A Community of Disaster

New York policemen stand guard. Photo c/o Chris Hondros/AFP

New York policemen stand guard. Photo c/o Chris Hondros/AFP

Even hardened military personnel are taxed to their maximum ability when functioning as sentries for a structure round the clock. Regardless of how much military or emergency training one has, it’s simply unrealistic to think that anything less than 6 able-bodied adults can manage and protect a home in times of peril. Thus at some point it’s very likely that you will need to accept others into your home after a disaster that debilitates society as you now know it. Think about it. Let’s say that a home is “fully furnished” with a dad and a mom. In addition to the necessity

of keeping watch on your home, there’s cooking, repairs, fuel acquisition (wood or otherwise) and ensuring that some semblance of comfort and normalcy are maintained. I dare say that most adults already feel strung out to their maximum capacity. So adding a 24 hour watch to your home with just the two of you either won’t happen or it will occur poorly. Either way that compromises your safety, so you will definitely need help. But who you trust and rely on to be a part of your home/community could be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. As such, this decision could be one of life or death proportions.

The circumstances in which you take individuals in will be a primary consideration for your decisions. For example, if the disaster is related to a pandemic illness, then taking ANYONE in could spread death to your home. If the scenario is one of a nuclear nature, then ensuring that they are clean from fallout would be an important consideration as well so as not to bring any radioactive material into your dwelling or spread to the occupants. Most other scenarios that I can think of at this moment are going to require considerations of a different nature yet it is those that I want to lay out what are the two most important considerations today.

die-hard-movie-posterTrust. Although we usually see these types of scenarios portrayed through Hollywood, there is still merit in appreciating how cowards and incompetents compromise the safety of all others around them. Remember the business executive character in Die Hard who thought he would make a move with the terrorists and benefit his own life? Instead he compromised the lives of at least two other people. How many times have we seen a movie in which the person who was told to “stay put” ends up not following directions and costs others their lives? While these examples have only been seen in the movies, they are realistic portrayals nonetheless. Thus those persons you bring into your home and community must be trustworthy. You must be able to rely on them to have a spine, follow directions, and that they will not compromise your safety and survival. In most instances, the cowardly and bullheaded persons around us are just as dangerous as the “bad guys.”

You want people in your community who are willing to contribute.

You want people in your community who are willing to contribute.

Contribution. Anyone who comes into your community should be capable and willing to make a contribution to the survival of the group as a whole. This can be in the form of vital skills, the ability to help with meals and chores, and also in the form of supplies when possible. They also have to be willing to learn to do things in the way that you’ve created as you’ve pre-planned for your scenario. In other words, you don’t want someone to come in, use up your supplies and then move along. They need to be an asset to you and your community. In a disaster recovery scenario, everyone except the sick and wounded must participate in the safety, well-being and functionality of the community.

If it were me, I would recommend you making a list now while you’re calm and comfortable as to what you would expect from everyone in your community.  Then plan on enforcing it as much as is realistic in your scenario.

Obviously, being competent enough to judge and enforce what folks to bring into your community will require that YOU are properly prepared to defend and fortify your own. If you’re scared of your own shadow, you won’t exactly be in the best shape to play gatekeeper to your world.

Well, that’s my two cents for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this community matter as well.

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I think the only way you can trust anyone is you really gotta to grow up with the person.

I had my partner read the article. That is the comment he wrote. He grew up in a small native community. People generally don't live there unless they were born there.
As for a community, all people must contribute. Adults, children, even sick or wounded. Unless totally incopasitated, we all have eyes and ears to keep watch, read a book to a child, knit, sort, or listen to a radio,(if there is any transmisson), for new news. All people must want to contribute, and do the most within their own capacity. Our camp will not be for the weak minded. We have our "list" and have already let the folks know that they are welcome. As for anyone else other than family, I say good luck to them and wish them the best.

I was having a conversation about this recently, and find that it is difficult to decide what the best situation is--more isolated, where, as you have mentioned before, people would be less likely to come due to laziness,or in a more populated area where things could work out if people were working together. Either way, being in a situation where you have to constantly protecting you and yours does not sound pleasant.

This makes a lot of sense. One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. You need to have a situation where you can maintain control. Otherwise you have chaos. We do have to realize that we cannot do it alone. There is a lot to think about.

I am facing several challenges in in my preparedness plans. First, I live in the suburb of a major metro area. Second, our typical two income family is barely scraping by on one. And third, my husband is in complete denial that any preparation is necessary anyway!
As a result, all preparation is being done in tiny increments by my teenaged daughter and me, and being stashed away in "unlikely to be found" places. I have multiple lists and plans written down that I've discussed with my daughter and younger son, but we're nowhere near where I know we should be. Fortunately, I have many of the skills I'll need in a disaster, just not the supplies.

