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Skills

  • Living Alone in the Wild at Age 16...By Choice

    Isolated by Choice

    Imaging living alone in the wilderness – no Internet, no power, and no modern day conveniences. You would be completely on your own, left to your own devices.

    Oh, and you’re also 16 years old.

    Skye Kid - via the Guardian - living alone Zeki Basan, living alone in the Isle of Skye - photo courtesy of The Guardian

    This is the life of a young man on the Isle of Skye across the pond in Scotland. Taught by his mother at a young age how to cope with the many dangers in the wild, he has chosen the life of solitude as a good opportunity to practice while attending the School of Adventure Studies.

    He makes his own food, tans his own animal hides, and otherwise takes care of himself. When he’s done with school, he plans on moving back to his mother’s house, but until then, he’ll be living large on the land without another soul in sight.

    In this day and age, you just don’t hear about people living like this, especially youth. There is something to be said about outdoor preparedness. In this young man’s case, his living was helping him in his outdoor studies.

     

    Acquire a Particular Set of Skills

    Outdoor survival skills are an important skill set to acquire. For starters, you can use those skills to help your family in an emergency situation should the need arise. In our world, anything could happen at any time. Earthquakes, power grid failure, and other unexpected disasters could throw our world on its head, forcing us to fend for ourselves. Having survival skills can only be a boon in such situations.

    The last step... - living aloneTake time to go camping. Know how to set up your tent. While you’re out, practice making impromptu shelters from branches and other natural resources. Setting up a shelter is an essential skill to have. If you’re ever forced out of your home – or lost in the wild – a shelter can keep the harsh sun off of you as well as keep you out of the rain and other elements.

    While out camping, practice making a fire – without matches or some form of fire starter. If you’re left to your own devices, you may not have lighter fluid to dowse your wood in.

    There are plenty of outdoor survival techniques to learn, from filtering your own water, cooking over open flame, and first aid. While these skills are important to learn, there are still modern conveniences that can make your outdoor survival much more comfortable.

     

    Live Well in the Wild

    Power generatorsSafari Tent - Living alone can be juiced up through solar panels, allowing you to have charge devices and flashlights, charge lanterns, or power up other things that will make your life easier. Smaller generators and other portable power packs may not be able to power as many things for as long, but they are certainly useful for camping and emergency situations.

    Unless your soul purpose in living outdoors is to practice survival skills 24/7, then there is no reason why you couldn’t have a little extra comfort along for the ride. But before you go ahead and stock up on the comfort items, make sure you have the necessary emergency items to keep you alive, such as water, food, and shelter.

     

    Living in the wild completely alone isn’t for everyone, but there are some things we can learn from it. Spending at least some time in the great outdoors can help us prepared for all sorts of emergencies and teach us useful skills for when life takes an unexpected turn.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Living alone

  • Staying Alive: Learning CPR Without Formal Training

    “Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin' ali-i-i-ive”

    -- Stayin’ Alive, Bee Gees, 1977

     

    An earworm of a 1977 disco song could help save lives. The beat of the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” happens to be about 100 beats per minute, or the rate a rescuer should push on a patient’s chest while doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

    Learn Learning CPR could help save lives - via American Red Cross

    Using this song and a one-minute instructional video, the American Heart Association hopes to help more people learn basic, chest compression-only CPR. It can double or triple the chances for someone in cardiac arrest to survive, said Jennifer Merback, communications and marketing director for the American Heart Association of Utah and Nevada.

    According to the American Heart Association, 88 percent of cardiac arrests take place at home. Yet fewer than 8 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive. One main reason: only one in three cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.

    “It’s that few seconds right before (emergency medical personnel) get there that are really important. It’s key to survival,” said Josh Schroeder, a firefighter-paramedic for the Lake City, Texas fire department.

    Schroeder described one incident in which a woman at home in the middle of the night called 911 to report a family member wasn’t breathing. When a person’s heart stops, oxygenated blood stops flowing to the brain, which can begin to cause brain damage in a few minutes. Death can take place within 8 to 10 minutes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Fortunately, she knew what to do. She began CPR while she was on the phone.

    “Because she called 911 immediately and because she jumped on chest compressions immediately, he survived,” Schroeder said.

    Most Americans – 70 percent, according to the American Heart Association – feel like they’d be helpless in a cardiac emergency because they don’t know CPR or have forgotten how to administer it.

    “Obviously we’d love for people to get CPR certified,” Merback said. But a lack of formal training shouldn’t stop someone from trying to help.

     

    So, here’s how someone without formal training can administer hands-only CPR to an older child or adult, without rescue breathing, according to the American Red Cross. Some studies suggest that hands-only CPR can work as well as regular CPR, Merback said.

