Safety in Numbers: Is It Time To Add To Your Group?

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-David

The past few weeks have brought up many important questions, but few lead to more confusion than the debate between preparing as a lone wolf vs. preparing as a group AND how to connect with others without leaving yourself open to the possibility of becoming a target if things don’t work out. A grid-down scenario, for example, will greatly increase your workload.  Banding together with other preppers will increase your odds of surviving a long-term crisis such as this, although there are pitfalls that are important to identify and avoid.

Below, I’ve posted safety tips that will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes, but nothing beats hearing from others.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has had success joining forces with existing groups, neighbors, co-workers, friends or extended family members!

There Is Strength In Numbers, But Only When It’s Done Carefully

The truth is, a family or an individual will have a much more difficult time of surviving a long-term crisis alone than in a group, where you are able to share in everyday chores like hauling water, hand washing laundry, gathering firewood, cooking, food procurement, and one of the most demanding aspects of survival once looting begins; round-the-clock patrol.

Although the initial backlash of a crisis will be harder on those living in cities and densely populated locations, eventually the exodus from urban areas will begin and those living in rural areas will experience  the backlash as well.

Many who live in rural locations plan to garden and  preserve the overflow from a garden. Although this improves your chances of survival, it will add significantly to your workload and it’s a valid reason to consider adding additional members to your group.

Safety First

The question many of us have is  how can we broach the subject of prepping without revealing our preps and possibly leaving ourselves ripe for looting on down the road?

Before approaching a friend, neighbor or co-worker, and before responding to a post seeking like-minded preppers, check out how you can best protect yourself.

  • Broach the subject of preparedness carefully. Rather than sharing that you are prepping for something long-term like an EMP or an economic collapse, introduce your prepping in terms of a few days that ties in with the most likely emergencies for your region: a tornado, hurricane or a winter storm that takes down the electricity for days.In other words, you are prepping for DAYS not MONTHS. By approaching it from this direction, even if they don’t respond to the idea of getting prepared, you haven’t tipped your hand to the point that they (and possibly their friends) are likely to show up on your doorstep when the SHTF.(David’s note:  This is a creative form of deception that SurviveInPlace.com graduates will recognize…I don’t consider it lying to tell someone that I have a 2 week supply of food…even if I have a 2 decade supply of food, because I do, actually, have a 2 week supply of food.)
  • When responding to a post to join a prepper group, never hand over a laundry list of your preps. Later, after getting to know this contact better, there will be time to compare notes.(David’s note:  A good prepper group will be more concerned with your skills, abilities, experiences, mental resilience, problem solving skills, and how you deal with setbacks more than the “stuff” you have.  “Stuff” is important, but it will break, wear out, and will get used up.  “Stuff” can make surviving easier, but in many cases, it’s a crutch to compensate for a lack of skill.  Beware a person or group who is overly concerned on the details about the “stuff” that you have stored up.  They may not have evil intent, but it could be an indicator that they’re trying to compensate for a lack of skills with the “stuff” they have and projecting their paradigm on to you.  Focusing on “stuff” is a great starting point, because you can execute on it immediately, but while “stuff” will get you through a short-term event, skills will help you survive long-term.)
  • Do not give your full name to a stranger because an internet search can pinpoint your location. For the same reason, never give a new contact your address.
  • Avoid  discussing your preps over the phone. Instead, arrange to meet them in a neutral setting, away from your home or bug-out cabin. It leaves a comfortable “buffer” for you to get to know them better before sharing anything that could leave you vulnerable.
  • Never post pictures of your preps or home/bug-out to a stranger or on social media. It can reveal your location through geo tagging of your longitude and latitude. Go here for the FieldLogix article, Stop GPS Data Recorded in Phones From Revealing Where You Live, which explains the risks and offers solutions about how you can protect your privacy.
  • If you are the owner of land or a bug-out property that will be used for a prepper group, you hold the cards and it’s within your rights to request their background information, their skill sets and a detailed list of the preps they have on hand. However, this is usually approached once both parties are comfortable with one-another.
  • There are times when skills like medical training, in-depth mechanical ability, hunting and military or police experience can offset the other party’s lack of provisions (should you have the means to fill this gap) but remember, they should also be willing to get you up to speed with hands-on training that will be valuable to the group as a whole.
  • Before joining forces with anyone, be they a stranger, a neighbor, extended family members or an acquaintance, be certain you share a similar work ethic. The workload involved with surviving a long-term crisis will be extremely demanding. The question you must ask yourself is: are they likely to step up to the plate when needed?(David’s note:  It’s ironic that I’m bringing this up since I’m nowhere close to middle age (and never will be) but work ethic and work ability are not equal.  Most 75 year olds can’t work at the pace of most 20 year olds, but their work ethic, experience, and skill level may level the playing field.)
  • Do your values mesh? It isn’t always necessary to have the same beliefs, but tolerance is critical if you want to avoid conflicts later on.(David’s note:  Personally, we have only teamed up or considered teaming up with people who we’d feel comfortable raising our children in our absence.  That has efficiently refined our criteria down to a few core principles and beliefs.)
  • Is this person or group willing to protect their property and provisions? If they are not, and their idea of OPSEC is to run in the other direction at the first sign of trouble, it could put everyone in jeopardy.
  • Set guidelines. It is important to agree to the number of people who will accompany each member of the group. Make it clear that last-minute additions will not be allowed, that they will only be allowed with a 75% majority, or decide on criteria for adding people in advance.  Otherwise, it could lead to a drain on resources that could threaten the safety of others in the group.
  • It should be agreed that the group’s prepping efforts are never discussed with outsiders–no exceptions!
  • Each member should store some of their preparedness goods on site and well in advance of a crisis. To do otherwise can easily put a strain on resources should a member show up empty-handed. Travel during an emergency is riskier with regards to looting, gridlock, and vehicle breakdowns. Don’t risk it. Plan ahead for sufficient provisions already to be in place at the get-go!
  • Agree on a division of the workload that will take advantage of each individual’s skillsets.
  • Joining with others can reduce overhead! Take careful notes on what each person brings to the table, and then fill in the gaps. That way, you’ll be able to get ready with less cash outlay and much quicker than you could do on your own.

