We are living in some crazy times, from never-ending economic turmoil to manufactured disasters and governments attempting to restrict our freedoms and ability to live as we choose; there is a growing feeling that we are heading for some pretty rough times ahead. In an earlier article, we talked about the need to become self-sufficient and break free from counting on the government or other entities to ensure your survival and success. While we think everyone needs to be more self-reliant, there are times when a strong community or support network becomes essential.
So, in this article, we will go beyond the world of prepping and explore why building a support network of like-minded people is not just a choice but a necessity in a world going increasingly downhill. We’ll look at the benefits of building prepper communities, how to find or form one, and the essential elements of trust, security, and collaboration within these groups.
The Benefits of Prepper Communities or Building a Survival Network
The benefits of having a trusted network of people that you can rely on when things go wrong are probably pretty apparent, but having a survival network takes that a step further. It helps guarantee you will not only be able to survive a crisis, but thrive in the aftermath of the disaster.
But if you’re still not convinced, let’s take a look at a couple of reasons you should consider building your own survival network or preparedness community.
- Sharing of Resources: Now, we aren’t talking about having a bunch of leeches or people who have been raised to depend on handouts and government assistance – NO, those are not the kind of people you want around when the shit hits the fan. However, having a good network of like-minded, independent, and resourceful people in your community can give everyone the ability to pool essential resources. That way, when supply chains crumble, your network becomes its own supply chain. In the wake of disasters, a good survival network or community can set up trade networks or even share food, water, and medical supplies, ensuring that no one goes hungry or without medical care.
- Collective Defense: Let’s face it, even in the best of times, the world seems to be getting progressively more violent, with crime skyrocketing throughout the country. United, a prepper community, can help fight back, deter threats, and protect against outsiders looking to loot or steal your resources when things go bad. There are times when community defense strategies have made a significant difference in ensuring safety, especially when looters and opportunistic dirtbags sought to take advantage of chaos – one example of that can be seen in the rooftop Koreans who came together to defend their local small businesses during the LA Riots. When law enforcement failed to protect them and their businesses, they armed up, grouped together, and saved themselves!
- Skill Diversification: There is no way one man can do everything – even if some of us don’t want to admit that we can’t. One of the core strengths of building a well-run prepper community or network lies in having a wide range of people with diverse skill sets, which is essential for survival when things go wrong.
- Homeschool Co-ops: If you have kids, this is another great advantage of building a network of liked-minded people. For families that prefer an off the grid lifestyle, being able to provide a customized education is very appealing, and building your own prepper network with a homeschool co-op component can be a huge way to break free from the grid and government indoctrination.
Skill Diversification: Building a Network to Survive!
We want to dig into this a little deeper, because we believe it is one of the top reasons to put together a network of people who can count on each other when things go wrong. Having a diverse group of people skilled in different professions and skills is one of the best ways to ensure you survive and thrive in the face of crisis – especially during a long-term survival situation where access to the essentials in life is cut off and supply chains shut down.
Here are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind when considering the diversity of skills inside your network:
Identifying Community Skill Sets: Each member of your group should bring with them unique skills and expertise to the table, whether it’s medical knowledge, marksmanship, trade skills, or wilderness survival. By identifying and leveraging these skills, you can build a community that can overcome challenges that would be impossible for individuals.
Learning from Each Other: The great thing about building a network is that you are also building your own skill sets simultaneously. Continuous learning within the community enhances individual and group preparedness. Depending on how in-depth you want to take things, you could also organize workshops and training sessions, enabling members to acquire new skills or improve existing ones. Cross-training ensures that everyone can contribute effectively when things go bad.
Okay, we aren’t going soft on you, but mental preparedness and mindset are some of the most overlooked aspects of survival, so we want to take a minute and talk about that and how your network can help combat mental health issues that can develop during times of crisis.
A Good Survival Network Can Provide Emotional Support
Never underestimate the power of the mind in a survival situation. Coping with stress, anxiety, and uncertainty is an inevitable part of surviving a crisis; you need to be able to deal with it so it doesn’t break you when things start to get tough. Prepper communities can help provide emotional support, making preparing for or surviving a crisis seem less overwhelming than going at it alone.
- Dealing with Stress and Anxiety: We’ve all experienced the toll that stress can take on our mental well-being during difficult times. Check out our article on Mindful Preparation: Surviving Traumatic Events Starts with Developing the Right Mindset.
- Building a Sense of Security: Knowing you’re not alone in times of crisis fosters a feeling of security and confidence. Community members often find solace in knowing they have a group of people who share their values and are committed to mutual support.
- Survivalist Traits to Look For: When looking for people who can add something to your community, survivalists often share some of the top traits.
Finding or Forming a Prepper Community
Okay, so this is where the metal meets the road. It’s time to start putting together your network. The foundation of a strong prepper community begins with a clear sense of purpose and direction. Building a prepper community isn’t just about finding people; it’s about finding the right people. Compatibility in terms of values, commitment, and skills is crucial.
Identifying your survival priorities is the first step in assessing your needs. Whether it’s safeguarding your family, securing your property, or preparing for specific threats, your goals will help shape your community’s mission.
So how the heck do you go about finding people? Well, let’s look at a couple of options. First, let’s look at existing communities.
