Imagine a scenario where the comforts of our modern society are stripped away, leaving us to fend for ourselves. The collapse of law enforcement, emergency services, utilities, food supply chains, communications, clean water, sewage systems, and sanitation is a harsh reality. It’s not difficult to envision a devastating event capable of crippling our entire support network.
A nuclear strike orchestrated by a rogue dictator or terrorist organization targeting our major cities would instantly divert all first responders to handle the immediate and long-lasting aftermath. The casualties would be staggering, with hundreds of thousands or more dead or injured, and countless others forced to flee their homes, further complicating any attempts at restoration.
In this bleak situation, there would be no emergency hotline to call, no police force available to safeguard you and your loved ones, and no EMS to transport you to a hospital, even if you managed to reach them. When faced with such dire circumstances, you would find yourself completely self-reliant, whether you chose to isolate yourself from the surrounding community or not.
You probably won’t survive alone
In such an extreme scenario, not everyone will possess the skills and readiness to independently provide for themselves, their family, and their friends. Isolating oneself from other survivors and expecting to overcome the imminent challenges alone would not be feasible or desirable.
Considering humans’ inherent social nature, it is reasonable to assume that most of us will seek to be part of a mutually supportive community, especially in the aftermath of a catastrophic event. Establishing a functioning and prosperous organization in a post-apocalyptic society requires meeting certain essential requirements. Whether individuals aim to join an existing group or initiate one from scratch, this guide aims to assist in transitioning from chaos to a well-structured community.
The principles outlined can also be applied to organizing smaller-scale survival groups. It won’t be a simple task, but individuals with shared values and goals will have the opportunity to unite, coordinate efforts, restore order, ensure mutual protection, and rebuild a functioning community.
The two main things your community needs
In undertaking this task, two crucial elements come into play: leadership and organization.
Regarding leadership, it will be the responsibility of individual communities to determine who assumes this role. They may choose individuals from previous leadership structures or draw from other sectors of society that have experienced leaders, such as law enforcement, education, healthcare, or organized religion.
Alternatively, communities may opt to explore unconventional options within their own ranks. Naturally, larger communities will have a wider pool of potential candidates, necessitating a more intricate selection process. Ultimately, each community’s choice will be guided by their unique needs, goals, and the shared ethics and values of their members, resulting in variations from one community to another.
Throughout history, effective leaders have demonstrated the ability to assemble and organize teams, delegating responsibilities and empowering others to achieve specific objectives. Initially, the paramount focus should be on addressing the fundamental human needs of food, water, shelter, security, communications, and health. During the organization of leadership, these key areas should guide the overall leader’s selection of personnel to whom responsibilities can be delegated.
The ideal candidate for the job
In an ideal scenario, the leader would prioritize individuals who possess extensive knowledge in their respective areas of responsibility. For instance, when appointing someone to oversee the health of the community, it would be prudent to choose an individual with a background in public health or a medical profession.
Similarly, the individual entrusted with the security of the community should possess either significant law enforcement or relevant military experience. It is preferable that those assigned to manage other crucial domains possess similar qualifications. It is important to recognize that history has taught us the perils of unchecked power leading to its abuse.
Therefore, positions of responsibility and authority, including that of the leader and all directors, should be initially appointed. However, it is crucial to establish a regular election schedule and implement term limits as soon as feasible. Posts should have a predefined duration (ranging from a minimum of two years to a maximum of six years) to ensure that no single individual retains control indefinitely.
Making the leading team
The composition of the leadership team, comprising key personnel or directors, will depend on the size of the group and the specific challenges it confronts.
It is crucial to bear in mind that the transition from a well-structured organization to a bureaucratic system can occur swiftly and unexpectedly. Keeping this in mind, here are the essential areas that necessitate organization, leadership, and accountability to effectively manage the process of rebuilding a community.
In smaller groups, directors may need to assume responsibility for multiple areas. The extent of responsibility will differ in each group, deviating somewhat from the guidelines provided below. It is worth noting that certain areas of expertise may be relevant in multiple sections, highlighting the diverse organizational arrangements your group may encounter.
Appointing a food manager
The food manager will assume responsibilities vital to the community’s sustenance, including:
- Managing inventory, storage, and rationing of perishable and non-perishable food stores.
- Coordinating hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering teams to supplement existing food stocks.
- Overseeing agricultural tasks, including livestock care and the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
- Providing education and guidance to enhance the group’s understanding and skills in food-related subjects.
The position of food manager may benefit from individuals with expertise in various fields such as hunting, fishing, trapping, farming, food processing and preservation, botany, zoology, and veterinary sciences. The food manager plays a critical role in ensuring the community’s access to sustenance and fostering self-sufficiency.
Appointing a water manager
The water manager holds critical responsibilities related to the community’s water supply and management, including:
- Managing inventory, storage, and rationing of existing potable water resources.
- Identifying and evaluating new, viable water sources for future utilization.
- Ensuring the provision of potable water to the group using all available means.
- Safely handling, accessing, using, storing, and recycling greywater.
- Maintaining safe handling, storage, and disposal of wastewater.
- Collaborating with the food manager to utilize greywater and wastewater for agricultural purposes.
- Educating group members to enhance their knowledge and personal skills in water management.
