How Can I Get My Neighbors To Be Prepared

How Can I Get My Neighbors To Be Prepared

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Here is my dilemma, how can I get my neighbors to be prepared for the unexpected? I have mentioned to you before that I am asked to teach classes to churches, businesses, and subdivisions about food storage and emergency preparedness. As I stand in front of groups I can tell if a group understands the importance of working together as a neighborhood. Mark and I had dinner with friends last night and we started talking about the importance of neighbors working together as a team if and when a disaster hits our neighborhood. About six years ago I taught classes for one hour every week on Wednesday’s to whoever saw my sign outside that said “Food Storage Moms”. I then sent out emails and posted my message about the FREE classes on Facebook. I also tried to encourage people to gather their important documents and place them in a binder.

I charged a small fee for the binders at my cost. I provided the dividers, zippered bags, paper protectors for pages to include in their binders. I shared food storage by having a taste testing of the various freeze-dried fruits and vegetables for everyone who came to try them out. I had a few speakers come and talk about walkie talkies from a search and rescue team. They suggested the ones we needed. Here are the ones they suggested at the time. Walkie Talkies

Well, two other families joined Mark and me for our quest to be connected by choosing channels on our walkie talkies so we can check on each other after a disaster or pandemic. It’s frustrating for me not to be able to sell at my cost to others items as critical as these and my book at local churches and neighborhoods. Here’s the deal, I am not selling trinkets or frivolous items. I understand the tax issues etc. BUT I am paying the taxes. So, for whatever excuses they have, very few are prepared in my neighborhood. I’m grateful for those that are, but I cannot feed or hydrate the entire neighborhood.

This is why I am writing this post to get ideas from you, my readers. I would love it if my neighborhood felt the need to be prepared. Do you sometimes wish you could shout from the roof tops,”please store water or how full is your pantry”? Is your gas tank partially full? Do you have flashlights with extra batteries, etc?

I know of maybe eight families in my neighborhood who are self-reliant or at least partially prepared. I know for sure that four families heeded my advice to get some food storage and water. I realize some people are living paycheck to paycheck. I know that feeling, trust me.

After a year of doing these meetings, I decided to teach the world. I thought if I can’t get more than a handful of my neighborhood to “get it” I will try and teach whoever sees my blog. I will forever be grateful for being interviewed by The New York Times after six months of my blog going live. Then I was honored to be asked to write a book “Prepare Your Family For Survival”. Then, I was interviewed by a group who helped gather information for Ted Koppel’s book “Lights Out” 

Read More of My Articles  Food Storage Moms & Relief Foods Review

So today, I am asking for your help, how are you getting your neighborhoods prepared to work together as a team? Here are some things I have tried. I would love to add 50 ideas if you have them. I realize after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, people will “get it” after remember seeing the horrific water storms and the empty grocery stores. They may remember to fill their gas tanks to 3/4 full, just in case.

But what about three weeks from now or three months, will they pick up an extra can of beans or a case of water? I really need your help on this one today. I thank you in advance.

How Can I Get My Neighbors To Be Prepared

Team Members:

Decide who to invite to your neighborhood team. Or maybe don’t have a team at all. Just hand out information when asked about it.

Emergency Contact Info:

We need to share family members phone numbers, emails, and addresses so we can contact people if we need to after a disaster. It would be helpful just to contact a family member if we have a minor disaster in our neighborhood.

Meetings:

Have a meeting once a week or once a month to decide what we need as a group or as individuals.

Emails:

Send emails about good deals available, ask for money up front before ordering so no one is stuck with the bill.

72-Hour Kits:

Here is my list which is really long, but have them pick and choose what fits their needs. 72-Hour Kits-Adult Size

I had a reader on Facebook today write this comment: (Roxy)  I have a lot of friends in small apartments who don’t have the space for major storage. You’d be surprised how much you can fit into a Rubbermaid tote to allow a small sense of security that really isn’t too expensive. Encourage people to start small as being prepared can seem overwhelming. Something as simple as buying a few cans of beans or a pack of water each pay period is attainable for most.

