More than three million people in the U.S consider themselves preppers, according to the Daily Mail. Whether you’re just getting started in your prepper journey or are already highly skilled at survival, you’re in good company. Have you wondered what skills will prove essential during an emergency? Here’s a list of skills to refine now and supplies you need to not only survive, but thrive:
Source and purify water
Most people can go about 100 hours without water under normal temperatures when outdoors. That number decreases depending on weather and activity level. Because you can usually last weeks without food and you can get by for awhile without shelter, finding water should be your primary focus during a crisis.
Stock up on 50-gallon containers of water for your underground bunker or emergency supply pack and then take it a step further. Map out nearby sources of water, like lakes, rivers and streams. Keep a sturdy cart on hand to haul your supply from the source to conserve energy. Next, pick-up a few water filters like Berkley light water filter and learn to use it before drinking. But if you get in a bind, make a fire from scratch and boil your water for an old-fashioned way to disinfect it.
Grow or find food
Being able to feed yourself can mean the difference between wasting away in a few weeks or thriving through a crisis. Brush up on your hunting skills and keep rifles and ammunition on hand for hunting. Start with what game is already available in your area. Some states like Virginia have ample deer and honing your skills to hunt, clean and store a deer now can keep you well fed in an emergency.
If you’re already a skilled and avid hunter, don’t forget about brushing up on your fishing skills. A few poles, equipment and a bucket to dig up worms can get you through a pinch when deer are scarce. You can also make your own gear with safety pins or paper clips for fishing hooks, dental floss for a fishing line and feathers as lures.
Look for wild edible plants if you can’t find game to hunt or don’t have enough food in your garden. Many edible treats can be found in the wilderness, like asparagus, dandelion, kelp, clovers and cattail among many others. Insects can also be eaten, including ants, centipedes, crickets, grasshoppers and even cockroaches.
The ideal shelter is a safe, dry bunker with enough room for your loved ones and a stockpile of supplies, but you never know what you’ll face in a disaster and need to be prepared. Look for shelters that are away from hazards and are insulated from inclement weather. Something as simple as a cave or snow shelter can help keep you dry and warm. Remember to keep your tracks and activity hidden from those looking for their own disaster shelter.
Learn to start a fire
Matchbooks and lighters won’t last long during an emergency. Learn to make your own fire by rubbing sticks made from dry softwoods like aspen or willow. The technique can take some practice, so learn to get some smoke and sparks started to transfer to dry kindling. To save your energy and your hands, carry a magnifying lens or binoculars with you. Hold the glass at an angle to catch the sunlight and focus onto a small area of leaves or paper to start the fire. A drop of water can also help magnify the sun and speed along the process.
Learn first aid
Even minor scrapes and blisters can turn septic fast during an emergency. Keep your first aid kit stocked up with band aids, gauze, and antiseptic cream and medical tape. For larger wounds, bring sterilization tablets to treat them before using gauze to wrap and protect it. Don’t overlook your oral health when assembling a first aid kit. Getting an infection can mean life or death and packing a toothbrush along with toothpaste and tooth powder can do wonders to keep your mouth healthy. But a kit alone isn’t enough. Take a first aid course now to learn how to deal with emergency situations like shock, head trauma, broken bones and hypothermia.