Common Prepper Acronyms

The preparedness and survival community use several different acronyms and phrases in their communications and plans. Many of the acronyms and phrases have a background in military usage, and due to the nature of a survival scenario, a military(ish) based system of phrases fit well into many areas.

The following list is NOT all inclusive of the “language of the prepper” but should give a basic overview.

AAR – After Action Review. Used to evaluate a previous activity.

AR – Armalite Rifle as in AR-15 (NOT “Automatic Rifle”)

ARES – Amateur Radio Emergency Service. HAM Radio group

ARRL – American Radio Relay League. HAM Radio group

AO – Area of Operations. The area you are working in

AoA – Avenue of Approach. Roads, trails, waterways, etc. that lead to your position

AoE – Avenue of Escape. Escape routes from your location. You should have 2 at all times

Bug-Out – To leave quickly. From the Korean War era

BIB – Bug In Box. Supplies to shelter in place

BOB – Bug-Out Bag. A pre-packed survival bag. Different skills and scenarios require different supplies in the bag.

BOGO – Buy one, get one free.

BOL – Bug-Out Location. A predetermined evacuation location

BOV – Bug-Out Vehicle. The vehicle or conveyance you will use to evacuate

Car Kit – Survival supplies stored in your vehicle at all times.

CB – Citizen’s Band Radio. A limited range 2-way radio usually in vehicles. No license needed. Not secure for sensitive information

CBRNE – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive.

CCW – Concealed Carry Weapon. (Or permit or license)

CERT – Community Emergency Response team. A federally funded emergency training initiative for citizens

CME – Coronal Mass Ejection. Plasma ejected by the Sun. If directed toward   earth it could damage the electric grid severely

Commo – Communications.

Commo Plan – Communications Plan. A plan to remain in contact with each other during emergency. Includes back up plan and out of area contact to use as a relay for information

Contingency Binder – A binder with all critical documents located in a safe, fireproof place

CONEX – Cargo shipping container used for storage

COOP – Continuity Of Operations Plan. Designates alternate personnel, processes and equipment to replace primary in case of catastrophic loss

CTX – Classroom Training Exercise

Decon – Decontamination. Removing chemical or biological contaminates

EBV – Ebola Virus

EHV – Ebola Hemorrhagic Virus

EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse . Caused by CME or atomic detonation. A horizon to horizon event depending on altitude of detonation

EOC – Emergency Operations Center

EVAC – Evacuation

FIFO – First In, First Out. An inventory term to use the oldest supplies first

Freq – Frequency

FRS – Family Radio Service. Usually a set of Walkie-talkies that do not require any license. Available at most sporting goods or hardware stores. Not secure

FTX – Field Training Exercise

GCP – Group Continuity Plan – (See COOP)

GHB – Get Home Bag. A bag kept at work or in the vehicle designed to help you get home in case of emergency. Includes 3 days of supplies

Go-Bag – Similar to a Bug-Out Bag. May be mission specific with respect to content such as specialty gear

Golden Horde – Predicted horde of looters and refugees pouring out of major cities into the countryside after a major evacuation

GOOD Bag – Get Out Of Dodge Bag. A bag filled with supplies to help one leave an area immediately. See (GHB, BOB)

Gray Man – An approach employed to make oneself unnoticeable and not memorable.  Usually used when moving through a community to be less of a target by dressing blandly and never making eye contact or speaking to anyone. Not suspicious, showing nothing of value, no logos, no bright colors, nothing tactical, not moving with any urgency but not loitering.

Grid down – The electric grid and key infrastructure has failed, usually referred to as a permanent or long term chaotic situation

HAM – An amateur radio user. Communications of various frequencies able to reach extreme distances around the world. Often the last line of communication when all else fails

Hazmat – Hazardous Materials

Hills – An expression often used to describe a generalized distant location where one hopes to bug out to. A poor plan if you have no specific place to go.

Hooch – A crude shelter in the form of a tarp or natural materials. Also moonshine

IFAK – Individual First Aid Kit – Usually in a pouch attached to battle gear or pack.  Includes basic trauma supplies.

INCH – I’m Never Coming Home – A concept of a bag loaded in such a way to permanently leave home.

Independence Conflict – The individual struggle to overcome when joining a survival group. Most survival minded people don’t like to depend on others.

