How Can I Get My Neighbors To Be Prepared
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. The looks in their eyes and the questions asked really tell a lot!
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 seven 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. We 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. Mark and I provided the dividers, zippered bags, paper protectors for pages to include in their binders. We shared food storage products 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 from a search and rescue team come and talk about walkie talkies. It’s important for people to understand how they can communicate when other options, like cell phones, don’t work. 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 local churches and neighborhoods at my cost items as critical as these or my book that has proven to help so many people willing to take the time to read it and apply the ideas presented.
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 can’t 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 rooftops, “please store water, or how full is your pantry?” Is your gas tank partially full? Do you have flashlights with extra batteries, etc?
There are 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.
People Living Paycheck To Paycheck
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.
New York Times
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 we titled “Prepare Your Family For Survival.”
Then, I was interviewed by a group who helped gather information for Ted Koppel’s book titled “Lights Out.”
So today, I am asking for your help, how are you getting your neighbors to be 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 seeing the horrific water storms bring and the empty grocery stores as a result. 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
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 those people can be contacted in time of need for our family.
Here is my list which is really long, but have them pick and choose what fits their needs. 72-Hour Kits-Adult Size
Ask what skills each person has to bring to the table if needed.
What tools do the team players have if we need them after a disaster, like chainsaws? That neighbor down the street that has one may be your new best friend after a disaster.
First Aid Supplies:
Order first aid supplies in bulk and divide them out as ordered, paid for in advance.
Decide what food products people would like to purchase and save money by buying a case and splitting the cost.
Who has some electric ones, who has hand grind ones? Who has some hard wheat? Who knows how to make bread, biscuits or crackers?
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.
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.
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.
See the kinds of outside cooking devices each family has. For instance, Camp Chef stoves/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 are important! Make sure every family has several flashlights, batteries, and lanterns, to name a few items.
Who has access to a backhoe if needed?
Washing and Drying Clothes:
Who has clotheslines, washing buckets and clothespins? Bleach is for safety measures.
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?
25 thoughts on “How Can I Get My Neighbors To Be Prepared”
Part of your preparations might need to be what to do with those that didn’t prepare. It’s much deeper than “can’t save everyone”.
OH Matt, great thought! I LOVE IT! Linda
thanks Linda. I am anxious to see others ideas. I have given a few classes to friends, they might get a new flashlight, but really don’t seem that interested. One tip is if you buy canned or store packaged good ALWAYS write the expiration date on the item as they don’t have long shelf life and you can rotate and add new item. I agree with Matt inOklahoma’s comment. We have a family member that thinks I am crazy for prepping but they will be first one at our door. I also do not tell a lot of people we do this.
Hi Libby, I love hearing you have taught classes to friends, great idea. It sounds like I better write a post on what to do with neighbors who do not prep. Thank you! Linda
Hi Linda, I add in my thoughts to the people I email about them being prepared. They don’t really say much about it but, with some I can tell they are taking heed. I also, every once in a while put some posts on Facebook how people should pay attention to what is going on in the world and ways they might want to prepare for any kind of disaster.
Hi Diane, great comment! I love hearing you are sharing posts on Facebook on paying attention to what’s going on in the world and they may want to be prepared. Love it, Linda
About a year or so ago, I watched a video about a post SHTF event that occurred in a neighborhood that had prepped. Well, mostly. One man was sorting out his preps and getting some feed for his chickens. A neighbor came up to him wanting to know if he could have some of the chickens and feed. The man sorting the preps asked the second man what happened to the chickens and feed he had already given him.
The moocher, said that he and his family ate them and that they needed more to survive. The first guy made some comments that he should have kept the chickens for their eggs and should only have eaten them when they got too old to lay eggs. He also said that the moocher should have rationed his supplies better.
The moocher didn’t like that response and threatened to go to the neighborhood survival group to complain. The first guy said go ahead. After the moocher left, the prepper got on his military field phone (need to add some of those to my preps) and warned the group about the trouble maker.
The point of this long diatribe is that no matter how much you try to get your neighbors to even think about prepping, there will be some who will wholeheartedly agree but will not do much (or anything) to prepare. They will expect the rest of the neighborhood to take care of them.
Hi Karl, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! It reminds me of the saying about fish. Teach a man to fish and he will have food for a lifetime. Your thoughts are great, thank you so much! Linda
You can do a great job of sharing information on HOW to prepare for emergencies/disasters (& you do, Linda) and all the reasons that this is a good thing. But it is sort of like warning your children of potential pitfalls and poor judgement so they will have better more successful lives. Bottom line is that people are mostly in denial. Soom may see that there is potential for an emergency but “it has never happened TO ME” so maybe later. The Bible says “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3. You have helped me to prepare and I am grateful but there are some people who will have to learn the hard way and it may cost them their lives. You can’t do anything about those. There are so many voices literally screaming a message of preparedness it is hard to not be aware of the need and the crisis that very well may be ahead. I feel that to go to my high powered, military gun collecting neighbors with vicious dogs is a waste of effort. They think those 2 things make them prepared. I have in the past tried to talk to some of my friends about being prepared and their response was “we’ll just come to your house” (subdued laughter). My answer is not to prepare for them but to make up my mind that NO they aren’t! Noah provided a good answer to how to prepare one’s “neighbors”. He warned everyone (as you are doing) but he prepared for himself and his family. Setting limits is healthy.
