Civilization and technology are wonderful things. They allow us to move our focus away from survival and the life-and-death struggle and instead work with improving our comfort level. We create a safe bubble for ourselves where we elevate the importance of certain skills that are completely meaningless in a disaster or a societal collapse. In this article, I will present which skills are critical to learn and why. I will also be politically incorrect because to provide you the harsh reality, there is no way to sugar coat it. You were warned…
Why bother with skills?
Skills are more valuable than money. Money can be taken away, but you can never be robbed of your skills and the flexibility that being skilled offers you. Practical skills give you an additional way to barter and trade. They allow you to reach a respectable position in the community and if your skills are valuable enough, will have people rush to your defence and aid in an emergency in order to protect the services you offer, and not just to protect you as an individual.
Ladies: Take what I’m writing seriously. There is a reason many women resort to selling themselves when times get desperate. If you have nothing else to trade for food, you will need to trade your body. If you have a useful skillset, you will be able to feed yourself and your family without resorting to humiliating activities.
Men: In society, you are valued based on what you provide. If you can’t provide, you will be invisible and unwanted. Having skills that are critical will ensure that you will reserve a spot in society where you will be respected.
A well-functioning community needs skilled people
To understand which skills are important to develop, we need to understand what is needed for a society to function or recover from a disaster. As preppers, we need to understand that if the worst happens, we will need to work systematically to develop functioning communities and restore normality – no different from recovering from a disaster. There are 5 stages to disaster recovery:1. Search and rescue2. Emergency relief3. Early recovery4. Medium to long-term recovery5. Community development
Search and rescue phase
The search and rescue phase can last hours or days after an incident. If the disaster is military conflict, you may need to rapidly mobilize to find and extract people. If the disaster is a drastic increase in food prices due to inflation, then “search and rescue” may look very different for your community as you may use months to rally together.
Critical Skills:· Emergency management· First responder – Ambulance, fireman, rescue technician· First aid
Emergency relief phase
The emergency relief phase begins immediately after a disaster occurs and is about keeping people alive. The focus of this phase is meeting people’s basic needs:· Security· First aid & medications· Food· Water· ShelterDepending on the nature of the disaster, the preparedness of the community, accessibility of the area, the volume of resources available, it may take a long time to transition from the emergency relief phase to the recovery phase. When survival is no longer a main concern because systems have been restored, the recovery phase begins.Critical skills:Medical· Field hospital management· Medic· Midwifery· Doctor· Dentist· VeterinarianRestoration / development of critical infrastructure· Water transport, treatment, and storage· Sanitation, wastewater, and waste disposal· Communication systems and networks· Civil engineering, earth moving· Electrical engineering and electrician· Construction – builders, carpenters· TransportationFood· Field kitchen management· Food preparation – baking, cooking.
Early recovery phase
In the recovery phase, the affected are in a more stable situation, whereby they have access to food, water, and shelter. With the basics in place, they start to resume their normal lives and routines. Children attend school and people may be returning to work despite living in temporary shelters or accommodation. In this stage, it is important to implement plans for decreasing dependence on external aid and stored goods.Critical skills:· Food production – Gardening, farming, fishing, animal husbandry, bee keeping, hunting, foraging· Food processing and preservation – butchery, smoking, drying, canning, pickling, salting, fermenting
Medium to long-term recovery phase
During this phase, infrastructure and production is developed or restored. As permanent facilities and structures are (re)built, society is also strengthened, and opportunities begin to develop within the community.Critical skills:· Project management and administration· Material processing – forestry and wood, stone and sand, metallurgy, chemistry· Mechanical engineering· Electronic engineering and repair· Petrol, diesel, small engine mechanic· Machining· Blacksmithing· Textiles, sewing, cobbling and leatherworking· Logistics· Documentation
Community development and maintenance
This phase is often overlooked and in the prepper community, it is critical. In many circles, the “lone wolf” idea is promoted, however if you look over the list of skills required, it is impossible for a lone wolf to create a functioning society on his own. During times of difficulties, many people go through trauma and require someone familiar and trusted to speak with. Law, order, and routine for children greatly reduces the pressure on the community and allows focus to be put on (re)building infrastructure. Faith plays a critical role here as many are clinging to hope to get them through the day and successful societies all have a common belief structure. This is less of a phase and more of an ongoing effort running in parallel with all the other phases. Critical skills:· Pastor, priest· Police officer· Military· Teacher
Choosing your skillset
When deciding which skills to develop, you need to consider the following:· Your age· Health and physical fitness· Current relevant experience· Gender· Access to resources, tools and consumables· Criticality of the intended skill· Time to mastery· Opportunity for practiceI’m going to be very blunt here… Age, health, physical fitness and gender all matter in what skills you will be able to learn and master. A man is generally 30% stronger than a woman therefore he will be able to master more physically demanding skills more efficiently than the average woman.In addition, as we age, we become less capable to conduct physically demanding tasks and should focus on skills that require less strength. I had to come to this realization myself. Due to injuries, I am no longer capable of the extremely heavy work I once was and instead learned how to do machining, mechanical repair and project management to ensure a respected position in any community I may find myself in.When picking your skills, a useful guide is to have a look at the traditional roles and jobs men and women had before feminism. Feminism was only made possible because it occurred after the industrial revolution when machines negated the strength difference between men and women. While we have functioning infrastructure and systems, feminism can exist. When society collapses and technology is no longer available to provide the necessities and luxuries we are used to, feminists are far less concerned with toxic masculinity and quickly understand the value of a strong man.To illustrate this point, we need only look at Ukraine. There are no feminists parading on the front lines of a war zone. That real-estate is occupied solely by men willing to suffer and die to defend those they love.To be useful in a community, you need multiple useful skills – specialization is for insects, not preppers. Cross-functional skills that you can apply across different applications are extremely valuable. For example, knowing how to sew can come in handy for making and repairing clothes, as well as fixing shoes, tarpaulins and stitching up a cut.
Perhaps the most useful 2 skills of them all
No man is an island. You can NEVER learn all you need to be completely self-sufficient. What you can do is learn to be a prolific networker and negotiator. If you can network and build meaningful relationships, and negotiate fair exchanges for goods and services, you will make your life and the life of those around you easier. You will be the glue in a community. I cannot stress this enough.I am very blessed to have an enormous network of wonderful people around me. We trade services and help one another all the time and it’s wonderful to be a part of this practical group of friends. We have yet to experience a disaster or need that we have not been able to address between us. You need to begin building your skill set and community immediately and there are some practical ways to do this:1. Join a club where you can connect with those with the skills you want to develop2. Visit old-people’s homes. There is a wealth of knowledge there and many are desperate to pass on what they know3. Open your heart and your home. Start inviting people on short notice. When people see your life for how it truly is without the polished silverware, they will connect faster with you4. Cut out your meaningless relationships. If you are not learning or developing in the circles you belong to, change your circle of friends5. Learn from your parents. They have a long list of skills that you probably aren’t even aware of6. Look for education, not entertainment. Most entertainment dumbs us down and wastes our time. There is no time to waste7. Offer to help people who have a desirable skillset. Reciprocity is a powerful motivator and is often the catalyst for wonderful relationships
In closing; food stores and equipment are good for the short term when we are in the emergency relief phase, but we need to think long-term. If our nations continue down the current path, self-sufficiency won’t be optional. You need to be brutally honest with yourself and ask the question, “would people be willing to feed me for the skills I currently possess?”. If the answer is, “no”, then you have absolutely no time to waste.Good luck and I hope this article has helped point you in the right direction.
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