Here at FamilyTent.Expert, we think that being prepared makes you enjoy life more without worrying all the time about what will happen. That’s why we asked Wild Bill from ThePrepperJournal.com to tell us more about prepping and survival. Wild Bill is a veteran who proudly served in the Army, was a PSIA Certified Instructor in Adaptive Techniques, is a member of three Sailing organizations, lectured on Avalanche Survival, traveled the world, is a father and a grandfather, has degrees in both math and physics and knows a lot about large weapon systems. Do you still have doubts that he is the right person to answer our questions? Because we don’t.
We Know You Visited 6 of 7 Continents. Did You Have to Apply and Survival Skills in Your Journeys? If Yes, What Exactly?
Wild Bill: Urban survival skills more than wilderness survival skills, though I often went off-grid in my travels. Whenever I was visiting someplace new, after a TSA inspection, I would always buy a knife, a small to medium sized folding one as it is the single most useful tool to carry. Few “wilderness skills” can be accomplished without a decent knife. It was something I used every day and something I could turn to if threatened. Upon returning I would dispose of the knife before entering the airport. It was a necessity.
I have had to build a fire “off the grid” twice with a fire starter, once along the John Muir trail between Reds Meadow and Yosemite because my stick-lighter failed and the temps were getting down there that night and once while crow hunting in Western Oklahoma, with snow coming down and a 40-mph wind with the temp nearing zero degrees. Though I wasn’t really in danger they both proved to be a great way to mitigate the effects of the situation.
As to the Urban survival skills, since a lot of my trips were business adventures I learned to quickly recognize survival skills in the people I dealt with just in case. A prime example, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A Muslin country, I would rate as very safe to travel to BUT one really never knows when you might run afoul of a local tradition or law so I always made sure I had someone local who knew the lay of the land, the customs, and especially who you could call at 3:00 am and they would show up within the hour with bail money. Seriously. A lot of companies provide “drivers”, but they go home after dumping you at your hotel.
What Are the Most Common Mistakes People Make When They Go Camping?
Wild Bill: IMHO, not testing their equipment out at home first, overpacking, not really being in condition to carry the weight, not knowing the local fauna and taking more than pictures and leaving more than just footprints.
What Are Your Top 5 Must Have Camping Essentials?
Wild Bill: Predictable – two (2) knives in case you break one. A method to start a fire other than a lighter or a pack of matches. A solar charger for your electronics (phone, GPS, avalanche transponder, emergency radio, etc.) A plan left with someone at home you trust – when I am going, where I will be when I will be back. Trail mix that includes M&M’s! If it doesn’t have M&M’s in it, it isn’t real trail mix!
What Are the Main Emergency Techniques You Advise Teaching 5 to 10-year-olds?
Wild Bill: Kids are great! They love to learn and are always open-minded. Be a good parent and teach them safe skills. How to sharpen a stick, how to construct a campfire, how to seek a safe place in an emergency and how NOT to panic. I grew up in earthquake country – no matter where you are or what you are doing, in an instant it could be life or death depending on how you react.
SHOW them how a fire extinguisher works and let them practice on a small fire in the yard. Show them where the water and gas cut-off valves are in a house and how they work and why they are important in a disaster. As they get older show them how to recognize edible plants, how to plant and grow food and how to care for animals, pets, etc.
What Do You Think Is the Best Way to Teach Kids Survival Skills/Bushcraft?
Wild Bill: Hands-on. Kids, like us all, learn by doing. Teach them respect for weapons and try and overcome the Hollywood/cartoon training they get that show people still performing super-human acts after they are injured. Show them how to treat their own cuts and scrapes and explain why each step is important. Kissing a booboo is still fine but them taking care of it themselves will be a better expression of love IMHO.
And Finally, What Tips Do You Have for Those Who Want to Start Training in Prepping and Survival?
Wild Bill: First, understand that it doesn’t have to be a SHTF, disaster flood, Category 7 Hurricane (the media invented this on a scale of 1-5). Start prepping by having intelligently put aside some emergency supplies – food, water, and medicines as well as a medical kit AND take a class on how to use everything in a medical kit. YOU are your first responder in a disaster. Think about it, just how many “first responders” are there compared to the population of the area – not enough to get to you soon in a widespread event and the first 24 hours are usually the most critical.
Try and spend an 8-hour period at home without using electricity once. No TV, no refrigerator, no electronics, no communications with the outside world (cell phone, Internet.) Cook by a fire you built outside without a lighter or eat food for that one meal that doesn’t require cooking. Take stock in that – people after hurricanes go for weeks without electricity.
If you get through this try a full day. You will surprise yourself by what you will learn. You will be surprised at how many people have never had to do this in reality. Stock supplies intelligently – I know many preppers that store thousands of gallons of water expecting an end of the world as we know it event. I don’t fault them but recommend looking at prepping as saving yourselves until help finally does arrive. In a disaster, be suspicious of “help” from strangers, plan accordingly.
We think that it is very important to be prepared for any situation and that there are things you really need to know when you go camping. Keep in mind that is very important to be well informed and calm in case of emergency. Be safe out there!
What do you think is the most important thing your kid should know in order to be prepared in case of an emergency? Let us know your prepping and survival tips in the comment section below!