You probably won't survive the apocalypse because you don't have the right kind of skills

Lynsey Barber
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The skills we need to survive are not as widespread as you'd think (Source: Getty)

If it was the end of the world, then Britain would not be fine. That's because we lack the right kind of skills in engineering, science and technology to survive.

Less than half of Londoners have the vital skills to make it through after a catastrophic event - whether that be a natural disaster or a more supernatural kind - including how to make chemical substances like fuel, how to get an engine or machine working, or how to repair tools.

“Clearly we shouldn’t be worrying twenty four seven about a potential apocalypse but it’s interesting to take a snap shot of where we are now and how we’d fare – individually and as a society," said Dr Lewis Dartnell, a scientist who will teach children the science of survival at the science and engineering festival Big Bang Fair.

"People’s survival instincts are strong but without a greater focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, the speed at which we’d return to ‘society as we know it’ would be seriously impeded. Rather than duck and cover, the country needs to know how to stand and recover from any disaster.”

Top skills you need after the apocalypse

1. Making and repairing tools

2. Preserving food

3. Making a chemical substance

4. Making things from wood

5. Basic first aid

6. Growing crops or rearing animals

7. Making your own clothes

8. Getting engines and machines 

Just 19 per cent of people would think to take matches if they had to leave home during an emergency event in the capital and only 11 per cent would pick up a simple bottle, which could be used for disinfecting water.

Food was the priority for most, with 60 per cent saying they would take some, 49 per cent would take medical supplies and 52 per cent would take a mobile.

Surprisingly useful items you should take

Glasses Long-sighted glasses can focus sunlight and start a fire

Vaseline Can be used to cover cuts and wounds, and as a fire accelerant

Mobile Even if the network is down, GPS will work for several months

Alcohol For disinfecting wounds

The most important things to take according to Dartnell are a fire-starting kit, water bottle, small knife, rope and food, while the most important things to make are electricity, soap, charcoal, a lathe to craft things with and glass.

“Many of the skills required to rebuild communities in a post-apocalyptic world reflect those held by the professionals currently addressing the global challenges of sustainable energy, clean water supply and food security," said Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK, the organisers of the event.

"Apocalypse or not – these will be critical to our future," he added.

The best places to go after the apocalypse

Vets A good source of antibiotics and medicines

Beach A good place to find materials for making a lathe, fuel, glass and soap

Hospital A source of antibiotics and medicines

Abandoned supermarket There's enough food in a supermarket to live for 55 years

Golf course Golf buggy batteries can be electricity generators

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