At its core, being a Prepper is about two things; independence and safety. Each requires specific skill sets, knowledge, and training. If you are a parent then you have the additional responsibility of imparting that knowledge to your children. It stands to reason then that prepping should be a family affair from day one. The family is a team with strong ties, which can be leveraged for better or worse in an emergency situation.
The following guidelines should get you started.
Know the Basics
Do you know which wild plants are safe to eat? Do you know where North is? Can you navigate with a map and compass? Can you build a shelter? How helpless would you be without your smartphone, the Internet, or even the library?
General knowledge today is quite different from 25, 50, or 100 years ago. We have all been made slaves to technology and specialization. Take this simple example from a managers account of one employee’s activities from the early 1900’s:
- Fashioned a wagon wheel
- Carved an axe handle
- Carried 500 lbs of grain for cousin
- Mended a saddle
- Built a shed
- Caught a troublesome weasel
- Mended a chicken coupe
- Shod a horse
- Butchered a cow
All the above and more require a specific set of skills and problem solving abilities and mechanical aptitude. Now consider how much more complex the world is. In short, start researching. Leverage you smartphone, the Internet, and library while you still have it. Build your own library of survival books and take the family out to try out what you’ve learned. Make learning a family affair. It will bring you closer and show great leadership. Things you should know:
- Basic mechanical skills
- Basic electronics, for the home and for small devices like radios
- Carpentry, as in building basic structure and using hand and power tools
Make a Plan
Do you know where you will go in the event there is a natural disaster, government collapse, nuclear war, or pandemic? Do you know who will come with you? Or, who will not? Making a plan and assigning roles will mitigate the chaos to some degree, if not entirely.
Get a standard map and have a look at the potential routes to your destination. Do your best to imagine worst-case scenarios for each route and the alternative routes just in case. Now commit them to memory, but don’t toss the map, a good map is a terrible thing to waste.
Pack Your Gear
It is necessary to take items with you when it’s time to bug out. For everyone and everywhere it will be a bit different. What you bring depends on your level of skill, knowledge, climate, season, living conditions and more. I will have an entirely different bug out bag if I lived in the city or if I lived in the outback of Alaska.
- Pick your gear wisely
- Carry as little as possible
- Make caches hidden along your route if you can
- Have a cache at you destination
Check online for examples of bug out bags but keep in mind that they are all different and there is no single answer or single list of things you’ll need.
Self defense come in two basic flavors. Firearms and hand to hand.
For firearms training, pistol specifically, there is no better answer than the SIRT pistol. It is the most accurate pistol analog on the market and perfect for training the kids, newbies, and keeping your skills sharp. It fires a laser so there is no concern for safety, no bullets to pay for, it is silent, and you can use it anywhere and anytime. This is an indispensable tool.
Furthermore, seek out a professional to teach you and your family the basics of marksmanship, safety, and maintenance. Most guns of the same type (revolvers, semiautomatics, shotguns, rifles, and assault rifles) function pretty similarly, and a familiarity with each type will go a long way when you encounter a gun passively or otherwise.
With the popularity of MMA it ‘s easier than ever to find a self-defense course, MMA gym, Dojo, whatever. The flip side is that it is harder and harder to tell the reputable gyms from the hacks, they are out there so follow these basic rules when deciding:
- Pick a style that suits you, MMA is very effective but aikido is better than nothing.
- Take a good look at the gym and instructors. Are they glorified baby sitters or do they have street cred? Check online and see what other people are saying about the gym.
- Don’t listen to the guy trying to get you to sign up. Remember, he’s a salesman.
- Ideally you should look for a gym that offers either Krav Maga or Cambatives training.
Get in shape
I can’t stress enough the importance of being in shape. This does not mean go to the gym and buy a bunch of useless supplements and try to get “swole” or “ripped”. You need dense, functional muscle and strength. Thankfully it requires no weights and little equipment.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The importance of practice also cannot be stressed enough. All the skills and knowledge mentioned herein are perishable. You must make it a part of your life. If you make this a passing fad in your life then you are wasting your time and money. All of these things can be easily integrated into your daily routines and that is an opportunity for you kid’s creativity to shine. Give them the chance to try and integrate these skills, it is a sign of leadership and trust to let them take on bite sized pieces of responsibility.
Seek Out Those With Experience
All the book learning and YouTube videos in the world are great up to the point that you need to learn the finer details of these skills. Take classes together if you can. This is an opportunity to learn from experts and ask the questions that the videos and books missed or didn’t explain well enough. Also be sure to:
- Check the gun club for training classes
- Check the community learning center for classes
- Take a class at the local community college or trade school
- Find a teacher online.
It is my hope that this finds you well and helps you build independence and safety in your life. Making learning and activity a family affair shows leadership, wisdom, and builds strong bonds. It is up to you to step back and recognize that you do have the opportunity, and it is important to take it.