While this is our company’s motto, it is a sound policy in our opinion.
Disasters come in many forms and on many levels; from personal disasters like a vehicle accident to a localized disaster such as a tornado or a regional disaster in the form of a hurricane. Preparedness is not being paranoid but rather just knowing and understanding that some events are beyond our control. So we must be ready to overcome adversity.
Preparedness does not need to consume your every moment or all your income. We do not prepare to enslave ourselves, that would defeat the true purpose of preparedness. Preparedness is about being able to keep your family warm and sheltered during storms; ensuring they have safe drinking water before, during and after a calamity; capable of offering warm, nourishing food if the stores’ shelves are bare due to logistical issues; etc.
There are many different fields of study for preparedness. Some offer you the knowledge and skills to assist your family and community during a catastrophe, like first aid; while others allow you to become more self reliant and able to save money on expenses, like gardening. Some are not thought of by many, as they are considered “specialty” tasks for professionals or ones who participate in certain activities. We will explain how each may be used by you, in your life, even when not considered a “normal” skill set.
– First is medical ability. Regardless of the emergency or disaster, medical training is a very wise investment of time and capital. Most areas of the US have professional emergency medical services available with just a phone call. In the military, we learned that even with our professional and highly trained medics, we could save more lives by everyone being able to begin treatment for the most life threatening injuries on our fellow soldiers or selves because if multiple people were injured, the medic could be a few minutes in their response time.
In our lives, a vehicle accident may see our child severely injured and while medical help will be coming, it could be minutes before they can arrive. Our ability to administer first aid may be what saves their life. If we are not skilled and properly equipped to perform such life saving measures, we may not be able to stop life threatening blood loss or an airway restriction.
Everyone should have a minimum of CPR and basic first aid knowledge and skill, but the more training you get, the better chance of survival for an injured family member has. At least 1 person should be trained in “wilderness or remote” first aid, as this teaches fundamental skills to sustain life for the precious time it will take first responders to arrive on scene. There are several training schools and course options available. I recommend getting trained to the highest standard you can with your schedule and available revenue. Remember, buying a well stocked first aid or trauma kit does little good if you are unable to utilize the contents to their potential or purpose and you can cause more injuries by improperly applying the items in your kit.
– Wilderness survival skills are not just used in the woods. By taking at minimum a basic course, you gain confidence in your abilities to overcome less than ideal circumstances. Regardless if you are in the woods, in a small town, or a large metropolitan area, your basic needs remains the same. While at home, hopefully your shelter is still safe but you will possibly need to use a “campfire” or grill to cook. Many think building a fire is easy and they are primarily correct, but, can you build that fire if your lighter is wet during the heavy rains accompanying the tornado? Do you know how to create a safe place for the fire to keep it from spreading and igniting debris or brush that would create another disaster and threat to your life? Do you know the universal signs and symbols to request help?
Other skills learned will be knot tying, shelter construction, obtaining safe water, helpful wild plants, observation skills, etc. This can be a fun and educational activity for the entire family and help you bond as a family. The confidence acquired will help your kids or self in other activities as well. These are but a few things you will learn and gain by attending a course on wilderness survival skills.
– Search and Rescue is seen after almost every disaster. By having the knowledge and skills to perform this essential function properly, you can save lives, including your own. The knowledge and skills learned will allow you to signal for help if needed, search for injured family members possibly trapped under debris, and know how to properly extricate victims if their life depends on immediate rescue. If you attempt an improper rescue under debris, you can add to the injuries, be injured yourself or cause the death of the victim or yourself as well.
Other skills learned will include how to conduct a search, what signs, symbols and sounds are a call for help, land navigation, etc. Again, this knowledge and skills will help build confidence and by knowing what do, you will know what others will be doing if you are the one needing assistance.
– Tracking is not just a hunting skill. We see too many stories about lost hikers or children wandering away and not being found until too late. A skilled tracker would definitely be an asset in such searches and greatly enhance the survival chances of the missing person.
Beyond the value added to search and rescue operations, the ability to track will also help you show your children or partners more of what nature has to offer. A hike through the woods can be more than just a walk looking at plants and trees. By knowing how to track and read sign, understanding that insects, birds and animals have the same needs we do, you will be able to give your children or hiking partners so much more to appreciate during these treks.
How can animals, birds, insects or reptiles lead us to life saving water?
– Weather knowledge is more than just knowing what do during a severe storm. As technology has increased, people’s connection to nature has diminished. Beyond the commonly associated weather threats such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, etc, winds are a very important aspect to increasing your chances of survival. Strong winds can blow trees over or cause limbs to fall but this is just the most commonly retained knowledge from our ancestors.
In most urban areas, the wind is ignored unless at a park trying to fly a kite. Winds can be a danger without you even realizing it. If a train derails hauling hazardous material, do you know which direction or what area will be most affected by any airborne contaminants? Do you know how a fire will behave and spread because of the wind’s influence? Do you what weather systems are most likely with winds from a certain direction?
Altitude can also influence your abilities to signal for help. Will sound travel farther in high altitude or at sea level? How will humidity affect the smoke from your signal fire? Is a dry heat or a dry cold more or less noticeable than humid cold or humid heat? How does the humidity affect your physiological processes of maintaining core temperature? What do greenish clouds generally mean? What do pinkish clouds generally mean? These are but a few questions that when capable of answering, may save your life if a disaster occurs.
– Land navigation is an essential function and one that is becoming a lost art with dependence on technology. Being able to read and understand a map, figure out your location on a topographic map or road atlas, etc can be life saving skills. If an injury or other emergency occurs, your ability to relay your location to first responders is critical for a timely arrival of assistance. Technology fails. When relying on GPS alone, cloud cover, dead batteries, or another number of things may disrupt its accuracy or even function. GPS is getting better but it is not infallible or dependable. If you choose to use a GPS, learn how to use all its functions, practice with it and still learn to carry a map and compass and know how to use them properly.
These are but a few subjects worthy of your time, energy and financial investment. As you notice, all connect to each other in some form and none are strictly for use in a wilderness or urban environment, but are valuable in any environment. You should strive to become as proficient as possible in each field but medical is probably the most used and the most likely to save a life. Of course you will have to be able to find the person, extract them, keep them safe and warm, and signal for further help after you give initial life saving aid or it can all be a moot point. We may not be able to control everything that happens in our lives but we can control how we are able to respond and overcome those things.
Keep the necessary items with you anywhere you go. Having all the knowledge and skills to apply first aid does you or anyone else any good if your first aid kit is sitting on a closet shelf at home.
Get Trained. Be Ready. Stay Prepared.