In regards to community plans. I have a good friend who is like-minded and has a supportive husband. I'm confident that in a "situation" we'll have each others back.Its not perfect, but its a start.

When you have done all you can do then you have to trust in the Lord to meet our needs. I believe he will multiply what we have if needed.
It is just me and my husband so we will have to pray Angels around our place.

More isolated is DEFINITELY better. I will write in more detail about this. But there's no doubt about it. Isolated is definitely better.

It seems at times like you are some how tapped into my thought process. I was just thinking about this while out bow hunting tonight. I gotta say i just don't know. We probably have adequate family members to put up a decent defese. However that would require a relocate to one house. Issue there is ours is probably not the best. However we have been working hard to have a lot of preps here. Not just food storage but food production. Things would have to be real bad for us to leave and when we did we would be heading for family. The good news is for the most part they all carry their weight. Well everyone but my sister and husband.

I think there is a lot to be said for a MAG setup. However I wouldn't have the first clue how to set one up and trust is a major factor.

This is a topic that I am very concerned about and have given a lot of thought but can't seem to come up with a solid plan. I agree that isolation is the best and I look forward to that post. We live in a very populated area, no family within 1,000 miles, and have a few like-minded neighbors who agree with the need for self-sufficiency and preparedness but unfortunately put it on the back burner thinking "I'll get to it someday". We are now working on extra supplies knowing we are a minority in our action and vulnerable in the event of a major situation as described in your article. Right now, our only option is to stay put, hunker down, and in a time of chaos I hope we will be able to do what we can. We are trying to make inroads to build camaraderie among those within our neighborhood (i.e., a couple of us organized a street barbecue and invited everyone so they can meet and start knowing one another), so if or when a terrible situation arises they may be receptive to work together and accept a plan. That is the best I can come up with right now.

Your articles/posts/links are immensely helpful to me and contribute so much to my knowledge base and preparedness planning. I read a lot about self-sufficiency and preparedness but your site has really opened my arena of learning and increased my perspective; impacting some decisions we've made that improved our preparedness.

I truly hope and pray that I can do so every day I write an article for you all.

Well I used to think Isolation was best now not so much. We are social creatures maybe it's cause I live alone but I'm not lonely. It might be where I live in Idaho, we have a great city. Yes we do have problems but our folks still tend to think with small-town attitudes. A neighbor saw myself , my mom and aunt clearing out my overgrown rose bushes. Came over and said he was taking stuff to the dump so just throw it in his "trash trailer". Now he had about 3 small things there in that trailer. Plus it cost him money to go and dump it. We did fill it up pretty full. It help me and it helped him. So I took over some homemade bread and some tomatoes. We can and do help each other out in so many ways. Get to know your neighbors, know who are wanting to live and grow and the ones that are there just check the block and are moving on. I think you will find that there are a lot of good, descent folks out there.
I met so many great folks from all over the US in the Army. Yes there were a few jerks but most were good people that invited me into their homes to share Holidays, since I had no Family with me, they took me in and I became family.
Now I have to repay that debt, even though my family thinks I'm crazy. I have to do my best because those folks did their best when I wasn't family.
Maybe it's the whole pay it forward thing. I know I can't survive on my own because of my disability. So I am building a support network. If it hits the fan some select folks that help me will be helped in return. I've done it and they have done trade with me and me with them.
Maybe it's the Army training in me to have to evaluate folks quickly into "Trust" don't Trust" categories. Maybe I'm naive, but civilization is not built on family but on a village or community. Family is a part of that but I have no desire to revert to Tribalism. Africa has that and we've seen how well that works out.
Sorry guys a history buff. I just can't see that running away to a cabin in the hills truly helps anyone. I think the folks that runaway are harmed by the thought. You will have to come down and trade/buy. Very few folks can make all life's wants and needs.
For example Typhoid breaks out, in you small town or home stead. Do you have Neomycin to treat it? What cause it?
Someone breaks a leg or arm, no emergency room, no doctor, no nurse. What will you do?
Disease always kills more in war or disasters than the original firefight or start of the disaster.
What do you do for pain, dysentery, operations? Remember 3 days if power isn't restored Hospitals can't do what they are supposed to do. Generator run out of fuel.
No trash pick up, The trash won't stop just cause no one picks it up. Then you get the 5 F's as we call it in the Army.
Even though you may be great at discarding filth. what about your neighbors? You will get just as sick from there filth as your own. That's why you need to get to know your neighbors and have a plan of attack. This is all pro-active what will you bury, burn and compost? Where will you do it? Think about it now, cause you will need to be ready when it happens.

Look how we responded to your despair online. I'd think we would do the same for folks we see everyday. I won't say we will all be able but you have save me several times. Sorry, but now when you are cut I bleed. I feel that about so many I have met here. After 13 years in the USArmy, and growing up a single family household, I don't think so. Perhaps I'm naive?


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