Joining Existing Communities
While I would be somewhat cautious of joining some random group of people, if you don’t have a trusted group of people of people already in mind, then your path to building a prepper community might just mean joining an established group. Here are some places to start looking:
- Online Forums and Social Media Groups: The digital age has given rise to a number of virtual prepper communities. Online forums, comment sections like on this site, and social media groups provide a platform for preppers to connect, share knowledge, and even arrange local meetups.
- Local Meetups and Preparedness Events: Local meetups and preparedness events are a goldmine for those looking to meet potential community members face-to-face. These gatherings allow like-minded people to network and form connections with preppers in their area. Now, here is our big caveat: these groups can also attract weirdos and sometimes even government officials and law enforcement, so be mindful of who you are talking to and never let your guard down around people who you don’t know.
Starting Your Own Community
In my opinion, starting and forming your own community is probably the best way to go, since it allows you to define exactly what you want and pick only the people who mesh the best with your unique lifestyle and goals.
Outreach and Recruitment: Building a community from scratch requires outreach and recruitment. Hopefully, you already have a good network of people who you trust that you can start pulling into your survival network. If not, you will have to start doing some outreach.
Setting Clear Expectations and Rules: While it may not seem important now, during a stressful survival situation, every community requires structure and guidelines. At the very least, everyone should know their role, should understand how to communicate during an emergency, and what the protocols of your group look like when a crisis strikes.
Effective communication is the bedrock of any prepper community:
When the shit hits the fan, things tend to go bad quickly without a plan. That’s why it is vital to have a plan, and have a set guide for how you communicate and kick your survival network into action during a disaster or crisis.
In times of crisis, effective communication can mean the difference between life and death. Now is the time to set up your communication plan and communication network so that when disaster hits, you can quickly coordinate actions, share critical information, and ensure the safety of your members.
Establishing clear communication protocols is a vital component of preparedness.
- Establish a communication plan: this means figuring out how you will contact people when things go bad. Things like a group text message and of course a radio network frequency that you can all use if the cell towers are down are all things you should figure out ahead of time.
- Information Sharing: Critical information, such as weather updates, news about the crisis, and potential threats, must be disseminated quickly and accurately within the group.
- Decision-Making: In rapidly evolving situations, the ability to make informed decisions is important. Having a good Coms system in place will help you get the necessary imformation for group leaders to make the best choices.
- Maintaining Morale: Regular communication helps boost the morale of group members. Hearing from fellow survivors and leaders can provide comfort and a sense of peace.
Creating a communication plan for your survival network is a multi-faceted process. Here are the key steps:
Define Communication Objectives: Start by identifying the primary goals of your communication plan. What types of information need to be conveyed, and to whom? Consider factors such as security, privacy, and the urgency of messages.
Choose Communication Methods: Determine the communication methods that best suit your needs. Options include two-way radios, ham radios, CB Radios, satellite phones, messaging apps, and even handwritten notes. A mix of methods can provide redundancy.
Assign Roles and Responsibilities: Designate individuals within the network as communication officers or leaders. These individuals should be responsible for transmitting and receiving messages, maintaining equipment, and ensuring that protocols are followed.
Establish Communication Frequencies: Allocate specific frequencies or channels for different types of communication. For example, you might have one channel for emergency alerts, another for routine updates, and a secure channel for sensitive information.
Develop Codes and Signals: Create a set of codes and signals to send information discreetly and efficiently. This can include codes for different threat levels, medical emergencies, and location markers.
Drills and Training: Don’t wait for shit to go bad! It is vital to your success to practice using your chosen communication methods. Conduct drills that simulate various crisis scenarios to ensure that all members are familiar with the protocols.
Activating the Network
So, once you have your group in place, you’ve setup your communication protocols, and you feel pretty confident that when disaster strikes you’ll be ready to roll, let’s talk about activating your network. Because this is what it’s all about, and you need to have some clear plans in place for how and when you activate your community.
By no means do you have to be as strict as some groups, but you should have a plan. So feel free to take the following as advice that you can tweak for your own unique needs.
- Assess the Situation: Quickly assess the nature and scope of the disaster. Determine whether it warrants activating the network.
- Activate the Chain of Command: If needed, activate the leadership chain, starting with the designated leader or coordinator. They will initiate communication with other leaders and members.
- Relay Emergency Alerts: Use the designated emergency channel or frequency to relay urgent alerts to all network members. Provide clear instructions on the nature of the emergency and any immediate actions required.
- Share Critical Information: Disseminate critical information such as the location of safe zones, available resources, and medical facilities. Ensure that messages are concise and actionable.
- Maintain Regular Updates: Establish a schedule for regular updates to keep members informed about the evolving situation. Include information on any changes in the threat level, resource availability, or safety guidelines.
- Monitor for Feedback: Encourage members to provide feedback and report their status. Act on any distress signals or emergency requests promptly.
- Conduct Check-Ins: Schedule periodic check-ins to confirm the well-being of all network members. Ensure that no one is left unaccounted for.
In a disaster, effective communication can be a lifeline for your survival network. By establishing clear protocols, practicing regularly, and being adaptable, your group can navigate crises more effectively and increase the chances of survival. Connecting and coordinating with fellow preppers can be a powerful asset when facing the unknown.