SHTF Prepping – How to start a prepping / survival group

You might be able to make it on your own… but having a well-organized group will increase your chances, comfort leval. Below is everything that you need to know to start or join a prepper group.

The Survival Group Handbook: How to Plan, Organize and Lead People For a Short or Long Term Survival Situation

Please leave your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and other comments below…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Given the apparent choices in this presidential election, this preparation has taken on increasing urgency!

    • JP in MT says:

      If you are being advised to place your future in the hands of a group of people who only have their own best interests at heart, then you should look into getting another adviser.

      IMO, this “political season” has shown us how blatantly little the “establishment” cares for or understands its constituency.

      So, yes, prepping has taken (or should have) a new sense of urgency.

      • THe US govt has known about the risks of a cyberattack or emp on the grid, for many yrs, but, if Ted Koppel’s “Lights Out” is correct, the govt is not publicly saying that it’s going to do anything to help the public. Some think that numerous govt agencies have been arming, & likely for some kind of social breakdown. & I doubt that either party or any pres’l candidate is going to do much, if anything to change that. So I’m going to keep preparing no matter who leads a poll or who gets elected. Just my 2 cents.

  2. If u want to start a group w/ ppl from your current neighborhood, I suggest spending time getting to know your neighbors, their interests, skills that could be useful in a prepper group or post shtf, etc. I would not ask them to be part of a group until u’ve spent significant time w/ them & are assured that they’re of a similar prepping mindset (who knows, u may even learn that 1-2 of them are already preppers), but for ex, if u find someone who hunts, but is not a prepper, that person could be a useful part of a post-SHTF group. -same for gardeners, nurses, etc.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      Good advice. It’s all based on relationships when it comes down to it, isn’t it! And if you’re going to develop relationships, you’re going to have to devote TIME to doing things with that person(s)

      • Yeah, a healthy group is based on relationships, friendships & trust -similar to a healthy family. & those take time, & there’s no shortcuts for developing good friendships. & one has to remember, in order to have good friends, one has to be a good friend.

  3. PrepperDoc says:

    Developing a “team” isn’t all that easy in my opinion. All us of have a finite amount of TIME on this earth, and people are sometimes slow to commit that time to building relationships.

    We term it “friendship” when people on a longer-term basis invest time in the company of certain other individuals. So what we are talking about is building specific friendships.

    Without proof of the date, time, or mode of calamity, highly functional people usually already have their aliquot of TIME highly organized and allocated: they are busy people, because they are highly functional and productive. They have families, churches, sunday schools, and they often work 40-80 hours per week, and already lead one or more activities and have meetings various days and weeks….. Yet you want the mutual benefit of their friendship in disaster….

    Furthermore, they are experts usually in only one area (their employment).

    In my opinion, it is not enough to have ONE person with each of various skills. In order to provide 24-hour security, most of the group needs to have pistol/rifle skills, right? How long will you survive with 3 surgeons and one Marine in your group? More than one person needs to be able to grow crops, right? You arent likely to survive long by hunting, fishing in most inland locations. How long will you survive with 5 Marines and only one person who ever grew anything more than flowers?

    Convincing a diverse group of incredibly busy, functional, talented people that you want them ALL to develop additional skills can be quite a challenge.

    In my opinion, one of the ways to develop those FRIENDSHIPS is shared time spent together, gaining SKILLS. Teaching, in other words. You’re going to have to find who has which skills and CAN TEACH, and then ENTICE people to come and learn from that person.

    1. Your radio guy is going to have to convince others to learn at least something — or to improve existing skills. talk about a tough task!! Holding a radio class may help. Make it easy!!!

    2. Your firearms guy is going to need to convince people to buy and become proficient with multiple firearms — and possibly even to learn how to reload ammo. Hold some friendly target shoots or low-key sessions!

    3. Your gardener guy is going to have to perform the herculean task of convincing some others in the group to GROW AT LEAST A SMALL GARDEN!! Talk it up, send photos, encourage even tiny efforts.

    4. Your mechnic guy is going to need to convince people to move towards more rugged vehicles capable of surviving various problems. Get him to give a short talk or two and then asisst people with simple chores.

    5. Your medical guy — who probably has less than infinite resources — is going to need to convince people to PURCHASE medications, and gain some rudimentary skills.

    6. Your solar power guy is going to have to get solar INSTALLED somewhere….is that where people will go? Who knows — these type people are SLOW TO MAKE COMMITTMENTS because they KEEP whatever they promise.

    7. And what about WATER? Someone in your group is going to have develop redundant water sources somewhere….

    8. You as the leader are going to have to convince EVERYONE to start putting up foodstuffs in various formats. And then figure out — for them — how they are likely to move that stuff when they discover they can’t stick it out at their house…..

