What to Expect:
Most Preppers will shelter in place in suburbia. The minimum security will require two guards on duty at all times; one outside, one inside. That requires six adults to cover three shifts. Assuming some have spouses and kids, that means you will find yourself in a brick house (more bullet proof) with ten people. You collect $50 from each of your roomies for their food and water and stockpile it now. That is their ticket in.
Daily Life: The schedule will read, “stay inside, quiet and no lights.” You will cook a soup in the room the farthest away from neighbors, around 11 PM or 4 AM so they can't smell dinner. Just at sunrise, one person will run out to empty the toilet, gather water and twigs for the stove.
Security: Purchase at least two olive green or camouflaged rain ponchos and at least two cheap GMRS radios with earphones and a spare pack of AA rechargeable batteries (Minimum link Total: $52). Inventory rail road ties for them to hide behind ($10 each). The outside guard should be able to retreat to additional fortified positions where he can continue to ambush from safely. This allows time for the residents to muster.
The likely raid will be an attempt to throw a brick through your front glass window and enter while the buddy kicks in the back door. Their plan is to kill within thirty seconds. Consider purchasing Shotgun Trip Alarms ($30 each). You can put multiple trip wires on each alarm. For alarm, point shell down, for defense, aim sideways. Make sure projectiles don't hit you too. One wire can go into the house for you to detonate. Another wire can be strung in front of the window for the intruder to volunteer to shoot himself - your choice. You can even put a safety loop in the main wire with a nail at the end of another wire to be pulled out of the safety loop before firing. We added a ¾” galvanized pipe, 2.5 inches long, to slid around the shell. Cost: $1.
Medical: Prepare for constipation and diarrhea, mainly from stress, otherwise you may have to resort to the Two Finger method or a cork. A case of sliced peaches would be great for the constipation as Mother Nature always is best. Your Medic should be the bathroom monitor to prevent the above as well as dehydration. Know the signs of malnutrition so you can increase calories per day to keep health, reasonable thinking and morale going.
More Details: Download and Print this 22 page PDF file Prepping For Beginners
The normal Prepping process is to first spend two months building the perfect $250 bug-out bag that will keep you alive for 3 days. Then you spend a year reading a million minute detailed articles about minor aspects of prepping, such as making a candle out of crayons. Then you are hopelessly lost in the planning, waste money and never get prepped to stay alive. In a collapse you will probably die with a lot of good information in your head.
I am going to give it to you in a nutshell with links later. Note that most numbers here are per adult.
Prepping For What? FEMA tells us that only 25% of the population can hold out for three days unassisted. 1% of the population are Preppers. Therefore, three days into a long-term disaster 75 % of your neighbors will covet your supplies, and as time builds, 99% will. That is what you are Prepping for.
Your Big Plan. There are three types of Preppers: Shelter in Place; Survivalists who will hide in the forest; and finally, those with a Fall-Back Retreat with most supplies stockpiled. Don't get lost up in prepping for all three.
Time frame: At a minimum, prepare to hold out for three months.
Food: Remember that $250 bug out bag above to preserve you 3 days? Skip the bag. At a minimum, purchase 100 lbs of rice at Sams or Costco for $30. It will preserve you for 90 days. You can add to your food stock later for variety.
Water: At a minimum, purchase 2 gallons of unscented bleach and several cans of powdered lemonade mix to just lightly kill the taste. You will have to obtain your own water source. Cost: $20
Stove: Make an energy efficient Rocket Stove that burns twigs, out of old tin cans. Cost: $0.
Solar Energy: Use only a penlight, radio or other devices that use rechargeable AA batteries. Purchase ten outside solar garden lights and recharge your batteries with them. Cost: $20.
Warmth: With the entire neighborhood after you, you're not going to be sitting around a warm campfire. Purchase two sleeping bags: one rated for 20 degrees and the other for zero degrees. Get the 20 degree in the style that fully unzips so it can be used in the daytime as a comforter.
Cost for two: $60
Toilet: Build a composting toilet. Using material already in the home, you only need to buy a 5 gal. bucket. This will reduce your water demand by 50%. Cost: $8.
Sub-Total: Congratulations! Outside of buying a gun, you just added three months to your life for $138. Keep in mind that the expected death rate over that three months is between 50% - 80%.
Easy Payment Plan: Take care of the food and water first. Then add other stuff as money allows.
Upgrade: To prep for six months survival, just add more rice and bleach. Cost: $50.
In order to survive, first you must decide to survive. This is not just a passing thought. It is a soul wrenching deliberate decision made with the understanding that it may require all that you've got to do so. You have to make this decision when you are mad as hell inside.