Skills:

Ask what skills each person has to bring to the table if needed.

Tools:

What tools do the team players have if we need them after a disaster, like chainsaws? That neighbor down the street that has one maybe your new best friend after a disaster.

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First Aid Supplies:

Order first aid supplies in bulk and divide them out as ordered, paid for in advance.

Food Storage:

Decide what food products people would like to purchase and save money by buying a case and splitting the cost.

Wheat Grinders:

Who have some electric ones, who have hand grind ones? Who has some hard wheat? Who knows how to make bread, biscuits or crackers?

Water Storage:

Order high capacity water tanks, you’ll save money and then fill them with a lead-free hose.

Order WaterBricks and split the cost if they are cheaper by purchasing eight to ten of them.

Decide what types of water containers people can store in their homes.

Order Water Preserver (you only need to rotate the water every five years).

Talk about how much water is needed for each family for each day.

Solar Power Items:

Check Costco for a Roadshow for emergency preparedness items coming. Goal Zero has great prices when they come there. They have items needed for people who use CPAP’s and nebulizers, to name just a few.

Paper Products:

Have everyone stock up on paper goods, like plates, paper towels, paper cups (hot and cold), and plastic silverware. Baby wipes, diapers, toilet paper and Depends for the elderly if needed for older neighbors.

Store black 33-gallon garbage bags, you will need many, trust me.

Fuel Storage:

Ask how much fuel each one has stored and what kind. Propane, charcoal, lump charcoal, pine cones, raw wood and butane canisters are all examples.

Cooking Devices/Stoves:

See the kinds of outside cooking devices each family has. For instance, Camp Chef stove/ovens, Volcano Stoves, Dax Stove, Butane stoves, etc. Please practice with all cooking devices before you need them after a disaster.

Who has Dutch ovens, griddles, how many and what size?

Flashlights:

Flashlights, make sure every family has several flash lights, batteries, and lanterns, to name a few items.

Large Equipment:

Who has access to a back hoe if needed?

Washing and Drying Clothes:

Who have clotheslines, washing buckets and clothespins? Bleach is for safety measures.

Portable Potty:

Who has a portable potty with the necessary 10-gallon bags, with kitty litter or Reliance Bio Blue

How can I get my neighbors to be prepared? It’s not if, but when we have a disaster we must work together as a team. Do you know your neighbors? Do you want to know your neighbors?

Survival food storage by Linda

What you can do when the power is out by Linda

Comments

  1. The Wiseman says:

    In every neighborhood there will be at least one couple (sometimes more) who will NOT prepare at all – either for ideological reasons (“I don’t believe in prepping”), financial reasons (“I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck”) or secret reasons (“If/when SHTF and the police won’t come when you call them, I’m going to break down your front door and steal your stash! And maybe I’ll abduct your daughter at the same time…”) By bragging about your prepping and giving classes about it, you have spread the word far and wide that you are prepared. Some bad folks have taken notice; some good folks who will turn bad when their kids get hungry enough, have also taken notice. I suggest that you get a carry permit from the local sheriff, buy a pistol and learn to shoot before the real SHTF arrives -you’re going to need it.

    • Hi, The Wiseman, I do have my carry permit and a weapon, I know I am at risk. But I am prepared for whatever comes my way. Great comment, you rock as always! I always enjoy your thoughts. Linda

    • Wiseman, I have a carry permit and am prepared to use it if/when SHTF but I prefer to believe that most people will be helpers and people come together as a community when it gets really bad. We have to trust each other on some level or nothing will work.

      • The Wiseman says:

        Hi Debbie,
        I’m eighty years old, have traveled all over the world and fought one war. I’m probably safe when I say that my real world experience exceeds yours; (you still believe in the basic goodness of mankind – I know that’s not correct.) I respectfully disagree with your allegation that “most people will be helpers…when things get really bad…” In reality, most people will behave badly when SHTF; bad people will behave really badly. That means taking away your (unguarded) stuff and maybe your daughter as well. When SHTF really happens, the cops and firemen are nowhere to be found. Once people figure that out, it is “Katy, bar the door”. Your stuff is their stuff!

