I like learning new things. Things that ultimately help me become more self sufficient and independent. Not that I don't love to push the “man work” on to my husband, but there are things I need to be able to do. Like start a fire(Check out an article describing my first failure here), change a tire and tie a functional knot. What if I didn't have my handy-hubby and disaster struck?
Would my survival instinct match up with my survival skills? Right now, probably not, but after reading and putting to use the skills described in M.D. Creekmore's book “31 Days to Survival. A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” (www.paladin-press.com) I know where I am competent, where I need practice and where I fail miserably and need help (and possibly an Eagle Scout or two).
The book starts with an introduction that mirrors the rest of the books contents in it's no nonsense presentation, with emphasis on getting it done. The following 31 chapters are presented in no particular order of importance but starts with the logical topic “Check your Skills”. In this chapter alone, I realized I'm not even remotely familiar with 5 of the 15 skill sets Creekmore suggests the need to have mastered in case of disaster. My grandfather always said, “Knowledge is power”. Creekmore reiterates that statement and offers great advice, tips and skills to aid everyone from newly on board to veteran survivalist. I would be one of those “newbies”. I'm not sure that I think tomorrow is “TEOTWAWKI” (The End Of The World As We Know It), but it is always a good thing to gain knowledge and skills because you have them for life.
Moving forward through the book, Creekmore points out that while the components of your kits, bags, arsenal, and pantry are important in your preparedness for an emergency, it is nothing without the knowledge of how to use it. So make a survival binder and use it. Practice what you know, and practice what you don't know because if the time comes, you need to be ready. Blogs and websites are usually free resources to outfit your binder, but books and magazines can be found inexpensively as well. I like to use this strategy for all my newly acquired recipes so making one for skills (in case I can't remember all the steps to making a water filter (day 18) isn't so foreign a concept to me.
In the following chapters, a comprehensive checklist is presented- one skill per day. Now Creekmore states, and I agree, that some topics will take more than a day to complete, if you have no working knowledge of the subject of the day, to a quick check for the skills you already have completed or mastered. I've been comfortable with first aid and CPR for the better part of 15 years so that day I skipped. Box traps and small game snares? I'm only familiar with those from Bugs Bunny cartoons. Well, I'll need to spend more than one day learning how to catch a “wascally wabbit”.
Another plus to this book is that for days that require purchases (Day 9-Shopping for your year's food supply; Day13-Let's take a trip to the hardware store and Day 24-Take a trip to the gun shop), the author breaks items into categories that can fit budgets from, “Yuppie Survival Arsenal” (Day 24) to the less costly, “I don't want to mess with whole wheat and have very little money, one person, one year food storage plan” (Day9). It was really nice to see Creekmore address the notion that not everyone makes a six figure salary. Also, mentioning options to make a substitution where needed, wanted or necessary. Peanut butter is a supply staple, but not if you are allergic to peanuts. Almond butter can become your stand in. The author is mindful that not everyone shares the same views and what one person likes, another may not. We all know from reading my previous reviews I love soybeans (you've read my other reviews right?) but I'm not so keen on Lima beans. So he suggests swapping what you don't like for something you do like because even if you think you'll eat something you don't like in an emergency, avoiding the situation all together is a better option.
At prices ranging from $12-$18 online, I think this book contains a vast wealth of knowledge as well as primers on skills that are valuable to anyone, survivalist or not. “31 Days to Survival Preparedness” is a well thought out, well written handbook for addressing the skills that might be necessary someday, but even if they aren't, it is still handy (and cool) to be able to say, “Yeah, I know how to make a water filter”. But I still stink at knot making. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
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