Imagine that you are a passenger on a large commercial airplane headed to paradise. The people on board are excited, because they are embarking on the vacation of a lifetime. The skies are beautiful and things are going along just fine; then, suddenly, the plane develops engine trouble. There is a horrible metallic bang. The nose of the plane dips. The plane banks down and to the left, and smoke starts coming from the left engine. It is obvious to you that the plane is going to crash in just a few moments.
Being the prepper that you are, you and your spouse have packed parachutes. You and your beloved open your carry-on luggage and don your trusty parachutes while heading for the door. You have prepared for this day. You have held several dry runs. You took skydiving classes to hone your parachuting skills. You are ready. It’s time to put your good plan into operation.
Several other passengers watch you make your way toward the exit and ask if they can hold on to you when you jump out of the failing aircraft. They just want to survive, too. You know that the extra weight of full grown adults will collapse your parachute and you all will die, so you refuse. Then, just before you jump, a young lady comes and delicately asks if you would only take her infant son. He is light enough, but you will have to care for him (perhaps forever) and he certainly will make your plight much worse when you land. How will you feed him? How will you clothe him? He wasn’t part of your parachute plan. Do you refuse to take the baby? How about taking that small, cute, three year old girl with the pigtails that reminds you of your favorite niece? How about the two infants in the next row? Where do you draw the line?
Being preppers, we are a peculiar people who believe in packing our parachutes for the very likely case of uncertain times. Yet, we are surrounded by those who, despite our best warnings, refuse to prepare their own parachutes. Sometimes, they even giggle and say, “When the SHTF, I am coming to your house!”
Plans need to be made that can be implemented quickly. Foreknowledge, which comes from thinking about a situation in advance, can be invaluable. Your plan should start with the biggest, by far, variable– who. Once you have planned for “who”, you can move on to other things, such as “how” and “how much”. This article will help you forge plans without which your parachute will most certainly collapse.
You have to decide now who you will include in your plans for TEOTWAWKI. It is pretty evident that you cannot care for everyone, but you will have to decide which ones. This article poses more questions than answers, but I am hoping that the questions spur you to think about this. Deciding who may potentially live or die is not a very pleasant thing, but the reality is that you, being a prepared person, will have to make some of those decisions. When you have food, shelter, and security and others do not, you must decide, or they will decide for you. When you have the parachute, you must plan for who can ride, or everyone will grab on, in which case you are sure to meet the ground in a most severe manner.
Now is the time to think about, and plan for, who you will include. I am not writing about your fellow preppers who are in your Preparedness Group. I am writing about those loved ones or neighbors who will not (or cannot) prepare and who will look to you for help in TEOTWAWKI. I am talking about those who want to share your parachute because they don’t have one!
During TEOTWAWKI your emotions will run high. Your stress level may be through the roof. That is not the time to make serious life-affecting decisions. Think it through now, while your emotions are cool and you can take your time to ponder it. Plan it now, while you can turn it over and over in your mind.
Will you take all of your children? What about any grandchildren? How about your kids’ spouses? Are your parents and in-laws welcome? Are extended family members going to be welcome, such as cousins, aunts, uncles, or the in-laws of your kids? Will your grandchildren be safe if your daughter-in-law decides to go to her parents because her parents are not welcome at your sanctuary? Will you take ex-spouses so your kids have both of their biological parents? What will you do for the elderly widow down the street?
Thinking these things through now, while you can take your time with it, and making a plan is best. Discuss it with your beloved and get in agreement now. Many of us have solid plans for how we might greet green-toothed, wild eyed, half-human zombies during TEOTWAWKI; I doubt we would want to use that same welcome for someone we love but forgot to plan for.
Coming to some even tentative conclusions about who might be welcomed at your door can be quite informative. Knowing how many you will need to feed can help you plan food storage targets. Discerning who has valuable skills can inform your resupply and security plans. Identifying the medical needs of potential TEOTWAWKI induced “guests” can assist you in making decisions on what medicines you might need. Knowing who might be welcomed at your door can help you form your plans for the bullets, beans, and Band-Aids we all need.