    • Unfortunately, the point you made is “spot on”. People like Linda and others who really care about others and want to educate people have put themselves in unknown territory. Watch your “back” Linda. The world could and probably will turn very, very ugly.

      • Hi, Joan, thanks, I knew I was at risk for teaching the world so to speak. The FTC requires bloggers and websites to use our REAL address in our newsletter emails. I follow the law, so if someone wants my stuff they know where I live. Things will turn uglier sooner than we think. I will watch my back, thank you, Joan. Linda

        • I have taught in at-risk neighborhoods in Houston, so I do know how ugly people can be. However, I also feel that it is a legitimate choice to “come into the open” and to try to encourage and train others. I believe that this is not the only life there is, and “doing good” will be rewarded (if not in this life, at least in the next). Perhaps some people are called or led to be the teachers who help prepare others. Others will feel their destiny is to take their families and move to safer locales. Others will stay put and stay quiet. Different people will make different choices. I, for one, am glad that Linda shares so openly about this topic. I have learned a great deal. My husband and I are both semi-retired and, for us, the best choice would be to move away from Houston and find a like-minded community of decent people who are also into preparedness. However, if you are not Mormon, that is not an easy proposition. So we will have to do the best we can, and send our thanks to Linda for her help in this!

          • Hi, Cheryl, well you made my day today, I sometimes wonder if I am helping people. I am humbled and thankful for your kind words today. I would move also, but I don’t know where I would find a like-minded community as well, but it’s not in the cards as in my budget. I am thankful I can help people be prepared and not be afraid and see that it easy to be prepared with one can at a time. I am not rich but I am rich in knowledge and I want to share with people just like you! Hugs, Linda

  2. Oh, Linda, this is such a hard question. My neighborhood is rural. People move here for many reasons, sometimes to avoid people, sometimes for the nature but still want city type connections and are confused about why the other half wants to be left alone. I frankly want to know my neighbors on sight and have let them know I’m happy to help if they need it but I don’t want to have coffee every morning. A few of us have tried to focus on emergency preparedness and few respond. I manage/write a community emergency preparedness facebook page at the request of one neighbor – not many followers but some. My husband is very active on the volunteer fire department and I know which guys I can call on when my husband is out of town. I just keep talking the talk and participate in events whenever I can. Folks know we’re prepared but I’m not sure they realize that they not get help if they don’t do something to help themselves.

    • Hi Debbie, what is the name of your Facebook page, I want to follow it. I also want to know my neighbors on sight and meet for lunch once a month or so at a restaurant with a coupon! LOL! I totally agree with you on everyone needs to be prepared themselves. Great comment, Linda

  3. High Prairie Neighbors Emergency Preparedness. Thanks, there’s little original content but something to point folks towards. Whenever there are local events, I post them. As an Extension Master Food Preserver, my group focuses on food, water and sanitation in emergencies.

  4. Linda, and Debbie too,

    thanks for all of the ideas. I am always trying to talk to people about emergency preparedness and usually get the same reply, ” In an emergency we’re coming to your house” I tell them to start with just 2 extra cans of food a week, they’ll be surprised how quickly it will add up. This has made me realize to share my information and knowledge about emergency preparedness with the ones who are really interested. I think I will post on our local neighborhood news about having a meeting and go from there. I do believe in a real emergency that lasts longer than 3 days it will get really socially ugly and you will have to defend what you have spent your time, energy and money on.

