Pooling Your Resources in Preparation for Disaster

By Suzanne Wiley published on in Camping & Survival

September is National Preparedness Month. FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, sponsors of the effort, use this month to encourage Americans to prepare for natural and manmade disasters. Many of us already have our plan in place and a bug-out bag stocked and ready. Others are just starting out and need a little guidance. One of the top questions and complaints I read from the online prepper community is, “My friends and family don’t prep. How do I get them to understand the importance of stocking up on water and food just in case?”

Picture shows homes destroyed in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

If your friends and family aren’t prepared, make National Preparedness month the time you talk to them about the importance of preparing. New Jersey Army National Guard, Oct. 30, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/Released)

As cheesy or cliché as it sounds, I start out my conversation after a few beers: “Dude. What are we gonna do when the zombies come?” The zombie apocalypse survival scenario has never failed to get people talking about prepping. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a little banter about zombies? After a few rounds of “DOUBLE TAP!” and talk about unlikely raids on grocery stores, I turn serious and remind them of Snowpocalypse 2011. Everyone ends up agreeing that having a few days of food, water and batteries is a good idea.

If you are anything like me, your surrounding friends and family resemble the cast from Modern Family. Everyone’s situation is different and we cannot all prepare exactly the same. But what if we were to prepare together? Naturally, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Pooling resources within your close-knit friends and family helps you save time and money; not to mention the fact that you will all be better prepared. Honestly, when disaster strikes I don’t want to go it alone. Two heads—or five heads—are better than one. Not only does building a local prepper community with those you trust fight off isolation, it provides help and security. If your friends and family aren’t prepared, make National Preparedness month the time you talk to them about the importance of preparing.

Make a Plan

The first thing you need to do is pin down exactly what you are preparing for based on where you live—regionally and whether it is urban or rural—will help guide you. For example, in North Texas, we don’t need to prepare for hurricanes, but we do need to plan for tornadoes, ice storms etc. If you live on the coast, you will want boards, hammers and nails to secure windows. For folks in the North, you will want plenty of warm blankets and an alternative source of heat.

Once you have listed out every possible survival scenario, create a detailed and separate plan (if necessary) for each situation. The resulting plans are where pooling your resources become important. Some emergencies give you more time to get ready—severe winter storms come with advanced warning, but a tornado may only give you minutes. I have a cozy place right off campus, within a short walking distance of 24-hour pizza, tacos, booze, convenient stores and pharmacies—many of which stay open during severe snow and ice. My friends who live in isolated areas can’t get out when the ice is thick. I keep a stock of warm blankets and board games in case we need to camp out at my place.

On the other hand, during summer and spring storms, my place is less than ideal. My only internal (no outside walls) tornado-safe room barely fits me and the dog, much less anyone else. I agreed that someone else in my network with a bigger house should be tornado and flood central.

No plan is fool-proof. However, a detailed plan for every possible situation that could occur in your location will make everyone in your network safer. Discuss your plans and ensure everyone is on board, understands their role and the gear they need to supply.


Bugging-out can cause bigger issues, especially when organizing a group. Some of your survival group will have kids and pets, or elderly or members with special needs. Everyone will have to agree how to accommodate them. When you choose, or forced to evacuate, the first step is to designate a meeting place. Fortunately, in my group we have multiple, privately owned locations to choose from. Depending on the emergency, a destination 45 minutes away will suffice, or we can bug-out to a property two hours away. Our plans include criteria to select which location is best based on the emergency.

Picture shows a group of people huddled under a canopy.

Pooling resources within your close-knit friends and family helps you save time and money; not to mention the fact that you will all be better prepared.

Have your evacuation route pre-planned using highlighted maps. Keep detailed instructions and maps for several alternative routes to your meeting place. Having an out-of-town point of contact everyone can text or call is a good idea. In a disaster, long distance phone calls are sometimes easier to make than local calls. Your point of contact can stay afloat of news and weather and disseminate important information as necessary.

You might not be as fortunate as I am to have multi bug-out locations to retreat too. Local shelters and hotels will fill up fast and might not accept family pets. Perhaps you or one of your cohorts has friends or family out-of-town. Discuss the possibilities of meeting there. If necessary, pick a favorite out-of-the-way campground as a designated meeting place.

Long-Term Prepping

Long-term prepping is where I have utilized my friends and families strengths and weaknesses the most. One of my friends loves to garden, while I hate it. I can’t even keep a cactus alive. Chipping in for the cost of seeds, tools and other necessary gardening equipment and supplies, I do what I can to help my friend cultivate a vegetable garden while another group member does the canning.

