One of the major issues that preppers talk about a lot is the best strategies to deal with all those people who are not prepared for a SHTF event. If you try too hard to get others to wake up to the importance of prepping, you can be labeled as obsessive or crazy. And yet, most preppers know that one of the biggest dangers they will face during and after a post-economic collapse or other grid down situation is people who are hungry and desperate to feed their families because they didn’t prepare.
If you’re truly worried about other family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who you feel won’t be prepared when the time comes, you can try to impress upon them how important it is to start preparing. This is something that has to be done carefully and gradually so that you aren’t seen as “that crazy prepper”. If they think you’re obsessed and paranoid about prepping, they will simply tune you out and your pleas will fall on deaf ears.
One thing you can do that is somewhat subtle is to get family members, friends, or even neighbors to watch some of the best survival movies and TV shows which may gradually introduce the idea of being prepared for emergencies. Don’t force your family and friends to watch a survival movie every week, that would be way too obvious. But introducing a TV series like Revolution or a movie like San Andreas is good entertainment and gives you a chance to subtly comment how quickly things can go wrong, how the need for emergency communications can come up suddenly, etc.
The other thing you can do is to have your own preps ready and use them whenever the opportunity arises. When your cousin can’t get that ridiculous crazy plastic packaging open on his newest toy or your friend cuts his hand using the saw at work, you can come to the rescue with your EDC knife or mini first aid kit. These kinds of everyday rescues can give you the chance to demonstrate in real time how great it is to be prepared for the unexpected things that come up all the time.
The third thing you can do right now, pre-collapse with people who aren’t prepared, is to help spread the word about existing emergency planning for your community. Find out where the tornado shelters are or which buildings in and around town are earthquake resistant and make sure people know about them. Tell people when there is a first aid, CPR, or other course being held in the area. Share information when it comes out about evacuation plans for your local school district to make sure people are aware of it. You can’t control whether or not people participate but you can make them aware.
As far as sharing information about what you are doing to prep, it’s not a good idea to share those details with other people unless they are people you know you can trust. Just because your neighbor chats with you over the hedge now and then, doesn’t mean that he is trustworthy enough when SHTF not to come and take your preps to feed his own family. Be cautious even with co-workers and friends.
During and Post SHTF Strategies
We all have neighbors, co-workers, friends, and even relatives who we know will not be prepared when the time comes. And there are bound to be many strangers who aren’t prepared either. In a post collapse situation, all of these people will run out of food quickly and be looking for ways to feed themselves and their families.
As a parent, wouldn’t you do whatever you had to do to keep your children fed? These desperate people will act in ways they wouldn’t normally act because they and their children will be hungry and thirsty, maybe even starving.
The “best strategies” to deal with these people who are unprepared, some preppers refer to them as “zombies”, is one issue that divides many preppers. There are four main categories when it comes to strategies for dealing with people who are unprepared before, during, and post-collapse.
Option #1 Defend It with Guns
Just shoot them. A major portion of preppers are of the opinion that dealing with people who are unprepared to feed themselves and their families is really not their problem. Their strategy consists mainly of using force when necessary to keep people away and to defend their stockpile. Preppers who are convinced this is the best strategy for them are gearing up by stockpiling guns, ammunition, and other security measures.
The main downside with this strategy is that the sheer numbers of people who could descend on your property all within hours or days of each other could be massive. In rural areas, you may be better off for a little while but anyone close to the major cities could simply be unable to defend against crowds of hungry desperate people. If you are going to rely on this strategy, make sure you have a method for making more ammunition post-SHTF.
Option #2 Share with Others
Feed anyone who shows up and then send them on their way. There are many preppers who believe the best strategy for them will be to just feed people who show up and send them on their way. Many preppers in this group may be unrealistic about how long a post-SHTF situation can last and how many people will show up asking for food and supplies. They also may not be prepared for the fact that like a stray cat, once you feed these desperate people, they will just keep coming back again and again.
Stockpile extra supplies so you can feed people and then send them away with a care package to get them through a little while. There are a lot of preppers who realize that there will be people who haven’t prepared adequately and so they are stockpiling extra food and supplies so that they will “have extra” to feed people who come to them desperate and hungry.
