The concept of survival is simple; having the necessary items and knowledge to complete a task, or the knowledge to replace or substitute necessary items to complete said task. Having both the items and knowledge, and just as important the experience, combat the difficult part of survival; thus measuring and identifying your true strength. The following article will discuss some things that I feel are important when starting a group, or getting your group to that next level. Additionally, we have included a working set of Bylaws and a Mission Statement to help you along.
Strength in Numbers
In a true grid-down survival scenario, a single person can only accomplish so many tasks in a single day. If you are lucky enough to be a part of a survival network, these tedious, yet important daily tasks can be delegated to multiple individuals. If you think about it, “man” has always believed that there is strength in numbers; if he hadn’t civilization would not exist. Even the Prepper that identifies himself, or herself, as a Lone Wolf, understands the importance of being a part of a network of like-minded individuals. The more people to spread responsibilities to, the more that can be accomplished. Also, the more supplies at your disposal, the longer you can survive before your resources need to be replenished. That is, if every member of your network pulls a fair share of the responsibilities, and has the appropriate amount of required resources for their family.
If the grid collapses, you will be responsible for every aspect of your survival; from gathering and growing food, to providing medical care and protecting your family. Since most of us do not currently live a self-sufficient lifestyle, there will be a major learning curve. In today’s world, if you set out to grow a liberty garden in your backyard, and realize you do not have a green thumb, you can simply drive to the grocery store and replenish your shelves. However, during a survival situation, any small mistake can turn into a major catastrophe.
In addition to having multiple individuals to accomplish the daily work requirements, you must also account for having the knowledge necessary to accomplish tasks. To counter these knowledge gaps, most Preppers inundate themselves with massive amounts of information, download and print countless documents, and place piles of books and notebooks in their Bug Out Bag, vehicle, and in every crevice at their home. While, I am a part of this group of people, and believe wholeheartedly in stockpiling reference materials, I also understand that without proper training and experience, I would fail miserably if I had to exclusively rely on my notes. If you are a part of a survival network, and partner with the correct types of individuals, you can include experts in certain areas and spread new learning objectives across multiple individuals.
Of course, the personal protection / self-defense side of preparedness is also important. I rarely leave home without a means of protecting my family, and in a grid-down situation I would have several ways to counter a threat. However, we live in an entertainment society that idolizes guns and violence, which leads most Preppers, especially the new ones, to purchase guns and ammunition first, and putting higher priority survival necessities second; such as food, medical supplies, and ways to purify water.
I am a firm believer that every able bodied person in your survival network should be comfortable with firearms and other self-defense techniques. I will even extend this thought to include at a minimum several hundred rounds of ammunition for self-defense and hunting needs. But, if I was topping off my Bug Out Bag (BOB) and I had to pick from a hundred extra rounds of ammunition (option A) or additional medical supplies and hand sanitizer (option B), without thinking twice I would reach for the medical supplies and hand sanitizer.
Types of Survival Networks
There are several different types of survival networks, and each has their pros and cons. We have briefly discussed some of the types in our Prepping Mindset article, which include: Immediate Family, Extended Family, and Mixed Group.
Immediate Family – Includes all members of your immediate family, or the individuals that reside in your home. Ultimately, these are the individuals that you are responsible for. Depending on your family size and the age ranges, there can be multiple pros and/or cons. If your immediate family consists of several in-shape teenagers, then the tedious tasks can be accomplished easily. However, if you are caring for elderly individuals or have young children, then there can be many challenges.
Extended Family – Some people plan to network with their entire family, maybe at a relative’s home or teaming together on the run. The Extended Family network shares the same pros and cons of the Immediate Family network. In addition, your family dynamic may be a force multiplier, or could cause many issues. If there are currently issues amongst family members, then these issues will be elevated during a time of struggle. Some of my family members say, “If something happens, we’ll get along when we need to.” I laugh and think to myself, “I’m Glad I won’t be around to find out!”
Mixed Group – The mixed group is the category where a good portion of Preppers fall into. A Mixed Group is a collection of individuals or families, that share the same goals and that plan to consolidate resources and manpower during a disaster/collapse. Some chose to invest in property together, or have formalized a Bug Out Plan to some remote area. There are many pros in forming a Mixed Group, such as the recruitment of specific skillsets. However, you do not know if you can rely on every member of your group; they may decide to stay at home or team with their relatives not part of the survival network.
The Community Group
While most individuals will fall into one of these three categories, there is another type of Survival Network that is currently trending, and what I call a Community Group. In a traditional Mixed Group, all individuals will be collocated with each other. However, this does not fit every individual’s survival plan. Depending on where you live, especially in the rural areas, there is an overwhelming trend of preppers that plan on Bugging In. Unless your entire group resides in your neighborhood, the Bugging In concept goes against the Mixed Group Plan; expect when others will Bug Out to your residence.
Therefore, the Community Group encompasses groups of people that plan on Bugging In at their personal residence, and network with other Bug In preppers forming a community. This type of network brings many different challenges, and may not be as strong as the other networks. However, it is all perspective; every prepper needs to decide what they think the biggest threat is, the likelihood of the threat, if they can react to the threat, and how it may affect their family. One benefit of the Community Groups is that if the SHTF in your neighborhood, you may be able to flee to a network member’s home outside of the immediate danger zone.
Starting a Network
Now that we have covered the basic types of Networks, yes there are more, let’s discuss starting a new network. Before you jump into starting a group, or joining one for that matter, first you must identify your personal direction.
1. Identify the reason why you are preparing; your motivating factors and what you are preparing for.
2. Identify how much money you are willing to commit to prepping
3. Determine if your primary plan is to Bug In or Bug Out
By identifying these three Prepper traits, you will be able to effectively communicate your preparedness objectives with other Preppers. These three traits are likely the most important talking points when attempting to form a network, and will form the most divisions amongst individuals. However, by addressing these issues up front, you can zero in on people that compliment you the best.
Why are you Preparing?
There are many reasons why people are preparing, or at least starting to think about making the move. It could be the fear of economic collapses to the bird flu. But, why people prepare may also divide many different people. Some are radical, some are not radical enough, some think the event will happen tomorrow, and some think that we are many years off. If you join a group of Preppers that are slowly making progress, you may be turned off and start looking for a new group.
At the core of prepping is the money dilemma; prepping can be expensive depending on which route you take and what you are preparing for. Some are on a very limited budget, while some are worrying about building more than one bunker location. While, I believe that you can have varying income levels in each group, there must be a solid understanding of all financial goals. Therefore, while recruiting, or looking to join a group, you need to account for any group purchases, rent, or other financial obligations. If you cannot meet them, then look for a different group. If you have extra resources, then think about sharing them with group members.
Bug In or Bug Out
At the heart of each survival plan, is the decision to Bug In or Bug Out. Make sure each one of your members understand what the group’s direction will be. You do not want to be caught in a situation where a vital member of your group does not show up. If you are Bugging Out, develop a plan that can remain mobile. If you are Bugging In, ensure you can account for group members coming to your residence if theirs becomes unlivable.
The Mission Statement and Bylaws
Once you have formed a group, establish a mission statement and/or bylaws. These guiding documents identify the group’s structure and objectives, and establish clear rules for each group. If you are looking to join a group, ask about these documents before committing.
Hopefully, this article helps out those who are looking to join or form a preparedness group. The Mission Statement and Bylaws are free to use, and modify for you own purposes. The documents are considered living documents, so continually update them as your group matures. Please let us know if you have any questions, and if you share the documents, please refer people back to Prepper Link.