In the prepping community, there’s a lot of debate regarding the outcome of a disaster scenario, and history has taught us how to prepare for such events and learn from the mistakes of others. However, the aftermath of a disaster can vary depending on the event that led to a post-apocalyptic world.
Imagine a scenario in which all the modern luxuries we have are gone, and your appliances will stop working. The law enforcement and emergency agencies are gone, the food supplies lines are halted, clean water, sewage, and sanitation are absent.
While some can’t picture such a scenario, and they believe something like that is unlikely to occur in these modern times, preppers know better, and they don’t leave it to chance. After all, there are quite a lot of means to bring our world to a stop. While the pandemic was just a recent example, we have to acknowledge that there are other catastrophic events powerful enough to bring everything to a halt.
For example, a nuclear strike from a rouge dictator or a “first-world” leader going mad (see Putin with all his threats) or perhaps dirty bombs used by terror organizations can bring havoc in a big city. Everyone will have to deal with the immediate and long-term aftermath, and thousands of people will suddenly find themselves in need of help. The complexity of a restoration effort is so difficult that you will essentially be on your own, isolated, or in a best-case scenario, as part of a community.
The aftermath of a disaster
There are two things that preppers, regardless if they are experienced or just beginners, should understand.
1. Not everyone can survive on their own.
There are not many folks out there who are equipped and prepared to survive whatever the future may throw at them, and they can’t cover all the needs of their loved ones, or even their own needs, for that matter.
You can’t isolate yourself completely because we are social creatures by nature, and even if you can keep your mind and body busy with just the company of your loved ones, sooner or later, you will need to interact with others. Chances are you will be forced to interact with other survivors not because you want to have a chat and figure out how everyone is doing, but because you will need something for them.
No matter how much you learn and how well you prepare yourself, there’s always something you won’t be able to cover. For example, most preppers have basic first aid knowledge, and in case something worse happens and they need professional medical assistance, they will be forced to get out of isolation to seek that much-needed help. You’re not superman, and you’re not a walking thesaurus. Understand that you can’t do and know it all.
2. Success can be found within the community
As established, most humans will require the help of their fellow peers for long-term survival. You will be forced to become part of and integrate yourself within a community. Now, it may be harder to do so once the world is up in flames and you need to prepare your “admission” during times of peace.
I won’t get into the details on how to find a survival community or how to establish one since I’ve covered this topic before. The key points to remember, in general, are that you need to start close to home and keep everyone on board and involved all the time.
Every community, regardless if it’s a survival group or a workforce party, needs leadership and organization. Compared to other groups, a survival community should, and needs, to decide which person to pick as their leader. While a single person can become a leader, communities may adopt different leadership structures with roles assigned based on everyone’s experience. The larger the community, the more candidates they will need in the leadership structure.
Picking the right person for the job
The leader or leaders will have to choose people who are highly knowledgeable in a certain assigned skill/work. If they want to put someone in charge of the community’s health and sanitation needs, you will have to pick someone that worked in the public health system or has a certain medical profession. In case you expect high interaction with unfriendly social elements, you would want to pick someone with extensive law enforcement expertise or perhaps someone with a military background and experience in the field.
The main rule is to assign people qualified to manage certain areas, and even if they may have other tasks at hand, their main priority remains the jobs they were assigned to. Once you find the right people for the job, the leader(s) need to make sure they do not abuse their power, and everyone should be able to state their opinion regarding a topic involving the wellbeing of the whole community.
If possible, posts shouldn’t be occupied by the same people for more than a few years, and they shouldn’t have full control indefinitely. A leadership election process needs to be put in place; otherwise, the community will not survive.
Assigning the jobs
A well-run organization needs leaders assigned to various areas at all times to keep the community alive. In a small group, leaders may take on multiple roles, but the bigger the community, the more people will need to be assigned to certain bare-bones areas. Here are the areas of expertise that need to be covered and how the leaders should manage them.
- Manage the inventory and storage requirements.
- Rationing and using perishable and non-perishable foods.
- Organize expeditions to supplement the food supply. Here we can have hunting and fishing trips, trapping sessions, but also gathering/forage expeditions.
- Take care of agricultural tasks so that vegetables and foods are grown and preserved, as well as raising and taking care of livestock.
