Are you missing the critical link to your survival after a disaster?
A strong community may play the determining factor in how well you come out of the challenges that lie in the future. Every good emergency plan should include a network of individuals who, as a whole, possess all the skills, talents and resources to thrive during a disaster.
Each family unit is unique and most have room for improvement. In spite of the flaws, this unit provides the best opportunity for each member not only to survive but to thrive. The family has effectively functioned for thousands of years with no comparable equivalent.
Throughout history people have lived in small groups or tribes, clustering together for protection, friendship, division of labor, food and shared skills. In ancient times, banishment from the tribe or community was a certain death sentence.
Survival rates significantly increase when a group of people work together. Rarely do you hear of one family intentionally isolating themselves from the group. The benefits of the group might mean the difference between life and death.
Your Community Must Be Prepared
No matter how well we prepare for possible hazards, if our community is not prepared, we are in trouble. If we are the only ones with food, we become a target. Could we really feed our young son and watch his little friends starve to death if we have the means to help, thus putting our own family at risk?
You may not have the ability to motivate your entire city to prepare, but you may have great influence over your neighborhood or social groups. Community not only blesses each other during tough times, but can lift and strengthen each other through the daily challenges of life.
Successful communities are deliberately built through planning and effort. They have long standing traditions, close relationships, and a culture of self-sufficiency. Everyone is considered family. They look out for each other and maintain ties that keep the group strong.
Some areas are routinely struck by disasters. The citizens choose to stay there and rebuild over and over again. That crazy determination comes from a love of a community and the residents that live there.
Design and Build Your Community
In a perfect world, your immediate neighborhood could be built into an ideal community. Most neighborhoods can be greatly improved by building and strengthening relationships. There are times and places where that is not a possibility. Sometimes it may be dangerous to develop close relationships with neighbors who participate in illegal drugs or other illicit activities.
Use wisdom in everything you do. Do not put your family in danger.
If you live in a dangerous neighborhood, build a network of like-minded people outside of your local community. Many preppers have a bug out location where they plan to evacuate to if the city gets too intense. It may work for you to buy some land with some friends and create a well-stocked home away from home.
In either case, that community of people is critical to your survival. A plan to ride the trouble out all alone is not generally a successful one. You might have the ability to build your own group and hand pick the members. Most of the time your group is determined by geographical location (neighbors or church members), birth (family), or some other variable out of your control.
A group of people will have a variety of necessary skills and resources. It is difficult for one person to have all of the necessary expertise such as; medical, emergency response, communications, small engine repair, carpentry, physical defense, baking, preserving, and gardening.
Combine the skills of 10 families and you will be amazed at the diverse skill set you have access to. This collection of skills and resources increase probability of survival.
The same goes for resources. Financial resources and time allow an inventory of valuable tools to be accumulated. A mature couple in the neighborhood may have acquired many tools, but may not have the physical strength and stamina to make the best use of them. A younger couple may be in the opposite situation, strength and energy, but no money for tools. Working together both can benefit greatly from the relationship.
Just as each of us brings strengths to the group, we also have limitations which make us dependent upon others for survival. Young children are completely dependent on others for every aspect of survival. A mother who is caring for those tiny ones does not have the time to devote to others in the community because her energy is spent on the children. She makes a valuable contribution, but her time is limited.
Perhaps you raise chickens for eggs, but just can’t bring yourself to slaughter the birds. This is where community comes in. You have a neighbor that loves to hunt and doesn’t have any issues with slaughtering and preparing the birds. You raise them and he slaughters them for the cost of a few birds to feed his family. Working together, limitations are eliminated.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, but it is impossible for each member of the group to contribute equally. Each must be the very best they can be in order for the group to be strong. It is important to carefully think these tough questions through.
A group may include several young children, while they are the promise of a brighter future, they only consume resources. These contribute to the group by providing love, hope, and a reason to work hard and provide for a brighter future.
The group may include an 80 year-old couple who you might assume is a burden and an expendable part of the group, perhaps even dead weight. While it is true that they may be physically weak and slow, they can provide valuable resources through accumulated knowledge, wisdom and possibly even physical resources. Their home might boast a 50 year old walnut tree that produces enough storable protein to bless the entire group through the year.
As you build your community, look for a variety of skills, experience, and resources to balance out your group. The best characteristics for group members might include; integrity, resilience, strong work ethic, adaptable, willing to learn, and a strong desire to contribute to the welfare of the entire group.
Be Patient with Community Members
No matter what your survival community looks like, they all have one thing in common. People and people are not perfect. The following quote by Jeffrey R. Holland puts this concept in a unique light:
So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you…. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. …so be patient and kind and forgiving.
