The number of tasks that would have to be completed to help, and in some cases, to ensure your survival during a crisis are too numerous to count and they can range from the mundane to the complicated.
Many of the things that would need to be done could essentially be accomplished by anyone. However, some tasks will require a certain skill set, skills that can only come from experience, hands on experience.
Keep in mind that regardless of your abilities, you will need tools, materials, and equipment to accomplish certain things. This means you have to ensure you have the tools, hand operated tools that can be used during a grid down situation. Additionally, you would need to consider that others will have skills that you can use as well, so never discard a tool or piece of equipment just because you do not have the skills to use it.
Someone else may have the skills (match tools to skills others may have), so collectively you can accomplish tasks. You can use your skills and tools to barter with, “quid pro quo” if you will.
1.) Basic Carpentry/Building Skills
To make repairs to your home you will need some basic skills. You may need to know how to accurately measure and cut wood using hand saws for example. While many people do know how to read a tape measure or rule and can use a hand saw some people however, do not have even the most basic of skills.
Some people have never driven a nail using a hammer or have used a stapler for hanging plastic sheeting. Do you know how to lay shingles or to replace shingles, do you know how to overlap them to prevent water leaks. Even though you may have not done certain things, you can easily acquire the basic skills with some practice.
To make repairs is one thing, but to construct a home or shelter is another matter entirely. To build a structure that is habitable and one that would be considered permanent would require certain skill sets. Practically anyone can acquire the skills, but it also takes hands on experience along with the proper tools and equipment, and keep in mind you will not have the benefit of power tools.
Whenever you read an article on homesteading, pioneer life and so on Blacksmithing is one of the skills that the authors recommend you acquire. There is a reason why Blacksmithing will be a very marketable skill once the SHTF.
Being able to shape metal is, and will always be, a valuable skill, not just for your own benefit but for the benefit of others as well (think bartering). However, it takes years of training and practical experience to be called accomplished, but the basic skills can be acquired by virtually anyone.
You can make your own nails or spikes for building, make weapons, hinges for gates, chains, and make tools such as shovels and axes. You will need certain tools and equipment however, to work the metal, the ability to create a hot enough fire (a forge), and a reliable fuel source such as coal, wood and/or propane.
It was not so long ago that if a person wanted to eat they had to cook it at home. Typically, wives and daughters handled the cooking in years past. Today however, everyone including young adults should have a basic understanding of how to prepare foods not only for their own consumption but know how to cook for others as well.
On cattle drives in years past, for example, a cook, typically male, was responsible for the chuck wagon which was a mobile kitchen. The wagon went where the cowboys went, and was often times out in front of the drive, so it could be set up and be ready at meals times.
The chuck wagon and cook were critical to the survival of those driving the cattle to market. Bad cooks did not last long, and not just anyone was allowed near the food. No one made the cook mad, and if someone did they may have went hungry as a result.
The cook was responsible for the butchering of wild game, the cooking fires and generally responsible for the health and welfare of those who worked the drives. On cattle ranches and even farms part of the pay was in food, and many ranches had a chuck house with a full time cook (s).
Three squares a day, plus hard currency was how many ranch hands were paid. Imagine today if your employer provided you with three meals a day, and even had someone cook the meals for you. Tremendous time, energy, and resources went into feeding the ranch hands.
Cooking is a skill, an art if you will, and not just a science. Knowing the basic skills will be critical in some situations. Skills would include how to prepare and cook all raw foods, basic butchering, food and area sanitation, how to use spices, and some basic baking skills so breads and desserts can be made. Additionally cooks should know how to preserve certain foods and know how to cook using various heat sources.
4.) Child Care
Even some of the youngest members of your family should know how to change a diaper, and not just the disposable ones. Cloth diapers may have to be used during a crisis, and knowing how to fashion and change one will be important. How to feed an infant, bathe one and administer medicines is not something everyone would know without some experience, but during a crisis all members of the family may need to know. In a crisis people may have to perform tasks that normally would not be theirs, and during a crisis is not the time to get hands on training when it comes to certain things.
5.) Know How to Drive a Vehicle That Has a Manual Transmission
In years past when you went to purchase a vehicle an automatic transmission was an upgrade, an added luxury item in some people’s mind. Today however, they are so common that some, if not many drivers simply have no experience with driving a standard transmission. You may need to know in some emergencies how to operate a vehicle with a clutch, so take any opportunity you can to learn.
Farm equipment, off road vehicles and certain other gas powered transportation may have a clutch/stick shift. It is not complicated by any means, it simply takes practice and a patient teacher, and in some cases, the skills to replace said clutch if someone takes longer than normal to get the hang of it.