It’s hard to imagine what life is like in Syria, which has torn itself asunder thanks to a punishing civil war that has more factions joining in every month, it seems. If you take a look at recent photos of the country’s major cities, you will see that they have become bombed-out, burned-out shells with no supporting functional infrastructure.
Still, various factions continue fighting over ground, over cities that are no longer capable of producing anything – except misery. And yet people still live in these destroyed cities, even though there is no economy and no prospects. So, how are they surviving?
Many Syrians are bartering in order to stay alive. They exchange goods for goods, but also services for services and skills for skills. You can imagine that anyone with medical training is probably in a great position to barter that skill for pretty much anything he or she would need to live.
And when war finally does subside in Syria builders, construction workers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and civil engineers will be needed to rebuild the destroyed cities; as long as the infrastructure remains non-functional, people with these skills will probably be able to trade their labor for food, medicine, clothing and other items when they become available.
One glimpse at what is happening in Syria should give you pause – and the shudders – because what is going on there will happen just about anywhere in the developed world, should something cause a societal collapse. Now, we’ve discussed items that will become invaluable as barter bait in such situations, but what kind of skills do you think would be necessary in a post-apocalyptic world.
Let’s examine 10 of them.
- First aid/medical training: As mentioned above, anyone who has any medical training at all will immediately become an asset. Doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners will be in high demand, but so, too, will nurses, paramedics and EMTs and even nursing assistants. If you don’t have any medical training at all, you should consider taking an EMT course or just learning basic first aid and CPR.
- Police officer/security: In a collapsed society, persons with law enforcement experience and/or training as a security guard will be ideal when it comes to providing security and safety for groups. Being a police officer entails much more than simply pinning on a badge and target practice; cops are taught how to handle suspects, angry crowds and arguments, all skills that will be put to good use in a SHTF scenario
- Military personnel: Current and former military personnel have a whole host of skills beyond simple soldiering; many have a military specialty that will come in handy but all of them have “basic” military training they’ll be able to parlay. Plus, they are much more disciplined than the general public and that in and of itself will be useful.
- Hunters: Food is going to become a constant need, but the vast majority of people shop for their food. Hunters, on the other hand, not only know how to kill or capture game, they know where to look for game and how to clean and prepare it for cooking. Finding someone who knows how to use a bow to hunt is a plus (guns make noise, obviously, and there may be times when you don’t want to draw attention to yourself). Understand that once the short-term consumable items found at stores and in warehouses are gone, you’ll have to find a way to sustain yourself over the long run.
- Gardeners/farmers: It’ll be a bonus to find some fresh tomatoes or other produce from time to time, but seeds, not actual food, will become more important. A seasoned gardener or farmer will have the knowledge to plant and grow food and how to care for crops as they grow, as well as how to harvest seeds for next year’s crops. You can hone these skills simply by planting your own garden now and learning how to harvest and store seeds.
- Foraging: People who know how to forage and gather edibles in the wild will prove to be some of your best assets. Which mushrooms are and are not poisonous? Will these berries feed me or kill me? Pick up a reference book on wild edibles to put in with your bugout supplies and on weekends, go out to the woods and look for edibles so you can become more familiar with the process.
- Radio operators: Anyone with a citizen’s band radio (and the power to run it) should be of some use, but the real need will be for someone with the knowledge and skill and equipment to communicate long-range, and for that you’d need to be a ham radio operator. You have to be licensed to operate a ham radio, but the process will be worth it if you can communicate or at least monitor radio waves for information.
- Homesteaders: These folks already know a lot of things about living frugally and simply. They are gardeners, farmers, rancher, carpenters and craftsmen who can raise animals, grow and store food, fix things and use whatever is available to make something you or your group might need.
- Sanitation experts: Think about it – you’re going to need to know how to best deal with waste, including human waste, to maintain proper health. The last thing you will want is to get sick or develop some sort of infection in a post-apocalyptic world, especially if you’re short on medical supplies and don’t have a No. 1 above in your group.
- Pest control: As evidenced by the spreading Zika virus, which is transmitted primarily by mosquitos, having some knowledge about controlling insects and other pests will better protect you and your camp.