I think this article will resonate with many of the SurvivalBlog readership, because I suspect that many of us are in a similar situation of being the only one preparing. While some of you may be lucky to have complete buy-in and participation with prepping from your family or survival group, many others, like myself, may find that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. Before I speak about my experience with this issue and the steps I have taken to attempt to mitigate this, let me provide some background on myself as well as what the composition of the group looks like. The group is divided into two sections– family and fireteam. Each one of these groups is proving to have their own frustrations and issues with them. Just as a disclaimer, I am not affiliated with any sites or individuals mentioned in this article.
I am male and in my mid-20s living in a Mid-Atlantic occupied state, and I have a Masters of Science degree. I have been preparing since 2012 when I first read Mr. Rawles’ book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. I unfortunately still live at home while I bank money to simultaneously pay off some of my loans, save money for moving out (hopefully within the year), and purchase some preparedness supplies. I have set myself an absolute baseline of readiness that I am trying to achieve and will soon hit that baseline. This baseline is the bare minimum that I want to have in hand should a disaster occur. I am also working on practical skills as well and not just acquiring “stuff” – weapons manipulations and individual tactics, medical skills, fitness, and communications.
My beautiful girlfriend of nearly seven years is 100% bought into the concept of preparedness. She has become my main companion in the pursuit of these skills, which is such a blessing. The only downside is that the relationship is long distance at the moment, but that will hopefully change within the year. And if you are wondering, yes, it stinks, but it is worth it.
There are 21 total members in my family that I am preparing for. “Twenty one!?! That’s insane!”, you may say. You aren’t wrong. These are the individuals that I cannot in good conscience turn away from my door in the event of a disaster. This consists of my siblings, their wives, and their wives’ immediate families. I could theoretically not count the families of the wives, but that would just be deluding myself into denying reality once the SHTF. The family group is who I am primarily preparing for. As such, they are factored into my calculations on food/water, medical supplies, equipment, et cetera.
For the family group, I have a wide range of buy-in. About a quarter see the coming storm and are supporters of my endeavor. Another quarter are peripherally aware but have some life events occurring that make it difficult to have the issue front and center in their lives. The other half are the proverbial “ostrich with their head in the sand” and are not invested at all into the concept.
Through my church, I am blessed to have made friends with several families of fellow Christian conservatives. These families all have a retired LEO as the head of the household and are relatively compact in their size. This group is approximately 21 individuals as well. For this group, I am not concerned with storing food/water or medical supplies. As I see it, that is their family’s responsibility to do. The fireteam group is a lovely addition to my preparedness plans but not an absolute necessity.
For the fireteam group, I would estimate that half of them are very supportive of the concept of prepping. The other half are indifferent and/or slightly supportive.
The problem is something I mentioned earlier that we all have probably experienced. It is “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. In other words, while I have tacit support for the idea of preparedness, getting anyone to do anything is a completely different story. Let me explain in detail the issue for each group.
I Got 99 Problems, and the Family Group is 98 of Them
Main Family Issue- Inexperience with Firearms
For the family group, my main issue is that (aside from my girlfriend and me) none of the 19 other individuals in the group have experience with firearms. This makes it very difficult from a security and force projection standpoint. Not only does the group not own any guns, they don’t really know how to use one. Forget working on weapons manipulations, assembly/ disassembly, or small unit tactics. I can’t even get them to the range to fire the guns for the first or second time ever!
Lack of Contribution For Supplies
When it comes to storing supplies and purchasing equipment, I only have one sibling (a brother of mine) who has offered to provide money for those supplies. They all like to joke about “finding me” when the SHTF, but none of them have offered to contribute. While some may suggest that I just say “leave them”, let me reiterate this is family and I cannot in good conscience turn immediate family away during a crisis.
Lack of Useful Practical Skills For Survival
Most don’t have useful practical skills for survival. Their backgrounds are not in any hard skills but mostly academic. They are mainly teachers. This may work great if we bug out to a town establishing a school where people are willing to trade supplies for knowledge, but it is not useful in most other scenarios.
Questionable Physical Fitness
The physical fitness of most of the family is questionable, at best. While one sibling does run marathons and lift and some others aren’t overweight, the vast majority are not in the best physical conditions.
Girlfriend’s Distant Family With No Preparedness Tendencies
On my girlfriend’s side, her family lives a few states away and have no preparedness tendencies. On a scale from 1 to 10, they would be a -3 (negative 3). Figuring out how to transport her family to my location is a thorny logistics issue.
Absent Communications Skills and Equipment
No one has any Ham radio or communication experience or skills. There is also no Ham radio or similar communications equipment within this group.
Whew! Sounds like I am messed over, eh? It certainly feels that way sometimes. It has caused me to despair and feel a sense of hopelessness about the situation. It doesn’t get much better when we look at the fireteam as well.
Fireteam or a Burning Trash Heap?
Biggest Fireteam Issue
The biggest issue that exists with the fireteam group is, once again, getting them to do anything. They all have at least some firearm experience, either through their LEO background or range trips we have taken together. However, they lack either the time or the fitness (common theme) to work on more in-depth topics related to security, such as fireteam drills or small unit tactics. While this may not be a problem if the fighting takes place from a fixed fighting position, it certainly becomes an issue when trying to establish a more robust and proactive security force (a la John Mosby’s Reluctant Partisan, which I cannot recommend enough).
I am not sure if they have actually taken any steps in the areas of medical preparations or food and water acquisition and storage. This is their biggest Achilles heel and my main area of concern with them. I am already taking care of the food for 21 people. I refuse to add another 21 to that without some kind of monetary help. I simply cannot afford to do so.
Walking the Walk
I have wonderful discussions with the fireteam about the concepts of prepping and the need to do so, but getting them to “walk the walk” is so incredibly hard. They have a fantastic set of skills between them all, as the group includes an electrician, plumbing, carpenter, home health aide, et cetera. But they’re just simply not doing the things they need to do to prepare. I don’t want to lose them from the group but will absolutely have to if the SHTF and they are expecting the food I am stockpiling to feed them as well.
Absent Radio and Communications Experience
None of the team has any radio or comms experience either. And none of them seem very motivated to study for and complete their test for their Ham license.
So, I’ve laid out my problems here in Part 1. In Part 2, I will begin to share how I decided to overcome my problems and specific preparedness steps taken.
- How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 2, by Patriotman (Active on 4/11/18)
- How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 3, by Patriotman (Active on 4/12/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 75 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 75 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.