Emergency preparedness involves a lot more than simply purchasing survival gear and weapons. When planning to live off the grid or just engage in a more self-reliant existence, ongoing training and hands-on training should become a priority. The “one is none and two is one” philosophy teaches us to have backup for our backup from a supply standpoint. To be completely self-reliant, we must use that same mindset as a guide when considering how to spend funds from our survival budget.
A first aid kit and gun with lots of bullets will only protect you and your loved ones until the supplies run out or break. Even if you have managed to stockpile a roomful of bullets, if the devil at the door trying to take what you have has spent more time practicing shooting than you have, he will likely leave with a bundle of food and supplies.
Regardless of where you live, there are likely a multitude of on-site and online survival training courses the entire family can, and should, take to enhance their collective self-reliance skills.
Top 10 Survival Skills You Should Learn Before Disaster Strikes
FEMA/CERT training classes are routinely used to educate emergency responders and rescue teams around the United States. FEMA definitely does not have a stellar record for quickly and adequately mobilizing during a disaster, but the extremely specific educational courses have been deemed as top notch by police, EMS, fire, and Red Cross crews.
Excerpt from the FEMA/Cert community responders introductory course:
“IS-317, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members. It has six modules with topics that include an Introduction to CERT, Fire Safety, Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents, Disaster Medical Operations and Search and Rescue. It takes between six and eight hours to complete the course. Those who successfully finish it will receive a certificate of completion. IS-317 can be taken by anyone interested in CERT. However, to become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. Contact your local emergency manager to learn about the local education and training opportunities available to you. Let this person know about your interest in taking CERT training.”
The CERT course offerings include training in victim care, disaster medical operations, disaster psychology, family and workplace preparedness, fire suppression, fire safety, rescue operations, light search and rescue, and hazardous materials, just to name a few. There is also a Teen Cert options to help educates the younger folks in your family. When only one person in the family or mutual assistance group is skilled on a specific survival function, the “one if none” rule has been ignored and could spell doom and gloom during a disaster situation.
American Red Cross CPR and First Aid training is an inexpensive way to garner the emergency medical skills that could one day save the life of a loved one. Red Cross programs exist in virtually every county in America. Community colleges and other social services agencies often host the training programs several times per year. During the month of May, most public schools schedule or coordinate Red Cross First Aid and CPR trainings for their coaching staff and would likely permit community members to participate as well.
Amateur or HAM radio training can also help you keep in touch with not only loved ones away from home when disaster strikes, but with the outside world as well. The ARRL, an association for amateur radio operators is a great resource for training opportunities. HAM radio clubs host group training exercises at least once per year. The family-friendly events may also present the opportunity to commune with like-minded folks also eager to become more self-reliant.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) offer gun training classes for both beginners and advanced shooters. The NRA even teachers gunsmithing, game hunting specific, and youth programs. The gun training emphasizes safety and proper cleaning procedures as well. Self-defense and putting food on the table will become top priorities during a long-term disaster scenario, and are vital skills for anyone living off the grid.
Mormon Canning Classes
Mormon canneries, if you are fortunate enough to live near one, offer low-cost long term food storage items. The only thing better than driving to an LDS cannery or purchasing their offerings online, is being able to master the canning skills yourself. Home canning in Mason jars is common place for many preppers, homesteading, and off the grid families, taking the skills one step further and learning how to create your own store-bought style canned goods enhances food supply options. Training courses are available at many of the Mormon cannery locations.
Soap and Candles
Candle and soap making classes are offered at many hobby shops, and free online videos are also helpful for those who do not need a structured classroom to facilitate learning. Soaps and candles will make quality bartering items during a long-term disaster as well as being useful on a daily basis in an off the grid living situation. Cleanliness will help prevent the spread of illness and disease during both disasters and long winter months when the family is cooped up inside together for extended periods of time.
Shop classes were once commonplace in American middle and high school, but due to budget constraints and liability lawsuits, most such courses are now a thing of the past. Adult career centers and community colleges often offer career diplomas and individual training courses to enhance woodworking, automotive, electrical, and welding skills. The knowledge gained from adult shop courses will not only save money when home or vehicle repairs are needed, but also offer more bartering options during a long term disaster scenario.
Veterinary Assistant or Technician Courses
Many of us treat our pets as members of the family, so learning how to keep them healthy is a worthwhile goal, but that is not the primary reason to take a vet tech or vet assistant course. When the power grid fails or other major disaster strikes, we will not be able to call a doctor, a dentist, or a veterinarian. Keeping livestock healthy is integral to the survival of our family, and to once again further bartering options. If financially feasible, embark on some farrier training as well. If we are jetted back in time and move about primarily on horseback, shoeing will become an essential skill as well.
Wilderness Skills and Orienteering Classes
Both state and federal natural resources officers routinely schedule backpacking, map reading, and basic wilderness survival skills classes each Spring and Summer. If using the GPS in your car is not an option, or you are forced to walk home from work and avoid populated areas, some basic backpacking and orienteering knowledge can mean the difference between life and death.
Community garden or seed exchange clubs, or perhaps even the local Grange association are great places to learn how to enhance your green thumb. Growing your own food is merely a lifestyle choice now, but would quickly evolve into a necessity should disaster strike. Even experienced gardeners and farmers could benefit from a refresher course or forum designed to keep growers aware of potential environmental threats and insect infestations which could ruin a harvest. Beekeeping courses should also be considered a long term investment in the quest to become more self-reliant.