Today, in our modern society we are all some sort of specialists. While we are good at our jobs, we don’t invest energy in learning new things such as preparedness skills. There is a false feeling of knowledge that is spreading due to the information available in the online world. We think we know a lot about how the world is functioning, but in reality we don’t know anything. Just because we can Google about how something works or how is made, that doesn’t mean we know how to act upon that information.
Many fail to realize that even some basic preparedness skills, like cooking have diminished over time. We now order fast food or we go out to eat rather than spending time to sit down for a nice family meal. We are always on the rush and we concentrate only on the skills that we use on a daily basis. Somehow, we think that we will deal with all the other things when their time comes. If you aim to become self-sufficient you will need to invest some of your time into developing a few essential preparedness skills.
If we look back at our pioneer forefathers, we will discover that they had a range of practical skills that helped them survive even in the toughest environments. Most of them had the knowledge and skills to run various aspects of a working farm. Raising crops and animals was done with tools which nowadays are considered primitive. Even city folk had a variety of commonplace skills that we consider obsolete today.
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You might be the best specialist there is out there. Chances are that your employer will have a hard time finding a replacement for you. That’s really great and might seem convenient, but you have to consider that in an extended disaster situation, your specialization will not work in your favor. If you invest all your time and energy into learning only a particular set of skills, you will find out the hard way that being the best public relations specialist or an excellent accountant will not help you when it hits the fan.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should not invest time into developing your job skills or building your career. I just want to raise awareness that, we as functional individuals of today’s changing society, we should learn more about the lost ways if we want to be prepared for the worst.
One of the best things you could do as a prepper is to regain trust in your ability to handle any challenges that an environment deprived of modern commodities could throw at you. This can be done by learning some of the lost skills of your grandparents. If these preparedness skills worked for them in a time when austerity was a way of life, they will surely work for you in these modern times.
Here is a list of essential preparedness skills that will help preppers become self-sufficient:
Preparedness skills – Growing plants
This includes all sorts of plants, especially the ones that will help you survive and thrive. You should start by growing food plants, but you can also to experiment with the medicinal herbs. You can start small with a vegetable garden in your backyard. This is the best way to learn the basics and to really enjoying the activity. Once you get the hang of it and you get that feeling of accomplishment. The one you get when keeping a successful vegetable garden. I you do a good job, you can move up and scale it based on your needs. In time, you will want to know more about how to plant fruit trees and how to take care of them and even how to plant and harvest field crops.
Starting with a small backyard garden has its benefits. You can afford to be a bit sloppy and learn about the consequences of your actions without the risk of affecting your main food source. It will also provide you with important lessons. You will understand what to do and what not to do if the garden is your only food source. You will learn about soil management, pest control, plant diseases and much more to ensure a maximum harvest. A garden, even a small one, is just like a baby, you will have a hard time dealing with it at first, but you will end up loving it and you will make sure you do whatever you can to see it grow.
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Preparedness skills – Growing meat animals
This is another skill that is being forgotten. Kids these days have a hard time making a connection between the meat their parents bought at the grocery store and the farm that raised the animals. When you decide to grow meat animals, my recommendation is to start small because you have many choices to do so. You can start with rabbits and chickens and move up to goats, pigs and even cows. You will learn how much work it all requires and you will understand how to feed them with naturally available resources. Most importantly, you will learn how to care for them and how to prepare them for the table.
Butchering an animal is no easy task. This skill requires practice if you want to succeed. Not to mention that you will get attached to your animals and it will be very hard at first. These are learning experiences that you cannot learn only by reading about them. You need to get your hands dirty and experience firsthand.
Preparedness skills – Learn to cook with what is available
Cooking is a skill that is overlooked by many and it takes time and practice to become good at it. This is one of the preparedness skills that can become a problem if ignored. You need to be able and cook with the preparedness food supply available and using a variety of fuel sources. Depending on the meal you are preparing you could need a constant heat source. If you don’t have a stove, making a fire that provides a constant flame can become a challenge itself.
If you have experienced with cooking you should know by now that sometimes, you just have to improvise and you need substitute ingredients for your recipes. For example, using powdered eggs in a recipe is totally different than using fresh eggs. Cooking will become an important activity of your daily life during a long-term disaster. You need to make sure you are able to make quality and nutritious foods from what you have in your pantry.
Recommended reading: Survival improvised cooking
Preparedness skills – Learn basic mechanics
Things will eventually breakdown and staring at an appliance for a few hours will not fix it. You will be surprised how many things can be fixed or how much you can do on a car to keep it running. Older cars will keep going for a long time if you know how to look for the problem and what to do about it. Today we are used to throw things out when they fail to function. You have to expect that we might not always have this option. Next time something breaks down, try to figure out what the problem is. Check if the parts can be replaced or if you can improvise something to prolong the life of your appliances.
