This article is not designed to convince you to begin prepping or to become a prepared person. If, at this date, you are still not convinced of the value of being a well-prepared citizen, the few words I write here are not going to change your mind.

Rather, this piece is designed to help you get a better view, perhaps an aerial view of the realities of personal and community preparedness. By this time you should have come to the realization that one man cannot become an island and do everything, at least not for very long.

Though not especially tactical, the Amish understand Community.

Community Prepping

The term “community prepping” is not difficult to understand. We are talking about multiple people, or families, essentially agreeing that they will come together to assist each other during times of crisis, whether the crisis is localized, statewide, or nationwide. This could be as simple as storms, earthquakes, etc. to temporary or severe community crises.

Regardless of how well-trained and prepared you are as an individual, one man cannot do it all and he should not have to try to do so. Preparedness for an emergency goes far beyond owning a gun or stockpiling MREs. The most successful emergency plan will include a number of people who take on various tasks. One man cannot get up and hunt wild game, split wood for fuel and then pull security all night to keep away the thieves. You can try, but you’ll be wrecked or worthless in days.

In the Patriot Fire Team Manual, we spend a great deal of time considering not only task delegation, but how to talk to your like minded friends and their families. Waiting until the crisis occurs is the least preferable time to have this conversation. As an added benefit, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can download that book and start reading it right now. 

Focus on Strengths

Most everyone will have something valuable to offer the community. Your task will be to have conversations with the like minded folks and determine just what those strengths happen to be. Security is an important consideration, nonetheless, we cannot put everyone on guard duty and not everyone is suited for such. 

Basic human needs don’t stop because there is a crisis. Everyone still needs to eat. Everyone needs clean water to drink and for hygiene. Depending on the situation, your fuel needs will vary. If the electricity is out or if the community falls into a “brown out” (random availability of power) someone or several people will need to cut wood or run generators, etc.

Who is going to be cooking while the others are securing food, fuel, etc.? Who is going to care for the injured or sick? Who is going to check in on the elderly, the shut-ins, and the single mom who has small children? No moral community is going to let the old folks or the sick just wither away because there is a local emergency. Also, in a community wide emergency, the designated first responders will become overwhelmed rather quickly. 

How are you going to organize all of your volunteer community members? Such planning does not occur overnight and it takes determined forethought and planning to keep a community from devolving into an every man for himself situation. That is the worst case scenario and we should all seek to avoid it. In his book, The Pipe Hitters Guide to the Citizens Irregular Defense Corps, Nicholas Orr provides a detailed and thoughtful guide regarding how to do exactly as we have discussed in this section.

You will need more than a pistol and canned food to survive a long term crisis.

Communal Living

One suggestion for community preparedness is to have all of the like minded and prepared people gathered together in a large home or building. A person I spoke to recently suggested filling bedrooms with bunk beds to maximize usable space. After all, barracks living is how the military has functioned for centuries.

Such communal living arrangements have been used in the aftermath of hurricanes and storms. The local high-school gym is filled with cots to give people shelter and a place to sleep. This situation does work, but it should be considered a temporary solution, not one to be used for several weeks, months or an unforeseeable future. I’m not telling you that putting a set of bunk beds in a spare bedroom is a bad idea, but we may need a longer term plan.

The reasons why military personnel can live in a barrack or communal living are multiple. First, and this is a big one, military troops operate under a form of enforced discipline. The troops do not get to question the times for “lights out” or “quiet hours”. The barracks is kept clean and orderly through ingrained discipline. Military personnel are also mission focused. They have a dedicated mission and all personnel are a part of that mission.

Additionally…

Military troops will be of the same age, and in an operational capacity, they have no spouses or family to care for. They have also been trained to work and function as a team, not as individuals. Putting the average person or family unit into such a situation will be a culture shock and will prove to be increasingly uncomfortable as the days wear on.

The pressures of a crisis are enough to deal with minus crying babies or small children running around and playing in the aisles. The night shift security people need to sleep when everyone else is awake and moving around. How are you going to ensure that your security team is well-rested? From a psychological standpoint, humans need space and they need places of quiet and rest. Yes, in the short term, people can be encouraged to “suck it up” for the good of the community. However, close communal living should be considered a short-term solution.

You can add bunk beds to a spare room, but communal living is a short term solution

Effective Community Prepping

The best solution would seem to be one where families have individual living situations, even if they are more cramped than normal. A tight knit community of prepared people, who live in close proximity, is a good idea because it is easier to communicate with everyone and to keep them secure.

Naturally, we have a balancing act to undertake. How do we keep our community fed and cared for without having them at each other’s throats after the first week? That, my friend, is where planning and preparation come into play. This is why we do not wait until the emergency or crisis is upon us to take the time to think about it.

At the point of this writing, you do have the time to sit down with your friends and like minded neighbors. You have an opportunity to consider a community preparedness plan. It is my hope that you will think beyond “a pistol and canned food” when it comes to your overall preparedness plan. Go forth and do good things.


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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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