IR – Infra red – Invisible light detected by night vision devices

Ferrocerrium Rod – A fire starting rod that is used by scraping carbon steel to produce showers of sparks

LIFO – Last In, First Out – Using newest supplies first

Lima Charlie – Loud and Clear – Radio term

Lines of Drift – The natural path a person or animal will travel out of ease. Usually in the woods. Always a bad idea in hostile territory due to potential ambush or traps

LogPak – Logistics Package – Military term for supplies being delivered. The reason that most military personnel do not understand grid down survival. There is no reach-back capability in true survival

MAG – Mutual Assistance Group – A group of people who pledge to work together in emergency, disaster or survival

Mall Ninja – A person who buys all the tacticool stuff yet has few if any skills. Also – Armchair survivalist, keyboard commando, E-Thug

Mess, Grub, Chow – Military term for food. Mess plan, Mess tent, etc.

MRE – Meal Ready to Eat – Military rations in plastic pouches. Not a good long term food storage option

OPORD – Operations Order – 5 paragraph plan to conduct a mission consisting of Situation, Mission, Execution, Service/Support, Command/Signal and annexes listing any Standard Operating Procedures

OPSEC – Operational Security – Military term used to safeguard critical information or operations. Used in survival as a prod to not share personal or survival information including what you have and where it is and what you are going to do

OP/LP – Observation Post/Listening Post – A hidden battle position placed beyond the outer perimeter of a defensive location usually manned by no less than 2 people with commo back to the command post with the mission to report any activity in the area. They are never to engage, only report. There should be a clear path of escape back to camp.

Out – A radio term used to say that the radio conversation is complete

Paracord – Nylon parachute cordage that may or not be of military quality

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – Gloves, eye protection, outer clothing, respirator, mask. Usually used around chemicals, health care settings or contagion

QRF – Quick Reaction Force – A reserve force that is ready at all times to deploy in case of threat or attack. A secondary QRF may be secretly positioned in the center of the defensive location and only deployed if truly needed. Note: some attacks are only to probe defenses and draw out reserve forces on purpose while main attack comes from another position on the perimeter.

RACES – Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (HAM radio)

Rally Point (RP) – A Rally Point is a location where everyone will meet up in case of separation. There can be several Rally Points along a patrol or hiking trail and must be unique and recognizable from both front and back while traveling in a hurry. Evac Rally Points can be predetermined on a map for vehicle convoys as well

Retreat – A location prepared for survival in case you need to leave home

ROE – Rules Of Engagement – Rules that specify when you can return fire or attack depending on varying circumstances.

Roger – A radio term used to acknowledge that you understand the last transmission. Also used as “Roger Out” when you understand and are ending the conversation

Ruck – Military term for back pack as in Rucksack

SHIP – Shelter In Place

SHTF – Sh*t hit the fan. Term used to describe when everything goes wrong

SITREP – Situational Report – What is happening right now where you are? Used to assist others in understanding your situation and be able to plan accordingly

SODIS – Solar Disinfection – A water purification method that uses UV rays from the Sun to kill pathogens in water. Does not work on chemical contamination

SOP – Standard Operating Procedures – A set way of performing specific drills and tasks that everyone knows and will usually perform without further instruction. Should be practiced in order to reduce reaction times

Stray Cat Syndrome – Happens when you give food to someone and they keep returning for more and may bring more mouths to feed. Never hand out supplies to others at your supply location. Anonymous charity left on the porch of a needy neighbor is safer and can be discontinued if necessary

Strip Map – A simple hand drawn map used to locate a place or address where signs are missing or terrain is damaged. Often used by group members as a reference to retrieve stranded members. Map consists of avenues of approach from 4 different directions and indicates all sturdy landmarks with the target location placed in the center of the map

SWOT – Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats – A table used to identify these qualities in a way to prepare planning and training

TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It

Wilco – Will Concur – A radio term used to acknowledge that you understand and will do as requested

WROL – Without Rule Of Law – A term used to set the stage for discussing a scenario where the is no effective governing body or law enforcement

2A – Second Amendment of the US Constitution regarding the citizen’s right to bear arms

4A – Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution regarding citizen’s rights against illegal search and seizure

2WD – Two wheel drive vehicle

4WD – Four wheel drive vehicle

3-monther – A survival group member who begins as the nearly perfect candidate but becomes intolerable or inactive. Usually seems to happen at about 3 months for some reason

550 Cord – Official military specification parachute cord. Has a working strength of 550 lbs. and consists of seven interior strands of nylon cord contained in a single sheath. Has a myriad of uses – See also PARACORD

100 mph tape – Military grade OD green duct tape. Cloth backed and very adhesive. Gorilla brand tape is the closest civilian version

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