In this article, I am playing Devil’s Advocate. It is very important that you carry out your own due diligence when considering joining a group, large or small.
- Prepping has also become big business and the core aim of some dubious organisations is to gain membership to increase revenue
- Some Prepping groups have a thinly veiled political agenda
- There are groups that have become too big and unwieldy to manage effectively and may lead to your demise
- There are many “Members” in groups who use the groups as a shop to sell their “Prepping equipment and MREs” to help the other members.
Are There Benefits of Joining a Group
There are many benefits to joining a group and I will expand on them later in the post but some of them are;
- You have access to expert advice that you wouldn’t have as an individual
- You will have better organisation, in most instances, than you would have going solo
- You will have access to more facilities and equipment
- You will have strength in numbers
- You could travel in a convoy that offers strength in number but, the bigger the convoy, the bigger the target
- experts in the different fields like medical, defense etc
How Big Should A Group Be
This is an issue that really causes robust discussion, to say the least. There are organisations out there that plan to collect all their local groups into large groups of 200 vehicles and more to form a convoy, citing strength in numbers as their motivation.
While this might be true to a certain degree, it also makes for a serious target and the enemy will sit up and monitor such a large movement of vehicles.
That is not the least of my concerns. Other concerns are;
- how will you control such a group
- Where will the group overnight
- At the endpoint, how will you deal with Toilet facilities, water and cooking?
On the other hand, having 200 vehicles with most of them being armed will certainly give you a fighting chance if you are challenged by a group with less than good intentions.
I personally am more comfortable with a smaller group of around 10 families. They are more manageable, less visible and are maneuverable. Communication will not be such an issue and it will be easier and quicker to set up an unobtrusive camp with pit toilets. Finding water for 10 families will be somewhat easier than finding water for 200 families, who will be very visible and probably on everyone’s radar.
Is National Better Than Local
This is another volatile discussion point. It certainly is a comforting thought belonging to a national organisation that can negotiate on your behalf, tour America and Europe to garner support for the cause etc. but there is a disadvantage to this;
- These national groups often have a small core that runs the organisation.
- They are often not elected and the format is more like a dictatorship with a “Toe the line or get thrown out” attitude.
- There are often leaders in the groups that disagree with the top structure and because there is no way to hold the leaders accountable, they start their own “group” within the national group, with their own plans and objectives. This often leads to splits and breakaway groups.
What happens when there are three or four of these groups when you get to your “endPoint”. Who is in charge? Will they surrender control to someone else or will it become a power struggle.
What Is Their Plan – Do They Even Have A Plan
The plan is the be-all and end-all everything. With no plan you are in deep sh!t With this in mind, you need to establish what the group’s plan is. they will not give you details but they will probably give you an overview, like, are they “Bugging in” or “Bugging out”. These two scenarios are extremely important.
Bugging In – This is where the groups elect to assemble at a specific point that is defensive and has certain facilities like water and shelter. They have prepped to have food, water, shelter, medical supplies, and arms to withstand a siege.
Bugging Out – This alternative plans to leave the area and drive to a predetermined safe location where they will set up a fortified position to defend themselves.
Is The Plan Workable
This is where you have to decide if you feel you have confidence in the group’s plan or will it serve you better to go it alone or to join another group. Let’s just consider the two scenarios as mentioned above.
Bugging In – As with most plan, this has its merits. If the situation is such that you cannot get out of the city in time, you will need a safe place to hold up until you find another alternative. My question is, how long can you remain in the city?
Let’s just consider one scenario. When the power fails, what happens;
- No traffic signals – the roads are a mess
- Cell towers stop working within hours
- People rush to get fuel for the vehicles and generators and the fuel finishes withing 2 to 3 days
- People rush out to buy food – supermarkets only have 3 days stock Food runs out and looting takes over
- Day one the sewage starts backing up and in a day or to raw sewage is bubbling out in your garden and in the streets
- There is a run on the banks but no power means no money
- People rush to get a supply of chronic medication
- after a couple of days, lawlessness prevails
- Refugees try to seek refuge with you, will you help or drive them away
- Disease spreads, there is no food and the masses want your food.
How much ammo, water and food, in that order, did you store? If you stay in the city for any length of time you are going to have a very unpleasant time.
Bugging Out- You will have been very lucky to have fled the city before the roads became impassable but, let’s say you got out. you now have to
- find a route to your destination that is not going to be block by the enemy
- travel back roads to avoid detection ( how large is your convoy?)
- when vehicles break down, what do you do with the passengers and their stores
- Panic and fear start showing their ugly heads when you see the carnage along the route
- Fuel starts becoming a problem. Whose vehicles do you keep and whose do you leave behind
- How do you avoid roadblocks and pillagers
- Where are you fleeing to
- Who and what help is available when you get there
- do you join a refugee camp or start your own mini camp out of site
- Food and water sources need to be secured
- If you did not get out of the City in time, what’s your plan
Who Is In The Group
This is of major importance and you need to understand the group dynamics. You are possibly going to be in some very tight spots with the group and you will very well have to trust them with your and your families lives.
