Retreat Preparedness – Community File #1

Having gotten well down the road in my retreat prepping I have forgotten what it was like to just “not know about things” I recently came across my first “Community” memo that went out to all involved so that they would know what had been done to date and what was expected of them.
If you are putting together a group or plan on joining one, this may serve as a useful guide for you. Knowing the direction that you are going is always a great help and moral booster. It also serves to focus your work.
Our retreat comprises between 12-14 members of various ages gender and skills. A core group of four have put a good deal of time money and thought into acquiring and are in a constant state of preparing and improving the site. I own and live at the property. The others live about two hours away, and pre-position food and gear here.


Community File #1 by D.

S.P.& L.,W.,F,.P. and H.

Better known as Sanctuary Power & Light, Water, Fire, Police and Hospital
As none of these will exist in a societal collapse, we must be responsible for providing all of these services that are normally taken for granted.



The core group has put together a photovoltaic (solar cells) system of about 1500 watts at 48volts and 16amps. This is less than half of what you probably usually use in your home. However it has been computed to provide for the following:

Refrigeration-24/7 to keep meat, medicines and make ice.

Entertainment-for a large screen TV and DVD player for a 2 hour movie every two days.

Computer/printer- to provide for a digital library, problem solving and medical research,              as well as being a component of the communications system-2 hours per day

Water pump- on demand to top off water storage and provide for irrigation and daily


Lighting- to provide for a 5VDC LED minimal lighting system, throughout as needed.

Fans-for the kitchen area, on demand and sleeping areas, at least 2 hours per night.

Communications- to power our base station radios for patrols, AM/FM monitoring as

well as Shortwave two-way comms., for news outside of the area. The comm. shack

will also provide for re-charging the store of batteries.

Security- to power the perimeter detection systems, video and motion detection.

This system will provide for limited 120VAC and 12V & 5V DC power. It feeds a battery bank that provides for a day and a half without sun. It uses a control system to charge the batteries and an inverter to provide for AC power. This system will also power any power tools needed on request. As this is a minimal system and can easily be overloaded and damaged, use of power will be strictly budgeted and controlled. Do not abuse our power grid!!! This system will be backed up by two gasoline generators. Due to security considerations (noise control) they will only be operated during rainstorms to supplement the solar system.



The property is provided with a well (electric and manual pumps) and also has flowing water close at hand. We will keep an on hand supply of 275 gallons each of (solar) hot and cold water in two storage tanks. Water will be husbanded as nothing is for certain. Grey water will be recycled for toilets. Filtration has been provided for. Like everything else, do not abuse the system it will be always overloaded.



As public services will be non-existent and a fire could easily totally destroy all of our resources. Fire prevention should always be on your mind. IT IS A REAL ENEMY FOR US! Each person will be required to have at least one large ABC type fire extinguisher and be trained in proper firefighting skills. Keep it at hand in your living area. NO OPEN FLAMES WITHOUT MONITORING!



All residents will be required to stand a security watch of a least 2 hour shifts night and day. To this end, all residents will be trained in the safe use of rifle, pistol, and shotgun, as well as any other defensive weapons. Personal unarmed combat will also be taught. Maintenance of firearms and cleaning will also be part of this community responsibility. Skilled members will be responsible for day and night patrols, and serve as a FAST RESPONSE UNIT in the event of an attack.



A medical group will be established to provide for trauma and day to day care. A trained sub group will work with the doctor or EMT as a surgical unit to deal with emergency critical care. The better trained will conduct classes for the untrained. It is your responsibility to acquire as many useful skills as possible. The core group has assembled the necessary equipment and medicines to provide for a minimal community hospital. You must provide for minimal trauma materials for yourself to include personal meds, pain killers, trauma kit with quick-clot and sutures, as well as your personal first aid kit.



This is going to be a community unlike any that you are used to or can imagine. Due to the great many daily demands of food, water, battery maintenance, security, sanitation etc., and the small number of people to deal with them all, you will have no trouble sleeping at night, you will be too tired. This will be a small working farm in every sense.

