An Interview with Jay Olliver
Jay Olliver is co-founder and Director of the United Kingdom Survival Network (UKSN). He is a former Police Officer and an expert Prepper. He has been interviewed many times on a national level as he truly knows his stuff! The Real Survivalists had the privilege to pick Jay’s brain with a few questions in order to be able to share just a little bit of his knowledge and for you to find out more about the fantastic group that is UKSN. I have been an unpaid member of UKSN for well over a year and it is amazing how much information these guys share. Not only that but the comradery they have is on another level.
A lot of very useful information is about to be shared with you so take note and enjoy this edition of The Real Survivalists Interview with Experts.
What made you get involved in preparedness?
At the age of 19 years old, I was accepted into the Police force and saw people on their worst of days – During my training i was involved in a training exercise for a Chemical incident, my role as a trainee was as a victim and I was front and center playing my role in this simulated incident. It was scary and really put me in a mindset that this kind of incidents could happen. This and the incidents I dealt with as a police officer showed me that a SHTF didn’t have to be a national incident, it could be local, it could be personal. But it showed me that the mainstream public are overwhelmingly unprepared for any major incident.
Tell us about UKSN
The United Kingdom Survival Network is a nationwide network of Survivalist, Preppers, Bushcrafters and Adventure Campers – It was set up with 3 main goals in mind, firstly, build a solid community open to all, secondly, facilitate training opportunities, bringing in trainers and instructors to events to push down costs and increase opportunity. Thirdly, to organize and provide a support network if SHTF, either personally, locally or nationally. Others in the network are able and willing to support other members as best they can. Our ‘Charter program’ promotes members in the same geographical area banding together to form a UKSN Charter, this mutual assistance group, promotes networking, build relationships and trust between members in the same area. I have got some true life long friends through the years running the UK.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start prepping?
Firstly, I would say that your Survival Plan will be different to everyone else’s, so get advice and learn from others but your needs and plan will be different from anyone else’s. Secondly, the equipment is great, but the training is better. It’s useful to have a solid survival knife, but you need to know how to use it and then practice with it. Training and experience with this kind of tool is invaluable and a lot of preppers & survivalists admit to me they don’t get out as much as they should.
What do you see in the near future that could ultimately lead to a big change in the world and how we live our lives? What should we all be preparing for?
There have been several incidents recently that could massively affect the way we live our lives. Economic issues have never really gone away, just subsided slightly. The emergence of more extreme politics, creating a more unstable world. But mainly elements like flooding and extreme weather are becoming more and more common. Affecting larger area’s and more and more people.
What led to you setting up UKSN? What are your aims for the group?
Glyn Smith and I set up the UKSN to bridge the gap between different communities of people to share information, advise, tips and tricks between, bushcrafters, survivalists, preppers, adventure camps, emergency services etc. We have over 1800 members across the UK with people from all different careers and walks of live. Our aim with the group is to promote self-sufficiency, prepping and promote survival skills to the general public. Whilst continuing to build and grow our member’s community, bringing in more like-minded people and continue to develop training opportunities for our members, both in person and via live-stream provided in the FB group.
In your opinion, what is the most important piece of knowledge, skill or kit that every Prepper should have? Why?
I would always recommend skills over equipment, as you can lose equipment or be stuck without it. I would recommend learning as many different ways of making fire as possible, its probably one of the most underrated skills due to items like lighters, fero rods etc. If I had to pick a piece of equipment I would say a 1 Litre Stainless Steel bottle – gives you options to cook, treat or boil water, carry liquids and stave off dehydration. Its always something iI will include in any kit I make up for people.
UKSN is a growing group – what benefits does this give to members if a SHTF event happened?
Well, the UKSN works on several elements, we receive and share information via our FB group, our UKSN Hub and our mobile app. We also promotes the building of local contacts through our Charter program. Encouraging and guiding people to build Mutual assistance groups with other local members. In a SHTF situation its much more beneficial to have local, like-minded people you know and trust to call on. In an SHTF situation you can pool skills and support each other. We also recommend and sell standardized equipment to members through our own online shop, items like our pre-programmed Baofeng UV5R portable HAM radios, programmed with specific UKSN frequencies.
What do you enjoy most about being part of UKSN?
For me the best part of the UKSN is the people, I could have only have ever dreamed of meeting so many like-minded people. The network has put me in contact with thousands of other preppers from across the UK. If someone has a question there are people willing to give or show people the answer.
What is your favourite preparedness/survival quote or motto?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
More information about UKSN can be found on their website – www.uksn.org.uk
The Real Survivalists would like to thank Jay for taking the time out to answer these questions. I really can’t recommend UKSN enough for any stage Prepper, from complete beginner to very experienced. There really is something for everyone including the kids!
Thanks again, Jay!