During TEOTWAWKI, there will be millions without the basic necessities of food, shelter, water, and medicine. While you certainly can’t be expected to care for everyone, you should plan into your parachute a bit of charity. Our personal number is 10%. We store 10% more than we think we will need so that we will have some to give away as charity.
Your charity portion will have to be carefully disbursed so that you don’t compromise your OpSec, but none the less you will fare better for having it. Unlike most things about TEOTWAWKI and preps, charity can be neatly divided into two major classes: charity for those you know but cannot take in, and charity for those you don’t know.
Let’s be quite frank at this juncture. Despite your best plans and your best conversations, there will be people you know but did not invite who show up at your door looking for a handout. Having something in the charity bag to hand them while you politely shoo them on their way can both help them and ease your mind. Having something to give them allows you to keep your promise (“You can’t come here!”) while fulfilling the implied promise of helping a friend in need. If you have already planned this charity into your parachute, it is really no extra burden.
There is a subcategory of those you do know but can’t take in. That is those that you can take temporarily. Perhaps you can take them just overnight while they get a meal, shower, and wash their clothes before they move on. Or, perhaps you can take them for a week, while they labor in your garden, cut firewood, or provide security. Whatever you decide, once again, communication and setting proper expectations are paramount. Talk to them, and make absolutely sure they know your plans.
Then there are those strangers you don’t know who may come knocking for a handout. Zombies! I strongly discourage you from giving charity from your front door to those you don’t know. That is a huge violation of your OpSec. It could lead them to believe that you have supplies that they desperately need and provoke them into staging a violent midnight raid on your sanctuary. I would suggest a more clandestine method of helping, such as very quietly giving to the local food bank, church, or free medical clinic. If this giving is previously planned, then it too is really no extra burden.
Even when dealing with the Zombies, planning is critical. Having prepared the right words, which are delivered with the right tone of voice, can go a long way toward keeping your peace. How will you handle the Zombies who won’t take “no” for an answer? How will you treat the Zombies that keep coming back? Plan now how you will respond to the Zombies, and it will go much easier on that stressful day.
Planning a few extra cans of beans for charity into your preps is a small price to pay for the goodwill it may bring you. Certainly, giving away some edible supplies is quite prudent if it keeps you from having to deplete your lead supplies.
Now that we agree that good planning is a critical skill and we have talked a bit about what to plan, let’s discuss how to plan. Plans must be cataloged, firm but flexible, and constantly reviewed and updated.
Step one for planning is to put your plans to paper (or computer). Writing your plan down is the best way to ensure that you won’t forget things, and it also makes it much easier for your partners to know what you have in mind. WARNING: This step takes the most time but reaps the most rewards! A quick search of the Internet will yield you dozens of spreadsheets to use. Or, if you are old school (or EMP probable), use a pencil and a notebook to keep your data.
So, what do you need to put in this spreadsheet or notebook? Here is a list of the things for which you probably need to plan, as you increase your readiness for TEOTWAWKI. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you a good start.
In this section, you should note the skills you have, the ones you plan to get, and the ones that others may bring with them. (See now why you have to have some idea who is coming?) List the skills in order of importance. You may discover that you are missing vital skills that you cannot live without. (You are trained in first aid, aren’t you?) These are your first priority for obtaining skill training. Note that as your group composition changes or ages, so will the skill sets.
Shelter is quite important, and I am sure that you have given it some thought. This is a huge category, and you may want to break security out into its own section. I included it here, because the main purpose of security is to secure your housing, along with the people and things in it.
In this section you will also record your plan for how you will provide heat (wood, coal, solar, et cetera). Do you plan on having alternate sources of power during TEOTWAWKI (solar, generator, gassifier, or something else)? Here is also where you list the items you will need to repair your shelter (plexi-glass, wood, nails, tarps, pipe, and so forth).
Here is where knowing who is coming is so important. Who is going to be there informs this part of your plans. I can’t tell you specifically how to plan, but I will tell you our plan. Feel free to adjust it to your specific needs.
We plan for 20 people for six months. Further, my plan calls for servings of three fruits, four veggies, five starches, and six breads, for a total of about 1130 calories each day. We will supplement this with our own meat from our homestead. Having these numbers allowed us to calculate how much we needed in each category. From here you can further break this down, such as within the breads category how much wheat, or barley, or rye, et cetera. Perhaps you have less people, want more calories, or plan on a longer timeframe. This organization gives you the format to accurately plan for those things by changing the math to fit your plan.
This is a big deal. During TEOTWAWKI you may not have government-sourced, running water or any electricity to power your well. Knowing how much water you will need will help you with this part of the plan. For instance, in our plan, if we want to supply 20 people for six months with two gallons a day, we need to source 7200 gallons of potable water (one very large swimming pool). If you are planning for a drought, knowing how much water you need may provoke you to deepen your well, so that when your neighbors are all out of water your well still provides. (Of course, now you will have to change your security plan to defend it.)
Now you have your food, water, and shelter planned out, but it does you no good, because you all stink so bad you cannot stay in the same house. Please plan for good hygiene. If you do not, then you have to plan for much more medical supplies to treat the resultant illnesses.
During TEOTWAWKI medical help may be a long way off or completely nonexistent. Plan to care for the potential needs of your group. Try to anticipate the needs that are not present now but may arise later. Don’t forget to add medical care to your skills list.
We already discussed having a transportation plan. Here is where you list the items you need to make that plan happen.
TEOTWAWKI may present you with no power, so hand tools may be required. In this section you list all the tools, both powered and manual, that you may need.
This list could have gone on and on to include such vital things as education, entertainment, and communication. You can, and should, add to this list as your situation dictates. Planning for an economic collapse will create a very different list than planning for an EMP.
Creating a great plan takes lots of hard work. I suggest that you create it the same way you eat an elephant– one bite at a time. Create the skills list and mull it over for a week or so. Take it out every day and just look at it. Things that belong on the list will seem to just pop into your mind.
The second week move on to the shelter list and mull it over for a week in the same fashion. I am quite sure that as you work the shelter list, you will discover some things you forgot for the skills list, too. Then, next week, move on to the next topic and so forth. Take it one bite at a time, and it will not overwhelm you.
In armies, Generals are not the best shooters; they are the best planners. The CEO of General Motors is not the company’s best car builder; he is the company’s best planner. For preppers, the most important skill is planning. If you do not have a plan, you have a high probability of failing, which may mean death! What good is it to have all the food you could possibly need if you have not planned a means to prepare it? What good are all the bullets, if you forgot to buy the rifle? What good is it to have a parachute if it won’t bear the weight on it?
Plan. Plan. Plan. Planning you parachute may save your life!