Many off-the-gridders have extensively prepared for an uncertain future. Much of the preparation concerns being as self-reliant as possible on a self-sustaining homestead. But if disaster strikes, the only option may be to abandon the homestead and flee as fast and far away as possible. If this happens, you’ll need some basic survival skills. While these skills take some practice, the good news is that you can train yourself on many of them in your own yard.
There are a lot of good reasons why you should practice these skills. First, it makes you more proficient. Second, when you’re on the run, you may be in a hurry, hungry or exhausted. You have to do what you need to do without giving it a lot of conscious thought.
1. Water from Condensation
Your survival bag should contain a water filter or some type of chemical to treat surface water or groundwater that you find.
However, the first challenge is finding water. If you can’t find surface water or can’t dig deep enough to access groundwater, making a solar still is a possibility. A solar still can generate drinking water even in dry climates.
Off The Grid News already has some great information about a more sophisticated solar still. However, if you’re on the run, here’s another way to build a rather primitive solar still.
You’ll need a small tarp and a small can.
Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough to reach damper soil. Fill the hole about halfway with green leaves. Place the can in the bottom, at the center. Cover the hole with a tarp, and hold it down with some rocks. Make sure to remove any air holes. Put a rock on top of the tarp near the center of the hole, to create a low point on the tarp that drains into the can. The rock should be directly over the can.
Over time during the day, water will condense on the tarp, run down to the lowest spot and drip into the can.
2. Starting a Fire
If you’re on the run, at some point you’ll have to stop. Whether it’s needed for warmth or cooking, you’ll probably want to start a fire somewhere along your journey.
Every survivalist’s bugout bag contains matches. However, matches can become wet or get stolen, so it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan. There are many different methods for starting a fire without matches. Off The Grid News covers seven of them here. For whatever alternate method you choose, make sure to include the needed supplies in your bugout bag.
3. First Aid
If things get to the point where you find yourself and your family fleeing the homestead, there are two likely possibilities. One is that during flight, someone will get hurt. The other is that modern medical care won’t be nearby.
Without modern medical care, injuries that a doctor or hospital could routinely treat can become a major challenge.
Therefore, practice some basic first aid treatments.
For example, work on immobilizing an arm injury. While fitting a sling around an injured arm is not difficult, it does take some practice to do it correctly and efficiently. Take a square of cloth about three feet wide and long. Lay it out flat and fold it once, diagonally. Gently fit the injured arm into the folded triangle, bring the tips around the neck and tie into a knot. Use rope or a belt to secure the injured arm to the body, avoiding the injured area. The arm should be secured well, but not too tight to inhibit circulation.
A related procedure is to splint a leg. The American Red Cross made this great, free video on making a splint.
Finally, CPR can easily be practiced. While the exact protocol for CPR changes frequently, you can always get the latest from the American Red Cross. The current recommended protocol is here.
Fleeing a disaster or other calamity is not the time to test out a survival skill. They need to be mastered before they are needed and many can be perfected in your own yard over a weekend.
What other skills can be practiced in the yard? Share your advice in the section below: