When society breaks down, everything we currently take for granted won’t be available. Society may eventually reorder itself, but it could be a long time before we’re able to return to a standard and style of living that we’re used to. When that happens, people will have to learn to fend for themselves, or band together in small groups for support. Here are some of the skills that will be most in demand.
Doctors, nurses, and EMTs have the advantage here in that they’ve already done much of the training and had the experience treating the most likely injuries and illnesses that will result once the stuff hits the fan (SHTF). But that doesn’t mean you have to be a medical professional to be able to care for yourself or others.
Learning basic first aid and putting together a trauma kit that can treat likely injuries is the first prerequisite. All the training in the world won’t help you when you don’t have the tools to treat an injury or illness.
Then start looking into taking first aid or medical classes. In some areas you can take EMT classes at local community colleges or through your local fire department. There are also wilderness first aid classes that can coach you through what to do when someone gets injured in a remote area and can’t get immediate medical attention. The lessons you learn there are directly applicable to a post-SHTF scenario.
Remember, keeping yourself and your family alive post-SHTF is the most important responsibility you will have.
Water Purification and Sanitation
Man cannot live on bread alone, but he can live an awfully long time on water alone. If you have the ability to find and purify water, or dig wells or create some sort of water-providing infrastructure, you’ll be worth your weight in gold. Without clean water, people will die from thirst, from common infections, or from a whole host of diseases.
The same goes for sanitation. Forget about flushing the toilet. All that excrement has to go somewhere, and if it ends up piling up it could lead to the spread of very deadly diseases. History is full of civilizations that failed because they eventually couldn’t clear out their waste. Don’t let that happen to you.
Agriculture and Hunting
Once your water needs are secure, you’ll need to secure food. Starting out, you might need to hunt for game, but game stocks will quickly get depleted once everyone else starts doing the same thing. In the event of a long-term societal breakdown, you’ll need to grow your own crops. Start learning now all about the edible wild plants in your area, and practice growing grains, greens, and vegetables. Don’t wait until you really need it to find out that your soil lacks nutrients, or that the seeds you’ve been saving for five years aren’t viable any more.
Carpentry and Handyman Skills
You’ll need to provide yourself with shelter from the elements. Ideally you’ll already have a house or some other structure. But if you are forced to bug out from where you live, you may find yourself struggling to create a makeshift shelter. That’s where carpentry and handyman skills come in.
Even if you have a house or shed to live in, you’ll need to keep it up. Wood will get weather-beaten, windows will crack, and roof shingles will fall off. And if you don’t have electricity, you’ll have to provide all the horsepower for you repairs yourself. Better start getting handy with the hammer, screwdriver, and hand drill.
Especially in a bad societal breakdown, there will be a number of people looking to take your stuff for their own use. It will be more important than ever for you to stand up for what is yours. There won’t be police or courts to help defend you, you’ll be on your own.
It’s best not to let ne’er-do-wells get too close to you either. If they’re close enough to injure you, you could die of your injuries, even if you are successful in your defense. A good rifle that can reach out to a few hundred yards, and a shotgun and pistol for defense in and around the house should make up the core of your survival armory. Just make sure you have plenty of ammo to feed them, or reloading supplies to roll your own, otherwise your guns are just some very expensive tomato stakes.