10 Essential Skills Necessary For Survival

Guest post by Tess from Ready Nutrition! It’s a classic and I wanted to bring it back to life from the archives!

Although it is important to be prepared for disaster situations, many are not adequately trained to handle the disaster situations in which they find themselves in. Having the proper skills and training will provide an individual with a well diversified knowledge base on how to survive during and after a disaster.

Medical Training

In a survival situation, medical training is going to be a big one.  Due to the increase use of saws, axes and knives, there will be more medical emergencies involving deep lacerated cuts.

image by Bruce Turner

image by Bruce Turner

Knowing how to properly clean wounds, stitch wounds, as well as knowing how to treat infected wounds will be extremely important.  Additionally, there will be an increase in burns from being in closer contact to fires.  Burns can get infected very quickly, and knowing how to decipher the degree of the burn is and how to treat it will be a concern amongst survivalists and preppers.  Typically, there are online courses offered for basic CPR/First Aid, however, those basic skills will not give a person the fundamental training they need.  Finding a local Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class that is offered for paramedics and first responders to accidents will be a better knowledge source and better equip a person to handle emergency medical situations.

Disaster Training

Disaster training is typically offered by FEMA, the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations.  A person who is equipped with knowledge on how to plan for a disaster, how to properly prepare for a disaster, and how to mental handle the after effects of a disaster will be able to better adapt to the situation more quickly compared to those that are not.  The American Red Cross offers extensive courses in disaster safety and training as well as basic First Aid/CPR courses.  There are also online courses offered through FEMA.

Gardening Skills

In a long term survival situation, seeds will mean the difference between life and death.  The only problem is, many have lost the necessary skill of gardening because there is a grocery store on every corner of the streets these days.  It’s time to get your hands dirty and get back in touch with nature.  Learning necessary gardening skills such as companion plants, crop rotations, beneficial insects, natural ways to replenish soil, and knowledge on proper gardening tools will be beneficial.  Another relevant knowledge source is understanding the medicinal value of plants and herbs.  It is amazing how many uses there are for plants besides spicing up our cooked entrees.  Researching natural medicines is another major need in a survival situation, especially if the person has a pre-existing condition.

Firearm Certification and Training

There are dozens of firearm courses offered through the National Rifle Association.  In a situation where a person needs to defend themselves, 99% of them would want a gun.  I’m sure the Survival Mom would agree how beneficial these courses can be as a female and for teaching children.  And, the more a person practices, the better their aim gets.  This is one survival skill that a person should be as proficient as possible.  Also, knowing gun safety and being able to educate others is essential when a firearm is around.

Canning and Food Preparation

Knowing how to can and preserve foods to eat during the long winter months is essential.  Just think of all the delicious jarred goods a person can store up for when their food supply dwindles in the winter.  The canning jars can be a bit of an investment. However, this author has found people selling their canned jars on www.craigslist.com, garage sales and even at second hand stores.  Canning jars would also make an excellent bartering item.

Amateur Radio Classes

Having a radio is encouraged by many disaster relief organizations.  And having knowledge on how to work and maneuver a HAMM radio will provide a person with an emergency communication source during a time when most communication is down.  The National Association of Amateur Radio provides information based on a person’s location and course information on their website.

Sewing Classes

Typically if there is a fabric store, there are sewing classes and sewing events that are offered at the store.  Everyone has heard of how their great grandmothers would sew quilts out of material from tethered or worn clothing.  Not many of us have this skill anymore.  Sewing classes will not only teach a necessary skill, but it will also get the survival mindset in place: make something new out of what you have available.

 Outdoor Survival Skills Courses

Most preppers and survivalists are planning to “re-connect” with nature.  Learning the necessary outdoor skills will provide a person with fundamental knowledge on how to better survive.  The Boy Scouts offer adult classes as well as some community colleges.  Get creative and search around the internet.  There are some survival courses offered online (some offer free survival courses) that a person can learn from the comfort of their home.  There are also wilderness courses offered at a variety of facilities such as local colleges, the YMCA, community park and recreation facilities, etc.  Additionally, finding books, and e-books on survival skills is another way to find information on this topic.

Candle/Soap making Conventions

Soap and candle making are a lost art form in my opinion.  Having a background knowledge of these skills would also be a great bartering skill.  There are classes a person can take that are usually offered at homes as well as some conventions in certain areas.  Searching on the internet would be a great start for finding these classes.

Hunting Skills

As many are planning to hunt wild game for a food source, they will need skills on how to gut the carcass, skin the fur and properly cut the meat.  The “hunter-in-training” will also have to have a proficient knowledge on the different types of hunting tools used to prepare animal carcasses (and these tools come in different sizes based on the animal).  The National Hunting Association is a portal that can take a person to their local area hunting association in order to get more information for their specific area.  Also, this website offers the hunting guides for all of the states within the USA.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

© Copyright 2013 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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  1. JayJay says

    RE: Candle/Soap making Conventions

    I have been saving for about 2 years and this one I solved with this: cheap $1 dishwashing detergent.
    Use for cleanup, body wash, and shampoo, just to name a few.

  2. says

    Survival Mom. You might want to consider adding to this particular post that YouTube is becoming and has become an excellent source for learning many of the Outdoor and Self-Reliant skills you speak of above. Many people learn better by watching and hearing, I'm one that requires more than one learning type to retain knowledge. Perhaps you could try some of these video sources yourself. Try places like WildernessOutfitters or Pathfinder with Dave Canterbury. This will start you on a path to so many videos concerning survival skills and self-reliance skills your head will swim.

    Thanks for the good work here.

  3. CJ says

    My 2 Boy Scouts, husband and I have many of these skills! Yay for us! I read them to my husband and he said he had considered the ham radio license and we have most of the rest.

  4. Kelly says

    Every single county in every single state has an Extension Office affiliated with the state’s agricultural college. They are a tremendous resource and usually offer free or very cheap classes on gardening, food preservation, and many more of the skills on this list. To locate this office, just find out who your local agricultural college is and their website will have a link to their Extension offices.

    Each county will have a listing of the free/cheap classes that they are offering. Good Luck! I’m currently enjoying the skills I’m learning through the Master Gardener Program. I’m also scheduled to participate in the Master Food Preservers as well. It has been a great resource. I’ve already learned why my garden suffered so last year….I’m confident that this year’s garden will be better and I’ve only been in the class for a few weeks.

  5. Lauren says

    I joined a volunteer search and rescue team at 17, and learned over half of these skills through my training. I received medical, disaster, and outdoor survival training… and also had my first exposure to hunting, radio, and firearm safety/training that I’ve continued to hone over the years. Volunteering for SAR is a great way to learn invaluable skills and contribute to your community. I am now 23 – an EMT/fisherwoman/garderner/canner/well-armed woman/etc – the only skill on your list that I don’t have is soap-making. I really don’t think I would be where I’m at today without joining SAR at a young age.


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