    • Hi, Melissa, this is so true. Now, if we can get others to understand we can’t feed the whole neighborhood. Things will get ugly, it’s human nature if you are starving and thirsty.I have to think of the good that comes out of disasters but we must all do our part. And we will have to defend what we have saved for to fill our pantries and water tanks. Great comment, Linda

    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I’m coming to your house” from people who live in town. I try to get them to visualize how they’re going to do that with landslides, rockslides, and 10 miles of walking uphill in a 2000 ft change in altitude in good weather. Then think if the temperature is 30 degrees and snowing. Most of those people can’t walk a few miles on flat land. I tell them they’ll need to carry food and water if they try to make it. Most will consider the challenge but not prepping for themselves. There’s only so much we can do and we have to keep trying but it’s a big challenge.

      • Cathy Snovel says:

        I live in the country and we have had a flood or two since I have lived here. Fortunately my land is on high ground but the road goes through bottoms where the creeks have washed out the roads. I also work for the dept. of transportation and we are still repairing some of those roads that washed out in October of last year. Hurricane Matthew was worse than Hurricane Floyd was 19 years ago. They both were considered 500 year floods. After Seven Springs flooded out again, there are about a handful of people coming back to rebuild and live in the town. One man said he’s living in a camper so that he can hook it up to his truck and move it when the next one comes. He’s not remodeling or repairing his home again and he was raised in that house.

        • HI, Cathy, thanks for sharing this great comment. I have been through a 100-year flood but never a 500-year flood or anything near as devastating as what you are talking about. Wow, what a story about the different hurricanes and floods. You know we can watch the news but never really hear stories like this from people who have lived through these disasters and hear stories about a handful of people who are not coming back to rebuild. Thank you for this great comment to enlighten all us. Linda

  5. My husband and I moved to a rural area a couple of years ago. It’s a new development. Aside from the occasional wave, we don’t chit chat too much with the neighbors . We’ve tried to be friendly, but most keep to themselves. There is one other couple that we socialize with, here and there. My husband and I are careful never to discuss what we have done in terms of prepping. We’re not advanced, but probably a mile ahead the average family who may still be doing nothing. In any case, I’m still concerned about my neighbors becoming desperate during desperate times…your pals can easily become your enemies when they face their starving children. Do you help? If so, how many and for how long? Do you risk your own safety by sharing or do you remain silent and under the Rader knowing that others may perish? These are very difficult questions. I thought that perhaps starting a neighborhood watch, as I did in the city where we lived before, might bring some of us together where we can discuss safety and introduce preparedness on a more general note without giving up any personal info. It might be a way to initially pull folks in as a group. Meet up with or provide info on a regular basis by newsletter or regularly scheduled emails. Just thinking out loud.

    • Hi, Diane, these are all great ideas. I’m very concerned about when times get bad and locking my doors and boarding my windows. I think the reason I wrote this post today is to get ideas from people like you, what can we do? Some people just travel the world and have no idea what may happen if and when our country crumbles. Those people you see at a church on Sunday who didn’t plan or budget well may be knocking on our doors with weapons to attack us for water or food. It’s sad but people will become our enemies in desperate times.Great comment, Linda

  6. Natalie Long says:

    I guess I’m sharing some of the same thoughts as others. I’ve lived here for nine years and barely know my neighbors. I know that if there is a problem, their families in town will most likely come out to this rural area. I counted up how many immediate family members are in their group and I counted ten. That is probably ten, unprepared people. I’m very reluctant to even mention anything for fear that they will all come to my door. We’ve had casual conversations over the past years; but it is mostly a wave here and there.

    The husband did come down my driveway once year to plow snow, but he only did it when I asked him. He plows his road and the rest of the road but, never offered to come out here. Not too sure about these people. They told me they had gotten rid of their chickens and I don’t see a garden; so that is a red flag for me. I don’t think they’ve ever considered the possibility of putting some food aside. I’m gong to let them make the first move…..

