If your plan is to run into some random people during the apocalypse and form a cohesive group of skilled survivors, think again. Great teams don’t just spring into existence. They are built. The time to build your doomsday dream team is now, not during a disaster.
Preparedness Starts At Home
The most practical place to start building a group is within your immediate family. Since these are likely to be the folks that you’re trying to provide for and protect, why not involve them in the preparation process? Even the young and very old can play a role. While some family members will want nothing to do with a prepper group or self-reliance, some of them may go along with it due to a feeling of familial obligation. If you’re lucky, some may become motivated contributors.
Anyone that engages will be bettering themselves and it’s a win in your book. You can also reach out to extended family and trusted friends to gauge their interest level in participating. An easy way to break the ice is to host a family event, offer food and then practice a skill. As an example, I rounded up a group of older family members and brought in a first aid trainer last year. We had a nice meal and everyone had a lot of fun learning some new medical skills. At the end, we all had a chance to relax and chat about preparedness plans. It was time well spent. Since it’s dealing with family, you may really have to bite your tongue at times.
At first, make sure these gatherings are perceived as family events and fun activities. But secretly provide useful prepper skills since you don’t want to upset or drive off timid family members with a gloom and doom show. Once you figure out who is onboard, be more overt with your group gatherings. With any luck, there will be a great role for all who want to contribute. Prepper group members don’t all have to look like John Rambo. Even a wheelchair-bound granny can contribute by sharing hard-earned wisdom and watching over the young ones. Together your group can make plans for yourselves and plans for the family members you’re willing to support after a crisis hits. Even if everyone isn’t willing to contribute now.
The benefits of building this prepper group of loved ones are obvious. The people you were planning to care for anyway are now taking the initiative to provide for themselves. Each member is better prepared for the uncertainties of the future. These activities and the time you spend with each other may even bring the family closer together. Of course, there is that odd chance that family members will butt heads, over preparedness plans or personal squabbles. But fights happen in every family and the pros of building this group far outweigh the cons.
Add To Your Group
With the help of family members, start screening and recruiting new members for your group. Ideally, these would be local people with a valuable skill. Group members who could provide security and medical care on a professional level would be highly valuable in a disaster setting. This could include people with military, law enforcement, and medical training. People with these skill sets are typically on your top tier of importance. Secondarily, each group would also need people who can cook for an entire group, possibly without utilities. Cooking may not seem like a high priority at first glance, but it’s surprisingly important since an army moves on its stomach and unskilled food prep could sicken the whole group.
I’d place off-grid cooking and farming skills as a second-tier since they are the skills to feed the group. These farming skills can include animal husbandry and growing crops. A third tier of skilled people could include those with building, repair, and communication skills. This is the broadest group. It can include anything from automotive repair to carpentry to HAM radio experience to homebuilding. Certainly, there are plenty of other skills that people can pick up along the way, things that anyone can do. Water procurement and disinfection is a vital topic. So is sanitation.
But these aren’t skills that take years to learn. The prized skills that we have discussed require years of experience and specialized training. But don’t be a skill snob. Don’t ignore people with no skills as group members. Every person has the potential to be a talented and valued group member, as none of us know it all. Those who are willing to work hard and eager to learn may end up becoming some of the most valuable members of your group someday.
And what are the benefits of expanding your group? Diverse skills sets and experiences make any group better prepared for the unknown. These people may end up becoming your fast friends. Finally, you’re likely to experience a greater peace of mind and a sense of comfort from adding skilled people to your group. It’s hard to put into words, though it’s something like finding an important item that you’ve lost. Relief is the closest feeling I can explain.
Make A Plan
If you’re to the point of building a survival group, chances are good that there are already emergency plans for your own household. But what about your larger group? In the event of an emergency, a well thought out set of plans can reduce stress, limit confusion, and save a great deal of wasted time. You can put your emergency plan to work right away instead of wondering what and when to do things. This brings sanity and a greater margin of safety to dangerous situations. Your prepper group needs a unified and integrated plan for the most likely disasters your region would face. Here are just a few of the issues that your group should discuss and decide upon in order to build a disaster plan.
- What EXACTLY is the group preparing for?
- Who should know about your group and who shouldn’t?
- How long of an emergency are you planning to ride out?
- How much food and other supplies will your group size require for that time?
- How will you resupply?
- How will you communicate, even if the phones are out?
- Who will assist family members who have mobility problems, medical issues, communication difficulties, or special needs?
- What are the rally points and will one of your houses be Headquarters?
- Where EXACTLY will group supplies be stored? All in one place or modular? Who will have access to them?
- Who will maintain, inspect, and rotate any group emergency supplies such as non-perishable food, water, first aid, lighting, and communication equipment?
- What are your plans for bugging out, with and without vehicles?
- What are your plans for bugging in?
- Where is your water coming from and what is the back-up?
- Who will care for pets and livestock? How will they care for them?
- Are there self-sufficiency skills and supplies that the group needs?
- What are the evacuation plans and routes if you have to leave your home?
- When will you schedule training and drills?
- What are the roles and chores of each group member?
- What’s the chain of command or form of group leadership?
- What are the group rules, who will enforce them, and how will they be enforced?
So how do we benefit from a group emergency plan? This plan is your framework for survival. It tells each member what to do and when to do it. The multitude of time consuming emergency decisions have already been made. This allows your group to function fluidly without stopping to argue over all of the minutia of every choice. By allowing the group to have input, many minds are more powerful than one. Group members may think of things that never occurred to you. Of course the plan will have to change based on the exact emergency and who is present for it. However, it’s far better to have a plan that needs adjustment than to build a plan from scratch during a crisis.