Neighbors-It’s Critical We Get To Know Them

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My post today is an update in an effort to explain why you need to meet and get to know your neighbors. Of course, if you have lived in the same house or apartment for many years you probably know almost everyone on the street or in your complex. Where I lived the past 14 years, the homes in the neighborhood were mostly second homes or owned by investors with short-term renters, so the people weren’t there much of the time or moved in and out all the time.

It’s a bit more difficult to get to know the ones that rent only 60 days, or even six months. I had about 30% of the people on my street who actually owned their homes. In that neighborhood, we had about 50% of the people under 60 years old and about 50% over the age of 60. It was quite common to hear at least one or two ambulances every other month in my subdivision.

This is the reason why I feel very strongly about writing this post today. A few years ago it was spring break Easter weekend. Mark and I had company at our home and we heard some sirens very close. Mark walked down the street to see if he could help in any way. He saw an ambulance drive away from a friend’s home.

Neighbors-It’s Critical We Get To Know Them

Neighbors-It's Critical We Get To Know Them

Privacy Issues

I’m sure because of “privacy issues” the fireman standing next to the firetruck would not confirm Mark’s question as to who was in the ambulance. The front door was open at the home and Mark rang the doorbell to see if the owner’s adult daughter was still there.

The daughter is older and has some very critical medical issues of her own, so Mark asked her “was that your mom in the ambulance?” She nodded and said, “Just call her.” Well, our friend in the ambulance did not answer her phone. Mark started trying to call people in the neighborhood who knew her extended family members’ phone numbers.

Keep in mind it’s the day before Easter and many people were out of town. All we needed was a phone number to contact her relatives to help with her daughter and let them know the ambulance left with our friend. It took Mark about an hour to get a relative’s phone number.

Mark called a few people who then headed to the main hospital. Luckily, she was going to be okay, but she was experiencing some bad pain and the emergency room took very good care of her. The people who went to the hospital were able to bring her home after she was treated.

You never know when a unique situation will come up when it’s important for people to not only know their neighbors but try to look out for each other and step in to help if needed. I got a call from my sister this morning and she told me a story from yesterday that illustrates what I’m talking about.

My sister and her husband moved back to Las Vegas from St. George a year or two ago to be closer to family. They found a great neighborhood that was close to shopping, parks, medical care, bike trails, and other amenities that were important to them. They found out that others in the neighborhood felt the same way, and are grateful to be in such a “neighborly” area. The most recent home buyers decided to hold a BBQ and invite families from their street, and also some adjoining streets, to come for a “let’s get acquainted” potluck gathering. They all seemed to have a good time and before the night was over, many had exchanged contact phone numbers.

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Yesterday, a neighbor living a few doors down from my sister came to her door in a frantic state. She could smell smoke in the neighborhood and wanted to get some help determining where the fire was. She had called 911 to try and get ahead of the game, and it wasn’t long before she and my sister could see some smoke and flames coming from the garage of a neighbor who lived in between their two homes. Image credit to C. S.

Neighbors-It's Critical We Get To Know Them

Because they had the phone number of the owners of the home on fire they called them since no one answered the door. The owners happened to be at a ball game that had just started. They wouldn’t have been home for hours, but because of the phone call, they were able to immediately respond and come home.

When the first responders arrived, one of the first things they did was have anyone outside start going door to door to alert all the neighbors of the fire situation, to move any vehicles parked on the street, not only to give emergency crews room to work, but also to protect those vehicles in case the fire spread.

As it turned out, the fire had started in the home’s garage and spread to the attic very quickly. The firefighters had chopped a hole in the roof so they could get quick access to the fire. Before they were through getting it under control, the fire had caused some pretty extensive damage, but less than if the neighbor hadn’t been vigilant and reached out for help. Today, the home’s windows are boarded up and the family is having to stay with extended family. At least everyone is safe, the fire was contained with just one home, and all the neighbors are fully aware of the efforts of that neighbor and most are talking about sharing contact info. What a blessing!

We all need to remember that health issues and home fires aren’t the only reason we need to be vigilant. There could be a broken water pipe with the water running out the front door or garage. There could be a home break-in or some vandalism in the area. There could be an out-of-control car that ends up on your front lawn or in your living room. We live in strange times with some very unique circumstances.