Fields of expertise that align with this position may include water treatment and purification workers, natural resource managers, chemists, plumbers, and wastewater management specialists. The water manager plays a crucial role in securing a sustainable and safe water supply for the community’s needs.
Appointing a shelter manager
The shelter manager holds key responsibilities related to the community’s housing and infrastructure, including:
- Overseeing all construction projects of habitable structures.
- Maintaining existing habitable structures within the community.
- Ensuring the safety and compliance of habitable structures with the group’s minimum standards for safety and sanitation.
- Educating group members to enhance their knowledge and personal skills in shelter-related subjects.
Expertise within the shelter director’s purview may include carpenters, woodworkers, electricians, masons, roofers, steelworkers, construction vehicle and equipment operators, repairmen, machinists, architects, engineers, and construction contractors. The shelter manager plays a vital role in providing safe and functional living spaces for the community.
Appointing a security manager
The security manager bears significant responsibilities concerning the safety and protection of community members and their property, including:
- Safeguarding the citizens of the community and their belongings, both internally and externally.
- Defending the community against threats to peace and personal safety.
- Carrying out law enforcement duties and managing criminal court functions, including apprehending, restraining, prosecuting, and administering punishments to criminals.
- Educating group members to enhance their knowledge and personal skills in security-related subjects.
Areas of expertise that could be relevant for the security director include experienced warfighters, law enforcement and corrections officers, firefighters, surveillance and security system experts and technicians, gunsmiths, and martial artists. The security manager ensures the community’s safety and maintains law and order within the group.
Appointing a communications manager
The communications manager holds critical responsibilities concerning internal and external communication infrastructure, including:
- Managing the construction and maintenance of infrastructure for public and mass communications, both within the community and externally.
- Keeping the community informed about the group’s current status.
- Gathering and disseminating information within the community and to neighboring groups.
- Managing message traffic with external contacts as necessary.
- Overseeing traditional print communication methods, such as newspapers, magazines, and mail.
- Educating group members to enhance their knowledge and personal skills in communication-related subjects.
Areas of expertise relevant to the communications director’s role may include HAM and long-distance radio operators and technicians, electronic and communications specialists, linemen, and Morse code specialists. The communications manager ensures effective and reliable communication channels for the community.
Appointing a health manager
The health manager plays a crucial role in overseeing various tasks related to the well-being of the community. Their responsibilities encompass a wide range of health, medical, hygiene, and sanitation needs. Here are the key areas that the health manager would oversee:
- Managing all matters concerning the health, medical, hygiene, and sanitation needs of the community.
- Cultivating and gathering medicinal plants to address health-related issues.
- Providing comprehensive medical, dental, and emotional care, including general veterinary care.
- Educating group members on relevant subjects to enhance their personal skills in this area.
The health manager’s expertise encompasses diverse fields, including traditional, holistic, and natural medical and mental health professionals. Additionally, individuals knowledgeable in teaching, veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), search-and-rescue personnel, health and sex education instructors, midwifery, and pharmacy would contribute to the health director’s responsibilities.
By appointing a capable health manager, the community ensures the availability of essential healthcare services, promotes education on health-related matters, and safeguards the overall well-being of its members.
Appointing a labor manager
The labor manager assumes a crucial role in overseeing trades and occupations that do not fall under the other mentioned areas of responsibility. While their inclusion in this category does not diminish their importance, it allows for a dedicated focus on these diverse fields within the community. Your organizational chart can be tailored to suit the group’s specific assets and needs. Here are some of the various trades that could be overseen by the labor manager:
- General laborers involved in various manual tasks and maintenance duties.
- Vehicle and equipment technicians responsible for the upkeep and repair of machinery.
- Engineers contributing expertise in various disciplines.
- Scientists involved in research and development.
- Religious clergy and leaders providing spiritual guidance and support.
- Artists, musicians, entertainers, and athletes contributing to the cultural enrichment of the community.
- Childcare specialists ensuring the well-being of children within the group.
- Transportation and logistics experts and workers managing the movement of goods and resources.
- Economists providing insights on economic matters.
- General scholars and experts in various fields.
The labor manager plays a pivotal role in effectively utilizing and coordinating the diverse skill sets and expertise within the community, contributing to its overall functionality and growth.
A final word
As mentioned earlier, the advice presented in this article primarily caters to those aiming to establish organization within an existing community or initiate a new community from scratch. These ideas serve as a catalyst for your imagination and a framework for restructuring your local area in the event of necessity.
Such circumstances will demand individuals from diverse backgrounds to unite and embrace fundamental human norms within an unfamiliar environment. It is important to note that even with a plan and a formed group, challenges will inevitably arise.
While I haven’t included a designated flexibility and patience director, it is crucial that every member of your group actively embraces these qualities. Neglecting to do so will yield severe consequences.
Hopefully, we will never experience the doomsday scenario depicted here. However, if such a situation does occur, I believe this blueprint will assist in organizing individuals based on their unique talents and skills, fostering the development of a thriving community.
It is important to recognize that not everyone chooses to live this way after hitting the metaphorical “reset” button. Some individuals may have the means and desire to live autonomously, following their own rules and utilizing their own resources and knowledge. If that is your preference, then it is your prerogative, and I respect your decision.
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