Just a few shorts years ago, “preppers” or “survivalists” often formed insular communities or hid their interest lest others view them as paranoid. With rising climate issues and a global pandemic that shows no signs of disappearing, interest in prepping is exploding. While many people begin their focus with collecting items, the focus should turn quickly to collecting skills as well. There are some valuable skills that will help surviving a catastrophic event more likely. To begin, consider working on these areas.
Starting a Fire
It’s not about rubbing two sticks together! Instead you should learn ways to start a fire that will be doable in a range of circumstances. The simplest way to prepare is to purchase waterproof matches or basic lighters and some petroleum jelly cotton balls. Cover the cotton in the jelly and then store them in something like a cleaned prescription bottle, tin box, or other container that can be closed tightly. The petroleum jelly makes the cotton ball waterproof, and you can use a few under kindling and leaves to start a fire. Once you’ve mastered the cotton ball fire, practice trying to start a fire using gathered items from wooded areas around your home. Over time, you will learn what will and will not make good material.
Yes, guns are a way to provide defense. Don’t discount owning one, but unless you’re also going to learn how to make ammo or start a massive stockpile – not to mention practice continually – you will need to learn to find additional options for self- and home defense. Mace and tasers are options that are non-lethal but will allow you to protect yourself when needed. (Check local regulations as the laws related to these items vary from state to state.) Also consider taking a self-defense course. Basic self-defense moves are important but also look into a longer-term martial arts option in case hand-to-hand combat becomes necessary. Archery also is an option. Bows and arrows are reusable if you collect them after using. They work really well if defense from humans is necessary but also are excellent choices for hunting in a long-term catastrophic situation. After mastering archery, considering spending some time learning to use knives and even poles as a way to increase your chances in a fight.
Tending Injuries and Wounds
Your chances of surviving and not needing to seek out medical facilities, which are likely to be overcrowded, will increase as you learn more first aid. Every prepper learns quickly to purchase a basic first aid kit. You can find them for $20-30 easily. They include bandages, gauze, alcohol swabs, a few meds for allergy bites, pain, and other small issues. Everyone in your family should take a CPR course. They will teach the Heimlich maneuver as well as how to resuscitate infants and, children, and adults. Once everyone is CPR-certified, start to work on other skills, including setting a fractured bone, handling sprains, and providing assistance to someone in shock. Basic first aid means stopping bleeding, ensuring the person is breathing, and then treating as best you can. When there is a natural disaster, someone in your party is likely to get hurt, so prioritize these skills. These three skills aren’t the only ones you should know, of course, but they are the simplest to begin learning.
The key to being a good prepper is knowing what you need to learn and being willing to practice continually so that when you are in a bad situation, performing these tasks becomes second nature, which will relieve stress and help you to focus on any larger problems that may arise.