This strategy might work in the short term if you have a lot of extra supplies stored up. However, there will never really be “extra” because anything you give away could end up being the difference between life and death for your own family later when your own stockpile runs out. Plus, as word gets out that you are feeding people and giving away supplies, you will have more people at your door than you can help. And some of those people who hear about you might just decide to take what you have.
Grow extra food in a section of your garden and anyone who comes begging can help themselves from that area. This is a combination strategy that many preppers feel might work better than just giving people food. Sure it’s more work to plant it initially, but if you let hungry people pick their own food, it’s not more work for you.
This strategy could work because a lot of people are decent human beings and once they are able to feed their children, they may move on. But again, those not so decent human beings might decide that your entire garden is something they have a right to for their family. And there’s also a possibility that a horde of people could come through within several days and they will move on to your section of the garden when the “shared” section is picked bare.
Accept people into your group. There is an entire subgroup of preppers who believe strongly that the more numbers of people they have in their group, the stronger they are and the more the workload can be divided. This group of preppers are willing, and in some cases planning, to accept unprepared people into their own group and make them allies so they contribute to the group going forward. In addition to stockpiling extra supplies, they are even including guest sleeping space, etc. in their preparations.
The problem with this strategy is that group survival is not just about numbers. It’s about the skills that you have within the group and it’s about leadership and trust. People have diverse personalities and values. The more people you have in your group the stronger leadership you will need. Larger groups are good because the workload is shared and you have help when it comes to defending your property, but larger groups also use up limited resources like medicines, much more quickly.
The real challenge with this strategy though is you just never know what people will do when times are tough, especially people you don’t know well. You could end up assimilating someone or several people into your group that will run off when you need them the most or worse turn on you and take over and put you and your family out with nothing.
Option #3 Hide It
Use “decoy” supplies in the kitchen cupboards or out in the open. Keep the rest of your main stockpile well hidden in separate places all over your property and BOL. Many preppers plan for stockpiling include this strategy. They will hide most of their food in well-hidden places, under beds, behind fake walls, under furniture, etc. If someone raids their home and empties the cupboards and pantry, they may not find all of the hidden supplies. But if intruders are very persistent and thorough in searching, or are a prepper themselves who knows where to look for hidden supplies, it could mean trouble.
Keep garden plants hidden from view behind a fence, behind tall shrubs, in among flower gardens to make them less noticeable. If people passing by cannot immediately see that a food garden, they may just keep going to the next house. This is a good strategy that will probably keep some people from ravaging your food garden. It won’t really stop anyone who is persistent and comes up onto your property to “check things out”.
Plant some wild edible plants along the edge of the road and hope that people will eat those instead of approaching you for your stuff. This is another decent strategy that could work to keep some people away. It won’t work for those who don’t recognize wild plants as edible or for those people who are very persistent and will take the time to come up and inspect your property for what else you may have.
Plant edible landscaping that isn’t recognizable as food. Make your landscaping edible so it will appear like just your way of decorating your property. Some people will walk right by edible plants and not even realize they are edible. This is actually a good strategy because in the event that someone does raid all of your regular canned food and supplies, you will still have your edible landscaping to get by. Only really hard core preppers and survivalists will know to even look for edible landscaping.
Creating a food forest is a complex endeavor to get started the first year, but since it just looks like wild overgrowth, it pays off because very few people will even look there for food. A food forest can be in your backyard or at the edge of your yard. It looks wild and messy and overgrown when done correctly. It doesn’t need much maintenance at all so it’s rare that people will see you tending to it and know it’s there pre-SHTF.
And if you want to, you can even plant your annual vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and other stuff in amongst the food forest where it is barely recognizable. Sure if someone decides to cut through the forest behind your house they may find your food, but most people will stick to the roads as much as possible. And as long as you have guns, you can defend against a few people here and there who might stumble upon it.
Option #4 Stay Mobile
There are some preppers who believe they can just stay mobile and out of sight or reach from the crowds of hungry people. These are your hard core preppers. Many of them are really experienced in survivalist skills and feel confident that they can travel light and live off the land no matter where they are. This is a good strategy but only for a very limited number of people. Not everyone has the skills, stamina, and mental fortitude that it would take to live off the land, constantly moving around, for weeks, months, or years at a time.
For those relying on this strategy, you must be able to live with very little resources, carrying only what you absolutely cannot replicate in the wilderness. You must be in top physical condition, know how to treat yourself for various illnesses and traumas that you could face and be able to survive off wild edibles and the ever dwindling supply of wild animals. It’s definitely not a strategy for those who have never done it and have just read about it or watched instructional videos on YouTube.
