Emergency preparedness is done on many levels: Personal, family, local, state, and national. We tend to focus on the personal and family levels, at least to start. But we should also be thinking about community preparedness. Why?
You and I have certain skills and supplies for taking care of our families in a time of crisis. Generator? Check. Stored food? Check. Flashlights? Check.
But what happens when that oak tree falls across the road, or my child breaks an arm, or my generator won’t start? Who do I call when 911 is overwhelmed, or the cell phone network is down? That’s when I turn to my local community.
You see, none of us has all the skills and supplies needed for all situations. You may know gardening, and I’m a mechanic. Your spouse may know about computers, and your neighbor is a nurse. No man is an island, but that’s a good thing because it causes us to seek out each other and be stronger together than we are alone.
In our emergency preparedness seminars, one of the cool things that happens is community building. As neighbors come out to learn about gardening, for example, they can be heard discussing other things like grinding the grain that we grow, or freezing and canning that food. They are sharing ideas, meeting others in their community, and breaking the walls of isolation that our tech-heavy society has constructed. It is so heartening being in a room full of people having so much fun getting to know each other that it’s difficult getting them to stop talking so we can continue the class!
There are also people in our community who are in more vulnerable circumstances. The elderly and infirmed are the first people we should be checking on in an emergency situation. Some people have oxygen machines that run on electricity, and they have great difficulty if the power goes out. Diabetics have only so much insulin stored, and it does not keep for long. We need to know who these folks are so we can reach out to them as needed.
In disaster scenarios, we may have to get a bunch of people together to do some heavy lifting. Ice storms, tornadoes, and even thunderstorms can take down huge trees, damaging our homes. We need to know each other, and our capabilities, so that when such events happen we can pool our brains and backs and ensure the safety of our neighbors.
What are you doing to help build community in your area? Do you know how to contact your neighbors? Do you even know your neighbors? Now’s the time to plan, now’s the time to learn, now’s the time to build.
Come out to some of our classes and start networking with the locals. You’ll be surprised at the amazing people who live here.