HI Geni, great comment. I feel the need to teach people and I will continue to do so. We can only do what we can do and hope others heed what they are asked to do. Linda
I agree with Karl.
Last winter was pretty severe in our area with 2 1/2 feet of snow for several days. I didn’t feel sorry for my neighbors who didn’t prepare as we had 3 days notice. When someone asked me if I had bread to share, I told them that I could share some flour and yeast so they could make some bread (which I had already done for myself) but they turned their nose up at that. One woman even asked me where I was able to store my bread machine. I told her I used my arms! I don’t own a bread machine!
One thing that I would like to note about your list: first aid supplies are great but only the most basic supplies will be useful to someone with no knowledge of how to use more than just bandaids. I think it is critical to take a first aid and cpr class and keep up on the skill. Some things change over the years andit is important to know these things.
Having food/water/first aid supplies stored is great but knowledge is power. I
Hi Leanne, you are so right! Knowledge is power! Great comment! Linda
If you have “shared” your knowledge of prepping and SHTF with “neighbors” already, then you are DOOMED when SHTF, for the following reasons:
In any random group of neighbors, you have “slow” ones and “fast” ones, and a bunch in the middle.
The “middles” and the “slows” will NEVER be ready with their preps. The “fast” ones will be 95% ready, and you – the neighbor with the big mouth – will the the ONLY ONE ON THE BLOCK to be 100% ready. And EVERYONE will know that you are ready – because you have a big mouth – and will look for you to provide to them and everyone else, scarce stuff that they never stocked up on. And medical supplies. And bandages. And ammunition, etc. etc. Why did you reveal this now vital information? Because you wanted everyone to know that you were ready, and they were not. OK, you won! Now be ready to pay the price. If five or ten of you are still alive by this coming Spring, NONE OF YOU WILL BE ALIVE BY THE FOLLOWING SPRING!
Folks, we are talking life or death here! SHTF means TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF CIVILIZATION! Your neighbors will be at your throat for your stuff within three weeks! They are ALL your enemies – every one! If you want to keep your Family alive, you must be prepared to keep your stuff private!
Hi The Wiseman, great food for thought! Thank you, Linda
I, like Linda, have shared my knowledge and abundance with friends and neighbors: NOT because I “have a big mouth”, but out of a sincere desire to help others. Just because we are generous people doesn’t mean that we aren’t ready, willing and able to protect what’s ours if it comes to that. Meanwhile, we are making a difference and not leading a bitter, paranoid life. Whether the SHTF or it doesn’t, we will rest easy knowing we loved our neighbors.
Hi Roxanne, you took the words right out of my mouth. You said it better than I could! Thank you, Linda
“Resting easy…” is not the problem here. The problem here is protecting and providing for your Family in the absolutely worst disaster that you or theY has ever faced. When SHTF, those “neighbors” will have turned from next door compatriots to competitors, from friends to enemies, from borrowers to thieves.
Every mouthful of food that you provide them could have kept your kids going for another day! Once that food is eaten, it will never return! Once you give it away to “neighbors”, it can not be given to sustain your kids!
That food, medicine, blanket, water, etc. that you give away belonged to your own Family! It is NOT YOURS TO GIVE TO “NEIGHBORS” IN ORDER TO SALVE YOUR PRE-SHTF EGO!
EXAMPLE: If the electric grid should go down in the USA through either enemy action or natural actions of our Sun, IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO RESTORE – IF EVER! Meanwhile, literally millions of Americans will – overnight! – have: no heat, no air conditioning, no incoming water, no outgoing sewerage, no lights, no power tools. No gasoline can be pumped. No oil can be refined. No trucks will visit your local supermarket, pharmacy, pizza parlor, etc.
No matter how much stuff you have stored away, it is FINITE! And – IT IS VULNERABLE! When you give it away to others, IT IS FOREVER GONE!
Linda, have you ever fed seagulls on the beach? Were you to bring along a trunk full of stale bread, they will NEVER BE FILLED! Next day, bring a pickup truck filled with stale bread, and start to hand it out to the gathering seagulls. THEY WILL NEVER HAVE ‘ENOUGH’! Next day, rent a semi-truck filled with tons of stale bread; start to hand it out – you can NEVER FILL UP THE WORLD’S SEAGULLS! Because the spread the word about the ‘…crazy lady handing out bread on the beach…!’ Tomorrow the sky will be dark with millions of seagulls!
That is how your SHTF is going to be, my dear Lady!
