Back to School

Yes, the seasons have rolled back around to that time again.  And while I *could* discuss the events in Georgia from earlier this week, that’s actually not where I’m headed with this.  My wife found a post from another site, and suggested I talk about it.

The original post is entitled “Back to PREP School: 6 Subjects Preppers Should Be Learning”, and starts out with a couple of definitions (“what is a prepper?” and “who are preppers?”).  The “prepper” definition as given, while not inaccurate, I don’t care for.  It starts out okay, then heads off into stereotype land.  It’s probably unintentional; while it does accurately describe things, most “average Joes” (non-preppers) are likely to associate everything there with the sensationalized “preppers” they’ve seen on TV.  The second definition tries to correct this, and seems a bit more grounded to me.  (The short version–we all prep to a certain extent; some of us merely prep more than others!)

The remainder of the article, however, recommends areas that we, as preppers, might want to learn a little more.  The ‘top level’ of the list reads as follows:

  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Survival Skills
  • Food & Water Storage
  • Medical & Dental
  • Sanitation
  • Hunting & Fishing

This, dear readers, shows why I spend so much time picking apart other published lists.  I find that they come in one of two categories: either a) hopelessly vague, or b) excessively focused on pin-point detail.  This one seems to fall into the former.

Before I get jumped on by angry mobs, shouting, “That’s not what the article is about!”, let me state that I understand they’re merely making suggestions for existing preppers, not giving guidelines on how to become preppers.  I also get that, particularly for this type of thing, “going vague” is more often better than giving specifics (I seem to have a fair number of readers in the Southwest, while I live in the Mid-Atlantic; our preps are necessarily going to be very different).  And while I certainly think that everything listed under the given categories is worth at least thinking about, I’m not certain that I’d either a) divide up prep skills like that, or b) put things in the categories they did.

(Yes, I’m quibbling more over style than substance, when it comes down to it… I’ll talk a bit about the substance later.)

For instance, “gardening” is listed under “Survival Skills,” where I would probably have moved it down to “Food & Water” (I’d have dropped “storage,” leaving that as a sub-category).  Likewise, the entire “Hunting & Fishing” category.  I’d probably have moved the “Sanitation” category into “Medical & Dental,” either as a sub-section, or just combining the two categories in general.

As mentioned, all of that is merely stylistic.  Where the rubber meets the road, though, is the substance.  Unfortunately, that post seems to lack any.  Sure, we may want to learn more about a given skill, but they give no suggestions as to where we can do so.  (Here, even vague answers are good enough.)  Granted, with the advent of the internet, you can find just about anything you might want.  (It even caters to all different types of learners.  Do you learn visually?  Check YouTube.  By reading?  A Google search will bring up reams of information.  By doing?  Hit Google again, looking for places local to you that will teach whatever topic…)

Now, I haven’t yet gone through the rest of the site; it’s entirely probable that most of these issues are dealt with individually in separate posts.  I’ll reserve overall judgement until I’ve had more time to read what else they’ve got.

Next week, I intend to go over five more points from the “other” list we’re going through; sometime in the next couple of weeks, I’d also like to discuss my “Get-Home Bag” and my 72-hour kits–less from the “here’s what you should have” standpoint (too specific, remember?) and more from the “here’s why you want one, and what to consider when assembling it” standpoint.


About leftwingsurvivalist

I'm a survivalist and prepper with a difference!
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5 Responses to Back to School

  1. You’re right the post was vague and could of used some more substance. I like your suggestions for some of the category changes. I think I’ll change a few around.

    The reason I put gardening under survival skills instead of food and water, was most people I work with are just getting started and accumulating food is hard enough for them. The survival skills sections is more for the skills people need to know if they had to survive on their own (without stores, help, etc.), so I felt gardening fit better in that category. At least that was my thought process, it could definitely be placed in either though.

    Maybe I can send you a few other of my articles to pick apart, I enjoy the honest feedback 😉

    • (Wow–that’s a first! The original poster, responding to my post on their post…)

      Hi! I do hope you understand that I *liked* your post. 🙂 As I mentioned in my critique, I “get” the need to be more vague; you’re really just tossing up suggestions, to try and spur thought. (Worked!) If you were going to “err” on one side or another of the spectrum (vague-to-specific), you were definitely right to err on the vague side, in my opinion. Were I to do anything to add substance, I might put in links to some resources: for instance, to the Red Cross for first aid, or to 4H/FFA/University Extensions for gardening.

