Rich, I am looking for a “team” in my area. Do you know how or where I would begin?
Hi there, and thanks for the question,
The best thing to do is get involved with a local community group, such as the Red Cross, C.E.R.T. ( http://www.ready.gov/citizen-corps ), your volunteer fire department, the Medical Reserve Corps ( https://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/HomePage ), volunteering with your local police department, or other similar local organizations.
Why these groups? Militias are always going to be seen as a threat from those in power. Survival groups…same thing. Doomsday preppers? On the lists of the FBI and DHS as threats. When you focus on the real threats to the average family, such as severe storms, hurricanes, floods, accidents, or technological breakdowns, you need to develop a very good set of time proven and evidence driven skills, based on learning first aid, CPR, basic EMT skills, and first responder training. Those are the most needed skills in a true, dire emergency. Once learned, you can always update your skills as knowledge and facts get updated.
Be part of the local system. Get the skills to help other people when things go south, starting with yourself, then your family, and THEN your community. Talk to your neighbors…get a feel for their concerns for local safety…and their skill sets. Be honest, but be neutral. Going out and trying to start a survival or preparedness group can be very tricky, or even dangerous. Joining a group that’s already been around for a while can also be just a worrisome. Do your research, some background checks, or even watch from afar before really getting involved. Think outside the box…and know that the feds are always wary of people who just want to be left alone.
Get your family and yourself ready to deal with the most obvious threats, be it weather, natural hazards, local crime issues, or breakdowns in infrastructure (electricity, water, sewer, food shortages, fuel issues, etc). When you’ve got your family all on the same page, then is the time to expand to local families that have the capacity to back you up, and vice versa.
There are prepper groups around the nation. Try Meetup for some of these groups. If you visit any of them, go in and observe for the first few meetings. Get a feel for the real goals behind this local group. Pay attention to your local news, events, government, and elections. Become part of the system that cares, instead part of the system that just takes. There ARE many honest, caring, folks with mostly good intentions, who do think of the bigger picture. But, there will always be the sly, deceitful, and criminally minded people just aching for a chance to make another score…and preppers are BIG scores when targeted by the dark side.
However, there are new things to be concerned about in this time of fiscal insanity, soaring crime rates, and financial woes in city, county, and municipal areas. Cut backs and even bankruptcies across the nation are affecting the public safety sector greater than every before. Police departments, Sheriff’s offices, and even fire departments are seeing cutbacks in service and availability. What used to take officers a few minutes to respond to when an emergency occurred, now may take up to an hour or more in some cities. Rampant crime, violence, and domestic disputes are at levels never seen before. Strangely, or maybe not so strange when you actually think about it, the largest and highest crime rates are in the cities with the highest levels of gun control, such as Chicago, Washington DC, and even Denver.
In this area, you really need to think of home security and self defense for you and your loved ones. Visit local gun shops and shooting ranges, and even talk with your local police department about your local laws, crime issues, and so forth, and then do your homework and purchase guns specific to your needs, whether it’s a pistol, shotgun or rifle or all three. You don’t want to the be the person to show up at a gun fight with a knife, in other words.
Ranges are a good place to actually make friends with similar interests, but as above, listen and ask simple questions. Try to leave politics out of your first few conversations. Let conversations take a natural flow, but keep your guard up until you feel comfortable enough to share more information. Never disclose to complete strangers your own prepping skills, supplies, or even your home location. There are too many people out there who, in a bad situation, will take advantage of just such information when it suits them.
Finally, develop the skills, the confidence, the mindset and the ability to deal with any possible scenario that might affect your or your family. Practice…practice…practice. EVERYTHING. Do the things that you need to know instinctively…over and over and over again. Develop muscle memory…so your body automatically reacts with the right action at the right time.
I’ll let Sheriff Clarke have the last word here. Memorize it…and plan accordingly.