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Working Together: Building a Small Community

Hello, Suzanne! I have a question for you. Some folks I know have nice cabins that are set up with water, electricity, etc., and they want to know what survival supplies they should have with a group of 10 people. They have over a pallet of Survival Food, but what would you consider to be other essentials?

I received the above message from a friend in Idaho. I appreciated the inquiry, because it came from a person with extensive survival, tracking and bush crafting skills. It just goes to show that while preppers and survivalists may have different areas of expertise, we have much to learn from and teach each other, so I was delighted my friend sought my advice.

Let's pick this situation described apart a bit. It appears that they are ramping up their preparedness in the midst of an ongoing emergency. I previously informed my readers that it is not too late to prepare, even though supplies in many areas are in short supply. Fortunately, since I wrote that piece, things seem to be settling down, for NOW. So, what to do when presented with a window of opportunity?

I believe that once the concerns for spread of the CV-19 have passed, we will experience another reason for preparedness, and that is economic disturbance on a wide scale. Here is an excellent explanation as to why the economy simply won't return to “normal” once the virus crisis has passed. Keeping an eye towards difficult economic times and the many other reasons to be prepared, let's see how this small group living in a rugged area subject to severe weather can further their level of preparedness; they are off to a great start!

We have a small group of ten people in cabins, so there is the shelter requirement (food, water, shelter, being the three most basic aspects of preparedness). Water and electricity seem to be available, at least for now. So, given these facts, I would say, first, ensure the shelters are properly weather-proofed and have ample resources for heating, such as insulation, wood stoves, generators, etc.

Is the water replenishible or are they relying on stored water? If the latter, guidelines typically advise 3 gallons of water per person, per day. If the former, make sure they have means to disinfect and purify the water, by means of boiling, filtering, adding bleach, iodine, etc. Even pool shock can disinfect large quantities of water so is good to have on hand.

Large quantities of “survival food” are of course good to have, but beware of the consequences of making such products a main source of nutrition. Every member of the group should make the effort to purchase canned goods, and can their own food ps:// well as purchase dehydrated foods, which can be added to or used to make soups, stews, chili, for example. If everyone contributes they will benefit from a much more robust supply of food.

As for the food buckets that are popular, avoid the products that sell “drinks” and “oatmeal” as you will be paying an exorbitant price for cheap food. The ONLY freeze-dried products I have are complete entrees or assorted meats which can be added to or used to make other meals, such as soups, for example.

Gather as much high-calorie canned food products as possible. I recommend the Chunky soups, because of their size and the pop-off lids, making them convenient to use. Don't forget to consider the comfort foods, such as sweets, popcorn, things that will boost morale when needed. While I always emphasize good nutrition, everyone needs something sweet or comforting from time to time, right? I also love my food dehydrator as a means to preserve harvests, animal or plant-based. Root vegetables can be stored in a root cellar or other dark, cool place, where I have seen some people put them in totes or boxes covered with sand.

How MUCH of the food is needed depends on the community, but more is always better, for now, get whatever you can, which may be difficult with so many people not working. As I said above, the economy is going to suffer, so prioritize and also keep in mind what you WILL miss if you can no longer get it; some of my favorite examples are reading glasses, Sun glasses, writing materials, and can openers, reading materials, board games. Think about YOUR situation and assess. Supplies such as tools, batteries, flashlights, matches, fire starters, fuel, fencing material are frequently overlooked, so get those while they are available.

This community will do well to evaluate and combine their skill sets and delegate rolls accordingly; I am betting they have much to offer each other. Here is an example: as food supplies may diminish, those with hunting abilities can acquire protein, and those who know how to preserve the meat can then contribute. I would also acquire a flock of chickens for meat and eggs, other small livestock, and start a garden. I highly recommend building a green house to extend the growing season, especially in this part of the country.

So, the answer to the question of “how much?” - it depends on the goals of the community. My goal is to thrive, not just survive, and avoid rationing if at all possible. Everyone will have to take current financial situations into consideration and possibly provide for others who can in turn provide services, such as security, hunting, plumbing, electrical work, medical care ,a generator, food preparation, carpentry, etc. A community can fill in the gaps an individual may have in their “preps” and I think this group is off to a great start! I hope I get updates on how they are doing!

I will keep you posted as events unfold, please check in to my site regularly, as I will do this on a regular basis. If you find my information helpful, please also consider making a small donation; there is a Pay-Pal button on my Home Page. Be safe, be well, be smart.

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