    9. Someone in the group is going to have to work onthe spiritual & philosophical cohesiveness of the group — their understanding of LAW and justice….you will have to reconstitute that and most people have only a very very dim understanding of how a federal republic was intended to work, or what the Bill of Rights is important for….

    You’re possibly going to be in the situtation that people do NOT realize the risks, and plan to “go it alone” at an indefensible house — it is their home after all! — and you will have to wait until they recognize what is coming down the pike in a real disaster. But once the power and the water and the food stop….then people will more quickly move to wherever you have stockpiled that….

    these are not trivial tasks. They are on the same order as building a church….

    • Axelsteve says:

      As far as your mechanic goes.
      If you can find an actual tech who works at a shop. Find one who works on many different makes. For instance I know a Nissan master tech who only works on Nissans and the same for some Toyota techs. There are many Honda guys in my area who may be great on them,But has never worked on a carb or knows what points in a vehicle are.Maybe someone from a indie shop .

    • Prepperdoc
      You have outlined the skills needed by a bishop in the LDS church.
      I agree with you… it is a lot to take on. Most of us are very busy. Until I retired recently, I was busy all the time. I am now busy… but less stressed. I am a gardener and cook, and am
      studying herbals and already growing many of them. I have quite a few plants already. I have some anxiety about the search for a group since as a lone female I feel more vulnerable.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        Do you go to a target range?
        Have you learned how to shoot accurately to at least 100 yards? Own an AR? You will meet many many possiblehelpful people at target ranges, and by now you are wise enough to pick which to talk to.

        How about ham radio? If you don’t have that in your list of capabilities, you can go take a course and there also you will meet manymany people you will want to know — and some you will avoid.

        Solar power? Time to do that also. At the very least on a small scale. Generator — get a small one,use an extension cord.

        You’llnaturally meet useful people to know.

        • Chuck Findlay says:

          I don’t know that a generator ( small scale or a larger one) would be that useful to a survival group. Yes it’s handy to have for power outages up to a few weeks. But for a long-term SHTF situation I don’t see it as nothing more then a boat anchor. Fuel (be it gasoline, diesel, kerosene, propane or natural gas is going to be in really short supply. A few weeks at most post-SHTF all the generators are going to go quiet.

          And being that most generators run at 3,600 rpm’s it’s going to be VERY hard to come up with a way to spin them up to that speed, and even the slower generators run at 1,800 rpm’s and while that’s 1/2 the speed of the other ones, it’s still awfully fast.

          Solar is a better choice to work with then a generator for a real SHTF event. .

          There is also wind power, but it has a lot of moving parts and is prone to breakdown more.

          I do have a small generator (2,500 Watts) but it’s a work tool for places where I need power tools and grid power is not an option. But even today (grid-up) I don’t use it much. What I did that works better for me then using a generator is a power inverter. I installed a 4,000 watt peek, 2,000 constant inverter under the hood of my truck. Most times this gives me 110 volts where I need it without having to lug a heavy generator around. You would not believe how handy this is to a construction guy like me.

      • Kate in GA says:

        You posted:
        “You have outlined the skills needed by a bishop in the LDS church.”

        Are you LDS? I have found that most Bishops I have ever met or known, don’t talk about or worry about everything mentioned here.
        Their main goal is spiritual. Most of the time Emergency Preparedness is talked about when there is a 5th Sunday of the month- and then it competes with lots of other topics as well. In my current ward, we talk about it once a year as part of ‘Sunday school’ and those topics tend to focus on ice storms, tornadoes, and other temporary conditions. At a social function someone may joke about ‘zombies’ and such but the church’s main focus is for each family to have what they need to take care of themselves in a personal emergency and that includes unemployment. If for some reason, the family can’t manage their own needs during an emergency, then the church will help. We are counseled that only as a last resort do you turn to the government for help.

        As far as communities go, I will agree that all Mormons have a ‘built in’ community. We also have call rosters so we can check on each other if an ice storm or tornado knocks the power out. In addition, we do have Emergency Preparedness plan for the entire ward (that is where the call roster is) that can be activated at a moment’s notice. However, I am sure my husband and I, as well as the High Priest Group Leader are the only ones who know about it (because my husband is the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and the High Priest Group Leader is his ‘supervisor’.) I don’t even know if the Bishop has ever read it or knows what is in it (besides the roster – which everyone knows about)

        I have been prepared for emergencies for years. I really must say, I do not believe TEOTWAWKI will ever happen – unless of course an EMP or Solar Flare hits us. Otherwise any collapse will probably be more like Venezuela. Do I know how to live without electricity? Yes, I do. I work in the 21st century, I tend not to live there.

        My suggestion for anyone who struggles with finding a group of like minded people is: Get right with God. Find a church that you like, and become friends with the other members. You may even want to try attending an LDS church! 🙂

    • Excellent ideas PrepperDoc.

  4. Hooligan6 says:

    Does anyone live in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area? I’m a career Army infantry officer moving to the area.

