Disaster Buddy-Everyone Should Have One, And Be One

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Have you heard about a disaster buddy, or maybe a preparedness buddy? Here’s the deal, it’s not just an infant, toddler, or child that may need a buddy after a disaster. Mark and I went to visit a friend at a care center to see how he was doing. As we left I mentioned how would someone in this condition survive an unforeseen emergency?

I wrote a post several years ago about getting to know your neighbors. Getting To Know Your Neighbors

It’s critical we get to know our neighbors, but now I think we need to go one step further. This may or may not work for your neighborhood. Where I live it’s about a 50/50 mix of different ages. I guess I would say we have babies up to 95-year-old people. 

I remember my neighborhood made a statement about block groups for emergencies, but the ball was dropped. It’s been like 13 years. I’m not being critical, some people do not know how to organize stuff.

Or, they may not see how important it is to have people be assigned to watch out for others. I’m totally self-sufficient, I would not need someone to help me unless I was hurt, and it would have to be bad. Let’s make that clear. LOL!

When Mark and I took our C.E.R.T. training, we discussed how to put groups together. I wonder if people just think, well “Mary or John” will take care of stuff. But will they? We should not assume anything, in my humble opinion.

Disaster Buddy

There is no guarantee that help will arrive quickly after an unforeseen emergency, so we must be prepared. Let’s break this down into groups. Here are a few reasons why I feel strongly we need a disaster buddy. This means we could possibly assign or choose our buddy to help us after a minor or major disaster before we have one.

Infant needs:

I was thinking about babies in general. They want their mother for food and nurturing. If something happens to a young mother, I hope we have enough cloth diapers and formula for the young babies. We may have to go back to the wet nurse program if the nursing mother is unconscious or hurt really badly.

Now, what if we can’t locate a nursing mother to help us out? Do we have bottles with appropriate sized nipples for the age of the babies? If we have formula will it be okay for the baby? Does the baby have allergies? You get the picture, right? Oh, and I hope someone has a few extra pacifiers. 

Toddler needs:

I love it when we have little ones around, they bring so much joy to the room. But, as you know, some toddlers are not very happy if they can’t see mom or dad in the room or sitting right next to them. Can you imagine the chaos if a disaster hits your neighborhood? Toddlers may be scared and unsure, at the very least.

Toddlers may need potty chairs and clean underwear if they have an accident. My or my, it makes me want to have a few toddler size training pants in my preps, what about you? I do have cloth diapers and diaper pins. Oh, don’t forget the snacks, are they allergic to anything?

We may need to have a few books we can read to them to direct the stress away from the moment. I have a TV that I can use with DVD’s that runs on solar energy from my Goal Zero power unit, that will help for sure.

Children needs:

This is where I hope this age group has had some good training at home. When I go to Walmart or Target here in Southern Utah, I see a few mothers on their phones and the kids are running around out of control and the mother has no idea what they are doing.

It makes me nervous if I have to be the person in charge of the kids who have never been taught respect for others or rules for the times they are out in the public. Hopefully, they will have older siblings who can help with them. It’s pretty easy to read them a book, help them use the bathroom, wash their hands, etc. But what if they will not “mind us?”

I’m just asking because I have seen some kids that I could not keep track of on any given day. Here again, I hope their older siblings can help us if mom and dad are incapacitated. I’m really glad I have a TV with a DVD player and some Disney shows. 

Teenager needs:

We have a few great teenagers on our street that would pitch in to help us in any way if needed. They would make a perfect disaster buddy. Here’s the deal, they may be scared if say we have an earthquake. Who wouldn’t be?

I’m thinking they may not be verbal about it, but we will see it their eyes. We need to be able to calm the stress level the best way we know how. This may be clearing the damage around some homes by keeping them busy.

Maybe asking them to put colored tape on the doors of homes to let the rest of us know the status of each family. As per my C.E.R.T. classs, Green tape means minor needs, Yellow tape means delay help needed, Red tape means they need immediate help, Black tape means deceased. 

Special needs children/adults:

This is where we need help from our neighbors so we can help their special needs kids, teenagers, or adults living in their homes if the parents get hurt. They may need a wheelchair, hearing aids, special tablets to have charged for them. But we won’t know what they need if we don’t find out now. That’s part of getting to know your neighbors, really knowing their needs.

Maybe the parents will love knowing we will step in and help if they are not home or unconscious. Maybe they will not want help. I said this before, we need to know before a disaster hits our neighborhood how we can help one another. Or stay away. We need a plan for our disaster buddy now, not after an unforeseen emergency.

People who need oxygen:

My worry here is for those who have Sleep Apnea issues. Do they have a solar unit to charge their equipment if the power goes out? Do they have a battery from their car they can use if the power is out?

What about children with asthma? If they have an episode do we know how to use the child’s Nebulizer? Does the family have a way to power up the Nebulizer? 

What about how to use oxygen tanks? Do we have someone who can help us with that in the neighborhood? I’m amazed how many people I see pulling those portable tank units around.

Elderly needs:

Do we have any Diabetics in the neighborhood? We may have more Diabetics than we are aware of on the street. Are we equipped to help them? Do they want us to help them? Here again, they may need a disaster buddy assigned to them.

