December 5, 2022


Self reliance and independence

5 Skills Invaluable in a Long-Term Disaster

7 min read

5 Skills that Will Become Invaluable in a Long-Term Disaster

5 Skills Invaluable in a Long-Term DisasterAccording to the American Prepper Network, the five main skills needed for a long-term disaster are abilities related to power, water, shelter, food, and basic survival skills. My take on this is very similar, except that I’ve replaced power generation experience with medical experience. After all, mankind has gone without eletricity for a far longer time than we’ve relied upon it. On the other hand, doctors, nurses and others with expertise in keeping people healthy will be in great demand in a survival situation.

These five skills encompass the basics of survival in a long-term disaster situation. The primary focus when it comes to preparation often centers on stockpiling the food, tools and other necessities that will be needed in a disaster. However, it’s also important to create a strong and diverse community of people with the skills needed to survive in extraordinary circumstances.


First Aid

Under normal conditions, knowing basic first aid is useful for providing care until medical professionals arrive. You can also stay on the phone with 911 and receive instructions about how to care for a patient until the ambulance comes. In a long-term disaster situation, however, those options won’t be available. That’s why every prepper group should be sure to include members with medical training.

Choosing Supplies

Besides stockpiling ammunition, food, and tools, learning basic wound care techniques and lifesaving measures should be an integral part of your disaster preparation. Choose medical supplies intelligently according to which ones will be crucial in a long-term survival situation. This job should be delegated to the person in your survival group with the most medical knowledge.

Triage and Prevention

Triage and prevention are two crucial benefits of having people in your party with medical training. Triage is the process of assessing the urgency of an illness or injury and treating the most severe cases first. In the early stages of a long-term disaster, this will save the most lives. Prevention also takes on a new significance in a survival situation, since heading off illness and injury is by far the easiest way to keep the most people fit and healthy.


Supplying Game

Hunting and trapping will be major survival skills when there are no long grocery stores to visit for food supplies. A person who can procure meat for a group will be a valuable contributor to the health and wellbeing of everyone. Knowledge about the use of firearms and the ability to successfully hunt game will be a sought-after skill in a post-apocalyptic world. Expertise in setting traps will be another invaluable asset when it comes to providing food. There may be times that guns aren’t the best option or ammunition is running low, and it’s always best to have an alternate way to get meat protein for survival.

  Defensive Skills

There are many defensive skills besides the use of firearms, although that will be a necessary option in the event of a breakdown of law and government. Passive defensive skills are another important tool in your repertoire of safety measures. Whether you’re able to hunker down in your own home or you’re living off the land, a primary goal in safeguarding your survival shelter is making it hard for looters to find and penetrate your bunker. After all, “If no one knows of a critical asset, no one will target that asset”.

Security Leadership

Leaders for a prepper group should be able to adapt to changing circumstances and advise members on tasks and practices that will enhance group security. Defense is a continuous process in a disaster environment, and there will be a shifting set of hazards and vulnerabilities to keep up with. It’s vital to continually be alert for ways to improve security for the group. Your security leaders should be skilled in offensive and defensive protection. If passive defense fails, a good marksman will provide valuable protection against mobs, looters or wild animals.


Temporary Emergency Shelter

Setting up a tent that’s sturdy and will maintain structural integrity for weeks actually involves a great deal of effort. Someone with a talent for adjusting guy lines, securing tent poles and setting up rain flaps will be an asset to any survival effort. There’s also skill involved in finding the best location to stay dry and secure. A waterproof tarp will provide shelter and camouflage, too, and a skilled outdoor enthusiast can make one into various shelter configurations.

Long-Term Survival Shelter

Anyone who has spent time wilderness camping will have an edge when it comes to providing shelter in a disaster scenario. If you’re forced to flee your home and don’t have tents or tarps to create a shelter, it’s vital to have someone in your group who knows how to build a wilderness survival shelter. That way, you’ll at least have a secure structure with protection from the elements. You can start with an open shelter that’s finished in an hour or two. When you find the best location to settle for a while, an enclosed shelter takes a little longer to build, and it can last indefinitely.



Once a site has been selected and fortified as a permanent shelter, food needs to be planted right away. This is when having a member with the knowledge of what to plant and how to care for the crops will be vital to the survival group. There’s a lot of skill involved in planting and harvesting, including knowing which plants do well together and which need to be separated in order to thrive. Techniques like fertilizing, mulching and thinning will all contribute to an abundant and hearty crop.

Nutrition Maintenance

In a long-term disaster scenario, it will be more important than ever to get enough nutrients to stay healthy and active. Most people who are well-versed in planting and harvesting also have an idea of which vegetables and fruits provide the vitamins, carbohydrates, and energy needed to deal with daily tasks. It’s a bonus if they’re familiar with wild offerings, like mushrooms, seeds, and nuts since this is food that’s there for the gathering.

Food Preservation

Canning will still be possible in a survival situation, and this is one skill that allows people to have nutritious food in the winter. Thin slices of fruits and vegetables are also easy to dry in sunlight, making them lightweight and portable. Curing is one food preservation technique that keeps meat from going bad. Meats can be sun-dried or stored with salt to remove moisture, leaving salted, dried meat that keeps indefinitely. Knowing how to smoke meat over dry hardwood is another valuable skill in a post-disaster environment. Anyone who knows how to use curing techniques to deliver meat with a palatable texture and taste will possess critical skills for survival.


Finding Water Sources

Your stockpile will include water stores and purification tablets, but your group will also need a continuous source of potable water. Boiling, filtering, and chemical treatment are the standard methods of ensuring a safe water supply. Everyone in your party needs to be educated about the dangers of drinking untreated water from ponds and streams and the proper sterilization of water containers. The ability to find and maintain a supply of clean water will be a crucial long-term disaster skill.

 Treating the Water Supply

To ensure survival, you’ll need someone who has the ability to choose appropriate water sources and provide enough clean, safe water for the group. There may be stretches of traveling on foot during the timeline after a disaster, and providing water for a lot of people can be challenging. Someone who understands basic chemistry can best interpret results from water testing kits and take the appropriate measures to safeguard your water supply. It’s also important to have at least one person with the ability to produce activated charcoal and construct a secure filtering device for your source of water.


There are many skills that will be needed in the event of a long-term disaster, whether it’s caused by war, natural forces or human error. One tactic that will help your group to not just survive but to live a decent life is to choose the right leaders. You’ll need people with organizational skills and the ability to prioritize, as this will have a major impact on the success of your party. The five skills included here are crucial ones in a time of crisis, and people who possess them will be a vital component in the success of your post-disaster community.

 About the Author:

Conrad Novak is a proud father of two children. His journey as a prepper began when Hurricane Katrina hit and he lost his job due to the 2008 economic crisis. That made him realize that everything can change for the worst in a very short time. This experience was the detonator for him to pursue learning and becoming better prepared to face the kind of unexpected disasters that may occur at any point in our lives. You can read more of his content at

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