      Yeah, I can see gardening going under “Survival Skills” for that reason. It could go either way, depending on how you decided to divide up the sections. (I should probably actually give some conscious thought to breaking things down into categories, myself; hmmm… Fuel for a future post?)

      If you want to send me other articles, please feel free! I promise to keep my feedback honest, so long as it’s taken in the spirit of “I want to help,” not “I’m trying to be mean.” 🙂

      As I mentioned, I’ll be looking at other parts of your blog (in my “copious free time”); it looked pretty well put together. (And I’ve found that if my wife likes it, it tends to be worthwhile overall…) I hope you’ll stick around here!

      • Jamie says:

        You don’t have to pretend to like it, it’s ok! I just finished crying in the corner so I should be fine now 😉

        I’m actually trying to figure out the categories of my blog right now, because I’m in the process of re-designing it (that’s a disaster)!!! It’s been a lot harder than I thought. Anyways, I did appreciate the suggestions for categories, because I hope to fix up the categories on the blog soon, and start putting posts in them!

        I’m excited to have you check out my blog more with all your free-time! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on yours! I have a good corner to cry in now when you write about me 😉

        P.S. Tell your wife she has good taste!

  2. Ann Dinapoli says:

    Might I suggest one topic I seldom see discussed, that is accessment after actually testing a scenario of using the 72-hour go bags. Especially if your family are not all able bodied males in their 20’s and 30’s. I have a twelve year old girl, a thirty-something male, a thirty-something female, an eighty seven year old female with a history if mental illness, a ninety year old male who can only walk short distances with a walker. And my self, I am a sixty year old female.

    Now we actually tried to get out with individual go packs. What a mess. The idea was that there had been a major earthquake and we were being move out of our devastated neighborhood to a shelter. We assumed that we would have been on our own for a week, though the local fire department says it would be more like three weeks. Therefore we had to be prepared to bug in, though our home might be inaccessible, for that week. We assumed minor to moderate injuries. We also realized that the elders in our group were going to take up a lot of time that we were not prepared to give. Sanitation and keeping warm was more crucial than water, as we had planned pretty well for drinking and washing.

    What was more troubling was the utter disorganization that comes with each person managing their own stuff under stress, and this was not even the real thing. We had all discussed the run through before hand and we still found that a critical number of our presumptions were not true and our plans were not workable. We are now reorganizing our supplies, taking in to consideration the specific realities of our family. For our group, lift belts, walkers, toilet seats for the disabled, games, music, songbooks, and story CDs with players, speakers, and power are more important than large knives, fishing kits, and fire starting paraphanelia. Keeping our elders calm, positive, and always feeling a valued part of our group is essential. And you can never have too mant garbage bags or toilet paper or Campsuds. Information such as insurance papers, SSI info, medical, dental, retirement, financials, papers proving ownership of property, pet licenses and vaccination papers, licenses for firearms, hunting ang fishing permits, ID, auto reg, insurance, and licenses..etc, this is the stuff that will make or break after a major crisis, and I mean the real types of crisis, not the zombie apocalypse or invasions from North Korea.

    After the Loma Prieta Quake in 1989, there was no electricity for a week in our area. Freeways were closed until they could be inspected and there were no working gas stations, banks, ATMs, cash registers, air containing, in-home heating, stop lights, etc for a week. My Mom was unpredictable, sometimes rational, sometimes not. At that time my son was nine, and thought it great fun, so we had to keep a close eye on him. My husband and I were in the process of separating, but not divorced…the tension was not pleasant.

    So anyway I say, don’t just play at packing perfect. Try using the stuff and modify for your own situation.
    Thanks for listening,
    Ann Dinapoli

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve actually been meaning to do an emergency drill, as well. We don’t have any elderly in our household, but we’ve got cats & dogs to deal with. Could prove interesting…

      If/when we do a run-through, I’ll certainly comment on what we found. Thanks for the suggestion, and for sharing your experience!

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