Do any of them have balance issues? Do they need a walker? What about canes? Do they have a special diet? Do they have any allergies? Do they need diapers? Do they wear glasses or contacts? How can we help if we don’t have their information, right? Do they want to share their information?

Pet needs: 

How many dogs do your neighbors have? What are their names? Do they require special treatment because they are aggressive? Do they take medications? Are they on a special diet? Where is their dog food located? Do they have a harness and leash we can find? Where do they put their water and food dishes? How often do they feed them? Could they post this on their contact information? That would be helpful.

Do your neighbors have cats, fish or other animals they may need help with? What do they feed them? Where are their water and food dishes?
How often do they feed them? Could they post this on their contact information? That would be helpful.

Contact Information: we really need to know our neighbors so we can contact their friends and loved ones if a disaster hits our neighborhood and a neighbor is hurt. I realize there will be people that will not be to keen with the idea of sharing names and phone numbers.

That’s fine, they may be sorry if they are hurt or their house floods, catches on fire, or whatever. We can only do what we can with the information we have been given. Here is a Printable that may help: Contact Information

Final Word

Here’s the deal, I’m worried about a few neighbors and how I’m going to be able to help them. If I don’t have a contact information sheet with a few details, how can I be a disaster buddy? What do you think? I need your help on this one. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.

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8 thoughts on “Disaster Buddy-Everyone Should Have One, And Be One

  • December 9, 2018 at 7:16 am
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    Linda, I want you to be my disaster buddy – Idaho isn’t THAT far away. Lol A very timely article for this particular time of year. Thanks.

    Reply
    • December 9, 2018 at 7:21 pm
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      Hi Linda, oh I got the giggles over your great comment!! I want YOU to be my disaster buddy, my friend from Idaho!! I love it! LOL! Happy Holidays, girlfriend! Linda

      Reply
  • December 9, 2018 at 9:32 am
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    Linda, you’ve really brought up great points here. The one thing I wish more folks really understood is that being prepared isn’t Just for ‘End Times’ or some such stuff…it’s for Any Emergency! One family, one town, one area …let alone huge areas. Good job on offering your printable contact list!

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    • December 9, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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      Hi Wendy, you are so right about needing to be prepared for NOW and not just for “End Times”. I’m glad you like the printable contact list. Please share with friends and family. I print mine on cardstock. Be safe and keep prepping! Linda

      Reply
  • December 9, 2018 at 10:21 am
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    There are those who may feel that reaching out violates their safety and security. The most, shall we say, intense preppers talk about OpSec, which to me is carrying things too far. Yes of course keeping your activities to yourself may be necessary and does protect you from the suddenly desperate people who will decide they are entitled to what you have. I just don’t care to create an atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion.

    But if as you suggest, everyone reached out to others, made plans to work with others and prepping was more mainstream and looked at with positive views it would be beneficial to all of us in time of crisis an even save more lives and reduce personal hardships and suffering. Even if my neighbors are bums and too lazy to prep or think it’s silly, while I don’t want them to be dependent on me (I have my own friends and family) I would hope that I could at least help those who need it most and avoid a death. If people would just make the effort to be prepared (Rather than learn a hard lesson) it would make it easier to ask for or to offer help as everyone would be on the same page and working together. And I think the natural desire to do good things would motivate people to find solutions to problems and they’d actually enjoy providing help to others and good deeds can be contagious.

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    • December 9, 2018 at 7:28 pm
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      Hi, Frank. as always I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comments. You nailed it with good deeds can be contagious! Happy Holidays, my friend! Linda

      Reply
  • December 9, 2018 at 11:01 am
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    I really appreciate your tips, LInda. Since we had our big quake a week ago, this really hits home. While we sustained very little damage to our roads, infrastructure, etc – and no major injuries/loss of life!, the authorities were asking people to check on neighbors (were some out of town? hadn’t seen them?) and to KEEP going back over the next few days –
    I know I didn’t go check – bad on me – i texted my next door neighbor, but the ladies across the street did come over, just going door-to-door, following those directions. I really was able to see where the holes in my preps were – tomorrow, I return to school, where I was, with students, when the quake hit. It was very emotional – again – I had NO DAMAGE to my home or school, but it’s the emotional parts – back at the ‘scene of the crime’ – our whole district (48K students) has been shut down all week, due to determining safety of buildings- some of which were not able to be used for rest of school year, if ever. Anyhow, people seem to forget that quakes are happening in more places – places that aren’t ‘quake zones’. can’t see them coming – and the 2K aftershocks? feels like you are on a boat all the time. Thank you so much for your website, and your attempts to get the word out –
    Kelley in Anchorage

    Reply
    • December 9, 2018 at 7:34 pm
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      Oh, Kelley, thank you so much for sharing what happened to you in Anchorage. Those of us who didn’t live there kept our eyes glued to the TV. We were hopeful that you and your community would be okay. Our hearts ached for your safety and the aftermath ripples. I will continue to pray for you that you will eventually find peace if that’s possible. I’m worried about the emotional state of people after an emergency. How do you go back to a school that was shut down, and do you keep feeling the “boat waves”. I cannot even imagine. I totally agree people sometimes do not realize what can happen in their neighborhood. They think it will happen somewhere else. The earthquakes are my biggest fear for Utah. They know we will have one but no one knows when. Be safe! Happy Holidays, Hugs! Linda

      Reply

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