Meet Your Neighbors

Here’s the deal, you need to meet your neighbors and we need to be willing to share contact information. Now, some people are very private and would never give you any information. I remember one day I looked in my mailbox and there was an envelope with a different address, and the envelope obviously had some credit cards enclosed.

I walked down about four houses and knocked on the door. Well, I’ve never met these people and they must not want to meet anyone on the street. They had a huge sign on the door that says something like “We have our own religion, We don’t need anything, We don’t want to buy anything, and We love Jesus.” Well, I was hoping to give the credit cards to them personally, but I put them in their mailbox. I get it. They are the kind of neighbors you probably wouldn’t ask to come to your “Contact Information” party even if you tried an incentive like bagels and cream cheese.

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I’m now living in a different neighborhood and the homes are pretty much “owner-occupied” with regular families of all ages. I may try to go knock on a few front doors and see if I can get some neighbors to come to a get-together to share names and phone numbers in case of an emergency. Mark will have many contacts through his church involvement, so he’ll have a natural way to form new friendships and have a chance to gather information from them to have in case of an emergency.

I’m planning on passing out the form below for our new friends so in case they need to get in touch with our family members for any reason, emergency or otherwise, they have the necessary information to reach out. I hope I can get a few people to come to my “Contact Information” party when I hold one and this way we can all help each other when needed.

The picture below is a partial copy of the document I plan to hand out and request be filled out, and here is the PRINTABLE: FSM Emergency Contact Info

meet your neighbors

I also have a shortened version I call my Emergency Contact Information PRINTABLE: Emergency Contact Information

Emergency Contact Information

Name:

  1. Email:
  2. Home phone number:
  3. Cell phone number:
  4. People to contact with the information indicated above

Name:

  1. Email:
  2. Home phone number:
  3. Cell phone number:
  4. People to contact with the information indicated above

How To Meet Neighbors

  1. Have a barbecue and invite neighbors over.
  2. Walk your dog and stop and talk to others walking their dogs.
  3. Have a firepit in your front yard and invite neighbors over and roast marshmallows.
  4. Start a potluck meal with your neighbors.
  5. Invite neighbors over for a brunch.
  6. Have a card game night with the people on your street.
  7. Have a cookie exchange every December.
  8. Have a block party on Halloween night.

Final Word

Just think how much easier it would be for everyone if we could contact family members or friends of our neighbors after a disaster or an unforeseen emergency if we had emails, phone numbers, etc.

Of course, I’m hoping we have electricity or the internet in order to do this. I understand we may not have all the communication options at one time or another. Block parties would be awesome as a means to gather people, get acquainted, and gain their trust as people with common goals to truly be neighbors in the fullest sense. This is why you need to meet your neighbors. I need to meet all of my neighbors. May God bless you and your neighbors as you work to get together and share emergency contact information, the time will come when you’re very glad you did! Linda

Copyright Image: AdobeStock_108885799.jpeg, Garden Party Depositphotos_2902882_S

28 thoughts on “Neighbors-It’s Critical We Get To Know Them

  • March 12, 2019 at 7:40 am
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    Great idea, also take an empty pill bottle and place it in the refrigerator with a list of medications that are taken, and the name of the primary care physician. My Mom lived in a senior facility and we were told to do this. The paramedics often need the medications a patient is taking. I keep a list on my cell phone, if I was awake after an accident I could give that information to the E.M.T.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 8:03 am
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    I live in a small rural development with an HOA. Most people don’t even show up for our yearly meeting. Most do not want to share a phone number or email address. People are very private and do not want you in their business. Oh, they call you when there is a problem and I capture phone numbers then. No one volunteers to be on the board of directors or to be an officer. They want enforcement of the rules, but they don’t want to be involved in that enforcement.
    75% are over 65 with just a couple of young families. Some of them are only here for the summers. The only one I have an emergency contact for is my closest neighbor. I am an officer and people don’t make it easy.