  5. Chuck Findlay says:

    The true test of someone is not when things are going fine, it’s when things are going bad or tougher then normal (Wish I learned this before I got married, It would have saved me a lot of cash and heartache.) Normal times most people are decent enough, but to expect that post-SHTF is potently deadly.

    Being you can’t know what is inside someone as far as mentality and how they handle a given situation. And trusting the wrong people can cause you big problems.

    I decided long ago to not join a group for these (and a few other) reasons.

    Not that I would not be part of a group trying to survive. But I would only join one post-SHTF (And not right after SHTF) after things got a chance to settle down and I would get a better look at potential group members and see if they are up to the level of people I feel would not steal, talk about supplies we had, and if I could go asleep and expect to wake up with no bullet or knife holes in me.

    Also I would hope to find a group of people that had (other then just myself) supplies to share and skills that make survival a better option.

    I would not join a group that had people with no skills, tools, no food, the ability to make food be it gardening, animals and that were lazy and did not see learning new things as a priority. Not to be a conspiracy type of person, (I buy into few of them and to believe them requires something I like to call facts that most conspiracy seem to lack .) but I also wonder if there may be a few gov informers running around today.

    It’s more likely I would turn down joining a group then them turning me away. I can fix, make, modify things to get all kinds of stuff done. I have extensive supplies and tools to support those skills. I would not waste it on people not willing to work to do their part as much as I do. I’ve had more then enough experience with deadbeats and don’t want to join a group of them. The review process to join a group would need to be done well enough to satisfy the idea that I’m not the only one with skills, motivation and supplies and can be trusted. Not an easy list to satisfy, but I think it will be easier post-SHTF.

    Anyone that has ever been is a club (hobby clubs like Amateur radio, photography, target shooting) knows that at best 15% do all the work and 85% do nothing. This is OK with a club as you can walk away, but in a post SHTF survival group you can’t easily walk away. And if you did try to walk away after joining because you were doing all the work and supplied lots of tools, supplies, solar panels, water filters, food, what have you, it’s unlikely the other members would like you taking your stuff and leaving with it. Supplies once shared will be considered group property and you will have a fight (to the death) to get your stuff back.

    So no group for me till after it hits the fan and things have shaken out a bit.

  6. Surrounding ourselves with skilled ,mature people with the same/similar mindset that we have has been a big hurdle toward self reliance and surviving in a very different world .
    We look at where we are deficient in skills and try and come alongside someone who has the skills that we lack ,but has a like mindset as we do . We have befriended 2 retired doctors one of them is also a great gardener and he is into natural food remedies . The other one is a hunter , knows how to butcher animals as well as garden . We also have befriended a person with welder/ mechanic skills and another couple that gardens, hunts , butchers , knows areas for mushrooms and berries and has some stored food .
    These situations did not just happen by accident . We took almost 3 years to develop these friendships . We moved slowly and gently towards our goal of developing a network of folks that we feel we could work with in tough times .
    I have had only one successful meeting and network partner come from an internet website . All of these folks that we have developed our relationships with live within 8 miles of one another. Some of us go to the same church as well .
    Building your network of reliable and mature people will take a while , but it all starts with a plan . Most of our conversations began with questions like , what do you see happening in the economy ? or do you folks have a garden ? or where is a good chain saw shop ? Just basic non-intrusive conversation starters to get the ball rolling along .
    Developing your network will take not only a plan but time as well . This is not the type of thing that you advertise for , don’t ever forget OPSEC , it is critical . No one in our network knows how many supplies any one else has or where they are at . Keep your ears open and listen and evaluate what you hear .
    I wish you well on your journey .

  7. I’ve been a prepared person since before the word prepper was coined , but it wasn’t until a couple of yrs ago I decided at my age going alone might get tough. Anyhow after chatting casually with a couple of people down the road I realized there were four households in the area that were all like minded and that’s how our group came together, keep in mind we all live 20 miles from town so people of the same values tend to live here. We have a unlimited water supply and everybody has to have their own food, one person has ham radio set up, I have a midsize solar system and everybody has got lots of bullets.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      Thats great. Be sure that you folks continue to develop skills.

      Fuel stored up for your crop growing efforts.

      Ability to reload your own ammo / cast pistol bullets (rifle ones wont do so well)

      Ability to do digital ham radio/WINLINK email.

      • Doc, I am going to research winlink, I’ve seen you mention it several times but what about my kids 200 miles away, will a person only be able to communicate with other people who have winlink.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        (Ability to reload your own ammo / cast pistol bullets (rifle ones wont do so well)

        Rifle bullets are no problem to cast what you need is gas checks and a crimp die for gas checks.

        Get the Lyman cast bullet handbook, lots of good info in it for handgun and rifle lead bullets.

        And if you cast hard cast bullets (they actually hit much harder then jacketed bullets and dent targets more.) you can push them to just over 2,000 feet per second.

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