There is also the other side of the coin. Knowing who might show up at your door will help you plan for the liabilities they may bring, too. Do they have a need for refrigeration for medicines? Do they have any mental or emotional disorders for which they take medication that may not be available during TEOTWAWKI? Are they likely to bring weapons, or do you have to provide them? Are they capable of properly using those weapons? Are they likely to bring unwelcomed friends, pets, or diseases? Can they be trusted? Can you bear to live with them for the duration of TEOTWAWKI? Can you bear to live without them?
Whatever you decide, you must communicate that decision to those you are inviting (or uninviting). They need to know that they are welcomed. That fact alone may help them see the depth of your prepper commitment, and as a result they may offer some help, whether it is with finances, planning, or skills enhancement. Talk with those you choose so they are not left wondering if they are welcome when TEOTWAWKI hits. Hammer out some plans. During TEOTWAWKI are you going to pick them up? Will they have to provide their own transportation? Can they bring friends without your prior permission? How long will you hold their spot until you give their portion to another? How long can they stay? Will they be expected to work? What pets can they bring?
This communication works quite nicely toward your peace of mind, too. You can know, because you talked about it and planned for it, that when the proverbial balloon goes up, your loved one is not just floundering but is on their way to your mutually planned security. You will both be on the same page because you discussed it and formed a plan.
The other side of this conversation is true, too. Those that may have jokingly said they were coming to your house when the situation gets dire need to understand that just showing up uninvited will not be acceptable. Things they said in a joking manner while society was intact, may take a whole new tone of seriousness when hunger and fear are on the horizon. Talk with them and let them know that you are giving your help now in the way of information and encouragement for them to become preppers too. Everyone needs a parachute, and they must be encouraged to pack their own or made to understand that they will take the ride down without you and yours.
During these conversations, one thing you must always concern yourself with is OpSec (Operational Security). Operational Security is very important. In your conversations, perhaps it is best to not disclose all of your preps. You should keep quiet about the total amount of your food and not discuss, in specific terms, your weapons and other defenses. This is not because you don’t trust those you chose to talk with (although you may not) but because, even if they know the rules about your OpSec, they may unwittingly reveal something that should not be made public.
Once, my daughter, in a very innocent conversation with her friend found that both the friend’s father and I were preppers, although we didn’t know each other. My daughter’s friend went on to write an article for the local television station using my name and quoting me on several “prepper” topics, even though I never met her nor talked to her. That was a serious breach of OpSec! This is just one example of why we must always guard our preps and plans. Have good conversations, but be wise when you do so.
Flexibility and adaptability are key and important to any plan. Revisit your plans frequently and on a regular schedule, such as once a year. Note any changes in the constitution of the families that you may have invited. Have there been any deaths? How about divorces or marriages? Were there any new children born? Did someone move far away, join the military, or begin to attend college out of state?
If you are planning for your child and his or her spouse to come to your retreat during TEOTWAWKI, the birth of a child to them may radically change your preps. Now, you may need baby formula, diapers, ointments, bottles, nipples, shampoos, breast pumps, and a place for another to sleep. The list could go on to include baby strength medicines, wipes, food grinders, vitamins, teething rings, and a whole host of very expensive items. You have to be flexible with your plans and diligently revisit them periodically. You may have to store things that you did not originally plan for but if you have created a plan, and revisited it occasionally, you will be prepared.
On the other hand, changes in family dynamics may have you include people that you previously rejected. Perhaps your sister’s no-good husband left and now she is alone. You previously excluded them because you just could not see your way to support that lazy guy. Well, now he is gone. The family dynamic is different, and you now have new information with which to re-decide whether or not to adjust your plan.
Again, flexibility and adaptability are key and important. Periodically revising your plans is just as important as having the plans in the first place. Having an out of date plan is dangerous. If you were planning to accommodate six people during TEOTWAWKI and now you have a seventh; you are suddenly fourteen percent (14%) short on provisions. To put that in perspective, if you have provisions and plans for six people for one year and a seventh person shows up, you are now six weeks short of your year’s supplies. Six weeks is a long time for everybody to go without food because you didn’t reconsider your plans.