    • Hi Natalie, It’s really too bad that some neighborhoods have become less friendly and yet others very outgoing and happy to meet people. I have always said we can’t buy our neighbors. Wow, all we can do is prepare for our families and pray that people “get it” eventually. I’m glad you made this comment because you are not alone. It’s really sad that someone who has a plow can’t plow one more driveway. When we lived up north Mark used our snow blower on all the side walks and the whole neighborhood came out to help one another. I miss those days. Not the snow! LOL! May God bless this country. Hugs, Linda

  7. Martha J Solis says:

    Hello Linda,
    Great article! I would suggest finding a common concern the neighborhood faces. Security is often in the forefront of everyone’s mind. That would be a good start to discussing and advocating emergency preparedness. I’ve discovered that the majority of my neighbors own guns. I myself have a permit to carry and possess guns for protection. My elderly mother has learned to handle a pistol. My home is located in a cul-de-sac and brushed up against the desert. I’ve gotten to know my neighbors and we have found a mutual concern in preparing for neighborhood safety. I hope in time to broach the subject of preparing for disruption to the utility grid. -MJ

    • Hi, Martha, that’s a great idea, safety is a big concern. The power grid is my biggest fear for our country. I don’t think people really know how bad our country is so unprepared for a grid down. Great comment, I’ll start there for sure. Thank you, Linda

      • Linda, I’ve read Ted’s book and what an eye opener! I’m making a case for solar when we can afford it. I’ve lived without power for a week at a time but certainly not for months. Well water is hard to pump without power and we can’t seem to store enough water for us and the animals for long term.

        • Hi Debbie, I know isn’t that book Ted Koppel wrote a real eye opener??? I got a bid for solar to put on our house. Here’s the deal here in Southern Utah, the solar is one thing but we need a battery back-up which is way over priced. Then I heard Nevada Power yanked the rug out from under all the people who purchased the panels. Nevada Power wasn’t happy with what their profit was so they stopped reimbursing all those who bought solar panels. I talked to someone who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and he said people were going bankrupt because they wouldn’t pay the people for their power. You should Google it, that should be a crime! Now, In Salt Lake City, Utah Rocky Mountain Power who agreed to pay something like ten cents is now only going to pay 3.5 cents. There is no incentive to install solar power. If we have a grid down the solar will not work without the battery if it’s not on the city power line. I wish whoever knows more than me on this would comment. I’m hearing second hand. I wonder what kind of pump you could get, I have never had well water. Let me know if you hear something about solar. I got a bid and Mark and I wouldn;t live long enough to make it worth the cost. I would like to build a self-sufficient home but that’s not in the cards either. Linda

          • Linda, I’m still gathering information for my area. Maybe what we really need is a back up generator wired to the house power box. I have a friend who did that and she seems to think that if the grid goes, she’ll have plenty of power. Not sure how that works. A lot of folks in our rural area have solar and I don’t think many are tied into the grid so there’s something. I’ll let you know when I’m better informed. There are so many questions to answer.

          • Debbie, thanks! I only talked to the company that was selling Solar power here. I live in a small town. Thank you, Linda

          • Cathy Snovel says:

            You can use a solar fence charger on a horse pasture and have some of the solar stored on a car battery to be used at night when the sun goes down, so why couldn’t you use bigger batteries for trucks and store the overages from solar panels on a roof in them in a room on an enclosed porch to be used later when needed. In the meantime keep using electricity from the power company, just don’t have the two connected. If the grid goes down, then shut the power panel on the side of house or power pole in the off position and then have a way to hook up your batteries to certain areas of your home. Like have all your major appliances located in two rooms closest to the storage area.

          • Hi Cathy, I need to look into this because this might be just what we need. We didn’t buy the $22,000 solar panels for our home because we wouldn’t live long enough to recoup the savings. Thanks for this comment, I have got to figure this out. I love it! Linda

  8. Good post, Linda. Last night, another resident here at “The Home” as I call it, got together with a few other residents to impress upon them that they need a plan – what are you going to do if there is an evacuation order? What are you going to take with you? How can we help others who are struggling? Of course there are the naysayers who spout off that we are not being neighborly or “team players” if we don’t have our own plan of how we are going to help individually. It always comes down to someone just “not getting it.” One woman said it is our responsibility to help our mobility challenged neighbors get out. And to that I said that I wouldn’t not help but that those with mobility challenges also have to figure out a plan.

