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What do you want from your community?
The word community is bandied about all the time. Just to be clear, we are talking about neighbors in this article. What do you want from your neighbors in disaster?
Have you thought about this?
It’s easy to assume that your neighbor is a fool. Jin Shengtan a 17th century Chinese editor summed it up well in one of his Thirty Three Moments of Happiness:
“I wake up in the morning and seem to hear someone in the house sighing and saying that last night someone died. I immediately ask to find out who it is, and learn that it is the sharpest, most calculating fellow in town. Ah, is this not happiness?”
We have this strange love/hate relationship with our neighbors but who comes to help when things get bad.
It is not FEMA.
We saw it in Texas, neighbors helping neighbors. So, to what level do you prepare to help them and how much do you expect they help you?
Figuring out what you want from a neighbor is the first step in concerning yourself with this idea of outfitting a community for disaster.
MAG VS Neighborhood
In 2013 I was hit with this idea that prepping must expand beyond the four walls of the home. I wasn’t thinking bugout location; I was thinking extended group. Prepping seemed like it could not only be an answer to a family of 4 in disaster but maybe to a community on a whole?
It wasn’t long before I was doing research on prepper groups and MAGs or mutual assistance groups. It was the idea that you could assemble your own doomsday Avengers squad, basically. Creating this type of group meant that you would seek out highly skilled individuals that would be effective in a collapse.
The most valued were:
- Combat Veterans
On the face of it the idea was exciting. However, it only took me a few weeks to find some massive flaws in this type of team.
Perhaps the biggest and most overlooked is the idea of a joint meeting place or home base. Each of your community members will probably have a family and a home. Leaving that home and community will put people at risk in an SHTF scenario.
Who’s leaving their home and family to come help the group?
Another big issue for me was the idea of managing resources. Things like hunted food could be easily spread out among the members and maybe some form of barter could further legitimize the effort.
Other skills, however, are not as easy to spread around. If your engineer wants to build some form of renewable power, where does it get installed? If you all come from different communities where do the solar panels go up?
To me, it seemed like turning to your community was the best answer in a suburban sprawl. Of course, my situation and yours cannot mirror one another but for me this idea of the MAG seemed like something that would be cool until I really needed them in a collapse.
In fact, I would prefer them to be home with their family using their skills to help their neighbors.
Making friends with people like doctors, before a collapse, can be a big help during the collapse but unless your plan is to relocate and build a new town from scratch, it seems like a lot of wheels spinning.
My vote was for affecting my personal neighborhood the best I could to get people thinking about disaster. I know that is tough and you will have a very low percentage of people that follow you. Still, all the resources could stay in the community and things like security and food would be isolated, as well.
Should you Prepare for your Neighbors?
Every plan has flaws. I am a risk taker and that is just in my nature. However, even in my wildest dreams I know we won’t have a neighborhood of hardened survivors who all have their own weapons and extensive training as well as stockpiled food and medical.
That would be silly to assume.
About 2 years after I started broadcasting the I AM Liberty Show on the Prepper Broadcasting Network I started wondering about preps for the community. How much food, ammo, resources, etc. should you put up for neighbors?
We know that people without resources will be desperate. We have all read, thought or watched the nightmare of neighbors becoming enemies over food and necessities. The desperate hordes mentality comes to mind.
However, imagine having just enough that could keep people alive and maybe even make them effective. I thought about small arms and long term food storage in the form of grains and beans. I knew we didn’t have to spend a ton of money to make something like this happen.
To me, it was worth outfitting my allies rather than have them fall into the hands of those who would do them harm or have them become my enemies.
Power and Civility Lies in Security, Numbers and Food
No one really knows what a serious collapse of civility would look like in a nation that is armed to the teeth. Something tells me it will be a state-by-state story. However, we can look to history and current events to understand the basis of human behavior in these situations.
In Venezuela, things got bad when the food went away. It seems that isolation, hunger and bad guys force people into the worst possible situations. It has been that way all throughout history.
The idea behind outfitting a community or preparing for neighbors is to create solutions in three areas
If you want a running start in an SHTF scenario, you want a lot of people with a common goal who are fed and armed and know there is hope for tomorrow. With a community you have some of that already. The common goal is to defend the community and to sustain it.
What on earth would it look like to have community provisions set aside?
Well, you would have to understand your limits. If we are talking food storage basics, we know that 2000 calories, per person per day, for everyone in your home is what you after. You should store 2000 for everyone even if some are 5 years old. They will grow up.
So, a family of 4 is going to need nearly 1 million and a half calories for 6 months of food: 1,440,000
Let’s say you are preparing for 100 households. That’s easy math: 144,000,000 calories
1lb of dry rice is about 1600 calories so it would take you 90,000lbs to feed that many people, just rice, for 6 months.
Those are big numbers but that is looking only at one food source and its preparing for 6 months. You could cut it in half and cover the community for 3 months while seeking out alternate solutions.
Per family you would only need 9/50lb bags of rice to meet caloric needs, using rice only which is hardly ideal but makes for a simple example, for 3 months. That might seem like a lot but at Sam’s Club you can make that happen for $180, the cost of buckets, O2 absorbers and mylar bags.
You Cannot Do It All Yourself
I am sure many people have stopped reading at this point because they feel that people should be responsible for themselves. There is truth to that sentiment. I wouldn’t deny that. But we are talking about survival here. Take every advantage afforded to you.
In a perfect world you would seek out a handful of compadres that are willing to shoulder some of this burden, as well.
With a team of 5 in your neighborhood you could make a huge difference on food, firearms, ammo and other resources. It’s not to say that this will be a walk in the park but if the nightmare ever comes to reality, it would be great to have some resources to spread around as you create new leadership and start down a path through the chaos.
Neighbor Survival Pack
Putting together a small survival pack for neighbors who are going to help in times of disaster is another idea. Maybe you don’t have the money or time to devote to storing massive amounts of food and arms. I get that.
Could you create some small pouches or cheap bags that could be used to sustain people on perimeter watch or in leadership roles in the community? A simple but effective survival pack might include the following.
Food & Water
A small ration of long term calories would work best in these sustainment packs. Things like high calorie bars and jerky might be perfect.
You might even consider a small straw style water filter to assure they can get a drink when necessary.
This is very personal. To me, it makes sense to go with a full blow IFAK with an emphasis on stopping the bleed. Tourniquet, quikclot gauze and compression bandages should be included. You may want to consider a chest seal. Bad stuff could happen.
We are not making warfighters out of our neighborhoods, but it will be important that some people know how to use firearms to defend the community. Lots of .22 ammunition can do a lot to deter a small group of people with greater firepower on their side.
.22 rifles are cheap and can double as a method for sourcing food.
I see a lot of hate focused on two-way radios because they don’t live up to reception claims. These radios are perfect for community communications. These short range conversations of very important information are tailored to these two-way radios.
It would pay to have each pack have a radio and a frequency written on paper for the user to tune into. Maybe even consider a few frequencies to create a PACE protocol
Pen and Pad
I want ideas. I want my community to start spilling out ideas to survive this thing. There is so much untapped potential in your community it is unreal.
We are surrounded by potential. Everyone on your block wants to survive. Their goals likely mirror your own. They want to eat and be safe through the tumultuous time and maybe even affect the outcome of the disaster.
As preppers, we do a massive disservice to ourselves if we brush all that off and just assume, we can assemble a better group of 10 people to call on.
Look at your community as the valuable resource it is and start getting to know people. My book Come Unity; Community is a blueprint for how to overcome social issues and get the ball rolling so that you can start seeking out your allies in the neighborhood and truly prepare for tomorrow.