It would seem that there’s really no guaranteed strategy for dealing with those people that are unprepared and who may arrive on your doorstep hungry and desperate. Perhaps the best solution for you will be a combination of several of the above strategies. Consider your individual needs, your own levels of fitness and security, and create a strategy that you feel will work the best.
Do you have a different strategy for dealing with unprepared people? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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14 thoughts on “Strategies for Dealing with Those Who Aren’t Prepared”
How about taking any “extra” food to a local food pantry, church, meals on wheels, ect. When people come by ,tell them, ” I have no food, but I hear the local whatever down the road is feeding people”.
Thanks, Sarge, yours is the best and most logical answer to this issue. I would add, telling those seeking food that we get food from the local food pantry, church, meals on wheels, ect would be wise also. This little white prevarication will aid in categorizing us in the same “in need” category as the ones asking for our help. To keep it truthful, just bring one can of food from one of the food pantry locations and then we really did “get food” from them. I have a normal pantry stocked well, plus a decoy storage closet with about a month’s extra food that we rotate items through from our larger veiled storage and supply cache locations located on our property. If we are coerced to give up the location of our “hidden” supplies, it will ONLY be the decoy that we finally disclose. However, only the trustworthy adults in our family know where the decoy and hidden cache supplies are located. I came to realize our need for this 3-stage storage system when I found out about the currently operative US anti-hoarding law number 10998, which allows the US federal government to seize “hoarded food supplies” from both public and private sources. Brum
I plan on having the entire family here on the homestead. Anyone else is on their own. They have the same access to warnings that I have had. Even the Red Cross and FEMA have put out bulletins on being prepared. There have been TV reality shows, although some to most are far from reality, but the did bring to light the fact there are many people who think prepping is a necessity. The “zombies” have had plenty of warning which should have at least tweaked their curiosity. For those who have scoffed at the possibilities of disasters hitting our midst, they will be treated like the grasshopper in the parable of the ant and the grasshopper. Simply put, I will be like the ant. I have worked hard and stored for the future while the grasshopper has played. I’ll plug the hole to the homestead and guard it. The grasshopper can die.
Staying mobile means moving though new territory all the time it is at best a zero some game,at worst slow death by malnutrition. Fortified placement draw the enemy and death by sege. So I believe that I am going to combine both. I will that every one work at the details if you are doing this or something similar.
Hey guys! I love all the things that you’ve covered so far, but there’s one topic i really think you should discuss! Food Allergies! My wife has Celiac Disease and is deathly allergic to GLUTEN! ie, everything and anything with WHEAT in it! It seems that all the freeze dried food for camping, emergencies, Survival and prepping, etc, has WHEAT in it! A major portion of all of us can eat that type of food and benefit from it. But other people with Celiac Disease, and sensitivity to GLUTEN have a big problem! Maybe you can research that and include it In future Emails!
Thanks, you people are awesome!!!
Respectively, Jeff L Anglesey
Don’t EVER open your door! Some lawyers/used car salesmen etc. can talk a bird down from a tree. They may be right outside.
Avoid cooking smells! Bring your pot to a boil on your propane camp stove; immediately turn off the flame, put the lid on the pot, wrap the pot in a space blanket and put it into a styrofoam picnic container and dump in a peck of plastic packing peanuts. Put the lid on the container. Wait 4 hours; open the pot and eat. Everything will be nicely cooked and no cooking smells! (Immediately wash the pot & dishes and store them away).
Guys, don’t shave! If someone from outside should catch a glimpse of you through a window, you need to look unkempt and dirty. If you are clean, you have water, they want water and everything else that you have.
If someone knocks, don’t open the door. Don’t speak, because your voice(s) give away valuable strategic information to those outside. Don’t stand directly behind the door – those outside may shoot at the lock and most home doors won’t stop a bullet. You don’t want to reveal ANY info about who you are, how many are you, your arms, you food, your water. Conceal everything unless they begin to break down the door; at that point open up and be ready to shoot!
