Bugging out isn't quite as easy as grabbing a bug out bag and heading for the hills. There are going to be some serious obstacles. Some of those obstacles may require strength and a lot of thought. No one should try and do it alone. Despite the idea that preppers must keep their prepping a secret and tell no one, that is not always best.
It is hard to open up about your prepping to others. In fact, you really wouldn't want to. You don't want to tell any Joe off the street what you have stockpiled in your home. The idea is to search out other people who feel the same way as you. People who are not convinced the world is going to be perfect and safe forever. There are plenty of folks who are going to think a lot like you, maybe not exactly the same, but can see the writing on the wall and know things are going to get ugly.
These are the people you want to network with. You don't have to have weekly barbecues at your house or chat on the phone everyday. The goal is to have monthly meetings to talk about your plans should something go awry.
It can be somewhat difficult to find these people simply because preppers are a secretive group. However, there are some who recognize the need to have networks within the community and have already formed groups. Your job will be to find these established groups. There are a few ways you can do this.
- Check the bulletin board at your local co-op. Look for fliers about groups that are meeting to discuss self-sustainability, prepping or off-grid.
- Start conversations with people you meet at the store, while out yardsaling or even your neighbors. You don't want to come on strong and start talking about your belief that the end is near, but a few words about stocking up on food or you are thinking about looking into solar energy can get a conversation started.
- If you go to church, get to know your congregation a bit more. You are sure to find a few people who share your opinions and want to get more involved with prepping. Many churches offer sustainability classes for free. Outdoor school or retreats through the church are an excellent way to spend time with people who may be potential candidates for your network.
- Attend community events. This is a great way to get a feel for your community. Oddly enough, when you are an experienced prepper, you can pick up on key words and phrases in a conversation and know instantly that the person speaking is either a prepper or wants to learn more about it.
- Your local sporting goods store is another place you are likely to run into preppers. Be friendly, ask a question about the best ammo or what kind of wire is best for snare traps and you are sure to get a conversation about survival and prepping going. If the person you ask looks at you like you are crazy, move on.
- Farmer's markets are another great place to meet fellow preppers. Vendors who are growing enough food to sell some off, obviously have the right idea. They are self-sustainable, which is what you want to be.
- Check with the local FEMA office in your county or state. There may be a C.E.R.T chapter set up in your area. The Certified Emergency Response Teams are comprised of local citizens in the area who have gone through training to be the first responders following a disaster when the professionals are unable to get to an area or are wrapped up with other calls. The folks in the CERT network are very likely to be preppers. Ask to join and then get to know your fellow members to talk about creating or joining a survival network. If a chapter is not currently established, do what is necessary to start one up. This is a great way to meet like-minded people while getting some free or low-cost training.
Never assume you can spot a prepper by looks alone. While there are some who certainly stand apart from the rest, the majority of preppers and the kind you want to throw your hat in with, are completely under the radar so to speak. They don't advertise their skills or what they have. They don't dress like they are part of a militia. They blend in. They move about their communities without being labeled a “crazy prepper” or one of those “survivalist types.”
While it isn't really an issue of name calling, you have to know that this is the kind of thing that draws attention. This is what will lead a hundred people to your front door when things do go south. They know you have supplies and there is a hundred of them and one of you. They are going to take what you have or use you for your skills.
When you are in a network, you know someone will have your back. You can bug out together or shelter-in-place together. One of the main reasons people want to be a part of a network is for the strength in numbers. More eyes watching your camp and more people to help defend it. A group of marauders is less likely to attack an organized group than they would a single person or a single family.
If there isn't currently a group established in your neighborhood, be the one who starts it. Print up a few fliers and put them on the bulletin boards of the co-op, farmer's market and the feed store. This is where preppers in hiding will see it. Keep the network somewhat anonymous. Meet at a public place and do not demand people pay dues or provide their full names and addresses. That will take time and trust.
All it takes is one connection. From there, the person you connect with will likely know somebody and that person will know somebody. You don't need 100 members in your network. A handful of good people with a variety of skills will increase your odds of survival. A prepper community network is essential to learning and growing.