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By April 20, 2014 Read More →

3 Essential People in Your Prepper Group: Stacking the Deck

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.”
–John Donne

In the world of prepperdom, it’s a common sentiment to aspire to be a Jack of all trades.  However, what often results is that the ‘Jack’ (or Jill, of course!) is a master of none.  Simply put, society thrives because people are different.  There is a wide diversity of different strengths and different weaknesses, and under good leadership, this can be leveraged to promote economic growth and the advancement of survival.

For most of us, attempting to survive alone as a single unit is basically like signing our death certificate.  Sure, you might be able to fake it until you make it, but in the end, we social creatures require the abilities of others for survival.  This isn’t necessarily claiming humans depend on a ‘collective,’ but just because someone is a medical expert doesn’t mean he or she will also be an accomplished trapper, hunter, blacksmith or marksman.

At the same time, having very large groups of people can also become a hindrance to survival objectives.  This requires both an abundance of resources and continuous, solid leadership.  Also, the larger the group, the more attention it will draw –and in an SHTF scenario, drawing attention will invite very difficult challenges.  The key here is to construct a group, limit its size and capitalize on its strengths.  It’s not about the quantity of people; it’s about the quality. 

Members of the North Florida Survival Group take a break during a field training exercise in Old Town

Here are 3 excellent types of people to include in your group, so you can stack the deck with aces.

1. Military Veterans

Folks from the military, especially those with long lists of qualifications on their veteran resume, are absolutely indispensable.  If you want to know how to survive in a warzone-like SHTF situation, be sure to make friends with soldiers.

Not only is their military training tailored for the very purpose of survival, but their discipline, leadership and teamwork skills have been honed to win wars.  Though soldiers, with the exception of a few elite, are not necessarily trained to operate alone, they still possess many strengths needed for such a time.

2. EMS, Nurses, & Doctors

If you have a nurse or medical doctor in your group, you are going to be extremely well off.

One of the biggest needs during an SHTF scenario is medical attention.  These scenarios, by nature, are going to be extremely dangerous.  After an earthquake, nuclear detonation or even a solar flare – if no one in your group has sustained injuries, then you are very, very lucky.

It is true some medical personnel will have very specialized knowledge, but they will usually foster a broad understanding of anatomy.  These folks will know the first aid basics of how to patch up a wound, treat burns, keep away infection, etc.  Medical needs will most likely be the first challenge you and your group will face, and having someone who knows those ropes intimately will make them worth befriending.

3. Outdoorsmen, Backwoodsmen, & Farmers

While it’s possible for the average-Joe to learn the basics on how to hunt and trap, having someone on your team who has been doing these things from childhood will increase your odds of survival immensely.

Outdoorsmen will know how to attract, track and hunt game, and they’re also at least familiar with cleaning, processing and preserving it as well.  These folks are the ones who can help feed the pack when the grocery stores have run out of food.

They’ve picked up those subtle nuances of the wild over many years –knowing how to read the clouds and the land.  These are your resource people, and what makes them unique is the fact they’ve been training in this area since they were 7.

Because There’s No ‘I’ in ‘SHTF’

Your survival will depend on teamwork and the ability to form a functional group.  If you are able to keep the group operating as a single unit, you have just acquired the knowledge of an outdoorsman, the steady hands of a doctor, and the courageous leadership of a soldier.  While it may take even more resources to maintain a group, the returns will be obviously more bountiful.

However, the most important factor comes down to leadership and the ability to work with people.  A group will dissolve without cooperation.

Perhaps the most effective groups are the ones in which all members are of like minds, while possessing a diverse set of skills.  This is largely the reason why tight-knit families and religiously or philosophically oriented groups tend to stick together and prosper.

At the same time, you should think also about how you are going to be an asset to your team.  Becoming a ‘Jack of all trades’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing; however, having at least one highly useful skill on which you can stake your claim would also make you indispensable.  Not only would this be excellent to have for your own survival, but you’ll also be able to contribute to the survival of your team.

Humans are social creatures – and feeling needed can be enough to help motivate us to fight another day.

Posted in: Survival

About the Author:

Adrienne is a freelance writer and designer eager to share what she learns about prepping and survival. Doomsday scenarios have always fascinated her, in addition to triggering her paranoid streak. See more of her work by checking out her design blog.

12 Comments on "3 Essential People in Your Prepper Group: Stacking the Deck"

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  1. Definitely a good list of people with needed skills to help improve the odds of survival.

  2. Lisa Roles says:

    We were wondering when you have another meeting? And if anyone could come to it. As we have been able to get some of our preparedness ready. But would like to learn more. We have been trying to find a Group that is not to far or hard to find. And found you site and we are only about an hour away. Would we be able to come and chat with some of your group and maybe Join. Also what is the best time to reach you. I will say this My Husband is a Army Vet.Thanks for your time.

  3. toho28 says:

    Great list, but might I offer a fourth. An engineer type or someone with strong mechanical knowledge would prove invaluable. Think “engineer775″. I would certainly want him in my group.

  4. CMCG says:

    Great article. Is there a way to find a local group to join? USMC vet and ER nurse here….new to this site, but not to prepping. Doesn’t look like too much activity in our (crappy) area of the country

  5. thomas says:

    The bigger the group the better! I might double up on the farmers though in a long term situation

  6. Prelude1six says:

    Most military members are also trained in chemical/combat first aid. This has reduced the need of frontline medics and increased the survivability of frontline troops. Each should be capable of stabilizing a casualty untill skilled medical help arrives. Just a note.
    Don’t think this replaces your skilled doctors and nurses though.

  7. arnold j says:

    My skills cover a wide range of things both from past jobs and things I taught myself for future survival. Skills include power generation ,diesel and gas motors, steam motors,hvac, solar and battery power ,sewing ,combat med. ,construction and demolition, lockpicking ,can operate most equipment, machineist, welding ,electronic repair, plumbing ,ammo reloading, gun smithing , axe throwing ,and good at tactical. This is just off top of my head, i’m sure theres lots more. Meeting others is been a challange, most preppers i’ve heard of near me are still quite far away.

  8. I believe everything will stand or fall with leadership. There’s always such a focus on military skills, medical skills, and self-sustainability skills, even when people ironically say things such as “the most important factor comes down to leadership,” as you do in this article. Yet the prepper group is practically a cliche with the soldier, the doctor, and the farmer–that falls apart as each member miscommunicates and thinks only he really knows the way forward. Mutual aid groups with bad leaders will blow up amid much drama. A good leader without a group will soon have complete strangers working together to accomplish things they’d never even imagined.

  9. Oldfood says:

    Having already been part of a group with all these skill sets that subsequently fell apart and had to be restarted with only two of the original member families, there is another issue. That group was started with skill sets as the primary factor and it failed because of personality conflicts. We now have a new group of people who may lack in some areas of skills, but are unified and get along great. I feel much more confident with people I can trust with my back than I did with people who had certain skill sets but were not committed or loyal to the other members. So the right personality mix is just as critical as skill sets.

  10. Dan says:

    I’d also recommend a mechanic, handyman (handy-person, if needed), and/or someone who can create needed items or repair things on the fly.

  11. Ralph E says:

    Judging by this article I’m doing pretty good then. I’m and EMT and have been working in the Emergency field for several years now, and enrolled in a Wilderness EMT course. Not only that, but shooting and hunting/fishing has been a part of my life since I was 4… Too bad there aren’t a lot of people into the “scene” around here where I’m at….