Ideally, we’d like to think we’re prepared for anything that might come our way, and we know exactly how we would handle things in a crisis. However, many times survival lessons come as you are actually going through the experience. In a disaster, many people find themselves capable of doing things they never thought possible. They find that they are stronger, more resilient, and better prepared than they thought. Look at how the residents of New York City responded after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was a true test of the human spirit, and they responded with great courage – united and strong.
Most people that go through a tragedy don’t understand the depth of their own personal strength until the crisis hits and they have no other choice. However, being prepared can definitely give you a major advantage in a survival situation. While most of the preparedness community focuses on the latest equipment, cool gear, and creative wilderness strategies, the most valuable survival lessons often go unmentioned. Today, let’s look at 7 of the most important survival lessons that every prepper needs, but no one seems to be talking about.
1. People are stronger together.
We’ve all seen people bind together after a natural disaster, fire, or tragedy to work for the greater good of the community. People who were virtual strangers beforehand become like family. There’s something to be said for weathering a crisis together, and leaning on each other definitely makes us stronger. Working together with family, friends, and neighbors will help you all to feel more secure in the aftermath of a crisis because you know you have someone you can call on.
2. Knowledge is Power.
Having lots of survival equipment and supplies is great, but you also need survival knowledge. You can have the biggest water and food stockpile in the county, or have camping and survival gear for all seasons and situations, but if you don’t know how and when to use those items, you could be in trouble. Stuff is awesome – but you also need to know about basic (and possibly advanced) first aid, hunting/fishing/gathering skills, or how to protect your loved ones. This knowledge is invaluable in a survival situation!
3. Be prepared for grief.
Be prepared to see and encounter hard situations, including death. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, attack, or other similar event, you are going to see and hear things that are hard to take in and process. Destruction of property, severe injuries, and loss of life are all inside the realm of possibility. By knowing ahead of time that this might happen, it won’t lessen the impact of the encounters, but it will make you think about how you will handle this type of sight. This is something that could take months and years to get over once the disaster has passed.
4. Violence is real.
Know how you’ll defend yourself, your family, and your property if the need arises. You might think you won’t resort to violence – but what if the life of your family was in danger? What if your home was threatened? This is a time where knowing how and when to properly use a firearm would be useful.
5. People are unpredictable.
Don’t judge a book by its cover – this old adage proves true in a survival situation, too. In this type of situation – everyone’s emotions are on high alert – and you can’t always predict how someone will react. Treat everyone as an equal until you have need to do otherwise. Cautiously interact with strangers until you feel safe with them – but even then, protection of your family is top priority. People may surprise you when dealing with a disaster – and it could be pleasant or unpleasant. Being cautious is a good thing.
6. Keep a calm, level head.
We hear it all the time, but it needs to be repeated here. Staying calm is key for survival. This is true in any type of emergency or stressful situation. By remaining calm, others around you will feed off that and it will probably help them keep calm, too. This is particularly important if you have children, as they can sense when mom and dad are stressed, worried, or afraid. A level head also allows you to think clearly and plan your next actions.
7. You need time to process.
Take time after the disaster to process all that has happened. Disasters, attacks, and other similar situations are a trauma, and should be treated as such. Anyone who has been through a traumatic event will tell you that it took time to process what they went through. Most of the time during the actual event, you’re running on adrenaline, and don’t stop to think about the heaviness of what has happened. There’s no shame in grief, and acknowledging what you have endured will help you to move forward. Take as long as you need to recover – seek counseling if you need to, and keep the lines of communication open with those you love.
Keeping these things in mind won’t eliminate the stress of a survival situation, but they can help to better prepare you ahead of time, and help you during and after the event is over. You’ll be amazed at how strong you really can be in the face of crisis. What are some other essential survival lessons that people need to think about?