This is some great advice from a very wise man.
Anger, hostility, resentment, accusations, and other negative approaches will not bring out the good in others. People are going to fall short of your expectations and make mistakes. That is just the way it is. Here are some suggestions to help you deal with the human factor in your community:
• The past is history. Learn from it, but leave it behind you.
• Work to become your very best. Allow others time to do the same.
• Exercise great patience and love. Lead by example.
• Acknowledge different viewpoints and consider the value of each.
• Follow with a cheerful, pleasant disposition.
• Learn to forgive others, as well as yourself.
Avoid Destructive Behaviors and Individuals
While you may not have control over everyone that is in your group or community, there are certain traits that are highly destructive and are not in harmony with a successful community. Selfishness is the root of most problems in society. It really is not all about you. We like to consider ourselves stewards of our resources, not owners.
Entitlement can be a very real threat from within a community or from outside it. One mother in our elementary school was overheard to say, “We don’t need food storage. We have guns and we will take whatever we want.”
Entitlement is a totally appropriate developmental stage for a 2 year old, but grownups should not act like toddlers. It is wrong and unacceptable for anyone who has passed that stage to think they deserve something that they have not honestly earned. Just because you are a member of a community does not mean you are entitled to property or resources that belong to someone else.
Appearances can be very deceptive. Are you at risk from those you assumed to be safe? For this reason, it is wise to practice a little operational security and not reveal all of the details of our plan to anyone, even in a healthy community. It is important not to make your family into a target. We can still work together without putting your family at risk.
Build Relationship with Neighbors
As a society we have become isolated, living on the same street or apartment building for years and never getting to know our neighbor. This voluntary isolation contributes to lack of a sense of community, depriving folks of great benefits. Life can be much richer when neighbors reach out and get to know one another, help each other, and build relationships.
Camaraderie promotes group resilience and survival. People in supportive social networks tend to have stronger immune systems and are happier. The healthier the culture of the group, the better the members deal with the stress of disasters and are able to recover sooner. We encourage you to help one another and be prepared to share resources and skills to benefit your group.
Aquire Skills, Knowledge and Physical Resources
Building skills and knowledge is an important factor in self-reliance. You may lose everything that you have worked hard to acquire. Your home, tools, food, everything may be gone in an instant. However, the knowledge you gain and the skills you master will help you to survive regardless of your circumstances. What you know is more important than what you have!
Physical resources are an important part of self-reliance. Provident living is preparing for the future while enjoying today. That means that you need to come up with a reasonable plan to acquire needed tools, supplies, and food storage. It may require sacrifice and hard work. It is well worth the effort when you know that you can take care of yourself and your family in the event of a sustained emergency.
Promote Self-Reliance in Each Individual
Self-reliance is an important characteristic of each individual in the group. Can you live off of your stores for an extended period of time without draining the resources of the combined group?
Healthy communities are not socialist communities. All resources do not belong to the group. Each member of the group first works for self-reliance and then for the success of the others in the group. They are not a drain on the resources nor are they sacrificing the basic needs of their family unit to allow others in the group to live in excess. Balance, wisdom and order.
Each member of the community should do their best to be prepared with; shelter, water, food stores, medical supplies, clothing, fuel, tools and home food production. Help each other plant food producing trees, vines, bushes, herbs and other perennial plants as part of the landscape. Grow a vegetable garden, even if it is only in pots on the porch. Share with others and involve the entire family.
Officially Organize the Community
A large group will need to be officially organized into smaller groups or blocks to increase efficiency. This works well for a single neighborhood or for organizing a thousand people. Divide neighborhoods into groups, or blocks, using geographical boundaries that make sense.
The sad truth is this, if you leave it up to someone else, it likely will not get done. We encourage you to stand tall and initiate the process. It is your neighborhood and you have the ability to make it a safer, better place. You do not have to do everything, just lead out and keep the momentum going. Once the plan is in place, it takes very little to maintain a healthy neighborhood.
Develop Faith in God
The Lord has power to do all things. He required this widow to prove her faith and use the very last of her supplies to feed a stranger, knowing that she and her son would soon die of starvation. This great act of faith blessed her and her household with food until the drought ended. Developing faith in God and learning to draw upon the powers of heaven through prayer just may be the greatest survival skill you will ever acquire.
You choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. We encourage you to be part of the solution. Prepare your home and family. Then reach out to others and help them prepare for the challenges in our future. Together we are stronger than we are alone. Together we will love life, build a better future and thrive when disasters strike.