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It finally happened. Three weeks ago the grid went down and societies’ unraveling has begun. At first, banks closed and people stopped going to work. When this happened essential services were at first hampered and now they are non-existent. Without getting paid for fuel or their work, deliveries stopped, food dried up and now we are in a full blown panic mode that is sweeping over the country despite the authorities promises to restore order.
You being the good prepper are relatively unaffected though as you now find more time to work in your garden which is starting to see the fruits of this year’s harvest. Your company told everyone to stay home until further notice because they could no longer afford to pay anyone and sales had stopped the moment the banking crisis started. Your backup solar panels are working full time to provide power to your home for minor appliances and lights for the evening. There have been some impromptu meetings with your neighbors and even though some have left to live with relatives the ones that remain are still unsure of what will happen and slowly the comments about how prepared your family appears to be are getting a little unnerving.
OPSEC is a term used to describe operational security. When you boil it all down for preppers it really means at its most basic, keeping your details about your preps to yourself unless you are looking for unwanted attention. OPSEC works great while everything is fine. When the power is on and everyone (well, mostly everyone) can find a job to pay the bills and keep them relatively happy no one needs to know about your quiet purchases of stored food. There is no reason to share the steady accumulation of tools, firearms and ammo to go with your medical supplies, stored water and filtration methods. When society is chugging along more or less normally, your preparations can easily go unnoticed so there is no reason to telegraph having supplies for your family.
If the grid goes down though, OPSEC changes and becomes vastly more important. Not many people will care that you have a years’ worth of freeze dried food and a garden if they can still go to McDonalds for their favorite meal. Few people are going to give a rip if you have firearms and ammo if they can still go down to Gander Mountain and buy a shotgun for themselves. It is when the ability to acquire tools and equipment to survive is gone that you need to worry more. When people run out of food because the stores are closed, they will remember you telling them about your purchases. When they are worried that looters are coming down your street they will think back to how you said you stocked away thousands of rounds of ammo. Even if you have been a good little Prepper and have kept all your supplies and preparations to yourself you can still get into trouble and that is part of what this post is about. Once it all goes to hell you are going to need to practice noise and light discipline to keep your family and your preps safe.
Have you ever walked outside when there is a power outage and noticed just how quiet everything is. You still have the ambient sound of the birds and the breeze, but the normal low background noise you have grown so accustomed to is gone. What you might hear in my neighborhood if the outage lasts more than a couple hours are generators. The last outage we had I don’t even think we had gone without for 2 hours before I heard the first generator fire up and that was a pretty good way from my house. Sound travels much farther than you think and sounds can give you away just as easily as knowledge of what you have if the SHTF.
Noise discipline deals with the act of trying to be as quiet as possible so that the enemy doesn’t know your position or gains intelligence from your communications. This routinely is a topic that soldiers on patrol employ to avoid detection but it could just as easily apply if you are trying to remain low-key and keep your preparations secret from your neighbors or people wandering through who might want to relieve you of your extra supplies.
Some basic concepts of noise discipline:
Light discipline covers the visual side of our senses and like sound, light travels a long distance. In your neighborhood, when the lights are out a single cigarette can be seen from extremely far distances. I have heard some people say 2 miles and maybe with the right conditions that’s right but even if it’s only 200 yards, that is plenty close enough for someone to see you in the darkness and devise a plan to sneak up on you.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas for how to keep unseen during periods where you want to avoid unwanted attention as much as possible. What ideas do you have?
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