Preppers have often been confused with survivalists but there is a difference between them. A prepper is somebody who believes in preparing for emergencies. It doesn’t matter what form an emergency would take, it could be a natural disaster or a man-made disaster such as civil unrest or somewhere in between.
Preppers focus primarily on ensuring that their family members, as well as neighbors and friends, have all the resources that they need to make it through the worst part of an emergency. It’s all about being prepared.
A survivalist, on the other hand, is somebody who not only prepares for the unexpected but also focuses on learning skills that would enable them and their families to possibly thrive during periods where there is no government or central authority and the grid, as we know it, has all but broken down.
There is a big difference between these two groups. But at the end of the day, they share a commitment to fully preparing for disasters by making sure they’ve stockpiled food, supplies, emergency kits as well as ammunition and firearms.
At the very least, a prepper who wants to prepare firearms for emergencies should master the necessary skills in operating such defense equipment.
With all that said, here are fifteen skills that all preppers should learn and master. These are very basic but they can often spell the difference between life and death in very difficult situations caused by nuclear attacks, civil unrest, war, terror attacks, natural disasters, and whatnot.
Skill #1. Outdoor Survival Skills
Don’t assume that when disaster strikes you will have the luxury of being able to stay in your home. In many cases, Mother Nature strikes so hard that your home can crumble. We’re not just talking about tornadoes but also tropical storms and hurricanes as well as earthquakes.
What do you do in such a situation? When you’re exposed to the elements outside, you should know the basics of outdoor survival skills and these include starting fires, making shelters and basic tools, learning how to use a compass, and reading a map.
Know your way around so you can properly navigate from point A to point B especially if you’re stuck in the outdoors. You should also learn the basics of sanitation and hygiene skills. In terms of other outdoor survival skills, preppers would do well to learn how to identify basic plants, animals, and insects. Finally, they should also learn the basics of signaling for help.
Skill #2. Learn How to Find Food
When you’re in the wild, you have to learn how to find food and this can take many different forms. You can gather food like berries or small fishes and snails by streams or you can learn how to hunt or fish and track and trap animals.
Food acquisition skills also include foraging, basic gardening, and how to raise small animals for meat.
Skill #3. Cooking
Specifically, preppers should learn the basics of campfire cooking, preparing meat out in the field also called field dressing as well as the basics of salting and preserving food without refrigeration.
Skill #4. Water and Hydration Skills
Just as you need to learn how to find food, you should also learn how to locate water. This includes learning how to collect important water supplies, and just as importantly, figuring out how to purify water in the most efficient way.
Water is basic for survival. This is why it’s very important to learn how to find and manage water resources before you focus on finding food or cooking whatever you find.
Skill #5. Food Preparation and Storage Skills
It’s one thing to find food and prepare it, it’s another to be able to store it. This is important because food will spoil if stored improperly and this can cause serious health risks for you and your party. Learning the basics of food preparation and storage enables you to stretch whatever meager food supplies you manage to store for emergencies or find out in the field.
These skills include proper preparation, cooking, canning, and preserving food. If you find wild meat, this can also include making jerky.
Skill #6. Health, Fitness and Medical Skills
At the very least, somebody in your party must know how to perform first-aid and CPR. It’s also a good idea to learn how to administer natural remedies, make a tourniquet, and prevent poisoning.
Skill #7. Self-Defense and Security
You don’t have to be a hardcore survivalist to know the basics of self-defense but if you’re going to be carrying around firearms, you need to know the basics of a firing line, how to set up a perimeter as well as how to coordinate between armed members of your party so you don’t suffer from friendly fire as well as how to efficiently flush out bad guys that may be hiding near your area.
Self-defense and security for preppers also include the basics of making weapons and learning how to move undetected.
Skill #8. Finance Skills
You have to understand that in an emergency, money will always be important. Oftentimes, families fail to properly secure the right supplies. You’re going to have to buy the supplies from somewhere and this is where finance skills come in because if you budget your finances correctly, you will be able to save enough cash so that when an emergency strikes you’ll have the funds needed to buy the necessary supplies.
Please understand that during an emergency, the prices of basic staples usually go up. There are all sorts of anti-gouging rules but during an emergency, people usually don’t follow the law so make sure that you have the necessary financial resources so your family doesn’t go through a bind.
Skill #9. Basic Household Skills
Whether you are stuck in the worst or you are forced to create a shelter or a series of shelters in the open, at least a few of your party members must have household skills. These include cleaning, washing, sanitation, basic sewing, and clothes-making. These are crucial because if trash accumulates it can cause all sorts of problems.
Skill #10. DIY Skills
DIY skills cover basic construction and home-repair functions like plumbing, basic carpentry, woodwork, and depending on whether you have the equipment, welding. These also include basic electric and mechanical skills.
DIY skills are very important if you have the equipment or you can access the industrial part of town where such equipment can be found.
Skill #11. Communication Skills
This is fairly basic. You need to know how to work a radio and recharge it. You also have to know the basics of other methods of communication so you can send and receive information that may be crucial to the survival of your party.
Skill #12. Psychological Skills
I’ve got some bad news to share with you. You may know the basics of all the skills that I’ve shared above but if you don’t have the right mindset during an emergency, you may become a threat to yourself or a possible cause of harm to others.
You can’t allow yourself to panic and this is why it’s important to know basic psychological and emotional coping skills so people can focus on strategic thinking, being aware of their situation, and possessing enough willpower so that they can persevere, and ultimately, overcome their ordeal.
