Operational Essential Task Lists for When the “S” Hits the Fan



by Jeremiah Johnson 

ReadyNutrition Readers, this is “Part 2” of our METL series.  To refresh, METL is a military acronym that translates into “Mission Essential Task List.”  Part 1 covered a METL for training and how to prepare yourself and your family in terms of what to study and practice.  This second part gives the tasks you will all need to be proficient in when the “S” hits the fan and everything comes unglued.

Try and understand that this list can be changed and modified to fit the needs of a family and their idiosyncrasies.  Each family is different and unique in terms of physical conditioning, skill-sets, geographic location, and family demographics, there will be different challenges facing each family even in the same disaster.

These are tasks that all the family members…the ones able physically, mentally, and chronologically…should be proficient in.  Let’s do it!

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  1. First Aid: Everyone in the family should learn about bandaging and splinting (termed “sticks and rags” in the Army). How to dress a wound, run a simple set of sutures, clear and maintain an airway, perform CPR, treat for heat and cold weather injuries.  About a year ago, we did a series on Field First Aid that you may wish to refer to for a refresher on these tasks.  Also: if you have any family members who have special medical needs…all the rest of your family needs to know how to take care of them…from injections to the administration of oxygen.
  2. Essential Outdoor Survival Skills: Building a FireDisinfecting/Treating WaterConstruct a Lean-to or Erecting a TentCleaning and Cooking Wild game, fowl, or fish. These are some of the tasks.  Depending on your geographic locale and the season of the year, there may be a substantial number of tasks added that require proficiency.
  3. NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical): training for each member of the family of how to properly seat and use a protective (gas) mask, how to decontaminate skin, clothing, and vehicles, how to read a dosimeter, how to construct and use a Kearney Fallout meter, how to use and read a Radiological Survey Meter (aka: Geiger Counter), how to find and take shelter from fallout, how to protect your equipment from an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse).
  4. Defensive Measures: Complete proficiency with firearms (field stripping, cleaning, zeroing, and marksmanship), how to patrol your property (we just covered that in a recent article), how to perform guard duty, radio watch, and gather local intelligence. How to work as a team with your family members in a defensive perimeter, with clearing a room or building, and how to make an orderly retreat/withdrawal while covering one another.  Emphasis needs to be placed on communications (both radio and visual, such as hand and arm signals).
  5. Map Reading and Land Navigation: Everyone who is able needs to learn to use a compass and read a map. Short and long land navigation exercises (on foot and vehicular) need to be trained.  Day and night land navigation need to be studied and practiced.  The field expedient methods of direction need to be known to all family members, such as finding north with the sun and the shadow-tip method and using the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia at night to find the North Star.  We have covered this information in previous articles at ReadyNutrition.  Everyone needs to know their pace count with and without gear.
  6. Physical Training: The family needs to be physically fit and healthy. Emphasis needs to be placed on calisthenics and/or weightlifting.  A family that is fit is a family that can fight.  Martial skills such as boxing or the oriental fighting arts need to be pursued.  Proper diet, nutrition, and study of both subjects need to be undertaken regularly.
  7. Specialty Skills: include (but aren’t limited to) how to hotwire a vehicle, how to drive a semi/motorcycle/snowmobile/pilot a boat, how to move cross-country in the snow with snowshoes/skis/sleds/toboggans, etc. The specialty skill can pertain to a peculiarity of your geographical region, or it can be a common task you all agree that it would behoove you to learn.

These are your tasks for starters.  These are tasks that everyone needs to know how to do when everything comes apart…to be able to operate as a family and as individuals working for the good of your family.  It is up to you to examine these tasks and build on them as you see fit.  Once they are identified, you can incorporate these tasks that need to be worked on into your Training METL given in the last article.  Keep fighting that good fight, and stay organized with a METL for yourself and your family!  JJ out!

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