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What are some things you can learn to do that will make you more valuable to your group when an emergency happens? Instead of preparedness goals like how many more cans of food to store or making a list of things you need to get, maybe evaluate what skills you want to learn. Here are a few to consider:

Mechanical Skills

Having mechanical skills cannot be overrated. If you’ve got a means of transportation after the disaster happens, but then one day something isn’t working on it, would you be able to figure out the problem and get it going again? Learning how to troubleshoot and fix the mechanical items you would have on hand can help make those items useable again – which is exactly what you need in the event of a disaster. Maybe it will take string, or duct tape, or wires from another source, but if you have a good grounding in mechanics, you’ll probably be able to figure it out. You might also be able to jerry-rig a system for heating, cooling, or power. This takes being able to be creative and seeing how to use things in ways other than what they were designed for.

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Ability to Make Something Others Want

There are plenty of things you can buy and store, and use to barter with if you need to, but once those items are gone, they’re gone. What if instead you learned how to make those things that others would want? The classic example is alcohol – a product that in the event of a disaster people will be really wanting. You can buy alcohol and store it to sell it or trade it, but eventually you’ll run out of alcohol. But if you learn how to make alcohol and store the equipment and materials you would need (remember the backyard still and moonshine during prohibition?), then you are more able to continue to have alcohol to barter with. As for protecting your stock, perhaps you will lose some alcohol to others who steal it, but they can’t take the information and knowledge that’s in your head. As long as you have the raw materials and the still, you can make more.

Shooting Skills

Some people own guns, grew up using them, are highly skilled in their use, and can protect others with them. But there are others who may have one (inherited or recently bought, etc.) but don’t know how to use it – or use it so infrequently that they might be better off not having a gun at all. A gun can be a valuable method of protecting yourself and those you care about in a disaster. If you have a gun, you owe it to yourself and others to know how to shoot it accurately. You should also learn how to clean it and keep it safe from other people. Also, did you know that you can make your own ammunition? You can! And you probably should, given that ammo is getting harder to find in some places. In an emergency, it will be even more scarce. You should stockpile what you can now, but if a big event happens, you’ll be glad you know how to make more.

Whenever there is an emergency or disaster, extra skills will be needed. Hone your skills and develop new ones this year, so that you and your loved ones will be more protected and life will be more stable, post-emergency.

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