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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Developing a Survival Skill Set...

The precepts of modern survivalism centre on self-reliance and self sufficiency. To this end, you do need to stockpile supplies but you also need knowledge and experience to aid you in getting through bad times and to facilitate your dealing with others. You need to develop a survival skill set.


Everyday life is a little bit of give and take. When one's well being is at stake you cannot afford to "give up the entire farm" as you negotiate with others for items or services you need. The art of negotiating at its conclusion leaves each party satisfied that they received fair consideration from the other. The good will resulting from fair and positive negotiations between people or groups of people will carry itself forward and will aid in simplifying future discussions. You can practice and develop the skill of negotiating everyday when you deal with your significant other, children or acquaintances. Little Johnny wants a new BMX bike this spring. You need the grass cut once a week for the next 20 weeks. Offer Johnny a new bike in exchange his time and effort for one hour each week until fall for example.

Conversational Skills:

We all have experienced a conversation with someone else that we feel could have gone better had we taken a different tact or were better listeners. During stressful times, you may well find yourself having to allay the fears of others or motivate with a kind word. Sometimes, your inflection needs to be firm and strong, other times, you need to speak softly with empathy and feeling. How you manage to calm down a teenager after she realizes that the pit toilet in the back yard is all that's available will be a test of your conversational mettle let me assure you. Interpersonal relationships are built and maintained with your words. Knowing how to deliver your message in a way that doesn't promote fear or apathy is a valuable skill indeed.

Problem solving:

This is another skill that you will get better at the more you practice. Identify a problem, come up with possible and feasible solutions, implement the fix and see if it works. If it does, great, if not, try another solution. Many people seem unable to identify and grasp the nature of a situation and have difficulty thinking abstractly to come up with a realistic course of action to address that situation. Often this mental paralysis is a result of years of depending on someone else to deal with matters not considered within their purview. Give your head a shake, if your broom handle breaks, grab the handle off the mop and use it until you replace the broken handle. Not realizing that the two handles are/may be interchangeable is an awareness issue and sums up how easily some become stymied when the unexpected happens.

Food Preservation:

You can't store enough food to last forever. What are you going to do when your stored food runs out? Since anyone who claims to be prepared has some gardening experience and a collection of seeds to plant if the need arises, most will be able to produce some food during a long term crisis.

What to do with all that food you have grown so that it can be safely stored for later consumption is not an issue to address when the bushels of tomatoes are sitting on the counter in the kitchen. Knowing about and having done at least some canning, drying, smoking, pickling and blanching of food stuff in the past will ensure that you will be able to reap the rewards of your garden many months after it is picked. Make your mistakes while learning to preserve food during good times, so that you need not learn those lessons when times are tough and the quantity of food is limited.

Navigation Skills:

Basic familiarity with maps and how to use them to locate where you are and where you need to go is fundamental. From this understanding of maps comes the ability to direct someone else where to go and how to get there. If you have a map and are unsure of where you are, there is no reason why you cannot get yourself to help or back on track on your own given enough time. If you look at a map and don't know which way is up and cannot locate where you started from, you probably should not be traveling by yourself. If an emergency happens it is imperative that you are able to call your family members and tell them to meet you 2 kilometers east of Anywhere Town at 2 pm and know that they have to ability to look at a map and make their way to the designated meeting place even if they have never been to Anywhere Town before.

First Aid:

First Aid knowledge is my cause majeure. I strongly feel that it is every person's obligation as a member of a species that claims to be at the top of the animal kingdom to be willing and able to render assistance to any other person who is injured and unable to help themselves anytime anywhere. If you are married or a parent and have not attended a first aid course them I'm sorry to say that you are endangering the lives of your family members. Most accidents that result in injury happen in the home. If you do not know how to administer CPR/A.R. you should not be allowed to have a pool in your yard. If you do not know the correct position to place an unconscious person in while continuing to monitor breathing and pulse, waiting for the ambulance to arrive you are useless to that person who if they could talk would be begging you for help. I can think of nothing worse than watching someone die from choking because you do not have the knowledge and will to act to prevent it. Tending to injured people is the first activity in any survival situation. If you can't do that, then survival is not a possibility and you are as useless as a wet match. There is no excuse, every member of a family **must** be competent in first aid - no telling when hubby will suffer a heart attack at the dinner table. Only being able to offer desert after calling 911 is wholly inadequate and will result in mental anguish forever. Take a first aid course and do it soon! If you're lying on the ground injured I know you'd want someone to step up to the plate and help you, why shouldn't you be able to do the same?

Example Scenario:

The world has ended and we are on our own. Realizing that you can't do everything yourself you and your small band of neighbours are approached by two people who wish to join your group. One person brings with him some food and water and an eagerness to learn. The other brings with him no food but a wealth of practical knowledge and experience producing food, preserving food, fixing things that are broken, improvising tools from nautural materials and medical knowledge.

If you can only choose one, who would it be? A well rounded survival skill set will help you greatly during tough times and has immense value to those who do not posses the skills themselves.

[What have you done today to prepare?]


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