The challenges of living a self-sufficient, prepper lifestyle can be overwhelming when attempting to do it all yourself. If you are lucky, you have a spouse or partner on board to share both the work and the joys of self-reliance. On the other hand, I know from the many comments and emails that I receive that a good percentage of you are on your own.
Some carry the torch alone due to circumstance but others soldier along without assistance because family and friends scoff and consider them loony tunes. Believe me, I feel your pain.
My goal this year is to bring together some of the brightest minds in the preparedness world to help us figure out how to bring a sense of community into our lives. You have already heard from Richard Broome in his “Call to Action“, and my own plan for community survival is in the works.
Today, though, I want to share some wisdom from Jim Cobb, long-term survivalist and prolific author of some the best prepper books out there. I recently reached out to Jim and requested permission to reprint the Appendix from his book, Countdown to Preparedness. I chose this piece because, in those few pages, Jim laid down some rules for “Aunt Jane” and “Uncle Bob” who are assuming that they will show up at your door so that you can take care of them following a disaster.
He takes a novel approach and I think it is a good one.
Bringing Friends and Extended Family into the Fold
By now, you have friends and family who are aware of your prepping tendencies. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve heard at least some variation of, “If something does happen, I’m coming to your place.” As you continue on your path of disaster readiness, you’ll hear that quite a bit.
I’m a big proponent of community survival. By that, I mean I believe that the odds of survival are greatly enhanced when you have a group of people working at it, rather than just going it alone. So I’m not necessarily opposed to having certain people show up after a disaster hits . . . as long as they know what they’re getting into.
A fellow prepper, we’ll call him “Nick,” drafted a letter that he’s given to select family and friends. These are people who are likely to show up, and their presence would be welcome for a variety of reasons. Here’s my own variation on that letter.
Dear Family Member,
As many of you already know, I am actively preparing for potential disasters or crises that may be coming. While I am concentrating my efforts on more mundane situations, such as power outages or weather-related emergencies, I do not discount the possibility of a more long-term calamity occurring at some point down the road.
Should such an emergency come to pass, while I’d love to take you all in, provide for your needs, and keep you safe, I cannot and will not do that if it means placing my immediate family at greater risk. With that in mind, I am extending to you this offer. If you are willing to do at least some of the work involved with regard to prepping, specifically either purchasing supplies or providing the funds for me to do so on your behalf, I can properly package and store them for long-term use. Doing so will ensure we all have enough food, water, and supplies to make it through whatever life decides to throw our way.
I will also do all I can to help you properly plan for emergencies and prepare your own household for disasters.
Here is just a sample list of the types of supplies we will need, should a long-term event take place and we all end up under one roof.
Food Medical/First Aid Security/Defense
- Prescription medications
- Baking supplies
- Various OTC medications
- Cleaning kits and supplies
- Canned meats
- Two-way radios
- Canned vegetables
- Ace bandages
- Gun safes/locks
- Antibiotic ointments
- Non-firearm weapons
- Canned fruits
- Burn creams
- Peanut butter
- Medical equipment
- Canned soups
Storage items Clothing (for each person) Miscellaneous gear
- Plastic bags
- Plastic buckets
- Several pair pants
- Oil lamps, wicks, fuel
- Canning jars
- Several pair underwear
- Canning lids/rings
- Several shirts
- Toilet paper
- Several pair of socks
- Aluminum foil
- One or two pair of boots
- Water filtration equipment
Again, that is just a small sampling of the supplies and equipment we’d need to provide for all of our needs. Adding just one extra mouth to feed, without having accounted for it ahead of time, substantially decreases the available food for all.
Here is what I propose. If you plan on showing up here after a major disaster, make it easier on all involved by either regularly contributing items such as outlined above or by providing funds every week or month for us to purchase supplies for you. The items purchased are and will always be yours, to do with what you feel necessary. For example, let’s say a year from now your employer downsizes the staff and you find yourself unemployed. The food purchased on your behalf can and will be made available to you as needed.
Consider prepping in this fashion like insurance against an uncertain future.
I would encourage you to give this some serious thought. Then, we can discuss the finer details. I’m sure we can work something out.
The idea here is to help these folks be accountable and get them involved. Explain to them that you’re willing to store the items and maintain them as needed, but they need to provide them to you.
In some situations, you may find a few of these folks are willing to just give you some money here and there for you to purchase items on their behalf.
Another approach is to explain to them that they can’t just show up empty-handed. You might give them a list similar to the above and explain that should they need to come to your place for safety, they should bring as many of those items as they can carry.
The idea here is to allow these friends and family members a way to be accountable for themselves, albeit with your assistance. This also serves to give you a clear conscience. You’ve taken the time to lay out exactly what they need to do in order to provide for their own needs should a crisis come to pass. The ball is then in their court, so to speak. If they decline the offer, so be it. It becomes their problem, not yours.
The Final Word
At the beginning of this article, I said that I feel your pain. It is true that I have a husband on board with my prepping activities but other than that, no other family membersprep. I have three local friends that are preppers and a few others that want to learn. Local “experts” who will go unnamed, want nothing to do with me.
Everyone else has told me that they will show up at my doorstep with the big one hits. Alas, they are in for a big surprise.
As we continue to explore community survival, I encourage you to share your own thoughts so that together we can learn from each other and move one step closer to earning the respect we deserve for having the foresight to prepare.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight Item: Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper’s 52 Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness by Jim Cobb
This beginner’s guide to prepping shows how to create a self-sustainable home for surviving anything from a power outage to societal collapse. In just a few hundred carefully thought-out pages, Countdown to Preparedness takes you and your family from clueless to completely ready.
Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: FAVORITE! The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and can recommend it. See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.
Note: the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price. Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant. I can not recommend these enough.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.
One Second After: For many, the novel “One Second After” was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared. If you have not read this book, you really should.
Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: ANOTHER FAVORITE KNIFE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp. Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too.
FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight: FAVORITE! Here we go with another flashlight. It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof. Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. Pictured is one that I own in green but they come in basic black as well as some other colors.
Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I now own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.
A Practical Guide to Storing Food For the Long Term
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When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.
The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage is a book about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget.
This book is based upon my own tried and true personal experience as someone who has learned to live the preparedness lifestyle by approaching emergency preparedness and planning in a systematic, step-by-step manner. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming - you really can do this!
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