Survival Intelligence – Gathering Intel During a Disaster

The ability to be able to predict what will happen in a survival situation is an important part of being prepared. While that may sound like some mystical mumbo jumbo, it’s really not as hokey as it might sound. This ability to predict what will happen is not some supernatural physic power, but instead lies in your ability to gather and interpret information.

Military Officer collecting Intel

In the military world it’s referred to as Intelligence and it has played a critical role in every major combat operation in America since before the Revolutionary War. Without this critical information our military would be operating blind, which would mean more lives, battles, and even wars lost.

While most people in America rely on the evening news as their main source of information, this strategy hardly prepares you to survive a disaster, let alone a SHTF situation. Intelligence is only good if you receive the information in a timely manner.  Often times what’s reported on the evening news is anything but real-time information. The longer it takes to receive your intelligence, the less likely it becomes that you’ll be able to use it to react to the given situation.

Preparedness Intel: Survival Information Resources

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Information: Having multiple sources of information is critical to your preparedness efforts.  Those that are truly prepared will seek information from multiple sources.

Social Networks – Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are excellent sources for gathering real-time information on just about any topic. When a major disaster, event, or SHTF situation occurs, these social networks can be a great way to secure localized real-time information on what’s really happening.

Our Facebook Page can be found here, and our Twitter Page can be found here. You will also want to follow organizations that send emergency alerts like the CDC, FEMA, NOAA, The Weather Channel, and your local emergency agencies.

Social News Aggregators & Social Monitors. There are a number of really good social monitoring tools out there that can greatly increase the effectiveness of how these social networks work. One free tool that you might want to check out is called TweetDeck. This program allows you to customize what you’re monitoring, and even allows you to break it down by keyword based on the event.

RSS Readers – RSS readers like FeedDemon allow you to subscribe to different websites, blogs and news websites. You can then gather that information in one easy to use interface. If you have an RSS Reader you can subscribe to our website here.

Survival Websites – Don’t forget to check out our big list of survival websites. These sites can all be a great resource for learning how to survive in a variety of situations.

Survival Books – If the SHTF and the grid goes down, you want to have a basic library of survival information at your disposal. I strongly suggest investing in a couple of Good Survival Books that fit your specific situation.

An even better idea would be to invest in a E-Reader or Tablet like the Kindle Fire, which can hold a complete library of over 6,000 survival books and manuals. And to make sure you can still access your information when the SHTF, I suggest looking at a compact solar charger like the Solio Bolt Solar Charger. This will allow you to charge your small electronic devices even if the grid goes down. Once you have one of these devices, check out our list of Survival ebooks and PDF downloads.

Ham Radio – When the power lines go down, radio stations stop transmitting, and the internet stops working there is one line of communication that will still be alive and well: Ham Radio!  Having a good Multiband Ham Radio will allow you to send and receive critical emergency information during a disaster. It’s also a great way to find alternative news sources from around the world — the kind of news that isn’t filtered.

In a survival situation, knowledge is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation. Don’t underestimate the power of staying informed.

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. This article could not have said it better re: survival. You gotta have it to survive. Intell’ has to be timely, constant, and reliable to be of use. Information is what wins the “battles” not the weapons. With things being what they are where we live information is the key to getting ahead of the “game”, if you can call survival a game. A few wks ago a reader poo pooed the idea of what happened in Britain regarding the run on fuel remarking “what does that have to do with us.”. What happened there can happen here. Being aware of what going on in the world today is the key. Personally, I want to get a “heads up” if something is going to happen.Remember one of most important parts of a patrol warning order is intelligence.

  2. I wouldnt waste my time with certain social networks like facebook, and google because they are using your info and turning to the lame Obama Admin. I’d stick to Multiban ham radios

    • You’re kidding yourself if you think you aren’t being tracked just by logging on to the internet. I don’t let those bastards intimidate me.

      As far as I’m concerned I’m not doing anything wrong and the hell if I’m gonna pussyfoot around which sites I go to online. The minute we do that we lose our freedom.

      • Im with you 100% but that won’t stop them from loading you up on a bus and shipping you off to the nearest FEMA camp. The government only wants Sheeple, not people that think, plan, and act.
        The government has a secret agenda and there isn’t much anybody can do about it. The rights of every man, women and child have been getting chipped away ever since the landmark event of 1776. God Bless Preppers, God Bless America…..

        • Worthy of note, that facebook and other do monitor and use your info.

