5 Skills Every Survival Group Must Have

As stated by acclaimed English poet John Donne, "no man is an island." The solitary many will lead a lonely life within society, but when society breaks down the solitary man will be at a great disadvantage when it comes to his survival.

When the time comes, you will be best served by a survival group. Survival groups can be made up of friends, family, or both, and can include people from all walks of life. While the demographic makeup of your group is irrelevant, the skills each member holds is of paramount importance. To thrive on your own, individual members of your group must possess essential skills to ensure all your bases are covered. The following skills, which are the baseline for a competent group, should be used to inform your selection process.

1. Leadership

Even if every member of your group possesses abilities essential to your survival, it won't make much difference if there is no leader in place. A good leader listens to the input of others in the group and uses them to make the best decisions for the group as a whole. A leader also isn't afraid to delegate responsibilities or to be frankly honest when a plan of action is faulty. While leaders must be assertive, they must also be diplomatic. A good leader doesn't rule with an iron fist, but with wisdom and compassion for those around him.

2. Medical

Things won't always be smooth sailing within your group. In any survivalist situation, there is always a risk of injury and illness, especially when living in harsh conditions. While all members of the group should be trained in basic first-aid, there should also be a person with a higher level of medical knowledge. This job is best suited to a former doctor or nurse with advanced training in general medical treatments. Additionally, your group will also need a good stock of medical supplies so the medic can adequately treat injuries and illness as they arise.

3. Hunting

A well-rounded survival diet will include plenty of nutritious foods. Along with foraging for plants and fishing local bodies of water, you'll also need a hunter within the group to ensure your members have access to a steady supply of protein for fuel. Even if you're handy with a gun and feel comfortable hunting, you should still include a member who is an experienced hunter. An experienced hunter will know the proper tactics to use for the best chance of success, as well as knowing the proper methods of cleaning and dressing a kill to ensure safe consumption.

4. Engineering/Design

Food, water, and shelter are essential for survival. Exposure to the elements can be a real killer, both in the summer and winter. If you're looking at a long-term survival situation, you must do better than a rudimentary shelter with no real staying power. A person with a background in engineering and design will have the knowledge it takes to construct a sturdy, dependable shelter that lasts. Even better, a well-executed shelter design can incorporate elements of comfort, which ensures your members are able to recharge after a long day.

5. Communications

Communication is key to many situations, but it's particularly important within a survival group. If radio communication equipment is available, someone in your group must be well-versed in how to use it. This equipment can help group members communicate with each other when on recon missions, but it can also allow you to make contact with other groups if possible. If radio equipment is unavailable or breaks down, the communications person should have alternative systems in place. For example, flashlights can be used for signaling in the dark, while smoke from fires can be used to call attention to other group members away from camp.

Of course, your group may include additional skills that serve equally important purposes. A well-rounded survival group is your best chance of not only surviving but thriving when the time comes.

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