Have you been considering joining a group, or starting one? Do you have any questions about safety and how to optimize your search for like-minded people? Now is a good time to ask! For those of you already involved with a group, please share what worked for you and why by commenting below.

If you haven’t signed up for the Journal of Tactics and Preparedness yet, I want to encourage you to do so right now.  It is the best source available for continual cutting edge tactical and preparedness training…and, during this special launch pricing, it’s only a fraction of what most full fledged books and courses are charging.  Check it out now for limited time bonuses and special pricing by going >HERE<

Chapter 29 of Implant has been posted. You can Click Here to continue reading.

 

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva

 

 

Comments

  1. David! Thank you for your great insight in keeping under the radar!
    I just met a 17 year, and Honorable Discharged Army Ranger, while at work, and we spoke about survivalists, prepping, and our passed Military experiences. I brought to his attention I was interested in putting together a (SOT) Survival Operation Team, and how concerned I was about family members safety, in turn he looked at me in concern as well and muttered me too. I left him with my card, hopefully he gets back to me. I have some great ideas, and I’m sure he does !

    Sincerely, Dominick
    What are your thoughts?

  2. Thanks for the great article. Fantastic advice! I found my first prepper group about three years ago. I was cautious and went to a couple of meetings to shoot and at a public park. During the last one I went to I over heard two men talking where they thought no one could hear. They commented that they were only storing ammunition and as much as they could buy. Their plan is to band together and take what ever they need at gunpoint during a crisis. I left that group on the spot, even though there were probably some good people in it.

    Since then, here is what I’ve found. (like others have commented on already)
    First Pray and then pray some more. If you don’t have God in your life it might be time to settle that.
    Find people of like faith.
    Then from this group, find those who are committed to their faith by more than words and pretty faces on Sunday. Find people who are real, honest and open about their faith. (A person of high morals with a standard for those morals outside their own mind is also a great candidate)
    From this trimmed down group, find those with similar views on family, work ethic, our crumbling, self-destructing culture and politics. By having many discussions around meals or activities, these topics tend to reveal people’s biases, anger issues, selfishness, ect.
    From this trimmed down group, usually very small by now, discuss some current tragedy like the lady on the news in a town snowed in for three days who looks imploringly at the camera and cries, ‘who is going to feed us’, or a small town with out water when their village well failed, then gauge their reactions. At this point, you can usually bring up the idea of being ready in case of something small like a power outage, snow storm washed out bridge, etc. Arrange to do some kind of work like getting together to run a fence, gardening together for a share in some produce, a work day at church, (our church has a ‘firewood’ ministry to help people in the community who are struggling) and carry on conversations while working hard side by side.
    Those who make this cut are probably already prepping, and are probably also looking for some one like you. If not, they will light up like a beacon when you bring up the idea.

    Anther screening method is to bring up the TV show Doomsday Preppers or Mountain Men and listen to what they say.

