I have long preached of the importance of learning skills and gaining knowledge in a wide variety of areas in order to be more survival savvy and ready for whatever the future brings. Today begins a four-part series that will be posted every other day and will detail reasons why this is one of the most important things any preparedness minded person can do.
Not everyone can afford a million dollar survival retreat, but everyone can learn practical skills, such as sewing, small engine repair, or bread baking. With summer coming, your family may have time to explore new skills and research survival-related topics. Here are two reasons why building your skill/knowledge repertoire is so important.
1. Be prepared for emergencies
If the power goes out for more than just a few minutes, with a bit of information and preparation, you’ll have the knowledge to go into full on SurvivalMom mode, filling bathtubs with water, duct-taping the fridge and freezer closed so the kids don’t open it twenty times in the next half hour, and unplug vulnerable electronics and appliances.
Depending on where you live, you can be ready with an assortment of contingency plans for earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and every other natural and weather disaster that might affect your family. You’ll have a plan in writing that can be posted and rehearsed until you’re certain every family member knows exactly what to do. When FEMA comes to your town, they’ll drive right by your house. “We don’t have to worry about them. A SurvivalMom lives there.”
My friend Debbie is prepared for things that have never occurred to even me. Her kids know what to do if a dirty bomb ever goes off in her town. They have the plastic sheeting, duct tape, and juice boxes (for hydration) ready to go. I love that she’s taught her young kids in which county they live. She said, “If mom’s not there and the kids are listening to the news and being informed of a national weather alert in Maricopa county, would they even realize they were in that county?” Smart.
There’s a lot of peace that comes with knowing you’ve made plans, have back-ups, and have trained the husband and kids for escaping from a home fire, evacuating Disneyland if a terrorist ever manages to make his way past Mickey Mouse, and even more peace when you realize that your family won’t be fully dependent on overwhelmed emergency workers or law enforcement. That’s self-reliance in action.
2. Learn skills important to basic survival
Master a half dozen or so basic wilderness survival skills, and your family would have a better than average chance of surviving in the wild if that ever were necessary. These basic skills would include locating and purifying water in the wild, several ways to start a fire, how to set up a campsite,wilderness first aid, and cooking outdoors.
If you’re one of those Survival Moms already deep into wilderness survival, you probably named your kids Les and Bear in honor of survival men Les Stroud and Bear Grylls. If every member of your family owns a Buck knife, can skin a rattlesnake, and knows that when push comes to shove, they may have to drink their own pee, you’re well aware that basic survival skills spell self-reliance.
Does this sound like you?
- You never leave the house without a healthy supply of bottled water in the first place, but if you ever needed to, you know how to make a solar still, filter water, and you have everything needed to purify it and then purify it again, just in case.
- You use the stars and migration routes of the Monarch butterfly to navigate your way through the wilderness, and your compass skills rock.
- If you ever do become lost, you know at least half a dozen ways to signal for help and once even tied your red bra to a branch to wave down a passing helicopter.
- When it gets close to bedtime, pitching a tent is a no-brainer for you, and your family can easily camp, primitive style, for weeks at a time if necessary.
- Outdoor self-reliance is a long-lost skill few families practice any more but you’ve made sure yours can survive anywhere.
Urban survival skills are just as important. Have you studied your community and know several routes out of town? Could you get from the workplace to your home ten different ways? A savvy SurvivalMom keeps her vehicle equipped with life- and sanity-saving tools and supplies because she never knows when she might be stranded far from home with three grouchy, hungry kids and then discover that her period just started. Survival isn’t just about making lean-to’s and chewing on pine resin. It’s about staying safe no matter where you are.
The best thing about many of these survival skills is that they are fun to learn. A few camping trips can help teach most of them, and kids naturally love the adventure of being outdoors.
Make a list of the skills and knowledge that are part of dealing with emergencies and wilderness survival. Check off the ones you and your family already know, and then prioritize what’s left. A little bit of research at the library and online will likely yield a vast amount of information to help you learn what you still need to know!
Coming next: Budget friendly skills!
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