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    • March 12, 2019 at 9:11 am
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      Hi Liz, oh my gosh, it sounds like we live in the same neighborhood!! LOL! No one will serve in our HOA either. Yes, they want enforcement but nothing else. I hear you, great comment. We may be on our own after a disaster, I’m okay with that. Linda

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    • March 12, 2019 at 11:41 am
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      Liz, i get where you are coming from, i don`t have any close neighbors, but a few down the road a ways. I have tried to talk to them about getting together and talking about safety and helping each other and being prepared for an emergency . When the hurricane hit, i went out to offer help after i tarp`d part of my roof. i was going to offer water, food, and they could shower at my house, the generator i have will operate the well pump as well as the entire house. Some of them would not even open the door, said later they thought someone was wanting something. As you said, they don`t want to get involved. No one came to my house for showers, after a couple of weeks i was kind of glad because our power in Highlands County was out for 3-5 weeks.. Well i have had a discussion with what few neighbors i have, my point was clear, you don`t want any help, you don`t want to prepare for an emergency, OK, but don`t come knocking on my door when SHTF it`s too late then……..

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  • March 12, 2019 at 11:27 am
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    Linda ~
    I live in a Senior (62+) apartment complex. I know a great many of my neighbors and have phone# and email for most of those. Unfortunately, not many want to give out relative’s contact info. I do have information on a few for emergencies but not many. I have also given a few the contact info for my daughter and son-in-law.

    One of the things that I find most disheartening, living where I do is that many of the Seniors have little or no contact with their families. It is so heartbreaking. Our management, of course, has contact info for all of the residents so that is a plus. But if something happens at night when management is not present, that is out the door!

    What you said about ambulance presence in your neighborhood – well, my neighborhood has at least weekly ambulance calls!

    Also, if you live alone, contact your fire department to see if they have FILE OF LIFE packets. You fill these out with emergency contact information, medical issues, medicines you take and put it on the refrigerator (comes with a magnetic pouch) and post a sticker on the outside of you home (by the doorbell). If an ambulance is called, the EMTs know to look for this information and take it with them to the hospital. There is also a smaller print pack to carry in your wallet. If anyone wants to search this out online – search for File of Life. There may be a small cost involved if the Fire Department doesn’t have these. I found a completely free website for Vial of Life which is very similar – one just prints the form to fill out and place in a baggy; print out the decals to plan the baggy and on the front door.

    Everyone should have ICE programmed into their cell phones. Most phones also have a place in all contacts for notes. Put the medical/Rx information in the notes. This is also something EMTs are trained to look for. I have my phone locked so that if I lose it or it gets stolen, no one can look at or call any of my contacts. In this case, I have an Emergency “button” that EMTs can access to get my emergency contact info as well as the medical/Rx info.

    I think that getting to know your neighbors is great. Here at “The Home” (as many of us call this apartment complex) we have tried many times to get something going so that if there is an emergency, we know what we as friends/neighbors can do to help out. It is difficult in this time of scams, stalking, etc. to be comfortable sharing private information. It is only when something happens that we wish we had done something earlier. I have told many of the Seniors who walk (dogs or just exercise) to ALWAYS carry their cell phones and have the emergency info programmed in. I offer to help them set that up if needed. I do a good bit of walking myself and advise that if I find them unconscious on the trail and call 911, the EMTs will need this information.

    Anyway, Linda, as you have already figured out (I’m sure), I am opinionated and speak my mind when it comes to being prepared). Perhaps you shouldn’t write so many blog posts that are so near and dear to my heart! LOL! Love your blog.

    FILE OF LIFE – may be available through the Fire Department or Ambulance service
    (may or may not have a charge)
    On-line (there is a charge for the kit but is is very minimal)
    VIAL OF LIFE – Print the form and decals on your home computer – completely free (except the ink
    on your printer!!)

    Reply
    • March 12, 2019 at 3:26 pm
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      HI Leanne, oh my gosh, I love your comment as usual! I’m opinionated so we could be next door neighbors!!! It’s too bad people do not want to share information, I get it. Until we have an emergency. I love this Vial of Life. I’m going to get on that one! I asked our HOA for some names and addresses and they refused because of privacy issues. I was going to mail out some invitations to an emergency prep meeting. Oh well, I can’t. Sometimes I feel somewhat like a recluse because no one comes outside ever on my street. Well, except to get the mail. Life is sure different where I live. Stay well and keep prepping. Linda

      Reply
  • March 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm
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    HOA!?! Lol I don’t want or need anyone telling me how to live.
    I lived in a semi rural area once and an edition went in to the wheat field behind me. They came down and tried telling me to mow the cow pasture lol.
    It got real ugly real quick. I knew everything I needed to know bout them neighbors that I needed to come any bad times. They all had to go.
    I’ll never understand y’all wanting more government and micro management.