    Finally, the hardest part about opening your eyes is that you see what is really going on. I have talked to my extended family and found that I have an entire family of grass-hoppers. Some wonder what it would be like to be an ant, but most are just content and napping in the fall sun shine and can’t imagine that winter is coming. So I searched my own heart and talked much about it with my wife, and we not only prep for our selves, but for most of them as well. I have a brother who has been an alcoholic for more than 30 years. When my wife and I moved out to the country several years ago, we decided to never let him know where we live. He could find us if he put in the effort, but won’t be able to on a drunken whim of unfulfilled needs when a crisis drops in. And also, I have spent a lot of time reading the Word. Noah was not a bad man for saving his family, when no one listened. Jesus admonished those of his closest followers that they would always have the poor when they tried to scold him about an expensive gift. Having extra to share and help others is a good thing. But feeling guilty when you can not fill the role of their Provider when they are responsible to seek God for them selves, or at least take care of them selves, is self defeating and will pull you back into the bucket of crabs if you think like that.

    I will weep with sorrow at the suffering of others in a real SHTF scenario. I pray daily asking God to restore this nation and our culture and to let his judgment wait a little longer. I talk to young men and women every chance I get about our society breaking down around them. But I am content to only do what I have the ability to do and do not take on guilt for others. Each servant will stand or fall to his own master.

  3. Shawn McEwen says:

    One idea for meeting up with like minded folks is your local shooting range. I can pretty much spot the all business preppers, the not-so-sure-but-trying preppers, and the tacti-cool Timmys from a mile off. If you’re into firearms (are there REALLY people out there that aren’t?) it’s pretty easy to break the ice with some basic gear discussion, etc. Develop those contacts over time and get to know how serious they are about preparing. I’ve done this where I live and have about 2 dozen friends and neighbors that are preparing (at varying degrees), some of us as a group.

    Another idea is to stop being fearful of what you are doing. Preparing is not illegal… no matter what the pukes in Washington say, and if folks don’t like what you are doing then screw ‘em! There are 2 things people that know me know about me. 1) I’ll speak my mind to anyone in the world. 2) I don’t care if anyone thinks ill of me because they’re in no position to judge how I conduct my affairs. Sometimes I do lie awake at night knowing someone out there hates me though. Just kidding, don’t give a damn. My point with all of this is that fear and isolation is what the enemy wants (you know, the ones that want to control you?) so why willingly give them what they want? DEFY. ALWAYS. Step boldly out into the cold darkness of defiance, grab some confidence, self reliance, and a little attitude and light it the hell up!!! I’m not saying throw caution to the wind , as that would be stupid. I AM saying don’t let one of your precautions be willful isolation for fear of looking bad. That’s self defeating.
    ~Shawn

  4. I like what ‘BillyBoy’ is doing. I too am stocking up on things to barter down the road—-tobacco, alcohol, rationed foods, etc. However, what makes us think that people who are not prepping now would even have gold or silver to offer for our items. If they are not prepping they surely are not saving either. Especially in metals. They seem to only live for the now. Their mindset is that the gov’ment will help. Just sayin……

  5. John Pierce says:

    After reading your news letters for nearly 2 years I finally got thru to my family. Now I need reference books. I have been slow prepping waiting to get my wife and children to open their eyes. Any reference help is appreciated

    • Survival Diva says:

      John,

      David’s lesson plans are a good place to start : ) You can also check your local library for information on preparedness. If you’re looking for information on something specific, you can access the search engine on this forum. And congratulations!

  6. I’ve had this same problem (being considered weird, or in fear/not in faith)… since many of my human encounters are w/ other Christians, initiating conversation about end times is a good way to crack the door. I can see whether they’re ‘chicken littles’, totally ignorant and unprepared for anything, or a somewhere-in-between possible prepper. If I feel a bit safer, I ask if they’re concerned about supply disruptions from disasters; and if they have anything in place for that, or a power outage. Where we live is on the edge of Tornado Alley, and a semi-arid region w/ major water issues, which are convenient topics. And I avoid buzz-words like “bug-out”, “prep”, etc. We’ve had problems w/ others losing interest, content w/ a few #10 cans of grub and who stop attending meetings. We gave up monthly meetings to generate a cohesive group. GAH.. well, we pray for them, interact w/ the few still active, and trust God to lead us to others to align with.

  7. I am frustrated by inability to connect with anyone with the proper mindset. Here where I live an electrical outage due to bad weather downing power lines can happen any time of year. I have hinted around by asking family and friends if they have at least 3 days of food and water, explaining our own government suggests at least 3 days worth. The reaction is deplorable. Here I am, a divorced, women of 61 years young, living alone, and my family thinks I am nuts. My friends give me odd looks. And so the discussion ends. Obviously if something serious happens I’ve got plenty of food and water and skills, but without other people to work with, where will I be? I will be a prime target. So I keep looking and quietly asking, not giving up. I wish there was a safe way to find a prepper community in my area.

