U.S. military personnel operate all over the world, often in extremely challenging conditions. In order to accomplish difficult missions, they have amassed a wealth of critical skills. Many of these skills are applicable to preppers, homesteaders and survivalists. If you want to survive, or even thrive in periods of uncertainty, here are four military skills you need to master today.
1. Land navigation
At one time, using a map, protractor, and compass to navigate were basic and essential military tasks. However, even the military relies heavily on GPS to navigate these days, just like you probably do. But what happens if you cannot power your handheld devices, or the GPS satellites overhead are dismantled? That’s when basic navigation skills become critical.
Every prepper should be able to determine their location on a map, and navigate using a map and compass. These skills will help you move from one place to another as expediently as possible, saving time and energy. They will also help you do other tasks as well, such as place a garden to achieve optimal sun exposure. So study the basic principles of land navigation, and start practicing as soon as you can.
2. Find and purify water
You won’t fare very well in a survival situation if you drink contaminated water. Learning how to find and safely purify water is a military skill that every prepper needs to master if they want to be ready.
Preppers should learn how to find water in any type of environment. In some cases, that may require them to build solar stills, and trap water condensation. At other times, knowing where to dig on a dry riverbed may be critical to getting access to a water source. All preppers should know how to purify water, as well, especially if they are unsure of the water’s quality. Survivalists and preppers should keep water purification gear on hand at all times, as well.
3. Starting fires
Whether you’re isolated and exposed to the elements, or in a situation where electrical power and fuel are unavailable, you’ll likely need to build a fire sooner or later. Fire can sterilize your water or medical equipment, cook your food, and keep you alive when temperatures plummet. It can even help you signal to others for help or as a warning.
Good preppers should be able to start a fire and boil a cup of water in 15 minutes or less. You should also maintain a fire kit on hand at all times. When traveling, keep your fire kit on your body; it should be one of the last pieces of gear you discard in an emergency, like when you’re evading people who want to hurt you. Practice building fires with your fire kit, until you’re proficient. Also, study different types of survival fires, so you can have a heat source regardless of the situation you’re in.
4. Apply a tourniquet
For today’s military, blood loss due to traumatic injury is a major cause of combat fatalities. Most military units preparing to go to a war zone focus a great deal of time on how to stop the bleeding as rapidly as possible. For traumatic injuries where a simple bandage dressing won’t work, one of the best ways to do so is with a tourniquet.
A tourniquet normally consists of a wrapped bandage strip and a device, such as a piece of wood, that can compress a wrapped bandage to the point that it stops all arterial bleeding on a wounded extremity. Applying a tourniquet properly on a wound can often mean the difference between life and death for an injured person. Preppers should learn how to apply tourniquets effectively. They should also keep ready-made tourniquets on hand in their homes, survival kits and vehicles at all times.
Don’t wait until you’re in dire straits before you practice these skills. Find someone who can teach you the right way to become proficient. Then practice these skills often – until they’re perfected.