Without fail, disasters bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Some people are better prepared for handling a disaster situation, while others rely on their neighbors, the local community, and government response agencies for assistance.
As preppers, we all know how important it is to take care of self and family first, as well as personal property, but we might also want to consider offering our neighbors a little assistance in their time of need…who knows, they might just learn something in the process.
I know what you’re thinking…how can we possibly offer our neighbors help without placing ourselves, or our families, at risk? There are things you can do to help your neighbors without jeopardizing yourself, your family, or your emergency preparedness plan.
Communication is Key:
The sooner you talk to your neighbors the better. You can begin this process long before a disaster ever strikes, and it doesn’t have to be overbearing.
The most important thing for you to discover is who your neighbors are; take the time to get to know them personally. Find out how many family members there are, what their ages are, whether or not any of them are struggling with serious medical conditions, if they are pregnant and expecting, as well as what type of people they are.
If your neighbors are unfriendly, or socially stifled, then you may not be able to discover anything about them, in which case you should probably refrain from offering them help in a dire situation.
These are the essential items needed to survive a disaster situation. They are also the most difficult items for certain people to get when an emergency occurs. Elderly people may have trouble making it to the store, or getting the heavy things they need, like water. The same can be said for disabled individuals, or single mothers and pregnant women. These people are your neighbors, and they are vulnerable during disaster situations.
You can offer some of these things to your neighbors free of charge, if you can afford it and have the surplus available to prevent jeopardizing your family, or you can offer to grab a “shopping list” of supplies they jot down themselves and pay for out of their own pocket.
The best and easiest thing any of us can do is check in on our neighbors once the disaster has passed and the aftermath requires our immediate attention. If we find our neighbors in need, we should consider offering a helping hand. A small neighborly gift of a case of water, could truly be lifesaving.
Know Your Neighbors Skill Sets:
Again, this is an important aspect for you to find out about. Think about what they do for work, and determine whether the skill sets inherent with that career are transferable to the situation. For instance, nurses, doctors, and even nurse’s assistants can be beneficial during a disaster situation.
You might also want to establish a neighborhood wide, community based response for disasters. This will provide you with all the information you need about those living in close proximity, and will help everyone involved become better prepared for surviving emergencies.
Allow Others Internet Access:
Perhaps you live in an area that has several different internet service providers to choose from. If so, this could offer an opportunity to assist your neighbors as well. Most people think that the internet goes down during an emergency, when in most cases it’s the power that is interrupted, which shuts down the modem and internet service.
However, if you have a generator and your internet service is still up and running, you might want to consider making it public access for a short time after the disaster to allow your neighbors the opportunity to contact distant loved ones to let them know they’re alright.
Give Them a Ride:
If you have neighbors who are otherwise incapacitated, or who have difficulty during normal conditions, then you might want to offer them a ride when they need help. Remember, not all emergency situations are community wide, some are very intimate and personal, and you can help with these just the same.
Volunteer Services After the Disaster:
Get involved with community organizations and offer to volunteer. Cleaning up and rebuilding in the aftermath of a disaster requires a ton of work, most of it menial labor, which anybody in shape can accomplish.
You can also volunteer specialized services if you have them, such as construction, medical assistance, serving food and drinks, etc.