- Educate members within the community about the areas he’s in charge of and help them improve their skills in such areas.
Now, it goes without saying that such a leader/director doesn’t need to know it all but rather gather the right people to help him do his job. In his case, hunters, trappers, fishermen, farmers, botanists, zoologists, veterinarians, and everyone who knows of food processing and preservation techniques should be in his/her inner circle.
The person in charge of the water needs of the community should be responsible for taking care of and overseeing the following tasks:
- Manage the water inventory and storage requirements.
- Ration and oversee the proper use of potable water resources
- Identify new water resources and ways to make them viable
- Obtain and have the means to provide water for the community at any time
- Maintain and oversee the safe handling, access, usage, and disposal of both greywater and wastewater
- Work with the food leader and his assistants to utilize waste and gray water for agricultural purposes
- Educate members within the community about the areas he’s in charge of and help them improve their skills in such areas
The right people that can help the water director are water treatment and purification workers, plumbers, chemists, natural resource managers, and wastewater management specialists.
The shelter leader will oversee and delegate people for the following tasks:
- Construction projects and/or structures that will be used for habitation
- Maintenance of structures
- Ensure all the construction projects maintain a minimum of safety and sanitation standards
- Educate and train people within the community to enhance their skills in this area
The person in charge of this position needs in his team people with the following skills sets: woodworkers, masons, roofers, steelworkers, electricians, machinery and vehicle operators, repairmen, architects and engineers, construction contractors.
- All matters of health, medical, hygiene, and sanitation needs of the survival community
- Taking care of all medical and dental requirements, but also the emotional state of the community’s members
- Gather and cultivate medicinal plants
- Prioritize scavenging/trading expeditions to cover immediate and long-term medical needs of the community
- Educate members of the group in these areas so that the community’s health needs are always covered.
The leadership in this area will need people with skills covering all levels of traditional, natural, or holistic practitioners for both body and mental needs, EMTs, search and rescue personnel, health, and sex education instructors, midwives, pharmacists, professionals in veterinary and animal husbandry areas.
The person in charge of security will be responsible for managing the following tasks:
- Ensure the safety and security of all members of the community and their property/belongings
- Defend the community from external and internal threats
- Perform law enforcement and ensure a punishment system for criminals
- Establish teams and assign tasks for defensive/offensive action, apprehension, and restraining of criminals
- Organize and/or supervise scavenging trips
- Teach members within the community about basic self-defense methods and educate them to conduct defensive/offensive drills and improve their personal skills in these areas.
A security leader needs people with all levels of experience in law enforcement, warfighters, firefighters, surveillance and security system experts, and gunsmiths.
The leader assigned to the communications area will be responsible for supervising the following tasks:
- Tasks required for the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure for internal and external communication
- Keeping the community updated and informed regarding the state of their group but also regarding the neighboring communities
- Manage and supervise communication channels and messages with external contacts
- Organize traditional print communication methods if needed
- Organize and manage an internal, classified communication code
- Teach others to enhance their personal skills in this area.
For this position, the communication director will need people with expertise in HAM and other long-distance radio operators and technicians, electronic and communication specialists, and also Morse code specialists.
A community will need to have a labor leader to take care of the following tasks:
- Assign people to works that do not cover the areas listed above
- Allocate people to replace works in the above-listed areas and oversee their progress and involvement in the group
- Supplement and allocate people to certain areas of expertise as they see fit, depending on the skillset of each worker
- Find ways to make everyone useful to the group and assign tasks to aid experts in various areas to improve the general workflow and make their life easier
There could be many folks listed in the general labor category, and we have to acknowledge that not having a certain set of skills doesn’t make those people less important than others. Humans will be a valuable resource in the aftermath of a catastrophic disaster, and we need to learn how to gather and grow them.
A survival community is something that is often overlooked, and many believe they will be just fine on their own after the proverbial brown stuff has hit the fan. Hopefully, a doomsday scenario will never occur, and this organization blueprint will just remain an interesting read.
However, I do believe that we should know in advance what is expected of us and others if we are pulled together to survive as a community. Not everyone will have the means and desire to survive on their own, nor the resource and knowledge to do so. It’s better to figure out ahead of dangerous times if you would fit in and find your proper place in a survival community.