Posts Tagged ‘skill sets’

Learning Survival Skills

Posted: February 25, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag, Survival Skills
Tags: , ,

As I think about what I’m going to load in my bug out bag(s), I tend to panic a little realizing that I am in no way a survivalist. I will never have a survival tv show, and I wont disappear into the woods for weeks on end to live off the land. I thought about buying tons of survival skills books and trying to learn everything I could.
Then I thought, “Fuck all that noise”. I have neither the time nor the patience for that. Once I decided I wasn’t going that route, I started trying to find another way to learn myself some useful stuff. I came up with a game plan.
There are probably a lot of people out there that are like me. You don’t have a ton of free time, and you couldn’t survive all that long on what you already know. So here is my proposal. Learn what you can, when you can, from whoever offers you any kind of knowledge. Stuff that will be vital, like basic lifesaving, you should memorize. We should all probably be able to make a fire using basic tools, as well. However, what about all that other stuff, like making shelters and creating traps to catch small animals? Try buying old military how-to books. The military put out all sorts of literature on survival, first aid, weapons maintenance and use, and anything else you can think of. These are typically paperback, and short and concise. There is no fluff. Pictures are simple and easy to follow.
I plan to buy them (they are typically cheap, and available at gun shows/surplus stores, and through mail order), and stash the small, useful ones in my BOB. I’ll read through ’em, or at least skim ’em first, so that I know whats there. My thought is that I will then have the information at hand, without having to memorize a ton of stuff.

These guys have some, but there are a lot more available.  I bought one for my SKS that covers maintenance and use.



It’s Gonna Be Lonely When SHTF

Posted: February 12, 2012 by Barbie in Survival Skills

So, on Friday I was surfing the internet performing statistical analysis at my desk when I got a text message from a dear friend and relatively new homeowner.  It said “Do you know anything about gas hot water heaters?”

I replied “Some.  What’s up?”


“Did the pilot light go out?”

“That’s the little blue light bulb underneath, right?  I didn’t think to check this morning before I left for work.”

Oh, sweet Jesus. Seriously?

Now, I knew my friend was freaking out because she’s recently had to replace several appliances in her 1920’s era home. Nobody warned her that home ownership is expensive because when things break, there’s no landlord to call.  I reassured her that it was probably an easy fix and told her to text me when she got home and I’d walk her through it.

A while later, I opened Facebook, knowing that my friend probably would have posted something about her hot water heater on there.  We have a pretty tight group of girlfriends, and I was hoping someone who worked downtown would have offered to check out her pilot light on their lunch break, sparing her an afternoon of worrying about how she was going to pay for this.  Sure enough, she had posted about the situation, and the girls had all piped in.

“That sucks!”

“Are you sure the pilot light just isn’t out?”

“I can send my husband over tomorrow to see if it’s the pilot light.”

“If you need a hot shower, you are welcome to come over to my place.”

“If it’s the pilot light, the gas company will come and relight it for you.  They will charge less if you can wait until Monday.”

“I hope you can get it fixed.”

As I read the little thread, I had mixed reactions.  On the one hand, I was heartened to see how my little group of friends rallied around one of it’s members, offering hot showers, husbands, and phone numbers for help.  Had my friend suffered a very localized crisis, like a kitchen fire, I knew she was in good hands.

On the other hand, it scared the living hell out of me that of my group of girl friends, I am the only one who knows how to relight a pilot light (and I’ve never even owned a gas appliance).  These are not stupid women, either.  Among their ranks are a registered nurse, an attorney, a take-no-shit teacher at a last-chance alternative middle school, a law student, and a veterinarian.  Yet none of them knew how to relight a pilot light by themselves.

Oh, by the way, my friend’s roommate took a cold shower that morning because the water heater wasn’t working.  He didn’t even think to or know how to check the pilot light.  Did I mention he’s A FREAKING FIREMAN?  Did you not assume that job required at least a basic working knowledge of how gas appliances operate since they can BLOW UP during a fire?  I did.  Call me crazy.

Anyway, so this little experience made me realize that when an emergency strikes, all my friends are probably going to die.  Forget not having an adequate food supply, even the most basic levels of preparedness are beyond the scope of their current imagination.

When I went to my friend’s house to check and relight the pilot light, I asked to borrow a flashlight.  She looked at me as if I had asked for a U-joint puller.  Seriously?  You don’t own a FLASHLIGHT!?  I know what she’s getting for Christmas next year.

I showed her how to relight the pilot light herself, but she didn’t pay too much attention. I’m not sure she could do it again if she had to.  If she’s not interested in learning that basic skill, there’s not much hope of her learning to survive in a crisis.

It’s gonna be lonely after SHTF.