From our good friends at Survival Cave Food!
Survival Training for Newbies
The very basics of survival should be instinctual to us, but somehow the past few generations of Americans have lost this invaluable knowledge. If you had to create your own shelter, hunt for your own food and purify your own drinking water do you think you have the know-how and ability? Well, if you are reading this you may, but most Americans could not. We buy prebuilt homes and shop at grocery stores for all of our food. We rely on security system companies and police agencies to protect us and the city to supply our water. Our most basic of necessities and we probably could not provide them for ourselves because we have never had to! It is a necessity that we all learn to provide for ourselves and our family because these systems may not always be there for you to depend on.
So what do you do? How do you start to prepare yourself? What do you need to know?
There are very basics you should start with, and the knowledge you need may vary from person to person. Imagine that you and your family are stranded with no access to other people, emergency services, anything. Your first priority is safety. Evaluate your surroundings taking note of immediate dangers. You will want to assess natural predatory animals, exposure to elements such as sun, rain, wind and possible flooding. If you are in immediate danger your best bet is to run and seek shelter, especially if you do not have an appropriate weapon. If you are not in immediate danger, continue with you necessities checklist.
Obviously, if you are over exposed to sun you can burn, so you will want to seek shelter immediately, and if there are predatory animals nearby you will want to prevent yourself from becoming their dinner so you will want to avoid these animals (this can vary depending upon the animal, so learning about wildlife habits and predator/prey models is best left for another blog).
Once you have assessed your surroundings you will want to find a water supply. A river, lake or creek is ideal, but you may need to dig to find water. If you do need to dig, find some food to keep you going during the dig. Insects, small mammals such as squirrels are good for this, but there are also many plants that you can eat. Knowledge of plants can not only provide you with good information on what you can and most importantly cannot eat, but knowing what plants grow near a water source can help you locate water too! Limestone is a good water purifier, you can also stock up on filters or purification tablets, or simply boil the impurities out of the water.
Once you have water, you will need to find or create a shelter. Caves are great, but make sure there isn’t already an inhabitant. Creating shelter from branches and leaves is an important skill. In a more urban setting you may have access to tarps, burlap, etc. which is also good for creating a shelter.
Once you have shelter, you will want to look for food. A lot of people want to look for food first, but in reality you can go for close to two weeks without food, but only a couple of days without water. Food is all around us, we just have to know what to avoid. Plants are plentiful and provide great nutrition. There are even flowers that you can eat! So taking some time to study plant life in your region is very important. Get a book on edible wild plants and study what is available in your region of the country.
Though you may already have made a fire to purify your drinking water, having a fire near your shelter is also important. Matches in general are unreliable, so learning how to harness friction to create heat, igniting some kindling is a really great skill to have. This is often accomplished with a hand drill or bow drill. Watch a video on the porcess because it is not easily explained in words.
There is so much to learn about nature, about the world around us. Something as simple as knowing that a certain plant seed is toxic to humans could mean the difference in life and death to someone surviving on the land. This list is meant to be a very basic guideline as to where to begin your journey. Learning about the wildlife in your state is a good place to start, and then expand to your region and so on. This will also help you to know what around you could potentially be used to purify water and what trees may be better for starting a fire. As with anything else you want to start with the basics and keep expanding your knowledge. And don’t just read about it, go out and do it. Having the knowledge is great but knowing how to use it is key!