Edmonton-area apocalypse school teaches skills to survive

·3 min read
The course covers numerous skills from fire-making to how best to survive a nuclear attack. (Apocalypse Preparedness and Survival School - image credit)
The course covers numerous skills from fire-making to how best to survive a nuclear attack. (Apocalypse Preparedness and Survival School - image credit)

After 21 years in the military and 13 years as a paramedic, Greg Gorecki developed a particular set of skills.

He's now passing on his knowledge to the students of his Apocalypse Preparedness and Survival school.

The two-day course covers a range of survival topics, spending one day indoors and the other out in the field in the Cooking Lake area, east of Edmonton.

Gorecki and his two instructors cover everything from how to build fires to how to read compasses and build shelters. They also tackle first aid — sutures and tourniquets — and even how best to survive a nuclear attack.

He said the hope is that the skills are useful for situations like a natural disaster or something more extreme, like the apocalypse.

Submitted by Greg Gorecki
Submitted by Greg Gorecki

"I'm a big advocate for people being able to help themselves and being able to have control in a situation. And this empowers people to do so," Gorecki said.

"I mean, even the art of reading a map, all you have to do is follow arrows now. You don't need to learn how to use a map anymore. All these skills have gone the way of the dodo, you could say."

The school was conceptualized back in 2020 but had to be put on hold due to the pandemic. The first course took place at the end of March of this year, with another coming up April 30.

Now, Gorecki said that several students are interested in the course due to current world events like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

"Some are a little bit scared of what's going on. Some are just taking this for what it is and just saying 'I'd like to be more prepared,'" Gorecki said.

"The thing is that you never know and things can change so incredibly fast. I mean, like the toilet paper rush, people were not prepared. And that's just toilet paper."

Submitted by Greg Gorecki
Submitted by Greg Gorecki

Jasmine Fulks took the course in March and said her interest came from an event closer to home: the Fort McMurray fires.

As a psychologist, she's worked with several survivors of the fires and there is one strong common theme among most of them.

"One of the things that kind of came up over and over again with people I worked with is how unprepared they felt," Fulks said.

"We kind of joke about it now, but like just the things that they grabbed when they could grab stuff. One woman grabbed a stuffed moose head because when we're in fight or flight we don't think logically or rationally."

Fulks now has a pre-packed first aid kit and go bag, and while she hopes to never use them, having it and the skills to take care of herself is a comfort.

"Coming from a psychological perspective, actually having the capacity to say light a fire goes a long way for, I think, humans in general around being able to care for yourself," Fulks said.

"I think there is a lot of confidence-building around that ... very basic-seeming skills do translate into how we feel day to day."

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