Prepping has always been about the worst-case scenario. Maybe that’s because those really scary disasters motivate us more or maybe it’s just that in preparing for a true “the end of the world as we know it” (aka TEOTWAWKI) event make us ready for anything else we might encounter.
Regardless of the reason, there are enough of these major catastrophes in the world’s history to show us that they really can happen.
While most people who have lived on the face of this earth haven’t had to deal with anything more than a regional natural disaster, some have had to deal with much worse. To the people of Europe who survived World War II, that was a life-changing event. The same can be said for those who lived through the Great Depression or the Black Plague.
Real disasters happen. What skills would help you survive?
When I was growing up, the biggest risk we faced was that of thermonuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, was probably the closest we came to total annihilation back then. I was as glad as anyone when the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended.
But we are now in another cold war and it is looking much more like it’s going to turn into a hot war that that one ever did. Should that happen, or even worse, turn out to be an EMP attack, we could easily find ourselves living in a post-apocalyptic world; a world in which we’re going to have to do everything without the benefit of electric power.
In such a case, people will be scrambling to learn the necessary skills to survive. But even more than that, they’ll have to learn how to do the things necessary to rebuild society. We are too accustomed to our technology and our comforts to just give up on them. People will be wanting things the way they are used to, or at least as close to that as they can get them.
With that in mind, it only makes sense to learn the necessary skills for living in a world without electricity. This doesn’t just mean surviving for ourselves, but helping others to survive as well; something that is normally outside of our plans as preppers.
I realize that most of us live and operate under the philosophy of taking care of ourselves, our families and our survival team. If all we’re concerned about is survival, that makes sense. But if we want our children to have a better life than that, enjoying some of the benefits we have today, we’re going to have to do more than just survive. We’re going to have to be ready to rebuild our world and as much of the technology that drives it as we can.
That job will probably fall to us, rather than to others, simply because we are the ones who are going to survive. So, we not only should be learning survival skills, but others which will help us to make things work.
Native American Doctor
Medicine is going to be one of the biggest problems in a post-apocalyptic world. While most people would die of starvation, many will also die for lack of medicine.
Today’s pharmaceutical industry depends on supplies that come from all over. Without transportation, they won’t have the materials they need to make the medicines that modern society depends on. Even if they could, without transportation those medicines wouldn’t get to you and me.
When the medicines that are locally stocked in hospitals and pharmacies are used up, there will be no more. The only medicines that will exist will be those that nature provides. The doctors of the American Indians knew those medicines and some still use them. If you can find one of them, and learn their craft, you’ll have one of the most useful skills that exist.
Even if you can’t find a Native American doctor, you could still learn about their medicine. There is a growing movement of people who believe in herbal medicine, which is based to a large part of the same roots as those Native American doctors’ medicine.
While you probably wouldn’t learn everything that a Native American Doctor could teach you, you’ll end up a whole lot better off, with a whole lot more information, than what you have now.
Pharmacists are actually trained for much more than just counting out pills, they are highly trained chemists. More than doctors, they know how different medicines interact and how they react once in our bodies.
Some pharmacists even know how to make medicines. That’s what you’re looking for: a pharmacist who can show you how to make your own penicillin, ether and chloroform will be giving you information that can save lives.
In addition to medical chemistry, there are probably other things you can learn from these people, such as how to make biofuel and other useful chemical substances.
Everyone knows what the “world’s oldest profession” is; but I’ve never heard agreement on what the second and third oldest are.
Personally, I think that the midwife has to be pretty high on that list, as the “oldest” would necessitate midwifery. So even if something like farming or shepherding would beat it out (Able was a shepherd and Cain a farmer), midwives have been around for a long, long time.
As long as babies are being born, there will be a need for midwives. This will be especially true in times when there aren’t enough doctors to help women through childbirth. In a post-apocalyptic world, there’s a much greater possibility of women using midwives, than doctors.
Modern farming has become industrialized, with massive corporate farms and lots of expensive equipment. Even smaller farms depend heavily on equipment, with the tractor long ago having replaced the horse or oxen.
But the Amish never made that transition. Today’s Amish farmers largely do things the way their ancestors did them, still using horses as the main source of power on the farm. This gives them an incredible advantage over the rest of us, who don’t have the slightest idea of how to do things without gas engines and electric power.
Should we find ourselves on the receiving end of an EMP, the Amish will be less affected by it than any other group of people in our country. That’s basically because they don’t depend on electricity or the modern electronics that the rest of us use.
