Mutual Assistance Group:  Survival Support Network and Mutual Aid Team

When you are thinking about prepping for survival, forming a mutual assistance group could be a good way of filling the gaps in your own skill set while allowing you to share your survival knowledge with others. You have to tread carefully as not everyone will be an ideal member of your group, so the best advice is to start probing and investigating possible group members well ahead of time so when the disaster strikes, you are ready to work together.

What is a Mutual Assistance Group?

Broadly speaking, a "mutual" assistance group is a community of like-minded individuals who have pledged to support each other in an apocalyptic scenario. This assistance may be through providing living space, but is more commonly an agreement to share food, water, tools and any information about the outside world at regular meetings.

Typically they tend to be groups of neighbors, but a group that shares knowledge and skills could stretch across the country through the Internet. There is no standard size for a group as it will depend on how many people you know who are interested in preparing for the future and what skills each of them can bring to the table.

How to Form a Group

Forming a mutual assistance group can be tricky. There are still a surprising number of people who refuse to take the idea of apocalypse survival seriously and who will look at you in a negative light when they find out that you’re a prepper.

The best way to start identifying possible group members is to listen carefully to conversations at church, the bar or family events for key phrases about future preparation and thoughts about the Mayan calendar. You’ll quickly get an idea about who to talk to further about communal survival practices.

Once you’'ve identified a few people, you should invite them to a small informal get-together. During the course of the party, you should bring up the idea of preparing for a worst case scenario and allow the group to discuss the pros and cons of working together.

Again, this will help you to identify those people who have the right mindset for the task ahead. You may need a few of these events to get the right mix of people to broach the subject directly and to start to form a structure for the group.

The First Meetings

The first group meetings should be an exploration of the current skills and knowledge of each of the group members and their families. The resulting list should be fairly extensive and should be circulated to all group members so they know who to ask for what. At that point, you’ll also need to agree on what level of support you’ll offer each other.

At a minimum, you should be looking at teaching new skills while groups looking for more support should think about sharing resources such as food, fuel and tools between them as necessary. A true group may even think about living together when the worst comes.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Forming a survival support network comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. The pros include a level of support and contact with the outside world, as well as a way of filling the gaps in your own skills and resources. You’ll also gain moral support from talking to a group of like-minded people on a regular basis.

The main drawback of creating a mutual assistance group is that it can leave you open to failure if one person doesn’t keep their end of the bargain. This may be due to factors outside of their control like attack or injury, but an over-reliance on goods or services from another person may mean that you are left high and dry. You should bear this in mind when forming the group agreement as to what sort of support will be offered.

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