Preparedness skills – Learn first aid
Many communities organize basic first aid training with the help of The Red Cross or other organizations. Some of these classes are free and it is just a matter of finding the time to attend to. You don’t need to become a medic. However, you should have a basic set of skills that can make the difference between life and death during an emergency situation. Many people don’t even know how to do CPR. When it comes to bleeding, many preppers think that cayenne pepper is all it takes to save the day. Knowing how to stabilize a patient and how to keep him alive until more skilled help arrives is knowledge that will be valuable during a long-term disaster and every community will want someone who has this knowledge.
Preparedness skills – Learn how to fix and take care of your home
With the tools that are available today, most small to medium sized home repairs can be done even by the average person. Everyone can learn how to take care of their home. There are many books, DVDs and even YouTube videos that will teach how to do it. Every once in a while, there are even classes at your local hardware stores. They will teach you how to use certain tools and materials to fix things around your home. Besides learning how to fix your house, you will also learn what materials you need to collect. You will identify the future repair jobs from your house that will eventually require your attention. With the right hand tools, the proper knowledge and a strong will, you will be able to keep your house standing for years to come.
Preparedness skills – Learn about weapons
Although many foreigners consider us a gun loving nation, contrary to popular belief, many people don’t know much about guns. Many Americans prefer to use alternative defense methods like pepper sprays and tasers. Even though some of them bought a gun, they put it in a closet and forgot about it. Going to the gun range to practice with it is not even on their schedule. During an emergency situation when the stress level is high, not knowing how to handle a firearm can become more dangerous than the emergency situation itself.
If you decide to buy a gun, learn how to use it, how to clean it and about everything that comes with owning a gun. Join a weapons club that can help you learn about the basic skills with the weapon you choose. And always have a plan B. Don’t just rely only on one firearm for protection and consider other alternatives. There are some crossbows on the market which can be used for hunting, but also for offensive purposes.
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Preparedness skills – Learn about repairing and mending clothes
Today, if a shirt gets a hole in it, we throw it in the trash and we buy a new one. We are a society that consumes without thinking much about what goes to waste. Unfortunately, this trend is aggressively promoted by the media and we learn nothing. Your great-grandparents didn’t let anything go to waste, not even a beat-up pair of jeans. Mending clothes was a common practice for every other article of clothing they owned. It wasn’t only about clothes, it was about anything that can be fixed or patched up, and it was a sustainable way of living.
Knowing how to fix holes in clothes or how to make new clothes from bolts of cloth or leather is a skill that will come in handy when stores will be closed. Clothes will eventually wear off if you spend all your time outdoors. You will need to find ways to patch them up.
Preparedness skills – Learn about wilderness and primitive survival skills
These skills may seem out of place in today’s modern world and many think that you don’t need to know how to start a fire if you can just use a lighter or a survival fire-starter. While it may be more practical to use a lighter, you never know when an emergency situation will require improvisation and the use of primitive skills. The various primitive skills learned from our forefathers will find their place in a world that can no longer rely on modern techniques. The list of primitive skill can be adapted based on your environment. You can learn to identify local wild plants, you can learn to hunt, to start a fire under various weather/environment conditions, how to snare wild game, etc. This will help you to become more independent and it will increase your self-confidence.
Preparedness skills – Keep in shape
I can’t stress this enough. I find it hilarious when people talk about survival skills, about guns and ammo and about everything that requires a form of exercise, and yet they can’t climb stairs without catching their breath.
The real world is not so neat and tidy and you will need to put some effort in everything that you do. If you’ve ever been camping and tried to experience primitive living, you know what I’m talking about. Carrying wood to make a fire, starting a fire without a lighter, carrying water from a nearby water source, cooking, cleaning and every other activity requires some sort of effort from your part. If you slack around and take it easy, you won’t have the time to do it all. Outdoor activities require energy and it’s not the same thing as lifting barbells. The impact on your body is much more painful if you are not used to physical activities.
Recommended reading: The Eight Principles of Emergency Evacuation
There are various ways to keep in shape. While many prefer to go to the gym, I recommend doing something that is both fun and useful. Outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, canoeing and even archery can keep you in shape. These activities could develop skills that would prove useful in a survival scenario.
There is no particular order for the preparedness skills listed here. You should tackle them by considering your own strengths and weaknesses. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, you have to understand that there is no pressure and you don’t have to learn everything. You must have a smart approach for this and try to spread out the load (knowledge) with your family members. Each family member can learn a particular set of preparedness skills and share the experience with the others. Learning various preparedness skills by doing and seeing them done by others works much better because the social factor is involved. You can always discuss about the encountered challenges and find solutions for them.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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