Make no mistake, your world is going to be turned upside down during an emergency. A lot of the stuff that you assume will be there won’t be there. The key is to have enough mental focus so you can push yourself through this tough situation.
Skill #13. Relaxation Skills
It goes hand in hand with mental control and basic willpower skills as mentioned in skillset #12 above. However, relaxation skills are categorically different in the sense that they focus more on your ability to remain still, focus on the present moment, and find a way to mentally relax so the stress doesn’t get the better of you.
Skill #14. Transportation Skills
This is pretty straightforward. You should learn how to drive or ride a bike or a horse or operate some kind of transportation machinery so you can get from point A to point B.
Skill #15. Basic Survival Skills
For this category of skills, you focus on skills that were not covered in the previous fourteen. These include camping, hiking, backpacking, swimming, trail detection. Also, you should learn the basics of making a rudimentary shelter. This way you can prevent hypothermia or hyperthermia in your party.
Blog Post #22 (1,099 words)
15 Items That Could Save Your Life In An Emergency
What makes emergencies challenging is not so much the immediate harm they cause. Most people can recognize that and cope accordingly. What makes emergencies threatening and harmful is that most people don’t think it will happen to them.
They’re plugged into the grid and all their basic needs are taken care of by their local power, water, and gas infrastructure. Everything takes place like clockwork so even though most people can accept, on an intellectual level, the possibility of an emergency, they think it only happens to other people and not to them.
This is the kind of mindset that is going to be hard to overcome because everything boils down to your assumption. Even if you pack away some emergency kits and supplies, it’s not going to be as systematic and methodical as it should be because of your assumptions.
It’s not a surprise then to find out that when massive disasters such as Katrina or 9/11 happened, people were simply unprepared. Maybe they packed a lot of food but it’s not the right kind of food or they forgot to load up enough water.
Whatever the case may be, you have to adjust your mindset about the possibility of an emergency happening to you and your family before you can focus on specific items that you need to keep handy so you can make it through an emergency.
I hope you understand how this works because I’m going to be listing out fifteen items that can save your life in an emergency but if you don’t have the right mindset, there is a high chance that you won't have these fifteen items available when the unexpected does happen.
Gum Fire Starter
You can use a gum wrapper to start a fire. Usually, gum wrappers are made of paper and a metallic side. Cut the wrapper into a strip and fold it. Make sure it has a narrow spot at the center. With a battery, hold both ends of the strips to the ends.
This creates a positive and a negative charge for the battery. When you do this, the paper side catches flames. This is a quick and easy way to start a fire assuming you don’t have access to flint or fire sticks.
Tinfoil is effective in keeping people warm. Foil prevents heat from escaping so during cold temperatures, assuming you don’t have any access to dry blankets or other types of materials, look for tin foil. It does an amazing job of keeping your body warm.
A bra cap can be cut up and used as an effective debris mask. Since bras contain layers of fabrics and foam, bra caps can effectively screen any particles from coming into your mouth and nose. They do a good job of blocking out dust particulates, smoke, and chemicals.
Use Clear Ice As A Fire Starter
Usually, ice is very cold. However, ice can be used to start a fire. First, you have to be in an area where the air is very dry. Next, you have to carve out a piece of ice that is very clear on the edges. If you can create a smooth, round lens with the ice you can use it as a magnifying glass.
And you just need to put loose, dry materials under the clear ice, and with enough focused sunshine, you should be able to create an ember that you could use on pieces of wood to create a fire.
Sanitary napkins are made of surgical cotton which is very absorbent and hygienic. You can repurpose unused sanitary pads for dressing wounds and for treating abrasions and cuts on the skin.
You can use a typical fork as a weapon. When push comes to shove, you can use its sharp edges to protect yourself from animal attacks.
Toothpaste provides a quick and powerful cooling sensation. Keep this in mind if you or anybody in your party suffers from insect bites, skin irritation, or contact with poison plants. Keep in mind though that toothpaste can cool the skin only if the irritation is fairly minor.
Use Your T-Shirt As A Water Filter
Cut a strip of cloth from your shirt and dip one end of the strip in a jar of dirty water and put the other end on another container for clean water. What will happen is the water will go through the fibers of the shirt and the fibers will filter the water. The water that drips into the container will be fairly clean. This process is called capillary action.
Shoelaces can get you out from a zip tie. If you are tied to a zip tie, untie your shoelaces and tie them into a knot. Place the zip tie under the shoelaces and kick your legs from side to side to create friction until the zip tie breaks.
You can use a belt to prevent doors from being opened by securing hinges. You can set the belt around the hinges to prevent doors from being opened. At the very least, the person trying to break in will have to apply much more force than normal.
You can use superglue not only on broken items or to put pieces together but also can use it on skin abrasions and lacerations. If you or anybody in your party is suffering from an open wound, use super glue. Of course, you should only try this option if stitching or a medical kit is unavailable.
If anybody suffers from minor skin burns, you can clean the affected area and cover it with cling wrap to facilitate the healing process. This type of surface also helps keep the skin clean.
This is an important piece of equipment because you can use it to put out a fire. You should at least have one in your home, car, and your camping bag.
This can come in handy because it will replenish the power of your cellphone and other gadgets. As much as possible, pair your power bank with a solar panel array. This way, you can ensure that your power bank is fully-charged at all times.
If you are caught in an emergency during winter, a propane heater can be a lifesaver. It’s especially helpful when there is a power interruption. Make no mistake, in the dead of winter, keeping yourself and your family warm and avoiding hypothermia can spell the difference between life and death.