Cross-Training for TEOTWAWKI Preparedness, by Beau F.

I’ve been preparing for a number of years now and found a great way to prepare others in your group as well. I realized a long time ago that I could not survive alone. Now that I have a family, and close like minded friends, I realize that I don’t have to. A couple of years ago I really started stockpiling my “tactical” gear. I would buy a lot of ammo, good mags, the right tactical clothing, and so on. I started reading up on certain things that would be helpful in a TEOTWAWKI situation and would start to practice some of what I studied. I just recently came to the realization that knowledge is great, but what happens if you are the only one with the knowledge and/or training in a certain area? What happens if you’ve failed to teach anyone else your skills and you became seriously injured or killed? The rest of the group is left with what they know and what you’ve left them with.

I realized that teaching others what you know and have practiced is essential for survival. I don’t want to lay there bleeding out while trying to explain to my wife how to fix me. I don’t want to have to try and figure out how to properly grow fruits and vegetables with only seeds in my hand and no training on what to do with them. After reading “Patriots“, my friends and family members have held several meeting to touch basis with each other, talk about current affairs, plan a few things, and do a lot of talking.
We started discussing the skills each of us possessed and didn’t posses, and quickly realized we each had a lot to learn. We realized that we need to start teaching each other the skills each of us posses that the others do not.

To start off, you need to assign each individual or family group a set of skills to teach the rest of the group. A few things need to be taken into consideration before assigning tasks. First, consider what people already know or have training in. For example, I work at a hospital as a nurse; it would make most sense to assign medical tasks to me. One individual is an infantry Sergeant, and has been to Iraq twice. He’s been assigned to teach the rest of the group infantry tactics and how to shoot, move, and communicate. Second, decide whether or not this individual is going to purchase and stock most of the supplies and gear needed to perform their specific tasks. You may want to have each person pitch in some money so this individual can order what the group needs and doesn’t have to pay for it all himself. My group of friends decided they wanted to have their own medical supplies, so I provided them with a detailed list of what I thought would be important and practical to have. These are discussions you need to have early on to make absolutely sure everyone is stocked correctly. You don’t want 20 people with silverware and dishes, and no one with food (you see this on camping and backing trips quite frequently).

Once you’ve identified who is going to specialize in what, it’s time to teach your group. Leave it up to each individual to plan their course, but be clear about how long they should teach and demonstrate for, and there should always be a lot of hands on. The learning process can be ongoing and doesn’t have to take place during one training session. However, be sure that you’re getting good training each time and it isn’t just a reason to hang out and talk again. You will be glad you actually learned these skills when it comes time to use them.

Making reference cards, laminating them, and handing them out to each member, is a great way to pass on knowledge. I made some quick reference cards, about 3×5, and put simple things to remember on them. Such things as the fundamentals of CPR, antibiotic dosages, and how to dress certain wounds were included. The cards are water proof and can easily fit in a pocket or bug out bag. Along with training, these cards will act as refreshers or quick references when needed. I know this sounds like common sense, but don’t burn things on to a CD/DVD. You’re probably thinking why would I do that? I had a friend put a lot of good information onto a DVD. Its great when there is still electricity and you still have access to a computer. You get the point!

Training the person next to you to do your job, and you to do theirs, is key to surviving and thriving. You can never count on any one person to always be around to perform a certain task. Although it is ok to be the expert in certain areas, your teammates need to be proficient, at the least, in the skills you’ve mastered. Continue to have refresher type courses with hands on exercises. This will help keep everyone up to speed with essential skills and will help refresh your memory as well. The ultimate goal is to posses a set of critical skills that are preformed by using “muscle memory”. Muscle memory is the term often used when referring to being able to react correctly without thinking. Practicing gardening so much that it becomes muscle memory isn’t as important as tactical skills and medical performance. The idea is too basically be proficient and confident in critical skill areas that will keep you and your teammates alive. Plus, learning new skills can only help in your everyday life, especially when it comes to basic first aid, mechanical issues, or performing carpentry around the house.


  • Advanced first aid and CPR (military medical FMs are a great resource)
  • Shooting skills at various ranges and environments ( Use battle rifles, long rifles, pistols, and shotguns or whatever you plan on stockpiling for protection)
  • Along with shooting, practice reacting to certain threats (ambushes, long range sniper fire, close quarters shooting, etc.) Be aware of each other and the expectations of each person in your group.
  • Auto mechanics (both small and large engine repair)
  • Gardening on a large scale
  • Meat and other food processing along with field dressing certain types of game animals.
  • Basic carpentry skills
  • Self defense
  • Communications

These are just some of the basic, but important, skills I think everyone should know. You could certainly add as much as you think necessary. Your group may feel that practicing foot patrols and reacting to certain types of threats is a little overkill, that’s completely fine. The idea is to think about what types of situations you might be in, plan for them, and practice the skills you think you need in order to survive and protect yourself.

Now, I would like to talk a little bit about what I said earlier. I said that I had been stockpiling tactical gear over the last few years as well. It’s always a great idea to have weapons, ammo, and the gear to haul it around with, but are you going to be the only one with it in your family? Some situations may arise causing you to bug out with your family only, or at least for a while until you can meet up with others. If you are the only one with the “tactical gear” you may find yourself in a tuff situation. Let’s assume you are married with one child. You will be solely responsible for their entire well being and safety. It will be hard to constantly keep a 360-degree surveillance of the areas you are in. It will also be difficult to shoot and move your family efficiently when you are the only one who is able to shoot back. You can only stay up for so long when it comes to pulling night security of the area you are staying in. You most definitely need someone else to share this duty with while each of you rotates sleeping schedules.

At the very least, your spouse, or significant other, needs to have the correct gear and be trained on how to use it correctly. I started buying all the nice tactical gear and training with it quite frequently. I thought “man if something ever happens I will be set up to shoot, move and communicate. I have all the best gear and it will be able to take a beating in the field. It looks pretty cool to”. My wife asked me what each piece of gear was for every time it would arrive in the mail. I started showing her how to use each piece of equipment, and found myself giving her basic lessons on what to do in certain situations. She later asked me if we could get her some gear as well. We did just that, and I couldn’t believe I had never thought to prepare her as well. Now, we both know how to use the gear we have, know the expectations of each other in a real world situation, and I feel confident that we, as a team, could come out on top of most bad situations. All of this goes back to, once again, training the person next to you to do your job, as well as you to do theirs.

There are so many levels of training any one or more person can do. I’m not trying to turn every so called group into a highly trained militant organization. I just want everyone to realize some of the things we could be faced with in the future and be able to prepare for them before they happen. Each of you will be able assess the needs and abilities of yourself, spouse, and other like minded individuals you associate with. I hope that this article will give you some insight on how to prepare a little better and possibly open your mind to a few things you may not have thought about before. Good luck and God bless!