or become compromised then the possibility for disease from a simple cut increase substantially. Just knowing how to properly clean and dress a wound is good knowledge. Likewise, supplementing that with knowing how to pack a deep wound, understanding when (and when not to) close a wound, what an infected would looks like, and more could mean the difference between life and death. These are important “basic” skills to have and should not be underestimated. There are any number of ways to learn these skills, including watching various videos I have in the Video Vault, buy some first aid books, read medical references I keep in my Guide to the Net pages, etc.
- The ability to shoot a firearm – Your ability to protect not only yourself but your family as well cannot be emphasized enough. We can talk all we want about alternatives to firearms and home security precautions but nothing beats a firearm in the hands of a well-trained and confident individual when it comes to stopping bad guys from doing bad things. The keys to firearms are many, including the experience that only comes from training (repetition is what it’s all about), familiarity (with your weapon, how to operate it without looking, how to load it, clear jams, etc), and confidence (to do what needs to be done should the need ever arise). Of course, firearms provide for more than just protection. Look for local training resources; the NRA is a good starting point.
- How to make a fire – I was never a boyscout and I never had interest in learning survival basics such as these (which I now regret) but I can’t think of anything more basic yet so crucial to general human survival than fire. I know it doesn’t tend to play much of an obvious role in our lives in modern society but I would suspect that it will be front-and-center in any significant emergency situation. Remember that fire fulfills many critical functions, including making food safe to eat, water safe to drink, and warding off predators to name a few. In fact, I consider it so critical that I’m going to see Jerry Ward of OzarkMountainPreparedness.com in March to learn firecraft skills for a day. Come join me if you’re anywhere near Arkansas. If not, watch videos and start practicing while you have the the opportunity to do so without a true NEED for fire. And, of course, do it safely.
- Food preservation techniques – Considering that refrigeration may be a thing of the past in any significant emergency situation, then a basic root cellar may be all we can muster with regards to extending the longevity of foods in their natural state; we need to do better. Fortunately, we’ve known how to make foods last a long time and that’s utilizing various food preservation methods, including canning, drying, pickling, smoking, and fermenting to name the most recognized options. If you haven’t tried any yet, pick one and run with it! Get a few books on the subject and try it. I thoroughly enjoy dehydrating. Maybe canning or smoking meats is what gets you hooked. I don’t know. But I do know that these skills will last a lifetime.
- How to cook with basic ingredients – I grew up in what I would consider the “microwave” generation. If you needed to know how long something should cooking in the microwave I could tell you down to a few seconds! Yeah, I’m no longer proud of it and I’m beginning to realize how important it is to be able to make foods from scratch. After all, there could quickly come a time when you have to make any number of foods from just what you have stored in your pantry or that which you can procure from the wild. For example, there’s a reason why wheat is suggested to be stored in such large quantities and that’s because it is used as the basis to make many foods. Rice could be used in a similar way. There are plenty of other examples, such as if you had no idea that refried beans are made from pinto beans simply by pureeing them then maybe you would be enjoying your tenth bowl of pinto bean soup instead of burritos. Or, if you didn’t know that you can make evaporated milk from powdered milk simply by reducing the water used to reconstitute it then you may be enjoying really watered-down potato soup.
I hope these few examples make it clear why a bit of knowledge and skill will prove invaluable. I’m not saying I have any of the aforementioned down pat whatsoever, far from it. But I do recognize how crucial these skills can be to survival and are something that our ancestors just knew how to do.
So, what would you add that I did not? What’s so important to you and your survival?