By Brian Meyer
Prepping is more than having a room full of food and supplies, it’s also about skills. All the food, weapons, and supplies in the world will only get you so far if you don’t have the skills for survival. A first-aid kit is great, but if you don’t know how to perform first aid, it loses most of its usefulness.
There are classes available all around the country that help with learning the skills needed for survival, and most aren’t even listed as survival, but just as quality of life skills everyone should know. Check out the list of the top ten training courses you should be taking right now and learn a new skill.
1. Red Cross First Aid and CPR
These classes can literally be a lifesaver. Taking a first aid class can give you the skills you need to survive and not only help yourself but also help others.
The class involves learning how to respond to common first aid emergencies including burns, cuts, and injuries to the head, neck, and back. If you have kids there is a pediatric version available, too.
Along with first aid are classes on CPR. These can help teach you the proper way to give someone CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Trying to do this without the proper knowledge is a good way to kill someone, so make sure you take the time now to learn the proper way.
2. LDS (Mormon) Canning Classes
No matter your religious beliefs, the Mormons are often glad to help teach the art of preserving and canning food. The storing of food for emergencies is a belief they hold closely, so it’s no wonder that they are skilled in the art of canning.
Visit a LDS Cannery close to you for classes and information. Most are free and open to the public with an appointment. Check out this site for a list of LDS Cannery locations.
3. ARRL Amateur Radio
When the SHTF it’s not likely that there will be cell phone or even landline service for the foreseeable future, which means alternate forms of communication will be vital to survival.
Learning the art of amateur radio operation now can give you an interesting hobby as well as give you the skills you need to communicate in grid-down situations. The ARRL association for Amateur Radio is a great place to learn what you need to be skilled at using amateur radios as well as get certified so you can legally operate one today.
4. NRA Gun Training
The National Rifle Association, or NRA, offers a variety of gun classes ranging from basic gun training and hunting, to youth programs and even gunsmithing. If you’re serious about security and safety in regard to firearms, these should be the classes you take.
Having a gun isn’t enough to protect you and your family. You need to know how to use it safely and correctly as well. Learn these skills now and you’ll be much better off when you need to use them.
5. Spinning/Weaving Classes
In a survival situation it’s a pretty safe bet that the Wal-Marts and malls will be out of business. This means any clothes you need will have to come from yourself or bartered for. Learning how to make your own clothes and to do repairs on the ones you have is just as necessary as any other skill you prepare to use.
There are tons of local clubs and community college classes that will teach this, so your best bet is to look at the local community college or community center for a class. This will probably cost a few bucks, but it’ll be money well spent.
6. Candle and Soap Making
Making your own candles and soaps can be a fun hobby to have, and can even be a great gift idea for friends and family. The best part about this is that when the SHTF you’ll be able to make your own soap and candles to keep you and your family clean and well lit.
You can learn how to make soap and candles from sites on the Internet as well as at local craft stores.
7. Gardening Classes
In long-term survival situations you’ll need to know how to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to keep your food supplies stocked. You can even use these skills now to help build up your food stores by canning the leftovers.
These classes and clubs should be fairly easy to find by checking out a local community center or community college. There are more than enough books and sites on the Internet about gardening as well. National Geographic even has a special on how to make a secret, hidden survival garden, a real plus for survival situations where you want your food hidden.
8. Backpacking Club
Knowing how to properly backpack and camp is a skill that will be invaluable in survival situations. There is far more to backpacking that walking around the woods with a large backpack on. By joining a backpacking club you can gain skills and information that you might not pick up on by reading alone. Best of all, you get to talk to other backpackers and see what skills they have.
Check out local community centers and outdoor shops for information on clubs and classes. Some retailers will offer classes free of charge to members or even the general public.
9. FEMA/CERT Training
FEMA/CERT training is what people that do emergency response and rescue take to make sure their skills are up to any challenge. These are great for the average prepper, too, as you will need to be your own emergency response unit when things go bad.
Check out FEMA’s website for more information and training manuals. These should be a great place to start.
10. Shop Class for Adults
Most community colleges offer some form of shop class or industrial skills class that you can sign up for and take. These usually cost a fee, but in them you can learn everything from welding to auto repair to woodworking.
Take as many of these classes as you can, as the money you invest will come back to you in both the short and long term. Immediately you can use these skills to help around the house and in the future you can not only care for your own house, but also barter and trade your skills to get things you need while helping your neighbor.
There are probably a hundred more skills you can learn to help survive, but these are a great place to get started. Too often prepping with food, weapons, and general supplies overshadow the most important part of a survival plan: yourself.
Improve yourself as much as you can now while information is easily accessible. When things get bad, you’ll have a much harder time finding someone to teach you these skills, and the thought of using the Internet to find your answers will be a dream. – Survival Based