Across the United States departments, agencies and companies continue to reduce their personnel, equipment and the training made available to their people. Some of the people working for these entities hold onto this belief that if their management isn’t going to pay to improve things then why should they as an individual do the same? I don’t agree with this line of reasoning.
Keep in mind that even for elite warriors that training is a perishable skill. It’s usually the first thing given up when other missions or duties come up. And tactical training is a perishable skill that you need to get your body used to doing. Another thing to keep in mind is, the better the shape you are in, the better you will perform; don’t leave this up to leadership because the responsibility falls on you.
Why buy your own ammo, why search out quality gear bags, or eye-pro or pay for shooting classes, why learn, why influence others?
If you’re not spending time learning then you’re going to fall behind those who are actively seeking ways to improve. Learning skills helps you become a valuable member of a team and also in being a self-reliant individual. I enjoy training. It is an opportunity to learn things that I know nothing about. It’s always a win situation for me. If the instructors and students are good or bad at what they do, I still benefit in some way by their examples. Any of the training you get will build those skills to make you useful in your trade, be it infantryman, protective security, woodsman or armored guard.
I’ve listed for you some of the training you might look into. Time constraints are something that affect us but don’t let this deter you from finding a way to learn. Some training may cost you thousands of dollars such as advanced firearms certifications that require you to pay for the ammo and the instruction. However, other training, such as self-defense courses taught at local community colleges are freely given. I promise you, one day you will be grateful for the knowledge you took away from a course because you will one day use it to save a life, I really believe that. Those with a certain mentality will always be the first to respond. Make sure you have the skills in your tool box.
- Disaster Training
FEMA, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and many online Universities offer free training. You can learn how your community responds to emergencies. The Red Cross offers First Aid, CPR and AED Certification. The Salvation Army offers lifeguarding and CPR classes for free. FEMA offers disaster response such as what to do in case of a fire, flood or earthquake. Disaster training courses are rated according to difficulty; the higher the difficulty level, the more complex the knowledge presented. We read many stories in the news about soldiers or Marines saving someone’s life at the shopping mall; some credited their military training and many others noted the free refresher courses they received at church or community colleges was very useful.
Years ago while sitting in traffic at 3 O’clock in the morning I saw smoke and fire. I thought that was odd. Rather than get on to the Interstate I made a U-turn and headed to the illumination. I drove around a few dark streets and saw a barn on fire that was sitting behind a home. I banged on the door of the home. The fire and smoke was spreading fast that I banged the door louder and faster. The aged house-owner opened the door and realized quickly what was happening. Her husband, who happened to be a retired-disabled senior, had to be woken from bed and helped into a wheel chair by me quickly. As we drove down the wheel-chair ramp two women drove by. I shouted for them to call 911 as I did not have a phone on my person. 10 minutes must have passed from the time I saw the light while at the intersection to the time I pulled the man out of bed. The fire department took another 5 minutes to arrive and got the fire under control. Who knows what could have happened if I ignored the flames? It was so early in the morning and I was the only driver on the road as far as I could tell. I recall reading a story about a family who could not save their child because they didn’t know the Heimlich Maneuver. Any skill we acquire can be used to help others.
- Gardening Skills
This is something I enjoy doing but don’t make a lot of time for. My wife tells me that I have a green-thumb but the only thing I’ve ever done was to grow cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers; easy stuff to plant and grow. But learning gardening is useful because you learn about seeds, water, soil, insects and cultivation. Learning about cultivation is also tied into learning of the medicinal properties and values of plants. You can do research online but I recommend going to many road-side green-houses because they have a very knowledgeable staff you can talk to.
- Firearm Certification and Training
Firearms training is a must for any law enforcement officer, military personnel or any kind of shooting enthusiast. Shooting well means “practice makes perfect”. You might be a naturally good shooter but it’s still important to get out there and practice.
The NRA offers basic and advanced courses to develop shooters into safe, capable shooters. The NRA programs address all aspects of hunting. The women’s programs instructs on personal safety, gun safety, gun knowledge, marksmanship, hunting, or recreational or competitive shooting. Per the NRA, “ the Action Rifle Challenge is a training event designed to develop modern, practical rifle skills with general purpose rifles, such as the AR-15. ARC events are designed for shooters of all skill levels and can be conducted on almost any center-fire range in the country.
Attendees will learn safe firearm handling skills with their personal firearms and gear; and demonstrate their athletic and tactical abilities in different real world skill sets.” They have youth and gunsmithing programs too. Classes are reasonably priced. The basic training you receive in the military and law enforcement is adequate but if you want to be ahead of your peers, look into getting additional training and advanced training under your belt.
- Medical Training
If you can’t afford to go to the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes then consider searching the internet for some additional training. Many of the EMT classes that are free require you to be a first responder already but don’t let this info deter you from learning a skill. The military provides very good training in this area, but why not get additional skills, if you can get for a good price?
You might not want to be a medic but learning these useful EMT skills can help you while you are deployed or while at home; you might one day be a witness to a traffic accident and be the only person there to respond. One time I was on vacation and was the first driver in traffic to respond to a motorcyclist hit by a truck. The cyclist’s legs were nearly snapped in two and he was in shock. None of the bystanders knew what to do. I think the crowd was in shock at seeing his snapped legs. I stabilized him until emergency personnel arrived. I am thankful for having a basic understanding of human physiology and first aid care. You will be a great help to those in need.
- Medicinal Plants and Herbs
Growing up as a child with a Vietnamese mother I was fascinated with some of the home remedies she knew and culled from her culture’s ancient knowledge base. I still recall my mother giving a ginger broth to my pregnant sister for her upset stomach; this was done long before holistic medicine became trendy. My wife spends a good deal of time surfing the internet and being plugged into what works and what doesn’t. There are many bloggers and forums with people who are highly knowledgeable about this area. Library books, online web searching, forums and more can really help you get down the basics.
- Sewing Classes
I learned the basics of sewing in the military; really not much more than affixing my loose buttons to my uniform. My younger brother immersed himself into sewing and is fully able to construct shirts and trousers from sheets of cloth. This skill is good for repairing old jeans, utility trousers, tarps, ponchos and more. The sewing business where I once lived offered free classes for those willing to learn. I am certain you can find a local business to teach you the basics.
Your Parks and Recreation, and YMCA organizations might offer essential survival skill knowledge. Look into library books, the internet and the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts offers adult classes and so do some of the community colleges. Homesteading courses are often offered by homesteading families at your local churches. Hunting skills are taught by many hunting groups, lodges and organizations. You can learn rock climbing, rappelling, cooking and so much more for very little cost.
If you want to be someone with a good base of skills then make New Year’s the year to learn something new. Make a list of the free courses and those which cost money. Also make a list of the courses which are the most useful to you and those that take the longest time to complete. Make a tracker and begin to enact your plan of action. Finish up with the courses that are free and the quickest to complete and begin to tackle the training that will cost money. This gives you months in advance to save money for training. Anything you learn is likely to save your life or the someone else’s life, especially if you spend any time hunting, camping, or as a member of law enforcement or the military.
(Images courtesy of Unsplash.com and Pixaby.com)