Friday, December 26, 2008

Skills You Need to Learn from an Expert

You can learn many preparedness skills on your own. Watch a video, read a book, experiment a little, and pretty soon you can become quite proficient at a wide range of skills. On the other hand, there are some skills that really require advanced tutelage from an expert. Basically anything that can threaten life and limb would fall into this category. Here's a number of topics that a) require advanced learning under the care of an expert, and b) I won't write about in depth in this blog because I don't want people reading about a dangerous topic in a blog and then go out and experiment thus risking life and/or limb.
  1. Advanced medical procedures. Having advanced medical skills is a wonderful accompaniment to your preparedness repertoire. There are, however, many reasons that medical school takes a decade or more. Everyone should have basic first aid skills but when it comes to the point of needing to perform surgery, sticking an ET tube down someone's gullet, or using a bone gun to get a line, you need to stop and get thee to a classroom, not use an online "let's perform cyber surgery" website as a guide. If you do want to increase your medical skills, you can start as an EMT and volunteer with the local fire department or ambulance crew. You will get some education and critical field experience that is above and beyond basic first aid. If you are still enthralled by the topic, you can go to nursing school, paramedic school, or even medical school!
  2. Anything at all related to explosions, detonation, blasting, and the like. There are plenty of websites that can teach you how to build a bomb, but that doesn't mean you should (and it is illegal). Some years ago I went to visit my sister and her kids. Her ten year old son was in his bedroom emptying the powder out of a handful of M80 firecrackers because he wanted to make a "bomb" like he saw on the internet. My sister bragged about how "smart" her little boy while I was wondering how big the blast zone would be if the materials went off. Yikes. While knowing how to blow things up is a very useful skill, it is best (and more legal) if you learn this via your job (such as from the military, in a university science lab, or at a rock quarry).
  3. Most "dangerous sports". These include SCUBA diving, mountain/rock climbing, sky diving, flying, etc. Many of these sports require a license of some sort to prove that you have the skills to not do yourself in due to lack of education and experience. There are plenty of people who participate in these sports and many are actually pretty simple to learn, however these is no substitute for experienced guidance from someone who is well versed in the sport of your choice. Many colleges and private businesses offer certification courses in these sports. Again, the military will teach you for free if you qualify then sign over a chunk of your life. Either way, learning these sports the right way, from an expert, will go a long way towards both your enjoyment of the sport and living long enough to participate in them for a number of years.
  4. Less dangerous things. Anyone can go out and buy a chain saw. Almost anyone can go out and buy a gun. While there are no hard and fast requirements for owning and using these and other items such as table saws, cars, backhoes, et al., having someone teach you how to safely use these items is quite valuable. If you don't know what you are doing with these items you can end up missing some fingers or with a tree on the roof of your house (and those are the good results...death and dismemberment would be the worst). Choose a knowledgeable friend--the one that has the heart of a teacher, not the one that likes to destroy things on a regular basis--to give you a few lessons and you will be well on your way to successfully using your new toys...uh, tools.
The bottom line is that anything that can harm you necessitates education in how to effectively do/use said item. Throughout the ages, many of these skills were passed from father to son, however in the last couple of generations, there has been, unfortunately, a steady increase in broken families causing these skills get lost. If you are so inclined, go, learn, and expand your skills in the safest way possible.

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