Little things like snoring, complaining, fear will likely become issues and you need to know that you will all be able to get along.
Don’t forget the expertise. You will want to join a group where everyone brings useful skills and or equipment to the group. You will need skills such as Medical, building, hunting, bushcraft, animal husbandry, gardening, aquaponics, sowing, teaching( there probably will be children) and the like.
Pros And Cons Of Not Joining A Group
The thought of going it alone can be terrifying and you need to consider things carefully. You will have to prep like never before, and I don’t mean goods. You will have to learn a hell of a lot before you will make it on your own and you will need to start learning now.
That being said, it is definitely doable and has some serious advantages;
- Going it alone gives you absolute independence
- You will be extremely mobile
- Gathering food and water will be far easier
- you will be less visible
- your stores will be yours and will not be claimed by the group
- it will be easier to find yourself a secure spot when you get to where you are going
- less chance of disease
It will not all be fun and games. There are definite disadvantages;
- You will be alone so you must handle every situation yourself
- No other expert advice
- your defenses are much weaker
- Illness or injury poses a greater risk as there is nobody to help and to carry out your tasks
Pros And Cons Of Joining A Group
I have addressed some pros of joining a group earlier in the article and there are a lot more but your personal circumstances will dictate what is an advantage and how much value you should attach to them when you weigh up the pros and cons.
Here are also some CONs that you need to consider. Things like;
- Having to follow a plan that you are not 100% comfortable with.
- Most groups have rules and rank structures that you have to comply with and this means not being able to call your own shots
- exposing your prepping status to a group of people that you do not know
- Having to follow people whom you did not elect to lead you. Many groups have Rank Structures and its often friends or supporters that get placed in leadership roles that they are not competent to hold.
- Some groups plan to seize certain foods and equipment to distribute amongst the group when SHTF.
These are just a few things that come to mind and you really need to be very selective when joining a group.
Connect With People You Can Trust
This is paramount. If you feel uneasy about a person or group, it might be a sign of a bad fit and you might need to consider changing your group. If you are uneasy now, how much worse will it become under stressful circumstances?
If your group is a bad fit, now is the time to look around for a better fit or to start your own.
You Can Easily Start Your Own Group
Starting your own group is not a quick fix and is definitely not easy but, it certainly gives you the opportunity to attract like-minded people who could help you build a prepper group that meets all the group’s needs.
Here are a few suggestions that have some merit:
- Cautiously approach people that have similar interests.
- Test the waters about their views about getting together for certain activities.
- See what prospective members think about preparedness games and drills based on emergency scenarios.
- Hold training events and make the activities more like a survival game. That is what they really are, but with the added bonus of preparing you for real-life situations. Base them on capture the flag and paintball games. This will probably remove the likelihood of withdrawal that comes with hearing the word “prepping”.
- once you have a few founding members, set goals like “Put in place a plan for emergencies’.
- supply members with tools and training that increases situational awareness and skills
- meet new people and have some fun while doing it.
- set ground rules. These should include a hierarchy for the group.
- Assign roles based on skills because it will reduce panic and indecision in a real emergency.
- Have regular meetings/social events/training events. The better you get to know each other, the better you will function as a group. Don’t leave out the children or senior citizens. The more interaction there is amongst all the group members the better
- Don’t make the group about money. Let everyone participate in decisions and let people offer to contribute what they can. Some peoples skills will be worth far more when the SHTF than money that they don’t have now
- Connect with other prepper groups, hold combined training exercises. Share skills and develop.
It takes people to keep a place safe, people working shifts and helping with unpleasant and tiring chores. You need people to deal with medical situations.
It would also be physically impossible to patrol even a small perimeter 24/7 even with the aid of your loved ones.
Training, Training, Training – Participate In Preparedness Activities
Training is of vital importance and you need to keep it high on the list of priorities. It does not need to take the form of formal training. Make it fun especially where kids are involved. Turn it into a game or competition. Plan simulations of real life scenarios.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. Almost every type of scenario is allowed. They should not offend participants, incite them to do dangerous or illegal things.
Hold outdoor activities, hikes, camps, picknicks, Braais (An educated term for Barbecue which includes lots of beer, a big fire and if you last that long, some meat). Make it fun and include things that let people practice their outdoor skills.
We have covered a fair bit about joining groups or going it alone. The main purpose of this post is to get you thinking about what your options are and what you will do. The main thing is to prepare in some way for emergencies. Don’t leave it until you have no options.
If you have any questions, please ask them here.
Your opinion will truly be valued so please leave a comment below.