Operational security, situational awareness and intelligence gathering they not the subjects that you typically think about when you think prepping, but they are just as important as any of the supplies or gear we buy.

We can have a large amount of food stored, water filters, solar panels, bug out bags and first aid supplies, but if we can’t protect it, we could end up with nothing. Protecting your supplies doesn’t necessarily mean by force, it could mean staying out of situations that require force.

Things we do daily that we don’t give a second thought to, Not paying attention to what’s going on locally and globally, and not holding our cards close to our vest can all put us at risk.

SPP278 Operational Security, Situational Awareness & Intelligence Gathering

In the context of what we are talking about in today’s show, which is keeping yourself safe and informed before during and after a disaster, all of these are subjects are intertwined. This is the stuff you can’t buy to become better prepared but is just as important…if not more.

Below are some of the topics we covered in this week’s show, and how they differ depending on what stage of a disaster we are talking about. Situational awareness means something completely different in a SHTF scenario than it does when you’re driving to work.

Intelligence Gathering

The more we know about what is going on the better prepared we will be to handle it. Making sure we are getting good information is also important because getting the correct info is critical to making well informed decisions.

Before: Gathering intelligence before a SHTF event could be as simple as watching the news (critically), searching online, and discussions with family and friends. It’s important to keep operational security in mind while doing this.

During: When the S has hit the fan all the rules will change, and the consequences could be much more severe. Depending on the disaster gathering information could include shortwave radio, scouts, neighbors, and group members.

After: At some point in any disaster scenario the most dangerous times will subside. Gathering intelligence will still be important, but it will need to be done for different reasons. Security will still be important, but gathering supplies, bartering and rebuilding will also be important.

Operational Security

While the basics of operational security are the same, the way they are utilized change depending on the environment you are in. When times are good it means locking doors and security cameras, in a SHTF event it could mean protecting your life and livelihood.

A few of the topics we covered in the show are…

Trust No One, Question Everything: This goes for before, during, and after a disaster or SHTF event. To maintain operational security, we need to make sure our biases and our feeling aren’t influencing our decisions. We also need to question the validity of everything we hear.

Family and Friends: This is a bit of a double edges sward, but we need to be careful about what we say, and who we say it to. This goes for prepper groups, family, friends, and especially acquaintances that you know very little about.

Strangers: When it comes to people we don’t know, we need to hold our cards close to our vest. These days we have time to get to know these people, but in a SHTF event we need to learn how to read people, and figure out their true intentions.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness means understanding what your current situation is, the threats it may pose, and thinking about how things may unfold. Situations can change quickly, and rarely will there be a clear and definitive path.

Before:These days being aware of your situation means preparing for things like active shooters, robberies, home invasions and civil unrest.

During: The most critical time to be situationally aware is during any dangerous situation because the stakes could be life or death. Our ability to react quickly and decisively will be crucial in a situation like this.

After: While the danger may be starting to decline, and out alert levels beginning to lower, we still need to be on guard. If we have made it through that hard part, the odds are we have things that other people still want or need.


When we think about prepper comms we usually think about ham radio, but communications also involve groups, neighbors, family and friends. Communications are a great way to help with intelligence gathering and making critical decisions.

Before: If you have a police scanner, ham radio, or other communication equipment, it’s important to practice with it now. Planning is also critical to avoiding mistakes and avoiding chaos.  

During: Communications will be vital in a SHTF situation. You may have people out scouting, lookouts, or scavenging. If you’ve practiced and planned, things will go much smoother when times get rough.

After: At some point society will start to rebuild, and how much rebuilding all depends on the severity of the situation. Understanding how to use this equipment and being able to help build a communication network will be a valuable skill to have.

Prepper Comms

I recently put together this 3 video series about communications for preppers, and what you can expect from the different radio services out there. We hear all the time about ham radio, but for some people that just isn’t an option.

This video series goes over how to get your ham radio license, what your options are if you don’t, and what ranges you can expect from ham, FRS, GMRS, and MURS radios.


Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    1 Response to "Operational Security, Situational Awareness & Intelligence Gathering"

    • Linda S

      Pertaining to “what you say & to whom you say it”, this is especially true for those who have small children. Parents often talk openly in front of their kids assuming they aren’t paying attention. As a former kindergarten teacher I can assure you I knew way more about what went on in my students’ families than I needed to know! Sometimes it’s funny but sometimes it could be dangerous.

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