I’m a man in his mid 20s trying to prepare for when SHTF to care for 21 family members, none of which are really contributing in any significant way. I’m also part of a fireteam group, but they are not walking the walk on preparations either. My girlfriend is supportive, but I feel generally alone in my preparations. I’ve outlined the problems I have in each group– family and fireteam– in Part 1 of this article series.
How Do You Overcome These Barriers to Success?
Now that I have laid out my problems, which are substantial, I want to talk about the general steps I have taken to try and mitigate the problems. These concepts will be better exhibited when I delve into each subject area and talk about the specific approaches and steps I have taken.
Keep the Concept in Their Minds
I try to keep the concept front and center in their minds. To do this, I have a weekly email that goes out to all of the members. The email includes several different pieces. It includes:
- relevant news stories about preparedness items (such as signs of fiscal instability, grid penetrations, et cetera),
- articles about preparedness topics and techniques from sites such as this (SurvivalBlog),
- other relevant cultural articles (from sites such as Western Rifle Shooters Association or View from the Porch), and
- excerpts from Sam Culper’s Forward Observer Intelligence Briefings, which I look forward to every week.
By doing this, I am at least forcing them to spend some time every Friday thinking about preparedness-related topics. This is preferable to it sliding into the forgotten corners of their minds.
Lower Their Barriers To Entry
I’ve lowered their barrier to entry by trying to make it less of a burden to prep. While it would be lovely for everyone to store their own food, this may be too much an effort for them to undertake on their own. As such, I have offered to mirror my food stores for the fireteam at cost so long as they purchase the food and the supplies. While they have not taken me up on the offer yet, I am lowering the necessary inputs from them in hopes that they will meet me halfway. I routinely send them any particularly good preparedness deals I find (such as $3.99 ammo cans from Harbor Freight or mail-in rebates for ammunition purchases). With this, they don’t have to search for deals themselves. I pass along useful articles on using tourniquets, sighting weapons, or other preparedness topics.
Why Put So Much Effort If They Won’t Expend Effort Themselves?
The point of this is to put the ball in their court and lower the amount of effort they need to expend in order to become prepared. Once again, you are probably thinking, “If they won’t help themselves, why are you putting so much effort in?” For one, I will benefit if they begin to become prepared. So the cost of doing these things is lower than the benefits that I would receive. Secondly, it makes me feel less guilty if the SHTF and I need to leave the fireteam due to a need to preserve my supplies, because, well, I tried.
Use suggestions, not make orders. What I mean is this: Instead of lecturing a team member and saying, “You need to do XYZ because blahblahblah”, I instead approach it as “I was working on my weapons reload drills the other day….have you ever ran those drills”? Another example is, “I just realized that I needed to obtain a field repair kit for my rifle. Do you have one of those? Oh, no? Well, we probably should get that because (insert reasons). Want me to just find some and order them for us?” This is similar to removing barriers to entry, but this approach also allows you to broach topics and concepts without coming off like a lecturer.
Appeal to Emotions
Appealing to emotions in another approach. Nothing motivates a father more than asking them how they would feel if they couldn’t feed their children in a crisis. It is a real gut check and may just motivate someone to prep because it is no longer about them but about someone they love and care for. One such tool I have used is this video from the Electric Infrastructure Security Council regarding the power grid. It is powerful, people, and I have personally seen it change some perspectives on the topic of preparedness.
Root the Preparedness in Scripture.
Both my family and my fireteam groups are very religious, and using Scripture to promote preparedness has helped a lot in my endeavor to get them more serious about it. From the storing of the grain to the many references of famine and disaster, grounding your argument in Scripture may prove to be the best method, depending on who your audience is.
Specific Preparedness Steps and Plans
We have laid out the problem that exists, and we’ve identified some concepts that may help fix the problems. However, that doesn’t change the current situation, unless everyone decides to suddenly go all-in on supplies and training. So, while working on closing the gap between the “spirit” and the “flesh” of prepping, let me highlight some of the specific guides and plans I have in place.
Plans for Prepping for a Large Group
These plans assume that I am still the only one preparing and that the previous steps have not yet succeeded. Please note that I am not in any way, shape, or form an expert on these areas. I am only sharing these lists and plans because I want to give you ideas and a starting point for prepping for a large group of individuals with little to no support. These are the things that have helped me maintain my sanity and my clarity of purpose through the frustration and despair, and I hope you find it useful as well.
One general thing I have been doing is a plethora of note taking. It seems to be a tall order for many of my team members to read books that are relevant to the topic of preparedness. As such, I am tapping into my many years’ experience as a student and taking notes on the books I read, such as Mosby’s Reluctant Partisan. This has dual benefits– it helps me retain and understand the topics better, and it allows me to make a sort of “cheat sheet” that I can hand to people in a pinch so that they have at least some level of exposure to the topic area. This is by no means a substitution for either reading it themselves or actually taking classes on topics. However, it is the best that I have been able to do with my teams. If you are in a similar situation, then it may be for you as well. Remember to look for ways to lower the barriers to entry.
Food and Water
I used Mr. Rawles’ books as well as a few different forum posts to construct my food preparedness plan. I divided the food into two different groups– Tier One and Tier Two. My goal is to get all of Tier One squared away before concerning myself too heavily with Tier Two. Some of you may disagree with the method (and my numbers of how much food per person per year). However, it makes it more manageable to get the supplies and allows me to get the bare necessities in house quicker. In the table below, the number in the first column (under the item name) is the amount I am assuming per person per year. My goal is to get three months of food per person and then eventually increase that to at least six. Most of the food is assumed to be stored in Mylar in 6-gallon buckets, unless otherwise noted. (USA Emergency Supply has excellent resources that estimates how much food can fit in various buckets and containers.)
I calculated the amount of food I would need for three different groups for one year– 16 people (this assumes my girlfriend’s family cannot get to us), 21 people (most likely scenario, which assumes that they can get to us), and 42 people (if I was prepping for both the family and fireteam groups).Then simply divided by 4 to get a general approximation on how much food I need. I then roughly (very roughly) estimated the cost for the most likely number for three months by just doing a DuckDuckGo search on prices. By breaking down the cost as such, it has made it easier to ask for money for buying the food. The family group is realizing that it does not cost much for such peace of mind, and they have been more willing to entertain the idea of throwing some bucks my way. (A few have given hard commitments! That’s progress!)
- How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 1, by Patriotman
- 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.