As a U.S. Army veteran of urban combat in Baghdad and Fallujah, Practical Preppers consultant David Kobler got to observe what happens in a society when a government collapses, basic necessities of life become scarce, and law and order quickly disintegrate. But such chaos could occur in the U.S., Kobler warns, in the event of a catastrophe such as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, a type of nuclear strike targeted at destroying electronics and communications networks over a wide area. “In a worst case scenario such as an EMP that crippled the power grid and the government, we’d have an economic collapse,” he envisions. “Communities, and even neighborhoods, would be on their own. I’ve seen that before overseas—it would look a lot like Iraq.”
In such a situation, it wouldn’t be enough for preppers merely to have alternative sources of power and backup supplies of water and food in place, Kobler explains. It also would be crucial for them to possess the means to defend themselves from those who would come to steal their resources, or from predators who simply see the pandemonium as a license to be violent and cruel.
That’s why preppers work to develop a well-thought-out security program. But as Kobler explains, good security requires a lot more than just having a shotgun and a box of shells in the closet, or building a concrete-and-steel bunker in the backyard. Here are some of Scott and David’s recommendations:
Training/ Experience: Nobody wants to hurt other people, but you must be able to defend your community against an attack. Having the training and skills to use firearms is essential, according to Kobler. Instead of just going to a conventional shooting range, the former paratrooper recommends taking take a combat shooting class to learn how to fire on the move and to keep from being hit. At least one practice session each month is needed to maintain proficiency. Martial arts training of some sort also is a good idea, particularly grappling and ground-fighting techniques. (Knowing submission holds may enable a prepper to control an aggressive beggar, without harming the person.) At least one member of the group should have paramedic training, so that he or she can treat injuries from gun battles. Since combat requires both physical strength but also endurance, preppers need to stay in shape. A fitness regimen such as CrossFit, which mixes pull-ups and other strength exercises with cardio work, fits the bill.
Firearms: While soldiers in Iraq were equipped with combat rifles, Kobler also believes that preppers should be equipped with rifles and a good quality handgun. Semi-automatic pistols can lay down a barrage of bullets, but a basic old-fashioned revolver, with its ease of use, may be a better choice for those with less experience with guns. It’s also crucial to have as much ammunition on hand as a prepper can afford, as well as cleaning kits to maintain the weapons. Shooters also should carry a combat application tourniquet (CAT) to stop bleeding from wounds. For chasing away individuals who don’t present a lethal threat, non-lethal ammunition, such as beanbag rounds that can be fired from a shotgun, are a way to stay safe and protect your resources without unnecessary harm.
Security Enhancement: Good body armor is another essential. Helmets and vests provide effective protection, but arm and leg plating often limits mobility too much to be practical. Another valuable piece of equipment is a set of night vision goggles, which can enable a defender to protect his family and property. Surveillance posts continually manned by lookouts on the edge of a property can detect an impending attack and relay warning back to the rest of the community. Fortifications are another crucial element of any security plan. Preppers should surround the main house, barn and critical storage areas for supplies with a cordon of foxholes or barriers that give them cover as they shoot at intruders. Routes to the center of the compound should be blocked with barriers that slow vehicles, and thorny bushes and other obstacles can be used to hinder intruders on foot. Because a sophisticated attacker may be able to detect and even intercept wireless communications, it’s a good idea to set up a land-line phone system with buried cables that connect back to the main dwelling. But during a confrontation or a medical emergency, when quick communication is crucial, two-way radios can help defenders to coordinate their efforts. Having an adequate stock of medical supplies to deal with injuries and health emergencies is also a must.
Survival Network: All members of a community need to train so that they can work together cohesively in the event of an attack, and are familiar with the strategy and tactics to be used. A good defense strategy involves spotting intruders on the perimeter and silently sounding a warning to other community members, who then take their places along the perimeter and lie in wait for the attack. A combination of physical obstacles and a good defensive plan can be used to lure the attackers into an engagement area. In the event that defense fails, it’s critical to have an escape strategy, in which community members fall back and regroup at a distant rally point, where a cache of additional ammunition, food, water and medical supplies is waiting. It’s also valuable to have an extended network of other preppers who can depend on one another for assistance in a crisis and can barter with one another for resources when needed.
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