Don't Throw OPSEC out the Window

Don't Throw OPSEC out the Window
‘This information is on a need to know basis.’ Ever hear this line in a movie? Of course you have, it’s common when you’re watching any of the old spy flicks or James Bond as he’s running around, but it has a very practical application for the modern survivalist. Do not tell the world about your preparations for when the SHTF. Our team at APE Survival cannot stress this enough.
  • Do NOT casually mention to the hardware store clerk you’re building a self-contained water catchment and treatment plant.
  • Do NOT tell the Wal-Mart cashier you’ve got 12 months of food stored because you’re proud to be buying rice and beans in bulk.
Even if you trust a friend, there is no need to tell them every aspect of your life. You can never guarantee what they will do with that information once you’ve given it. Perhaps they simply turn up on your doorstep after a crisis looking to hunker down with you (and your food). In most cases, this is probably what will happen. But what if they joke about how you’re a ‘crazy prepper’ down at the bar on Friday night, and now 15-20 strangers have heard how you’ve been preparing for doomsday. Have you got enough supplies to feed all of them? What if someone decides to try taking your supplies from you? Once you send out any information into the world, you lose control of it, and have no say what others will do with the information. In general, keeping your mouth shut is the best plan. OK, but I have to tell someone, right? The only time you should tell another person about your plan to survive is when they form a key role in your plan. Once someone else knows what you have, even if they resent what you’re doing, you can guarantee they will be knocking on your door when they know you’ve got a year’s worth of food in your basement and they’re feeling hungry. Our advice is to start forming relationships with the people around you and getting to know your neighbors before a crisis hits, and even then to remain nonchalant about the preparations you have made. Do not bring new people into your fold, especially if it’s someone from your local preppers meet-up group. Of course, achieving complete privacy is nearly impossible. So focus on your family first. Talk to your parents if they are to form part of your plan, as well as your teenage kids and stress how important it is they keep quiet. If you have young kids OPSEC is a massive risk, as they often lack the ability to keep any kind of a secret, and have a habit of spouting out the wrong information at the worst possible times. Do your best to limit any young children finding out what you’ve got planned until they’re able to keep it quiet.

Strategies to improve your OPSEC

Bug out vehicles. You may be tempted to have a giant SUV that could equally handle driving through a river or crushing tree’s as you flee to safety, but practically this is more of a liability than it will be a help. Parked in your driveway it’s almost an advertisement that you’re a survivalist. Take a more modest approach with your vehicles, so you’re not waving a red flag in all of your neighbors faces. Home security. 10 foot concrete fences topped with surveillance cameras and razor-wire isn’t normal in a suburban neighborhood, especially when your goal is to fit in with those around you to avoid attention. Perhaps a more normal fence backed with a thick, spiky shrub, and a couple of dogs to serve as your alarm are a better choice to avoid raising suspicion, while giving you some warning if someone approaches your home. Major renovations. If you’re bringing in contractors to build a backyard bunker, consider getting a pool built at the same time to allay any suspicions from your neighbors about what you’re up to. If you’re doing DIY projects like installing a rain catchment system, hide your true intention by replacing all of your gutters. If anyone asks you can tell them they were simply rusting out. Every action that you take to prep should be hidden with a logical explanation for true OPSEC. Supply deliveries. Your neighbors will notice all the delivery trucks coming to your home, especially if you’re not there and massive packages suddenly start stacking up at your door ever day. Some preppers choose to work from home and tell their neighbors these supplies are business related, while others get their deliveries at a post office box. Find what works for you. Purchasing supplies. When you begin buying beans, rice and canned food en-masse, your local supermarket cashiers will definitely notice. Make it a habit of simply purchasing a little extra each week to avoid suspicion, or if you do want to do a big shop, head a few towns over and buy your supplies where there is no chance you’ll be recognized. When you do bring home a truckload of food, park your car in your garage so your neighbors do not notice the amount of food you’re now unloading from your car. Keep your preps out of sight. Guests in your home have prying eyes, and when your back is turned you can bet they’re rifling through your bathroom cupboards or opening unlocked doors to see what’s beyond them. You want all of your supplies to be accessible, just ensure they’re not on display to anyone who comes into your house. Store these in your basement, your attic, or behind a locked door. The real key to good OPSEC is to avoid doing anything that makes you look like you’re planning for a disaster. Build a cover story behind why you’re taking each action so you can dissuade any inquisitive strangers or persistent friends about what you’re up to, because the more people who know about your plan, the more risk you’re putting your family under. Keep your mouth shut, and you’ll boost the chances you survive.

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