    I am prepared and prepared to defend my stash. What really bothers me is that people don’t take these things seriously. All they really have to do is watch the news about Hurricane Harvey and Irma as well as those who live in tornado country to find out that they likely won’t find things they want or need at the stores if s**t hits the fan and their money won’t go very far: and that is IF they can get to the store and IF the store still has some things on the shelves and IF…on and on. They all seem to think the fire department and police will be just at our apartment complex to help us out. I would really like to just POUND the information into them really fast.

    Scientists say that we are long overdue for a very large – 9+ – earthquake here in the Pacific Northwest. If/when that happens, all my preps may be down the tubes. But I think that if I survive the earthquake, I will not be able to go anywhere anyway and will stay in whatever rubble my apartment complex becomes. If I can reach my preps, and I don’t get injured or the building collapse around me, I should be fine. If I have to get out, my BOB and a few other things that I will grab on the way out will keep me for at least 2 weeks. I won’t be able to help my neighbors in any way shape or form if that is the case.

    I can only pray and continue to try to educate my neighbors. If they don’t plan, nothing more that I do will help them.

    • Hi, Leanne, I couldn’t have said this any better myself! Great comment. Just yesterday, I was telling Mark the things we need to grab if we do need to evacuate. We only have one car and it’s very small, so we will have to do a practice run. I’m with you if an earthquake hits and I’m not badly hurt, I hope the Good Lord guides me to find my food and a few preps, I believe He will. No one is going to deliver food and water like a pizza delivery car after a disaster. Nope, we will be on our own. Great comment, keep prepping! Hugs, Linda

    • You’d think the pictures of assisted living facilities in the last two and very recent hurricanes would make a difference to those who think someone will come and save them. The hard part is getting them to believe it can happen to them and to see what they CAN do, instead of focusing on what they can’t do. Don’t be discouraged, Leanne.

      • Debbie:
        I am a bit discouraged. I am just about to my wits end trying to educate my neighbors. I am at the point that should something happen and we have to evacuate our apartments, I will grab and go and not worry about others. If we have an event that we cannot leave, I will have my guns loaded and ready to defend myself and my stash.

      • Great comment, Linda

  9. I rarely talk to anybody nor do I teach anyone, so I am not worried that I am making myself a target. That being said, I’d love to help open people’s eyes to preparedness and the necessity to accept it and stop placing any type of stigma on the subject. As far as considering teaching, I think the first thing is to get people to understand the difference between what is use-able, preferable versus inadequate or superior and in general how to set themselves up to deal with their particular situation. They need to understand why others say they must pack light or why steel is better than aluminum rather than just blindly follow or emulate the word of another person or group. So many people just don’t care, they don’t ask me questions or even comment when I bring up getting ready or being ready for emergencies. I see this also in the way many treat flashlights. I buy GOOD flashlights and I will not loan them to people because they come back scratched, dirty and covered in plaster or paint. Yet people are always asking me for one. Would they neglect cookware like that? What about knives or firearms? Need to change their mentality.
    Second thought, is all this talk of “OPSEC” and being secretive. I believe that even if you don’t talk about anything and you shop for your supplies and bring them one at a time, in the dead of night, and try to be as low key about EVERYTHING you do that in a crisis the desperate people will still be watchful of your home and activities to see if you have gas to drive around, electric lights or candles and oil lamps and are even still alive after a few weeks. Any of these things and many more might indicate you have food and water and thus probably other stuff they might need. My point is, teaching is admirable and can help make people safer and healthier as opposed to being ignorant and suffering. Although people can and will get ugly, they have to have the guts to enter your home.
    Survivalists or “preppers” who are public, need to get the message across, practicing preparedness is smart and if you don’t then you will either become a lowly criminal predator or hope to survive by begging, but either path leads to sure death. Yet still, we the prepared must expect to defend ourselves from the cool, normal, reasonable people who didn’t take initiative to stock up or learn how to do anything.

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