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    • March 13, 2019 at 6:12 pm
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      Hi Matt, I love your comment as always! I wish I could afford to move but I’m stuck in this HOA! Linda

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      • November 13, 2021 at 7:19 am
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        You ain’t no more. Hope you ain’t in a different one.
        Anything outside a road maintenance HOA is just wrong.

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        • November 13, 2021 at 10:38 am
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          Hi Matt, yeah we moved out of the HOA, thank goodness. We will never live in one again. LOL! Life is good now! Linda

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  • November 13, 2021 at 7:15 am
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    We live in a rural area. We know some of our neighbors, but not well. Some live 100 miles away and only here on week-ends. We only have 4 neighbors. We have phone numbers to 2, and a key to ones home. One, we don’t know we’ll, but do know his name. It’s crazy how some people are so closed off. Larry tells me I’m too open and tell too much. LOL

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    • November 13, 2021 at 10:37 am
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      Hi Deborah, it’s great you have phone numbers to at least 2. Life is good if you have phone numbers of the people you can work together with as a team if you need to. If you can’t call them because of whatever you at least know their names. Love it! Linda

      Reply
  • November 13, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    The best way I’ve found to meet people is the block party you mentioned. We found out we had some like-minded people in the neighborhood on defending the neighborhood if the SHTF! It was surprising and wonderful. We got some phone numbers. I used one a few months later when I thought someone was breaking into a home. They were new neighbors and had gardeners come . . . now I recognize those gardeners. When we relandscaped we put a small patio in the front yard with a couple of iron love seat benches under a large tree. Sometimes we sit there to enjoy the front yard (all plants including a rose garden – no grass) and sunsets. We get to know people as they walk by. It seems dog walking has gotten pretty popular here. I don’t think you’d get much more than a phone number from neighbors nowadays unless you knew them and they trusted you. I wouldn’t fill out the contact form you have.

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    • November 13, 2021 at 10:35 am
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      Hi Kay, I love your idea of sitting out front in your front yard! It’s a great way to get to know people. Linda

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  • November 13, 2021 at 8:09 am
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    We love our neighbors and they feel like family to us. When anyone of us have had an emergency or illness; everyone stops by with meals, sends texts, cards etc. Our elderly neighbor had a serious illness last year and we divided the help. One neighbor managed their trash, another took care of the lawn, we helped with grocery shopping, another took care of walking their dog, everyone dropped off meals. It was truly living out the Bible’s “Love your neighbor” and it was beautiful. Please take a moment to get to know each other. It’s so important. When our son was going through medical treatment and had multiple hospitalizations, the same folks brought meals, kept care of our little one and sent cards and restaurant gift cards to ease the burden. We are blessed to live in such a caring and close community. Our daughter came early via emergency c section. In addition to our church, neighbors and home school group our librarians and mail carrier!!! brought meals and gifts. We have made a point over the 20+ years we have lived here to build relationships and endeavor to bless each other. Our culture today is so rushed and distant. We press back by looking out for and loving one another.

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    • November 13, 2021 at 10:33 am
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      Hi Steff, your comment is the best ever!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing stories like this! There really is good in the world! If we look, we will find it and be part of it. You are truly blessed! Linda

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  • November 13, 2021 at 3:37 pm
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    Linda:
    We have 1 neighbor at the beginning of the road we live on but that is 1 mile from our home. They were originally from Alaska and didn’t have neighbors for miles and miles and having neighbors just a mile away is going to take them time to get used to. Our other near neighbor is about 3 miles on the other side of us. We have her number because we have to chase her cows out of our property all the time. They eat up my Roses and other plants and it drives me crazy. We are a free range state so there is nothing I can do except call her to come get her cows when they wander. Our final neighbor if you can call them that is the Air Force Bombing Range and it is at least 10 miles from where we live. So you can say we live in the middle of nowhere.