Utilize each of your group’s abilities. That way, everyone contributes, as well as saving time and money on your preps. When deciding who to include in your survival community, consider friends and family involved in skilled trades such as the medical field, mechanical and carpentry. Those with teaching, cooking, sewing, and hunting skills also bring a wealth of knowledge to the group.

It is my firm belief that we shouldn’t go it alone in this world. Studies have shown that companionship makes disease less deadly, boosts our happiness, and leads to longer lives. If I were to list the top 10 things I need in a survival situation, my number one is company. Sure, you could go it alone, but why would you want to? Including those you love in your SHTF plans, not only helps you, but others as well.

Do you have a friends and family you are building a survival group with? Tell us about it in the comment section.

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Comments (19)

  • Sean Gill


    I too have the same problem as the second comment with my wife, she believes that something big will happen … hopefully not to soon … but she will think in terms like it will fix itself or that the government will step in in time to repair and straighten out any disaster. She does NOT like the idea of me making a bug-out bag. Another big issue with her is ‘why horde money when you can spend it’ idea. The good news was when I told her ‘Prepare NOW or I’m leaving with out ya’. She looked up a marriage therapist for us…the therapist (a women) took my side…lol


  • RWCnTexas


    I guess I have been a prepper for most of my life and never really thought much about it. I decided that even though my wife is starting to agree with me on the subject (I know she is just humoring me), she is not helping me and it would be great to have someone to share this with. For now, I have put together 4 bug-out-bags. I didn’t realize I had so much of the same things before. I’ve even figured out what firearms each of us will use if need be and which ones will be secondary. My wife is a nurse so first-aid is a given for us. Our neighbors are not very close by and getting to know them will probably not happen. The main thing I am concentrating on at this time is food and water. My plan is to bug-in for as long as possible. I have enough weapons to arm several people and survival gear for same the same but I am not going to let that out. I do have a question. Looking back at all of these post, we’re all guys having the same issues with our wives and friends. Are our wives that secure in their lives and we’re unstable? Or, Are realist and they are naive? Either way I’m staying the course.


  • Cal


    We live in Kansas so for weather it’s tornadoes and winter storms. As of now my concern is the economy. I’ve tried to talk to my wife about the negative effects that can come from things and tried to tell her what we would do in certain situations. All she can say is that she doesn’t like talking about that kind of stuff and we won’t ever be in any kind of dangerous situation. I just told her I would prepare the stuff and she’ll thank me for when she doesn’t know what to do with herself!


  • Bill McCafferty


    I have tried to concentrate on the basics; I bought buckets and Gamma Seals for my dog food, I had a water filter and sleeping bags from my rafting days that I got cleaned and ready to use again. I still have backpacks from back in the day so those are our bug out bags now. First aid kit from the camping days, ditto: had to buy a lot of it new as most of those supplies don’t have an indefinite shelf life, so it pays to check the dates on first aid stuff. CTD is a great place for MREs and the like, so we got some of those to round out the basic needs and it really didn’t cost that much. I was surprised to find how much I already had that I could use, you jut have to be in the right frame of mind when you start looking! And if you’re shopping at CTD, you probably don’t need me to tell you about firearms…


  • RPK


    The biggest disaster we all face in the near future is when this great country implodes from the likes of Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Bloomberg types. Implosion happened in the former Soviet Union after 10 years of war in the same region we are engaged in now, so to think it can’t happen here is foolish. I do NOT fault the Troops. They put heart, soul, blood and guts in to every mission. Just like in VietNam, it is the politicians who betrayed an oath. As for natural diasasters, when it rips through your residence without warning, so goes the bug-out bags and survival gear along with the television and kids toys.


  • jim


    my wife told me today that i am paranoid for having the extra seeds in the basement. according to her because there has been no food shortage it was a waste of money. I think most people live in ignorance of what could happen. something i have figured out is that most people will not address a problem until there actually is one. i thought i could convince people that they should be prepared for emergencies but the old saying is true time and again you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink. I am not going to waste my time trying to get through to them, when it comes time to sink or swim i am going to swim. I agree that you should not advertise that you are prepping. the last thing i want to happen is to have the supplies that i have stored up get taken from me by an angry mob. I will stick with helping family close friends and good neighbors.


  • unified preppers


    I don’t agree with don’t tell a soul about your preps. I do agree with keeping most of your information secret. Here is why. One person cannot live their own. In a worst case scenario, you will not have all that you need nor the skills that you need. Get to know your neighbors, and try to pass the prepping bug or at least get them thinking. Next time you see them they may tell you they got some water and food stored.


  • Doc


    My wife freaked out when I talked about prepping. Tears and the whole melt down. She said it was “negative” thinking and doesn’t want any part of it. Guess I’ll need to find another companion.


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