Linda, your initial question for this discussion was how to get neighbors to prepare…sadly, other than giving classes (to those who are already interested) seems to be the primary idea. I used to give beginner gardening classes but the people who came were already interested! Now, I did get some people interested by talking about gardening enthusiastically. Not by design, just sharing the fun I got from it. Not sure if this would work for prepping? Perhaps a neighborhood Street Party? When I lived in Mpls, we had a bad storm, took out our power for 6 days. Localized problem but it banded my little neighborhood together. We all were out in the street, talking about how to deal with this the first day after. I suggested we do a big block party. (Lol, we had city street signs from a previous one.) So we set up a tent with my roof tarmac, poles from a neighbor who planned to do a fence, a bunch of bbq grills, and a table where people could share candles and lights. I asked my next door neighbor to give a little speech from the podium (hastily built) about helping each other. This tiny real old lady had been an army captain in WW2. So, we cooked and smoked our refrig/freezer foods together, shared lighting sources (one young neighbor had a candle making company), set up a nightime watch group. Just this banding together changed how things went…we were the only neighborhood with no vandalism that week. Oh, and this was in the deep ‘hood, where crime is normal. So, my suggestion for in-town people is to maybe do Block Parties, before needing to band together. I’m sorry one of the commentators was very negative about sharing knowledge, skills. Even where I live now, very rural, us neighbors have a very good idea as to who can do what, has such and such. No man is totally self sufficient, at least not since caveman days. And even then, a group lived longer, lol. So a second suggestion might be to just stop in, pay a visit to neighbors, enthuse a bit about having things in case of a storm.
Yea, this got long, but working together seems more useful than trying to build a moat.
Hi Wendy, I love the idea of a street party. We have a street block party every Halloween which is really fun. I love your comment about how you did a nighttime watch group!!! I love it!! Oh, and the WW2 Captain, great comment!! I would hope all neighborhoods would band together as yours did. Talking about the hood and crime, makes you realize your neighbors were safe, that says a lot! Sometimes people make negative comments and I still publish them. If they are really bad I just delete them. I’m thankful my readers realize I’m here to help others, life is good. Great thoughts today, Linda
Linda, if we don’t help each other in good times,even in slightly hard times, civilization will be lost. Teaching others to ‘do’ is important. The ‘Wise Man’ isn’t wise at all. I’d rather have a lot of neighbors who each know ‘something’ than one who thinks they know ‘everything’, and, Lol, has everyThing for a disaster. Way more important to know neighbors skills, interests. On a side note, I have a young couple, plus maybe their friend, who will be wilderness camping at my place on Thursday. I’ve never met them. Is this a risk? Possibly, but probably not. It’s nice that I can offer this to others, to try something without a fee. And not far from cities. Who knows? Maybe they will become friends. Do more camping here, maybe even a garden? I believe in sharing my Lord’s bounty, even while not being a pushover.
Hi Wendy, I think it’s wonderful you are sharing the Lord’s bounty with others. I wish more people would do the same. Life is so good, why not help others, we sure could have used some help when we were first married and struggling. Although we didn’t know we were poor at the time, speaking about Mark and I! Lol! It’s all good, Linda
People learn important info in many different ways. Some will realize what information you offer is very important. Others will think they can resolve the dilemma of a SHTF event when it happens. But for your own well being, you should let all your students know, in no uncertain terms in a SHTF event that your family takes priority in supplies you have stored and your duties for your family’s survival. Yes it may be cold hearted, but life can do that sometimes. Also, be prepared for those who will steal what you don’t give freely.
Hi Mark #2, great comment! You are so right, I will have to be cold-hearted. My family does take priority! I love your thoughts! Thank you, Linda
Good Afternoon Linda, it 96 degrees in Brooklyn, New York. I just went back and re-read your post on “Getting Your Neighbors Ready For a Disaster” 2019, and realize how blessed we are not to have a “BLACLOUT” yet, although some parts of Queens have had. I live in a small (15) apartment building and know that maybe 5 families are prepared for whatever happens.
I taught a preparedness class one Sunday during Church service and everyone “WANTED” my bag. I gave them the website to go on and even registered several of them for the class. Guess what, 3 people attended. Their excuse, Oh I Forgot, I Didn’t Have Time, It’s Not Important.” The City was sponsoring this classes that Gov. Cuomo started after Hurricane Sandy, although they are not having any in-person classes now because of Covid. I attended as many of the classes as I could and you were given a backpack of supplies at the end of the training. I had so many bags that when my Son moved back to Virginia, I gave him one and my Granddaughter when she moved into her first apartment. She told me that was the best gift she ever got. I am checking my supplies and realize I need batteries. That’s it. I have my meds and diabetic supplies in a gallon baggie that I can grab if I have to evacuate. It just disturbs me as I read some of the replies that people are not taking this stuff seriously, it is going to get worse before it gets better. Get those supplies while you can although some supplies are not as plentiful as before. Sorry for the rant, but I hope those who are not prepared take heed, GET READY NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!! Be safe!
Hi Mildred, oh I totally agree with what you are saying. I need to go back and read the comments on that post. What a blessing to have been given those “bags’ after attending those classes. Here in Utah, we couldn’t get more than 1-2 people to attend our preparedness classes. It was such a shame that the people didn’t realize what we had planned to teach them. I love hearing you gave one to your son and one to your granddaughter. The best gift ever!!! If all you need is batteries, my friend you are in good shape. It makes me so happy to hear you say that!! Life is good! Linda I forgot one more thing, only 5 families out of 15 realize preparedness is important. That is sad. We can only do so much!