This is important!
You need to talk to your neighbors about preparedness. Don’t wait. You can not do emergency preparedness by yourself. You might, maybe be able to get through a small, very localized crisis without relying on neighbors or without neighbors needing your help. But if you experience any kind of major disaster in your neighborhood or your town, unless you have already worked with your neighbors on some kind of preparedness plan, you will see community cohesiveness quickly break down.
It’s Actually Cool to Be Prepared
Talking to your neighbors does not make you a crazy person! The idea of preparedness has been in the news a lot lately. FEMA, Red Cross and many other agencies have been encouraging people to be prepared to get through three days of a disaster. In Sweden, the government is telling its people to be ready to survive one week without any help from the
government. A local government official said “I think it’s important that you can manage yourself. Society has changed and is vulnerable and complex with many dependencies. It can easily be any disturbance, so we have to [be able to] manage ourselves.”
How to start
Chances are your neighbors have already been thinking about being prepared for a disaster. But no one want to look like a crazy prepper, right? So no one talks to each other about it. So it’s time for you to break the ice.
Here are some questions you might ask to start the conversation:
- Have you done anything to personally prepare yourself and your family for a disaster?
- Have you thought about how natural or man-made disasters might impact our neighborhood?
- What do you think would happen if our town faced a long-term disaster or crisis?
- Do you think our neighbors are adequately prepared to deal with a long-term disaster or crisis?
- What do you think are the strengths of our neighborhood? Or individual neighbors?
- Which neighbors have special needs or physical limitations that we should be aware of?
- What do you think would be the most important thing we could do to help our neighborhood weather such a crisis?
The first step to any disaster response is to ensure that you and your family are safe. But after that, you will want to turn your attention to your neighbors. This will be especially important if the crisis is a long-term or persistent one (such as a pandemic or long-term power outage.) Working cooperatively with your neighbors will ensure that everyone will fare better than if we work off the “every man for himself” model.
Organize a neighborhood preparedness event
Once you’ve talked to neighbors about emergency preparedness), you’ve laid the groundwork for creating a neighborhood plan. Now it’s time for follow up. Work with your neighbors to host an event such as:
- Host a Map Your Neighborhood event.
- Organize a CERT training for you and your neighbors
- Meet with neighbors to create your Neighborhood Emergency Readiness Plan (or NERP). Los Angeles has a great website with step-by-step plans and templates.
- A Preparedness-themed block party. Invite local Red Cross, community emergency personnel and your church preparedness specialist to talk about emergency readiness
- Have a neighborhood disaster drill. With the help of emergency specialists from the community, practice with the neighbors how to respond to a tornado, train
derailment or other disaster.
God calls us to help those in need. That calling does not cease during an disaster. But even if we had no Christian duty to help others in need, simple pragmatism dictates it. Imagine if, during a major power outage or catastrophic disaster you and your family are the only ones with food and clean water. How do you think your neighbors will respond?
A widespread disaster affects us socially, economically, emotionally, spiritually and, of course, physically. For your family’s well-being, begin today to encourage and guide neighbors to be prepared for a disaster.