Friday, August 12, 2011

Group Survival - The Logistics Nightmare

As with any endeavor, the larger it is; the more problems you will experience. The logistics of providing the proper level of support for any size survival group can literally become a nightmare without the necessary planning and preparation. Providing for the essentials needed by a large group will be a full time job without a lot of time to do anything else unless your efforts are focused and well organized.

It is going to take a well-structured environment to be successful. This involves structural integrity. If all the necessary parts aren’t in place, your survival group will quickly disintegrate into a mass of confusion and disorder. The manner in which your survival group is structured will be of vital importance for its success.

Examining the different areas that will require your attention on a daily basis will give you a better understanding of just how much work will be involved when trying to form a survival group. Remember, the bigger your group is; the bigger the problems will be and the more work that is going to be required.

Consider your food and shelter needs for a survival group. At a minimum, a single person will require at least a 100 square foot of space. This is not a lot of room when you consider sleeping requirements and storage space for personal items (which will probably need to be limited out of necessity) for a single individual. The space requirements for the preparation of meals and food storage will also increase dramatically. Preparing meals for a large group on a daily basis will take a large amount of food, a great deal of planning, man-power and space. The average size kitchen may not be able to accomplish this unless you have things very well planned in advance. It’s going to take a lot of calories to keep everyone well-fed.

Sanitation needs must also be considered as well and the necessary facilities to maintain a proper level of hygiene for members in your group are probably going to be one of your bigger problems. Maintenance and cleaning will also be a very real problem. Things break, wear out or simply refuse to work when needed and will create problems on a daily basis that will require immediate attention. Even doing the laundry will become a daunting task. Considering how big a job laundry is for the average family and you will begin to realize the problems and difficulties that will occur. It will require everyone to do their part and then some.

Another important factor is the decision-makers. In any group there will be those who can lead and are able to make sound decisions that may be critical to your survival. There will also be those who will need leadership and instruction to accomplish things in a timely and efficient manner. Each will serve an important role in the survival of the group depending upon their skill sets. Just as there are those who will recognize what items are needed, there are also those who will be able to create or build the necessary item or items to fulfill that need.

Meeting the health requirements of a large group will also be a very real challenge. Illness and injury can deal a crippling blow to your survival efforts without the proper planning and preparation. This is an area that cannot be comprised when it comes to proper planning for your survival group. People get sick and accidents happen on a regular basis. This is one thing you can rely on to occur on a regular basis.

Of utmost importance is the trust factor. You will need to be able to trust everyone in your group to do their part to maintain the structural integrity of your survival group. It will need to function without the interruptions that conflict or confrontations may cause from differences in personal opinions, viewpoints or beliefs.

Forming a survival group is a lot like building a bridge. It will require a great deal of structural integrity for it to bear the burden of its intended purpose.

Got structural integrity?

Staying above the water line!



millenniumfly said...

These are problems any group will face but are obviously more of a concern in larger groups. As such, I would think it prudent to keep group size small for this reason, among others. I would suggest a dozen people at the max as a manageable group.

Unknown said...

I agree with millenniumfly, that smaller groups would help to avoid the obstacles of survival. Another issue with a large group is dissent. There will always be the odd few who think they have a better idea, thus the breakaways who ultimately become competitors. Read 'Lord of the Flies' to see that put into practice.

riverwalker said...

To: milleniumfly

Taking into account the smaller size of the average family of four that is presently the norm would seem to indicate that multiple "family units" within a group would contain a sufficient number of people with the variety of skill sets needed in a survival situation.

On this basis, 3 to 5 "family units" would dictate a norm of anywhere from 12 to 20 people as a manageable amount of people for a survival group. This would also seem an easier number to achieve and maintain some stability and structure to your group.

I think 12 people in a survival group, especially when you consider that easily a third of them will be younger adults or children with limited skill sets would probably be more of the minimum amount needed for a survival group. Of course if your group was mostly mature and experienced adults, a dozen members would probably work.

Thanks milleniumfly.


riverwalker said...

To: Wannabemountainman

Dissent is a big problem even with small groups. One only has to look at the divorce rates in this country to see just how hard it is for even two people to get along for an extended period of time without having serious difficulties or problems.

As I mentioned in my comment to milleniumfly, a survival group made up of several "family units" may be the key. If it is a very stable "family unit", it would seem to indicate a greater chance of the group working well together. If the family unit lacks stability, then the survival group probably wouldn't succeed.

Even in a strong family unit of 40 to 45 people, probably only half would be sufficiently reliable enough to support a survival group.



Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

LOL at the dozen people per group- because we're a family of 11. It just gave me a chuckle.

I just want to add that large groups definitely eat more food than you think. I have 9 children, and recently we housed a homeless family with 7 children.

Even though I cook for a lot of people at every meal every day, it took me a little by surprise how much more 20 people ate.

When you have more than one family you also have to account for different habits.

Also- as part of the logistics you must consider things like pots and pans. You can't make soup for 20 people effectively in 4 small pots (plus uses more fuel), you need one really really big pot. You can't cook meat for 20 people in your average cast iron skillet, you'll need a dutch oven (we actually bought a 24" cast iron wok. Highly efficient to cook over fire with that!) And when you have a giant stockpot, filled with a few gallons of soup- well, you can't stir it with your average wooden spoon. You need LONG handles.

I would recommend building in a cushion of about 10%.

Same with lighting, as an example. You might plan for enough lanterns/lumens to light a space, but have you accounted for the fact that 6 adults will be crowded around it, casting shadows and blocking the light to others?

This is where actual practice with the numbers of people comes in handy.

riverwalker said...

To: Milehimama

They take up a lot of space also...

When we get everyone together,about half usually end up spending the night. Wind up with very little room to walk without stepping on someone.

Not only will a a large group eat a lot more but they will take up additional space you may not have.



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