The unprepared are going to be a big problem. I sit on the outskirts of a once great city. The homes were built solid to last a century or more. Many did but conditions existed that brought us people who wanted the dream but didn’t know how to keep it once they got it. The people who built this city and cared for it and kept it beautiful couldn’t live next to people who wanted to live and act like animals. Moving out these grand homes were used up and abandoned. This city now looks like a third world nation. The people who live here live from hand to mouth existing on the support of government. They haven’t even an extra cent to set an extra can of soup on the shelf. When the power fails and the cell phone dies and they have no gas they will riot and get the important stuff like the sixty inch TV. They will get the food as well but the food that will give them the most for their money will be taken by the old people who know what will keep them alive. I wont begin to tell you that many wont have only the grill to cook the food. how many wont have a can opener to open a can of soup? When this food runs out they will start to search and will take what they want. Or try! They will be armed but so will we. Only they will be hungry and most likely on the empty sugar calories expended when walking out of the city. The water will now all be used up for they wont know where to find it. It will take about one to two months for these people to die off. They will ruin anywhere they get to. the land they squat on cant be used to plant food so the people who think they will hunker down on the property they have will have visitors and desperate they will ruin anything in their path to eat. If we think the zombies were bad have some that can think and move fast come at you. If you read this thinking I have an answer I don’t. for any homes built in the last fifty years will not be strong enough to defend. They are only shells to support the insulation. We are living in a bag and a bullet will go into and out the other side with little resistance. What you took the efforts to store will now be eaten by the ones who are willing to die to get it. I read many of the survival blogs and none address this problem. Unless you can build a wall and defend it like the old time forts we will have little chance.
Grandpa, your description fits North St Louis Mo perfectly. Once beautiful mansions, not sit empty and rotting with crack heads, whores, thugs, and pimps lounging on the steps of that which they never lifted a finger to build… but they certainly had a hand in ruining the neighborhoods, and those fine homes went down the sewer with them. Brum
As a rural homeowner living about 25 miles from St.Louis, I agree completely. Best good people can do is get out of St.Louis and head out about 30-40-miles away, close enough, but more defensible. Lots of woods and farm land, a few acres will do. Learn to grow a carrot or eggplant, raise a half dozen chickens, or rabbits. Learn to shoot varmints, they can be eaten. Wild turkeys and deer are abundant, just see my yard. Buy an older brick home (like mine) and buy a dog. Keep a bicycle or ATV, emergency radio and extra batteries. Prep with food and things that work w/o electricity. Personally I expect a massive ice storm that takes down power lines. That is within the realm of real possibility. I also have a large creek within walking distance but below the possibility of floods. The Mississippi River is near, sort of, and it has lots of fish. Keep fishing gear.
Jeff A. Go to “the organic prepper’. She is guten intolerant & has found a company that produces Gluten Free food that even tastes good. Can’t remember the name of the co. but her site will tell you.
I intend on having some nettle & dandelion soup brewing to pass out Hope it lacks appeal & they don’t come back for more.edc
I think having a pot of unappetizing soup is a good solution. It could be nutritious but not very good and you would be helping them but discouraging them to stay for more. You could offer them wild food that they can find for their selves later. I also think hiding some food in two liter bottles some distant from your home could be helpful. Tell them you have heard of someone has a little to share and puts the bottles there for families with kids, but if they see the same people come back their kids will be orphans!
There is no good strategy for dealing with the unprepared. If you made the mistake of trying to talk anyone into prepping, when TSHTF they will be at your door. You can count on every person you told about storing food and water expecting you to share. They won’t be satisfied with a token handout if the know you have plenty. They will tell their friends and families and they will all want a fair share. Remember, a lot of these people have always gotten everything they have wanted for free and will expect the same after TSHTF as well. Sorry folks, the bottom line is you will have to kill or be killed, because they will kill you and take what you have. Hell, they will kill you today for a junk leather jacket.
I think most of the Golden Horde in the US will not leave their neighborhoods until after they have consumed bad food/water. They will stay where they know the area expecting the govt to come save them.
Most people don’t really have a concept of where the good food is on this continent. The most stable and available foodwill not be in the pantries or gardens but in the fields and grain bins of the Great Plains. The facility that I work at, when full after harvest has enough beans to feed the population that is within 50 miles for at least 5 years! There are grain bin and elevators scattered all over the landscape in the grain growing regions. The cities will destroy themselves, and the flyover states that they do despise will have all they need. But they think farmers are some guy in overalls with 30 chickens. North American farmers grow a huge surplus of food that gets used for export and also non food uses.