Water must be pumped, batteries serviced, seeds planted and watered, garden and fish farm maintained, food harvested and preserved, ammunition assembled, guns cleaned, security patrols run, perimeter and living conditions constantly improved, meals cooked, dishes washed, wood chopped and fires tended, as well as sanitation and health maintained. There will always be something that needs done. Your new job is to see your way to tomorrow. You must contribute to the community or perish!



Minimally, you should bring with you:

Food for each person for 3-6 months

Water storage capabilities and a personal water filter for each person.

Minimal shelter:  tent, sleeping bag each.

Any firearms that you own and ammunition & cleaning gear for them.

72 hour kit as explained in the newbie files.

A large ABC fire extinguisher.

A collection of rechargeable batteries.




One 6 or 12 volt 200-400 ah, deep cycle battery each. If you are using the     resources, you should contribute to them if you can.

A case (1000 rounds) of either.223, .308, 7.62 short, .40, .45, 9mm, or 12ga (#6 or #4 buckshot) ammunition or components.

Additional medical supplies (pain killers, antibiotics, bandages)

Fuel (Coleman white gas, gasoline, diesel, propane)

Fresh meats and additional canned & dry  goods.

Goats, chickens, ducks, pigs or rabbits and feed.




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12 thoughts on “Retreat Preparedness – Community File #1”

  1. I believe it makes sense to prepare to provide electricity for a short temporary event like a hurricane, bizzard or temporary power outage. But to prepare to generate electriciity over a longer period of time in a SHTF situation is a mistake and a waste of resources. Provide for minimal lighting and a radio of course but to plan to be able to keep a freezer running or a TV is wasteful of your time and money.

  2. Sorry.. I strongly disagree. We stock a great deal of antibiotics and medical fluids. Refrigeration is necessary for their long life. High stress situations are a proven deterioration to moral and then health. If some diversion is not planned for you are asking for some very real problems down the road, perhaps even revolt. Remember “All work and no play….? I am not a frivilous person that does things for no good reason. If I include it, it is for a very good reason. Our resources are “built” to include for all of this so it is not a “waste” NOT using the available resources to better your lives would be a waste. Quality of life is very important in any survival situation. The smallest perks can pay a large dividend in the percentage of your survival chances. Particularly in group dynamics. The site is designed to be off grid for one, all that is necessary for 12 is allocation of existing resources. Would you have them sit unused? I just can’t follow your logic here. Regards, D.

  3. Yeah, gotta go with D on that one GWTW. I live offgrid, and have propane frig/freezers, and a propane chest freezer. I may not be using the big screen TV much if the S-really-HTF, but having electricy and refrigeration is part of the plan both for now and then. It’s not cheap, but some have been preparing for a long while, and have a budget that allows it.

  4. Not to drop a dime regarding opsec, but what are your geographic considerations?? Do you live in a northern or southern climate?? I’m sure you’ve considered availability during winter storms if you live in a snowy climate or not… other words plowing the route to the retreat and leaving a sign of your passage. Also, do you have a plan for storing the vehicles of the people who are part of your group?? I’m sure you’ve covered these and I just missed them… eyes suck as I get older. I really like what you’re bringing to the table….very practical and operational if you will. I’d be interested in how to do the same type of thing in a bug-in scenario in a small, rural community. Thank you so much for your experience and knowledge….it is being printed and going into my binder(s)…..they just keep growing!!

  5. Thanks for your input ASH. Question though….what kind of storage tanks do you have for propane?? How long can you run the frig/freezer based on no resupply?? What are your contingencies after you run out of propane?? I always look at things as based on what you have on hand and then what you have in the next line after no resupply. Thanks again for your insight…..