Once that decision is made, it is now your priority to commit yourself entirely to that effort, no matter what the cost. All of your free thinking time should be devoted towards the survival goal – all of it. Once we are in the actual survival fight for life for real, we are stressed out and cannot formulate plans or rationalize the way we can when calm. So now is the time to think it all out; what we are going to do, what and where we are going to do it and what we are going to do it with. Now is the time for all of that.
We all plan to shelter in place. But we need an option in case we cannot. Where do we bug out to? What all does bugging out entail?
Once you bug out you have to decide if you are to be a Homesteader or a Survivalist. You can't make plans until you pick one or the other. Homesteader is a fall back location, being a farm, Uncle Joe's, or friends. Usually you can cache some supplies there. They know to expect you or you have a trailer loaded and ready to go there. A Survivalist is moving into the forest with your backpack and camping away from the madness. With both scenarios you need to be with a group. Once you have chosen, now you can plan your options. But you have to choose one or the other first so you know what to stock for.
Another aspect of getting your head right is to be over the guilt that you cannot save everyone you know. You have tried to discuss it. You have tried. Now it is over. You did all you could to get them to prepare. There is nothing you can do now about them so focus on working your plan. Do not overload the lifeboat as that is planned failure for all. Just save your family and move on. Remember when you first decided to survive? Well, this is part of that. Just work your plan.
Lastly, forget about all that you owned. Forget about your lovely home. Forget about your job; the job is not really who you are anyway. You are a survivor, remember? So brace yourself for lots of changes and perceived losses. You're about to get into the deep water now, so strip down and prepare to swim.
You should be able to have your Prepper group up and running within two weeks and be fully functional within a month. How? You cheat.
As a new Scoutmaster I learned that the annual plan should be prepared by the boy leaders. The first two years I locked them up for two hours with a giant blank calender. Upon return they always had only half of a plan, but they did tell a lot of dirty jokes and had the best farting contest ever. The third year I roughed up a plan with a lot of mistakes in it, like Brussels sprouts for dinner. Every year after that they truly developed great plans by adjusting everything until time ran out. But no matter what I knew there would be a full plan at quitting time. I suggest you steal another group's plan and adopt it as you go along. That is your overall strategy.
Step One is to learn Organizational Behavior before it beats you down. Going in you need to know these facts:
Groups have the tremendous advantage of having more hands to help and push each forward. They also have disadvantages that can tear your heart out if you are not prepared for them. The trick is to quickly move from a one man show to a shared group. That is a gradual changeover that must occur as the group builds as a group, if not the group will never succeed.
You will always have the 80/20 rule in play. It says that 20% of the people will perform 80% of the work and later the 80% will get pissed because they weren’t involved or they do not like what was created. Or worse yet, the 20% will get burnt out and quit.
A fall-back survival group will have both active and inactive members. The inactive may be Granny or your grown child that does not want to hear anything about it. Therefore you will have to prepare for them.
There are leaders and there are followers. There are planners and there are non-planners. Remember that. Watch this one hour Spotting Personalities video seminar I put on that helps you instantly know who a stranger is in personality the minute you see him. The worst thing we can do is have expectations of people to do or be what they were not created to be.
Step Two is to Steal a Plan and adjust it. One or two of you do most of this work first. It can be adjusted by the members later. Plan your work then work your plan. Develop (steal) bylaws, admission and eviction policies, policies on who barters, who decides who can go outside, who can gift food to outsiders, etc.
Develop an Activation plan for the first week of the calamity. This will continually change as you develop your group but in the meantime it helps you see what you are building.
Step Three is to Assign Leadership Roles, even if just temporary. A strong leader who is a school teacher may sit in as Medical leader until a medic joins in. Have them go as far as they can go. Just because you haven't chosen a location is no reason to hold back the Medical and Food parts of your plan.
Set it up so that the leadership is continually rotated. As better leaders appear put them to work by changing roles and assignments.
Step Four is to Meet.
Hold formal meetings with set agendas, discussion material sent out beforehand and keep the meeting focused. At each meeting start with each telling what they have accomplished since the last meeting, what they have screwed up, what they are working on and what complaints, even with the group, they have.
Make sure everyone is assigned to specialty work teams so they will know what their jobs are and can prepare themselves to do that. You can lead Medical and be a worker in Security.
For God's sake, delegate and split up the duties early on. If they fail it is only because the leadership failed to push them, support them, motivate them, reassign them or help them. Get it done.
Step Five is to Keep On Keeping On.
If a critical task may not be completed by member “A” then have member “B” also work on it in secret. He may even drop hints of ways and means to “A”.
Remember the French “Whale' / Minno” theory. Focus on the big fish first. In our case it's food and water. Then decide what type of flashlights we want. As money arrives focus on the survival basics first then purchase comfort items.
Again remember that 20% of you will do the work in the beginning so don't get your feelings hurt.