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Let me start this article by saying that we are amid a powerful group. The readers and the writers, talkers and teachers of the survival and prepper niche are special people. This community embraced me with open arms over 5 years ago and I am always impressed by what the skills and understanding they possess.
Together we are all getting better. There is nothing else in life but getting better. This is an article about preppers getting better at things they may not be considering. Of the many topics I read about on a weekly basis, and it’s a lot, I see many of the same topics hammered over and over again.
- Food storage
- Self defense
I am not even necessarily saying this bad. I love a well written article and good authors can take a subject like the Bugout and flip it on its head, pick it apart and make something special. Not to mention, we all need a reminder of what’s important. A review is good for anyone.
But there are 5 key issues that most preppers are underutilizing. I want to touch on each one and explain how you can upgrade quickly. Some of these will be much more important than others, but all of them are opportunities.
Now, we are not talking about mental capacity or IQ when I say intelligence. I am talking about your ability to gather information. What are your current intelligence gathering capabilities?
For most preppers, their total intelligence plan comes down to a hand crank radio. If the information doesn’t come from that radio, they will be left in the dark about what is going down around them.
Because of the isolated nature of preppers, we are always subject to gaps in our intelligence. I like to look at intelligence for preppers in three levels.
National – This is national news that permeates down to your radio airwaves. The only way you will be able to get this will be through some type of broadcast.
Local – Local intelligence is much like national in its delivery but will speak to issues in your region. This will be very important after any disaster.
Community – Community level intelligence is probably some of the most important. Its value increases as the severity of the disaster increases. This intel will be gathered by you and your neighbors. You will become the reporters.
To bolster your intelligence plan, you are going to need some hardware and some help. When we are talking about hardware, you need to go beyond the hand crank radio. I am not knocking hand crank radios. They’re a great option. Still, you need to have a quality, portable police scanner for gathering more local and community intelligence.
Another hardware investment should be a decent drone with an HD camera. This will give you eyes on your immediate area. You can look at damages and threats from high above. The drone can tell you so much when the power is out and communications are limited.
Finally, and we will go more into detail with this in the next section, you need community. You must have a relationship with your neighbors. This is a must.
You can gather all sorts of info from people in the know about things in your community. You might have first responders or medical professionals in your neighborhood. They will be full of info.
We have no community. I don’t mean online community or prepper community, I mean the people that live around you. Some preppers have this fantasy that they are going to create some dream community where each person is hand selected to carry out a duty. For most, this will never happen. We need cohesion in our communities to survive disasters.
We have just witnessed several earth-shattering disasters. In fact, the earthquake in Mexico was literally an earth-shattering disaster. As the dust settled, there was no special task force of preppers who appeared from the shadows to help and rebuild.
Instead, it was neighbors helping neighbors. It’s always neighbors helping neighbors. After Harvey and after Irma, what do you see?
Our connection with our neighbors and the strength of our communities must be at the forefront of our goals as preppers. There is no lone wolf, and there is no board up the windows and hide from society. When S hits the fan, it will the guy next door who pulls you out, not some survival blogger.
Simply speaking, we must start talking and interacting again. Come out of the house. Don’t avoid eye contact. Begin waving at and approaching neighbors. Most importantly, find common ground. Fight the urge to be offended and find a subject you can talk about and laugh about.
- Start a community garden.
- Start a community group.
- Start a community email list.
- Start a neighborhood watch.
- Start a prepper community.
As preppers, we trust no one with our secrets. When you look around your neighborhood, you probably think you are the only person prepping, huh? It’s likely you are not. The idea that everything must pass through strict OPSEC parameters and we must shun outsiders is hurting us.
Our lack of trust leads to others not trusting us. It’s the Nat Geo Doomsday Preppers effect. Act like a fringe element and you will be treated as such. I am not saying write a tell-all about your endeavors as a prepper, but there is nothing wrong with the following statement:
“I take disaster preparedness very seriously.”
In times of disaster, your community will be looking for a leader. They will need as many people as possible who have knowledge on the subject. Whether you know it or not you are an expert, or you’re on your way.
Trust developed today will be crucial in planning for tomorrow. The goal should never be to turn your community into a military base, but with trust and tact, you can get them all thinking about preparedness.
Trust comes from helping people and being kind, two things that we are moving further away from as a society. Unfortunately, we feel like we don’t have time to help, and we don’t have the energy to be kind. Kindness is currency in this world. You better believe it.
Honesty is paramount. Even if it hurts a little, honesty will get you far. Put yourself last, help out, and be kind. In no time at all, you will be gaining the trust of those around you. You will also be a better, happier, person.
4. USB Power
There are very few preppers who are unaware of power banks. This is an assumption, but I feel like the public is mostly aware that they can charge their phone, on the go, from a power bank. These are often small tubular power sources that will charge your phone once or twice.
The world of power banks and USB powered devices is rapidly expanding. I think the USB power banks should be a huge part of any prepper’s arsenal. Many people just don’t realize the potential.
Power banks are being produced en masse by companies all over the internet. They are primarily rechargeable battery packs for USB devices. This is not limited to phones and iPads. In fact, there are several useful items that can be charged via USB if you have a power source.
- Stun Guns
- Kids Toys
Investing in a quality power bank and some preps that are powered by that bank just makes sense. You don’t need a portable gas generator for all your power needs. The power bank can also make things like fans mobile. Small USB fans can be a lifesaver during a summer power outage.
There are many companies making great products. Some even have solar cells on them. They are not the most effective chargers, but it’s an option for when you are out of other options. Check out the following brands and consider making better use of USB power.
Here’s an example of a system that uses solar power and power banks to keep multiple devices charged.
In today’s world, where the rule of law still reigns supreme, it seems crazy and downright criminal to consider a future in breaking and entering. If we do find ourselves in an unrecognizable world, these old feelings won’t hold the same weight. If you are left to survive in an urban landscape, you better have some plans to get into buildings where there might be resources.
I understand the dilemma. Most good people don’t even want to be seen as doing anything remotely criminal. What will it look like if you order a set of lock picks to be delivered to your home? What questions does that raise to those sneaky forces who track our purchases?
There is much more to access than breaking and entering post-disaster.
By having the right set of tools for access, you may also get yourself out of places as well. How about having an elevator key or a train key? Is this malicious? There are multitool keys that can do everything from getting you out of a building to stopping the flow of propane gas in the event of a leak. I look at all of this as access.
Have a way to get in or get out of most situations. This is what being prepared is all about. How do you do it without looking like a criminal in training?
The first step is the procurement of the right tools. If you are looking for something highly specialized and prepper related, buy it in cash from a prepper show or expo. These shows are popping up all over the country. No purchase can haunt you. Also, you are not buying anything illegal to begin with.
For someone who is serious about access, you are going to want to not only buy the right tools but know how to use them. Play around with locks and lockpicks, and learn how to use them. You will also become much more aware of your own home security.
- Multi-access key or Fireman’s Keys
- Bolt Cutters
- Short Sturdy Prybar
- Glass Breaker