  6. Hi GP. We have three 500 gallon tanks (1700 lbs total, at 80% full), one full always and two at various levels as they’re being used. Two 100lb tanks, and 7 or 8 of the 20lb BBQ tanks. All scattered around the property. One 20lb tank will run the freezer for about 2 weeks (@1.5 lb/day). We live in a Canada border state, so we use less in the winter. The propane runs the primary generator and water heater as well, with two gasoline generators as a fallback – but we wouldn’t be using much of either of those if the SHTF. We can use wood to heat water and the solar will supply most of our electricy needs. Contingency Plan A is to purchase more propane, with gold/silver if necessary. Contingency Plan B after it runs out is to smoke or dry the food instead of using refrigeration during the summer months. We have buckets of Morten’s Tender Quick and plain salt, and no shortage of oak trees around for smoking it. I use the tiered approach to prepping as well. Take care.

  7. the solar set up sounds great! What kind of money does it take for something like that? What would an EMP do to the whole setup?

  8. Rick:
    I think we have about $6 or $7K in the solar. Almost half of that is in the hi-grade Trojan battery bank. Most is DIY with some commercial components. EMP would probably fry it, but no one really knows. Some cells may be salvagable to build new smaller panels. Just the same I have a 400W back up system that will go into an EMP vault so we will not lose critical use. Watch for the up coming post …On Solar. You might also cull additional info from my past posts on here.

    Everyone else: Great comments. the whole reason for these posts, to generate discussion and exchange ideas. FWIW, winter is not a consideration for us so thanks for addressing that. Regards, D.

  9. This is what I am referring to; the cost of trying to provide sufficient electrical capacity to keep large appliances running after SHTF. I have 4 outdoor spotlight type solar charged LED lights that provide decent light even sufficient for reading at night. They can full charge with a day or two at most in the sun and they will provide light for 8 hours or more. I use these regularly in my motor home. I also have a small solar powered battery charger ($18) and a dozen or so rechargeable batteries($12) that can be used in flashlights, FRS radios, shortwave radios a LED lantern, etc. I also have the Harbor Frieght solar panels ($158 on sale) mounted on my motor home to charge the existing aux batteries when I’m not traveling allowing the engine to recharge them. None of this will run a freezer or other large appliance but they will for very few dollars keep the lights, computer and radio on. I certainly don’t intend to fault anyone for their choice in this, in fact I would love to have a 10k PV system on my roof with batteries and inverter. I just don’t intend to spend the money for it with so many other competing needs. I am reasonably happy with my very cheap foray in to solar and although my motor home has a nice generator onboard I almost never use it and only start it for a few minutes once every month or two to keep the gas fresh.

  10. GWTW:
    Granted a store bought 10K system would probably cost upwards of $50K, but you can do it MUCH cheaper yourself. Do the math! 12 people into $6000 is $500 each. That is a pretty dam good investment for what you get back. BTW have you used your $18 battery charger? You might find that it takes 2 days to charge four AA batteries. That said looks like a good start to a mobile set-up. Be sure and dry run all of your gear. I know of some flex panels that could be glued to the roof of your RV and provide almost 700 watts @ 24VDC for about $800.That would run your fridge. The trick is to find solutions not just problems. Regards, D.

  11. You are indeed correct that the battery charger takes about two days. It will fully charge the cheaper AA batteries in less time but the better ones take two days. The good news is I can also use the cheap ($5 apiece) landscape lights to charge batteries as well. I have found though that a full charged AA battery will run my small LED flashlight for 30-50 hours and my radio for about 24 hours and my lantern for abou 30 hours. So it isn’t a problem to keep charged batteries around. This is especially true since I use my flashlight about half an hour a day, my radio about 2 hours and my lantern about an hour. I do use these preps all the time, since I’m retired I like to maximize the time in the motorhome. Of course I could use the lights in the motor home but I try to save the aux batteries to run our computers. By my calculation a day charging from my 45 watt panels (mounted on the roof of the RV) equals about two hours on two different computers. So it’s a tradeoff, I use the cheap lighting and battery powered radio and I have more time to play on the computer. In a true SHTF situation I have no desire to run the frig. I do get your point about keeping medications cold but I personally don’t need it. All our preps are dehydrated, freeze dried or canned.


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