    • to patti I know your pain and here in west texas there are plenty of stupid people who I ask and get the same stupid look that I am crazy and if you want to communicate call me 9 1 5 5 4 9 46 29 that’s a cell number and I will listen and I have found here and there preppers that are willing to sit and listen

    • Your experience is not unusual. Just be careful not to make a target of yourself. Parasites in the family are just as bad as those from elsewhere.

      • Troy, I hear what you are saying. I have a great-nephew, (my brother’s grandson) with the disease of addiction, uses everything he can get his hands on. His last detox/treatment was for IV heroin. I would like to be able to help his wife and three darling daughters, but they are all tied up in his disease and they would be a package deal. I would never ask a committed community to accept them. It would really affect me to slip away to a safer environment, leaving those three beautiful little girls to face a very uncertain future. But the havoc and chaos that is my great-nephews life would follow him. He would cause no end of trouble, and seriously affect the lives and safety of whatever group that would take him.
        My sister would be a good candidate, (a great work ethic!) If she would work a little harder to get some extra water and food stored. She has a good 2 month’s of food in the house, IF the electricity stays on and the big freezer keeps working. She actually has a pretty good storage of water, with a pond on her property, and 10 acres of good soil. The big downside is her son. He will never be a productive member of society. He has a terrible attitude and expects everything handed to him. Little Sis took a very wrong turn by never holding him accountable, never enforcing consequences for unacceptable behavior. (I have to say that I have not raised a family and it’s really not fair of me to judge) Again a package deal. I would never ask a community to take him in. Makes me very sad. Sad for my sister, not my nephew!
        Thank you for your feed back, it’s right on target.

    • Patti, I deal with the same doubts from others frequently and this is my only answer: Mathew 6:25-34
      “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
      34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

      As for what that means for me? I know that God has provided me sustenance in the form of knowledge, courage, and friendship, and the love of an amazing woman. Is anyone sure of what is to come? No. If it is to be the end, then it IS THE END. That’s pretty final. The only survival I can see in that scenario is that of my soul by the grace of God, which means food’s not going to help so much. Of course I still stock up on food and all the rest of the important stuff too because it may not be THE END that comes. It may be just a blip on the radar screen of history, and that (with God’s help) I can endure.

      The frightened will mock and shy away from the calm and sure. They always have, but this is not a reason to be unsure or fretful if you can keep your faith, because faith is everything… even when you have nothing. I think about these things a lot these days, and at times must will myself to see the positive and be calm. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Most times it does. I often settle on the belief that we as people can only take care of ourselves, our family, friends, and the occasional stranger, and if we can do all of this with God’s help and guidance, How can we go wrong?

      With respect to your great nephew, don’t give up. I was challenged by my father while in the midst of an addiction to alcohol, and it saved my life. I was and am the most stubborn man you’ll find, so after years of trying to get through to me he decided to tell me (after having driven a truck into a tree the night before) that I couldn’t possibly quit, and he had $500 to prove it. After realizing I was indeed at the bottom end of life, which took some soul searching and honesty, I decided to prove him wrong, which was the plan all along. If what you are doing isn’t working, stop doing it. Instead of studying his addiction, try studying him. I’m no expert, but it might be worth a try. The only thing I do know is that you can only reach him when he is ready to be reached, and you can only do so then if you’re still trying to reach him. If you can’t get it done today it’s ok. Try again tomorrow… and then again the next day. Sorry for writing a book, but hopefully something here will help. I wish you well, and great success!
      ~Shawn

  8. Well, There are ways to get around them with having your internet providers being outside the US. I just share information to help others without getting personal. Here are some tips:
    1. Pray. When I led mission teams, I let God choose the teams. I do the same now.
    2. Instead of stocking up on gold and silver, stock up on those things the other 99% of unprepared people will TRADE for their gold and silver for after TSHTF. Think bags of rice, Ramen, Sawyer water purifier ($60?), solar cookers,… you think someone would trade a gold coin for 3 $25 20 lb bags or rice and $25 of Ramen? That’s enough food for a family for more than a few months, and they won’t find many offers like that around when the shelves are empty. $100 now for a $1,500 (now) coin later. THAT’S a good investment! A person can rig a broke water heater with a coil of copper wire, heat it with a tiny fire, and it will self-fill the water heater in about an hour. Selling hot showers out of a business for trade items. Clean water might be a hot item to sell. The $60 Sawyer filter Point Zero 2 filters 1 million gallons for about $60 gravity fed at about 550 gallons a day. Easy sale with a water source. Even better with an IBC container or 2 raised up to dispense from. Learn Aquaponics now and start your own food production system. It is a skill that needs learned from more than a book or DVD.

  9. Haven’t yet figured a way to meet up with similarly minded people without drawing unwanted attention by those who can pry into e-mails and listen to phone conversations more commonly know as a lying government, or the gestapo. Take your pick.

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