Essential survival skills that everyone in the family should know
By Mary Miller // Apr 08, 2019

Prepper or not, your loved ones should be well-versed in essential survival skills that can come in handy when SHTF. You can never tell when a disaster will happen, and you might not always be there to protect your family when one does occur. It is good to allow your family members a certain level of independence. This way, in case anything happens, you can trust that they will be able to survive anything. Empower your family members by sharing with them these crucial survival skills. (h/t to


Basic first aid

Basic first aid is something everyone should learn from a young age. Illnesses and injuries can happen any time, so knowing how to perform DIY first aid can be incredibly useful if you ever find yourself in an unpredictable situation. Some common injuries you and your loved ones should know how to treat include minor cuts and wounds, burns, athletic injuries, fractures, and dislocations. You can further supplement your first-aid knowledge by learning about natural remedies that make use of herbs you can find in the wild. (Related: Medical preparedness: How to treat minor injuries in the field.)

Shelter building

If you find yourself lost in the wilderness, you might think that your first priority should be to find a clean source of drinking water. While that is an important skill to have, exposure to the elements can actually kill you faster than dehydration, especially in severe weather conditions. You might be able to find natural shelters in the form of caves, hollow stumps, and logs, but if none of these are nearby, you will need to learn how to build your own survival shelter using only the materials that are immediately available to you. Your makeshift shelter should be well-insulated to keep you warm and dry, while protecting you from the elements.

Physical fitness

Most people might not consider physical fitness a survival skill, but staying in great shape can definitely improve your chances of survival. When suddenly faced with an immediate threat, such as a fire or a looming flood, you will need to run for your life. You won't be able to do that if you need to stop every few seconds to catch your breath. Plus, having great agility and stamina means you will be able to maneuver over harsh terrain with more ease than most regular people. Even if you never find yourself in a survival situation, keeping physically fit can keep you healthy in your everyday life.

Water acquisition and purification

Finding water and making sure it's clean enough to drink are two different yet equally important concepts that your family members should know in order to keep hydrated. You should at least either boil, filter, or chemically treat your water with chlorine first before drinking it. Carrying around a portable water filtration system could save your life someday. You can also pack a few purification tablets when bugging out. When all else fails, you can always boil your water, which can kill off virtually all the dangerous pathogens in it.

Building a fire

In order to boil your water, you must first learn how to start a fire. Fire-making is one of the most basic bushcraft skills any prepper should know. A fire can provide warmth, a way to cook your food, and a means of protection against wild animals. Starting a fire can be easy with the right tools and a little practice. If you have had little previous experience with starting fires, you can start off by carrying a lighter or a matchbox with you wherever you go. Of course, you should also bring some tinder, so that you have something to burn.

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