You never know what kind of emergency situation you may face. A natural disaster could leave you without power or running water for weeks or even months. A medical outbreak could force you to remain in your home for an undetermined amount of time, leaving you without access to food and many other basic necessities. A war could leave you without essential items like food and water, in addition to forcing you to learn to defend yourself very quickly.
You never know what may happen, and you can’t prepare for every possibility. However, you can prepare to meet your own basic needs by learning important skills that will help you to get food, water, and other necessities. When you are making your disaster-preparedness plans, consider these 10 important skills that you should learn (if you don’t know them already) to survive most emergency situations:
One of the first things you are likely to lose in a disaster is running water. You will need at least 2 gallons of water each day to meet your hydration needs, as well as for brushing teeth, washing your body, washing your dishes, and other acts of hygiene. Of course, you will have to multiply that need for each member of your household.
Learning how to collect clean sources of water is an important survival skill. You can gather fresh water in the wild, or you can plan ahead by storing water in or around your home. It is also worth researching the natural sources of fresh water in your area and understanding how to evaluate the quality of a water source you find in the wild. Click on the video below to see one way to gather fresh drinking water in the wild.
Administering First Aid
You may or may not have access to professional health care in an emergency situation. Even if you do, it’s important to know how to provide first-level care in an emergency to reduce the risk of serious injury and even death. Some basic skills to learn include:
- Caring for minor wounds, cuts and burns
- Dressing wounds
- Preventing infection
- Administering CPR
- Splinting or bracing fractures and breaks
You can take a class that will teach you these and other basic skills, and then you can prepare a basic first-aid kit with the supplies you might need. Or for an advanced First Aid Kit you can get the MedCallAssist Outfitter First Aid Kit, Check out the review of this awesome first aid kit by clicking below!
Gathering Food – Hunting, Fishing & Gardening
In a more serious, long-term emergency situation, you may be without a stable supply of food for long periods. In such situations, it is important that you understand how to hunt for your own food. This may include hunting for small game like birds and rodents or large animals like deer or wild game. A rifle is often the main tool used in hunting, but you can also learn to be proficient with a bow and arrow or even a sling shot or air rifle for smaller game.
Of course, fishing should also be included when talking about sourcing your own food. Learning how to fish and what you can fish in your local region can help you to find a steady supply of food for many years.
Lastly, and perhaps most important in gathering food is having the ability to plant and grow your own food. Having a small garden ahead of time is very helpful and keeping a supply of non-hybrid seeds on hand is equally useful!
If you aren’t able to garden for whatever reason — the soil is not fertile, it’s too cold, or you are on the move too often — you need to learn how to identify plants to make sure you have a steady supply of fresh food (and a variety of nutrients). You can’t just eat anything that seems edible because it has bright berries or palatable leaves. There are many plants that are poisonous if you eat them, particularly mushrooms, and if you don’t know how to make a proper ID, it could prove fatal.
Get a guidebook for identifying wild species that are local to your region, and spend time going on practice runs with someone who has experience and can offer you guidance.
Processing Food – Dressing Animals and Preparing Wild Plants
After you kill or catch all those animals or plants, you’re going to need to know how to prepare them for eating them. For cleaning animals you need to learn skills such as:
- Field Dressing
- Skinning the animal
- Separating the edible and non-edible parts
- Removing dangerous elements, such as waste
Dressing animals is a skill best learned from someone who knows what they’re doing. If you don’t have a hunter in your family, consider signing up for a class at your local community college or another group in your area. To see how to field dress a deer watch the video below!
Starting a Fire
Once you know how to hunt and forage for your own food, you’re going to need to know how to cook it. Electricity is another thing that you are most likely to lose in an emergency situation. Even if you are only without power for a few days, knowing how to start a fire can help you cook meals safely and can keep you warm — especially necessary if you find yourself in an emergency situation in the winter.
Storing and Preserving Food
Whether you need to make it through a few days or a few years, you will need to rely on food that you have preserved and stored. Preserving foods now and storing them will give you the supply you need if you have to ride out a few days or a few weeks in a storm. Learning how to preserve foods and store them will also help you to keep more of the foods you have to hunt or forage if you are in a long-term survivalist situation, helping you to ensure a steady supply of food.
Learn basic skills like how to smoke food, how to freeze dry, how to can, and how to dehydrate food. All of these will come in handy to stockpile food now and to preserve whatever precious resources you have for later.
Building A Temporary Shelter
In most cases, you are only going to have to fend for yourself for a few days or a few weeks because of a storm or a similar emergency situation. However, in an extreme scenario, you may find yourself without a home and without any protection for very long periods. It is important that you learn how to create or find a shelter if it is needed to protect yourself from the elements and from wild animals.
Again, it’s important to learn all you can about how to do this now and to perform several “dry runs.” Go camping for a weekend and see if you can manage by creating your own natural shelter instead. Watch this video below to see an example of one type of Natural Shelter.
If for whatever reason you have to spend time in the wilderness in an emergency situation it may be easy for you to become lost very quickly. In an extreme situation, you aren’t going to have any technology to tell you where you are or how to get to where you’re going, and you aren’t going to have a way to contact others to help you out. It is important that you learn how to navigate your way without these tools, using elements like the stars or the position of the moon or the sun to guide you.
Of course, it never hurts to put a good, old-fashioned compass in your emergency preparedness kit, as well. Make sure it’s one that does not rely on technology or batteries in any way.
Unfortunately, knowing how to defend yourself is a skill that you may be forced to learn. Whether war is the emergency situation at hand, or people have begun to loot or attack one another in another serious disaster, you may be forced to defend yourself against others in order to ensure your own survival.
In addition to learning how to shoot a gun, you should learn basic self-defense. Martial arts or classes like Krav Maga can help you to learn basic skills to defend yourself even in the absence of a weapon. Taking these classes will also improve your confidence, which will help you to feel more in control in an emergency situation and more likely to be able to protect yourself.
No one ever wants to be in an emergency situation in which they may be fighting for their lives. However, emergencies happen. There may be a natural disaster. There may be a medical outbreak. We may find ourselves at war. Whatever the case may be, you need to be prepared. You can’t wait for an emergency to strike because by then, it will be too late to learn these skills.
These are just 10 important skills you will need in just about any emergency situation. However, you should always try to learn as much as you can in order to be prepared. You never know what kind of situation you might face, and you need to be prepared for anything.