I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’ve read a few novels where small groups of preppers face TEOTWAWKI. I think it’s fairly clear (even in the fictional accounts) that groups do better than individuals in situations like this. Here are Prep-Blog we’re not really preparing for the end of the world or anything that sinister, we’re prepping for more likely events like the recent Super Storm Sandy. Things that happen all the time. Still, a prepping group could be a big help and a giant safety net. But how exactly do you form one?
After a lot of thought I’ve come to the conclusion that for my purposes, and with my moderate prepping stance, it’s probably fine if I have one or two close friends that prep and can make my closest four or five neighbors at least aware of the importance of emergency preparedness.
Imagine what a benefit that would be in just about any situation. If I had a couple of friends that were serious preppers (I actually do have a few) then I’ve got people I can rely on in an emergency that also know they can rely on me. Your house gets flooded or is damaged in an earthquake? Head to your buddies place and you’re safe and sound. Civil unrest getting a little too hot to handle? My friend actually has a place out in the country where we could hole up for a while. Of course that means I could get a knock on my door from him and might have house guests for a bit but I’m fine with that.
So what about the neighbors? The more prepared they are the safer the whole neighborhood is and by extension, the safer I am. I’ve always said that the more prepared people are the less panic there will be. If my closest neighbors are at least somewhat prepared to get through a series of bad storms or other natural disaster then I’m less likely to have to carry them through by sharing my stores. Also, if one or two happen to be gun guys then the safety factor goes through the roof.
So how do you go about broaching a subject like Prepping where many uninformed people may automatically assume you’re an over the top survivalist preparing for doomsday whose movements should probably be tracked by State and Local authorities??
I actually think it’s not as tough as you might think. First of all, in my experience when I have nudged close friends in the direction of prepping it has never taken more than a couple of mild real world examples and a gentle reminder that we live in earthquake territory to get people to stock up on food and water. Similarly a trip to the gun range (so fun!) has never failed to get people excited about shooting and a firearm purchase almost always follows. Without exaggeration there are probably ten or twelve families that have stocked up on at least two weeks of food because of conversations I’ve had with them. None of which were shocking or frightening in any way. It’s all about how you approach it.
For the neighbors I think this is a great time of year to bring up the subject very softly. It’s not too tough to strike up a conversation while your neighbor is out hanging up his Christmas lights if you offer to help out a bit. Mentioning the damage from Super Storm Sandy and how we’re all just one storm away from being in the same boat as the folks in the Northeast is an easy intro as well. Especially if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or earthquakes. I’ve had a couple of these conversations lately and they’ve always ended with my neighbor saying, “come to think of it, I should stock up on some extra food and batteries”. There you go, now you’re talking…
Now, I should probably point out here that while it’s great to encourage friends and neighbors to prep that doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to let them know the extent of your own preps. Personally I’m very open about the fact that I have extra food and water stored up, just like everyone knows you’re supposed to when you live in earthquake country (although very few people actually do). I also give a little “tisk tisk” to people who say they don’t, but I don’t overdo it. Leading by example is great, but no one should know the full extent of your preps. Keep that to yourself.
If you can do all of this then hopefully what you end up with is not a full on mini-special forces troop of preppers ready to battle the end of the world, although I do love reading these adventures in fiction novels. But rather a community of like-minded individuals that can rely on each other during times of strife and who are prepared to help themselves and others. If every community was like that we wouldn’t have near the problems we have now.