Their communities will thrive, while the rest of the country is dying. Spending time with one of these farmers and learning the methods and tools they use, would prepare you to be able to feed your family and many more, once the brown stuff hits the rotary air movement device.
Ranching and farming aren’t the same thing. Throughout the time of the Old West, these two groups of people fought for the use of the land. That’s because the best farmland was also the best land for raising cattle, or should I say the best ranchland was often the best land for farming.
Of all the animals that mankind has domesticated through the years, cattle give us the most meat per animal.
Another way of putting that is that cattle give us the most meat for effort expended. That makes them the perfect sort of animal to raise for meat, assuming you’ve got enough land to raise them.
In the military, all “special action groups” are collectively known as “snake eaters.” It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the Navy’s SEALs, the Army’s Special Forces or any other group, they all fall into the same general category.
Snake eaters are the best of the best. In the Army, Special Forces is not only the group that is called upon for unconventional warfare (guerrilla warfare), but they are the ones who are sent to other countries, in order to train their militaries. In fact, Special Forces got their start that way, first as the Jedburgh Teams in World War II and then as advisors in Greece and elsewhere.
Many people think of these snake eaters as expert survivalists. But that depends largely upon the environment you are talking of. They aren’t experts in the sense that you and I are trying to be, but rather in surviving any combat action. Their superior training makes them the best soldiers to have on your side, should things become violent.
Spending time with any snake eaters, learning their combat skills, will greatly increase your chances of not falling prey to the two-legged predators that will be out in force after a disaster strikes.
Hunting may not be the most efficient way of finding food after a collapse, but it may still be a very necessary part of our survival. But what most people consider hunting today is sitting in a deer blind, waiting for deer to start munching on the seed corn they put out.
While this may be an efficient way of hunting, it’s highly dependent on having the right equipment and the right place. I don’t think that’s something that any of us can count on in a post-apocalyptic world. Rather, we’re going to have to go hunting the old-fashioned way, tracking animals, learning their habits and then laying wait for one alongside a trail.
Skills like that aren’t something you can learn from just any hunter, as they probably don’t know them either. Rather, you’re going to need someone who started hunting before people used corn and deer blinds to hunt.
That’s why I recommend a hunting guide, rather than just any hunter. They’re more likely to know the skills you’ll need.
If you’ve ever read any of my other post-apocalyptic articles, you know that I believe strongly in the profession of blacksmithing.
Before the dawn of the industrial age, the blacksmith made just about anything that could be made out of metal. From armor and weapons to shoeing farmer’s horses, the blacksmith was the man to see.
There are few blacksmiths in the world today; mostly because modern industry has replaced them. But when industry is taken away, then what? Who will be able to make the tools and other things that we need? It will have to be blacksmiths, or someone with very similar skills.
My father learned how to be a blacksmith, once he retired; apprenticing with a lifelong blacksmith who was a true artist of the trade. Unfortunately, I only learned a little of it from him, and don’t have a forge and anvil to practice on. If I could find one around where I live, I’d love to spend some time in his shop, learning what I could.
You probably know someone who can fix just about anything; a Mr. Fix-It (or perhaps a Mrs. Fix-It). These are some of the world’s most useful people and will probably be the true leaders of rebuilding society after a major disaster.
What makes these people so special is that they aren’t limited to just one trade, like many people are. Rather, they’re comfortable with any number of trades and even with fixing things that don’t fall within any particular trade. Whatever you need designed, built or repaired, they can find a way to do it; often a rather imaginative way.
I consider myself to be one of these people. Earlier in my career, I was a manufacturing engineer. Rather than just working in one engineering discipline, this forced me to do both mechanical and electrical engineering. I also took the time to learn how to be a machinist, mechanic and made many of my own prototypes.
On the side, I had a small construction company, along with a buddy of mine. So I’ve learned how to do a wide variety of things; becoming what we used to call, a jack of all trades.
Today I build a lot of my own survival gear. You can find countless examples of my work around my house. My garage hasn’t had a car in it since I painted one of them. Rather than being a garage, it’s actually my workshop. I figure that will serve me well in a post-apocalyptic world.
The Old Survivalist
Survivalism has changed since I got started in my youth. Back then we weren’t so focused on equipment, as methods. There just wasn’t that much equipment available; at least not compared to what we have available to us today.
So, you had to know how to do things yourself, rather than depending on having some sort of gadget to do it for you.
What this means is that those old survivalists were often trained much better than we are today, simply because they had to be. So they’re a fountain of useful information, if you can find them and get them talking.
Fortunately, most are willing to share what they know; so the real problem is finding them.
This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.