          But if you aren’t putting pictures of your stash and armory on there, then who’s going to know you from Adam?

          I think I have all of 3 shooting pictures on mine. Everything else is family and fun stuff. I don’t post my latest survival prep aquisition. Opsec is still in effect.

          I think what is meant is that the social networks can be monitored for intel. If they’re confiscating weapons and declaring martial law up in dallas, and my in-laws post about it, I now have a heads up and can make with the digging.

          If the zombie apocalypse happens, somebody will twitter about getting bit by a crazy guy on the way home. You can commence with the boarding of windows and raiding wally-world ahead of the masses.

          The point is, there are viable sources of info that are an app away from being at your call anywhere with a signal. Why not use it? You don’t have to post your prepper cache areas or show the unsecured emergency exit to your bunker. Just post funny pictures of your cat and how you feel about your co-workers like everyone else does.

          On a side note, if you load your phone up with guides, maps and texts, even if there is no signal, even if the gps satellites go tits-up, you still have a valuable tool in your pocket. Assuming there hasn’t been an EMP.

          • Wc:
            thanks so much for an intelligent comment and defense of the article .
            to both you and the author thanks

    • You are so wrong about Facebook..there is a huge amount of info keeping people in tune with what the creep obama is doing on the sly..several people I know get their info from government sources and pass it along and could be killed if the government knew they were letting us know..there is a circle of people who know the truth instead of media lies…all on facebook and email…

  3. This whole think gave me all the rite information in needed.
    Im reading this for a reason, this reason is Im doing it for a paper but in need the name of the author. In witch it is not in or apart of this artical.

  4. The way I see it is the government is already spying on us so why not use their own techniques to our benefit?

    During the earthquake in Japan it was sites like this one and social networks like Twitter that were the only sources of information during the first couple hours of the event.

    The only thing I’m really lacking from the list above was the Ham Radio but that will be next on the list.

  5. For intel, a scanner would be the best radio. The Yaesu FT-450D multiband radio you linked covers the AM broadcast band and CB, but little else for local info IMO. Un-moded, you wouldn’t even be able to transmit on anything but the ham bands between 6-160m, and those are typically used for long-distance. What good is chatting with someone hundreds of miles away if you’re deaf to your local police activity or a fire that’s heading in your direction? What you WON’T hear with that choice of radio is NOAA, police/fire/ems, Marine, MURS, GMRS/FRS, Ares/Races/Skywarn, DHS/FEMA/EOC inter-agency, Forestry/BLM, Border Patrol, Civil Air Patrol, Red Cross, and a bunch of other great sources of intelligence. You also won’t have the ability to use local repeaters to increase your range.

    Buy a scanner, a trunk tracking one if necessary. Scanners are meant for FAST scanning of bands or memory channels, ham sets aren’t. You’ll miss radio traffic trying to use a ham set as a scanner. Then, for two-way, I’d suggest a good dual band VHF/UHF set like the YAESU FT-7900R – that receives all the freqs mentioned above right out of the box, and can be moded to transmit on them too.

  6. While it’s good to have many alternative sources of info available, I would pick just a few, lest you become overwhelmed with it… like I usually am. :)

  7. RE: Ham radio
    Which type of radio you get depends of what you think may happen. VHF/UHF is fine if the grid is up and repeaters are working. Without repeaters – either ham or public service – VHF/UHF isn’t going to get you much. HF, on the other hand, does not depend on any infrastructure. It’s strength is point-to-point comms between locations that have some source of electrical power. I agree that a scanner is a better bet for gathering information than a ham rig – you’ll get something optimized for what you need.

    I’ve got the radio end covered, but I am trying to figure out how to use Twitter to gather information on a specific issue. I just signed up yesterday and am trying to figure out how to use it. My immediate concern is the high potential for “civil disturbances” (how’s that for a PC euphemism for riot?). I’m in the next county over from Sanford, Florida, and I’d really like to find out what the boots on the ground are saying. Any suggestions for sources to learn how to gather info from Twitter?

  8. First time here.
    Intel is vital, local, state, National, Internationa.
    Short wave and Ham Band recievers will provide a great deal of immediate resource use intel. Keeping them up and running is a Solar Charger need.
    I have found Local Folks Networks are vital to getting the latest on resources, op plans, and emergency planning status. The Lcoal Cafes, old time hang outs of Old Geezers is usually very reliable.
    Never, ever, underestimate the local folks. WTSHTF, these folks will be the Point.
    Semper Fi
    SURVIVE 2013ce

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