    1. Make sure the scene is safe, “so you’re not performing CPR around downed power lines,” said Merback.
    2. Check if the older child or adult is conscious or unconscious. If conscious, get permission to call 911 for any life-threatening condition. If unconscious, tap or shake the person’s shoulder and ask, loudly, “Are you OK?” Quickly look for breathing by gently tilting the person’s head back, lifting the chin and putting your ear close to their mouth. Occasional gasps are not breathing. If the person is breathing, keep the head back to keep the airway open and call 911.
    3. If you don’t get a response, call 911.
    4. If the person is unresponsive and not breathing, begin chest compressions. If you can, put the 911 dispatcher on speaker phone and begin chest compressions while on the phone. When possible, use disposable gloves. The Red Cross sells a key chain for $4 with a face shield for rescue breaths and disposable gloves.

     

    Here’s how to do chest compressions.

    1. CPR ExamplePut the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.
    2. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand and lace your fingers together.
    3. Keeping arms straight, position your shoulders directly over your hands.
    4. Push hard and fast, keeping elbows locked and letting the chest rise completely before pushing down again. Compress the chest at least two inches and 100-120 times per minute. That’s as fast as the song “Stayin’ Alive.” Try singing it in your head, since you won’t be able to get it out of your brain anyway.
    5. Don’t stop except in one of the following situations: The person begins breathing on their own. Another trained responder arrives to help. EMS personnel arrive and take over. You’re too exhausted. An AED is ready. Or, the scene becomes unsafe.

    People often don’t press fast or hard enough. Broken ribs are OK.
    “You’re trying to squish their heart between their sternum and their backbone,” said Jon Kerkmann, a respiratory therapist who works at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah.

    Mostly, don’t be afraid. Good Samaritan laws in most states protect people who try to help, Merback said.

    “They’re already dead if you don’t do something. You’re not going to hurt them anymore,” said Kerkmann.

    And if possible, take a CPR class and get trained in using an AED. Classes are available through the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association.

     

    What are some other life-saving skills you have? Let us know in the comments!

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - CPR

  • Skills Grandpa Knew (And You Should, Too)

    Being a city slicker has its advantages. Basically, we can get anything we need thanks to convenient shops and local utility companies. Food, clothes, car parts - and let's not forget electricity and natural gas - all come to us without very much work on our part. But what would happen if the world decided to bug out on us, and we were left to our own natural instincts? Would you still be able to provide for yourself – and your family – if the grid went down, an EMP went off, or something of the like?

    Back in the day, people weren’t as reliant on the corporate world to get them what they needed. People had skills, and their skills were necessary to their livelihood. In an article from Off Grid Quest, the author suggests that “if we were to have a breakdown in society, those skills which we never bothered to learn would become essential.”

    So what are those essential skills? I thought you’d never ask. Here are five skills that would do us all well to know, whether we have a societal breakdown or not.

     

    1. Gardening

    You need food. That’s going to be one of the realizations you have if all the store shelves are empty with no sign of extra stock arriving. That’s where a vegetable garden comes in handy.

    Old Timey Skills - GardeningGardening is a skill that may be a lot more difficult than most people think. It took the author of the aforementioned article “three years to get more than just herbs and a smattering of produce out of [the garden].” You could be in for some very hungry seasons if you put off learning how to garden until you absolutely need it. Fortunately, the Internet knows everything, so if you need help, you’re sure to find loads of information at your fingertips (such as this article by gardeners.com). And, if you need seeds that will store for a number of years, check out our garden and heirloom seeds here.

     

    1. Raising Animals For Food

    Old Timey Skills - Raising AnimalsJust like growing a garden, raising animals involves more than you may even realize. Cats and dogs are one thing, but cows, rabbits, chickens, and other delicious animals require the ability to take care of their illnesses yourself. Vets may not always be an option, so knowing how to care for your creatures is imperative. Other factors can include learning how to butcher and prepare the food that your animals sacrificed for you. Butchers might not be a readily available resource, so knowing how to properly prepare your critters could very well be a good skill to have.

     

    1. Hunting

    Speaking of preparing animals to eat, hunting is another useful skill that could help find food for your family when all else fails. Be it through your bow hunting skills or rifle abilities, know the tricks of the trade, including tracking and the nature of the animal you’re after.

     

    1. Basic Carpentry and Mechanics

    Old Timey Skills - MechanicsKnowing how to fix your car when it breaks down when there’s nobody else around is a good thing to know not only in a fallen society, but on long stretches of road where the next town is many miles away and traffic is few and far in between.

    Carpentry is the same way. Knowing how to go about repairing and making good, solid furniture and other things can really make a difference to your family when everything else has been taken from them.

     

    1. Canning and Food Storage

    Remember that vegetable garden you have? Knowing how to prepare and store that excess food for long-term storage will give you that extra buffer when times are tough. But don’t worry, even if you don’t have the resources to grow a garden or can your own food, we can help by providing you with delicious food that is packaged to store for up to 25 years. Check out our emergency food storage products for what will suit you and your family best.

     

    Of course, this is in the event of something extreme happening to our society that makes having these skills an essential part of our repertoire. Hopefully we won’t have to go that far. But then again, disasters are only as bad as we’re prepared for. Better to be safe than hungry, in my opinion.

     

    What are some other essential skills to know? Tell us in the comments below!

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