There is no question about it. I am a some-times recluse. I enjoy my home, my dog and my little family of two and can go for days without talking to anyone else outside these four walls. Given a choice of staying home and watching a classic period piece on TV or going to a party with dozens of people, well, the choice for me is clear.
Yet from time to time, it feels good to be a social butterfly. Get me out on the dance floor or at a small gathering and I will bloom and shine. And so it is. We as humans crave our privacy while at the same time we long for the intensiveness of a satisfying social experience.
So how do we find the right balance, especially when it comes to living the preparedness lifestyle? On the one hand we need to feel secure that our “stuff” is safe and that out painstakingly gathered preps will be there for our use when and if we need them. On the other hand, we need to defend ourselves, our homes and our loved ones from physical harm. Is this something we can do on our own in isolation or would we be better served with some help?
Whose Your Neighbor?
Over the years, being a good neighbor has become somewhat of a cliché. A good neighbor watches the house when you are gone, loans you a cup of sugar when you run out and babysits your pooch while you are on vacation. But cliché or not, a by-product of our modern society is that with improved communications, cell phones, texting, and the internet, people are increasingly interacting primarily with a digital device. And not only with the next door neighbor but with folks around the world.
Basically, the idea of a neighborhood has expanded and includes anyone and everyone with a common interest and not just someone who happens to live nearby. The problem with this, though, is that a texting buddy hundreds or even thousands of miles away will not be able to help you out in times of need. After all, a method for watering your neighbors lawn over the internet has not been invented yet.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
I would like to propose that for the purpose of prepping, we go back to the old-fashioned definition of a neighborhood and a community that is created by pulling together folks in close proximity and with common interests.
Wikipedia has a definition of neighborhoods that I particularly like:
A neighborhood is a geographically localized community within a larger city, town or suburb. Neighborhoods are often social communities with considerable face-to-face interaction among members. “Researchers have not agreed on an exact definition. Neighborhood is generally defined spatially as a specific geographic area and functionally as a set of social networks. Neighborhoods, then, are the spatial units in which face-to-face social interactions occur – the personal settings and situations where residents seek to realize common values, socialize youth, and maintain effective social control.”
The best of such communities are those where the individuals have taken the time to get to know each other by learning each other’s names, sharing emergency contact numbers and agreeing to look out for each other. This can be as simple as checking on neighbors after a storm, flood or power outage or as complex as have a well-organized block watch that will descend upon bad guys targeting the the streets after dark.
Okay you say, that sounds good but my neighbor is a beer guzzling jerk and I want nothing to do with him.
Fine. Like family, you can not always pick your neighbors and again, like family, you may not even like them. But that does not mean you should not nod a hello from time to time. After all, this very same neighbor may be the one to call the cops when he sees a prowler or the fire department when he sees unusual smoke coming from your home. That said, it does not mean that you need to become friends or invite them for dinner. Just a friendly hello from the front porch or parking lot may be all that it takes to have an extra set of eyes watching your back.
Getting Out into the Community
There are many ways you can involve yourself in your immediate community without giving up too much of your personal privacy or personal security. (The more people you know, the more people you have watching out for you.)
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Participate in community theatre. No acting or singing required. You can work backstage, help build sets, work as an usher, or like Survival Husband and myself, be the featured dancers on stage during the annual musical production.
Beautify your neighborhood. Where I live, we volunteer to walk an assigned section of the trails system so that we can report hazards, fallen trees and other woes to the trails committee. We also also routinely pick up trash at a secluded pond frequented by those without regard for the environment. Many communities have programs where you can get outside, get some exercise, meet people and beautify the neighborhood.
Join CERT. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. This program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. For more information, go to the CERT website
Join the Red Cross. Talk about meeting like minded people and doing good as well! The American Red Cross (or the Red Cross in your own country) has tons of opportunities to not only meet people who care about preparedness and self-reliance, but also affords you an opportunity to do some real good helping those suffering following a disaster of crisis.
The Final Word
Being prepared is a lifestyle that involves much more that storing food, preserving water, and learning to use a firearm. Being prepared means having the tools and the where-with-all to face life and all of its hazards and impediments head-on and without hesitation.
It is my belief that to survive, people have to learn to rely on each other and what better way than to get to know your like-minded neighbors and others in your community? Working together and planning together you can create a more effective defense in the event of an emergency. Sometimes, the old saying about strength in numbers really does apply.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Bargain Bin: Couple being a good neighbor and with strong primary defenses and you have a winning combination. Here are some items to consider as you build up your fortress.
Uniden Bearcat 200-Channel Portable Scanner: A hand scanner with ham band for less than $100. Very portable.
Two-Way Radios and Scanners For Dummies: Gaye thinks she is a dummy (she is not) but likes the “dummies” books none the less.
Sabre Family Home & Property Protection Pepper Spray: This small fire extinguisher-style pepper spray delivers a strong blast covering an entire doorway. Offering extremely practical protection, SABRE provides distance from your threat with its 30 foot range. I like that it includes a wall mount. About $36.
Security Decals – 4 Pack: Security surveillance camera system warning decals/stickers. Increase security whether you have a system or not -no one will know but you. Less than $10.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Not a bad deal. Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries. About $20.
Defender Security System with 4 Indoor/Outdoor Night Vision Cameras: This will give you a good start on an exterior video system. Eight cameras are even better but this will certainly be a good start.
Motorola FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios: There are lots of good uses for the these radios. Handy while hiking, traveling, or simply keeping in touch with your partner while out shopping.
Keypad Deadbolt: Need a good strong lock? With this, you will never have to worry about locking yourself out plus, you can secure the deadbolt from inside the house.
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