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    • November 13, 2021 at 5:36 pm
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      Hi Jackie, wow, I have never heard of a free-range state!!! Wow, wow, wow! The cows eat your roses and other plants, that’s not good. Life is good living out in the middle of nowhere! I love hearing this! Linda

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  • November 13, 2021 at 5:00 pm
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    I’m gonna make you guys feel better or maybe worse??
    Gene died Dec. 29, 2020.
    We moved here 2007.
    I waited for visitors, letters of sympathy, phone calls, meals delivered, anything…….
    Nope–Not one….I had a concrete truck make huge ruts in my front yard when the dropped porch was removed and replaced. I worked for 4 days with a mower and wagon, scooping dirt into the wagon, moving to the ruts, unscooping the dirt and dumping a lot of the dirt, spreading with rake, sweeping with broom,…yeah, 4 days.
    I am so healthy and vibrant, but one thing I have a problem with is my back…luckily, it was fine for 4 days.
    Not one young teenage boy, not one man, not anyone offered to help me….not one.
    So, you now the saying…let’s go brandon?? Mine is ”’let’s go neighbors”!!!!!

    I had one visitor in March, rung bell, and asked me to buy a school raffle ticket!!! And I said nothing, handed her $10.

    So, do I get the prize?? Get to know them???? I don’t think so–I already know them.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2021 at 5:46 pm
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      Hi JayJay, wow, that is terrible. You lived there for 13 years while Gene was alive? I’m so sorry to hear this. It actually makes me very sad. It really is a shame that not one person offered to help you. Also, to visit you after Gene’s passing. Hugs, from me, Linda

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  • November 13, 2021 at 6:17 pm
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    Funny that this article appeared in my email box today. My husband & I have lived in a 55+ mobile home community in SC for nine years now. Like the rest of these comments on this blog, some of our neighbors are friendly; some not. We have always tried to be friendly neighbors, so a couple of weeks ago we walked two doors down to stop in & say hello to new residents & welcome them to our community. They were very friendly, likewise, so we were immediately impressed how well that first visit went. Since then, we stop in & occasionally visit with each other for short spurts of time. The other day, I decided to prepare an online flyer for a “neighborhood meet & greet” here at our place next week, print it off & hand out copies to the neighbors immediately around us. I plan on serving some simple snacks & hot cranberry punch since I’ve set the time for 2:30 PM. Some of the invited neighbors have been here as long as us, or even longer; others are fairly new. I think this is a good mix as the oldsters can help the youngsters adjust to life “at the beach” & recommend restaurants, drug stores, churches, hospitals, doctors, fun places for entertainment, etc. It’s a good basis to become friends, hopefully, so that down-the-road perhaps those youngsters will be there to help the oldsters when they need help too. Wish me luck!

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    • November 14, 2021 at 6:58 am
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      Hi Janet, Oh, I LOVE this comment! I feel strongly that people need people (nice ones, LOL)! We really do need more interaction to know each other and help each other. Some people are lucky to have good neighbors, and you are one of them! The get-together sounds awesome! Linda

      Reply
  • November 13, 2021 at 7:02 pm
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    Linda,

    This is one of the most important articles you’ve written.

    Getting to know your neighbors is one of your most important preps. I’m fortunate in that my wife and i live in a neighborhood that is virtually 100% owner occupied–mostly by retirees. When we first moved in here I invited all of our neighbors to a star party, where I set up my 8″ computerized Celestron and showed them the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn among other things. We grilled some hot dogs and toasted marshmallows over our fire pit. The few who had children brought them and all had a good time. I never said a work about prepping but everyone commented on my raised bed gardens and chickens.

    Now, years later we try to get together for a block party once a year. We swap veggies from our gardens and fruits from our trees. We have formed a loose mutual assistance group. One of my more distant neighbors (5 blocks away) has a well. I have an oversized solar system and a solar generator. He can share water and I can share power with several other neighbors. We have all loosely agreed to help each other out if TSHTF. But if my wife and I hadn’t taken the first step and thrown that party there would be no MAG.

    If you don’t make the effort to meet people and get to know them, you won’t know who you can trust when things get hard. Anyone who’s been in the military knows the lone wolf doesn’t last.

    Reply
    • November 14, 2021 at 7:02 am
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      Hi Ray, thank you for your kind words. It’s awesome that you started the neighborhood getting together. Now it’s an annual affair. The connection is there and you help each other. We really do need to make the effort to meet people. You are so right about the lone wolf. Good one! Linda

      Reply

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