Are you individually capable? If so, are you capable within a group? Will you commit to surviving a disaster should one strike?

Evaluating your individual capabilities and then seeking out like-minded people are the first steps in establishing a survivor’s group. Here are the general functions that should be carried out by the people in a survival group. Depending on the size of your group, and the individual capabilities of each member, some may have more than one job.

Commander: The commander is responsible for the entire survival group. This person should be a natural leader, willing to support his or her people from below, to listen and lead them from the front.
He or she coordinates with all committees and applies strategic principles to ensure the survival of the group.

Executive Officer: The executive officer is the second in command and coordinates with all committees. His or her primary function is to serve as an adviser to the commander.

Intelligence Chair: The third in command. Works with Communications and debriefs patrols/static guards for local information. Ingests news from whatever sources still exist. Advises the commander and executive officer.

Survival Group SEDGE Spring 2015 territory
This may be your own home for a short-term disruption, or an apartment building, city block or suburban subdivision.


Defense Chair: Establishes perimeter and guard posts. Creates layers of defense with interlocking fields of fire. Knows the territory. Establishes watch officers who are responsible for each portion of the 24-hour day. Posts and rotates guards. Trains fighters. Controls entry points and negotiates with outsiders. Provides “quick reaction force” and reserve elements. Obtains and stockpiles arms and ammunition, tactical gear, booby traps, explosives, heavy weapons, etc. Organizes patrols and seeks out provisions, other groups and secondary locations should retreat become necessary by the entire survival group. Cooperates with the command element in any offensive or defensive action.

Sanitation Chair: Responsible for human waste management, the provision of clean water, shower facilities, disposing of trash/garbage, cleaning interior living spaces. Buries the dead. Works with the Food Committee to provide clean cooking and food-storage environments.

Medical Chair: An MD (but preferably a team of licensed professionals) with adequate supplies and equipment to provide emergency surgery. Trains Defense medics. Maintains inventory of medical supplies and controls the pharmacy. Gathers and maintains medical information for all survival group members.

Communications Chair: One or more individuals responsible for maintaining radio communications within the group, and neighboring survival groups. Monitors radio, TV and internet communications (depending on what’s still available). Maintains communication gear and repeater station(s). Communications  positions must be staffed 24/7.

Survival Group SEDGE Spring 2015 stockpile
Your survival group will need ample water, food, clothing, tools, medical supplies/prescriptions, communications gear, weapons and ammunition. This will be the job of the Food Chair to maintain the food store keep an inventory.


Food Chair: Responsible for provisioning food sources (gardening, bartering, etc.) and maintaining inventory of stockpiles. Prepares food and controls portions, minimizing waste. Stores food and rotates stocks. Handles livestock. Prepares and delivers mid-watch rations to guard posts (coffee/tea/soup). Manages kitchen and food-storage areas. This group should learn professional food sanitation procedures and the proper temperatures for food preparation and storage.

Maintenance Chair: Responsible for building/maintaining physical structures. Cooperates with Defense for building/maintaining fortifications and clearing fields of fire. Responsible for fire control. Maintains stocks of tools and materials. Responsible for establishing and maintaining sustainable power systems, if such systems exist. Also responsible for maintaining wells.

Transportation Chair: Maintains vehicles. Provisions fuel sources. Fortifies vehicles as much as possible. Organizes convoys. Creates transportation plans and organizes the group in case a retreat is necessary.

Education Chair: Stores and delivers information to the group. Maintains a library. Instructs on items of interest. Creates study groups (mathematics, civics, languages, art, history, philosophy). Provides secondary care and education for underage children. Works with Communications to issue broadcasts outside the group. Works with the command element to monitor and maintain morale. Preserves human culture for the time after the disruption.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Spring 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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