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Along with the many horror stories coming out of Ukraine have come reports of people helping people. We’ve seen videos of people from all walks of life stepping in to collect and distribute food and water, provide first aid, clear debris, and drive vehicles to help the wounded and displaced.
This focus on community and the sacrifices many Ukrainians are making for each other shines a spotlight on the fact that we cannot get through a long-term disaster on our own. We need to have a community.
You may have read many articles on what foods and supplies you need to stockpile in preparation for a disaster. However, another significant way to prepare is by getting to know the people in your community who can help in many life-saving ways. Reliable neighbors can be one of your best resources in a long-term disaster.
Emergencies often bring out the best in human nature. We have seen that time and time again in this country in the dedicated work of volunteers during horrible scenarios ranging from 9/11 to natural disasters. But they can also bring out the worst. Stark images of looting come to mind.
Since you cannot count on better natures to prevail, it’s time to start building your own disaster survival coalition. The idea is that you find a group of like-minded people who will share their skills and knowledge to help each other survive a long-term crisis.
Here is a list of types of people you should to get to know and, hopefully, with whom you can develop a trusting relationship.
First aid will only get you so far when it comes to injuries that might occur during a widespread disaster.
Since ambulances and hospital visits may not be an option when the SHTF, knowing the doctors and nurses who live in your community can be a big advantage. They will have the knowledge and skills to treat injuries and wounds and access to the medical supplies you may need.
Growing your own food is an important survival tool. But not all of us have the space or the means to grow enough food to last for a long time. Making friends with your local farmers can help you and your family in a time of crisis. Perhaps you can work out a barter system where you trade your skills for their milk and eggs.
Keeping your vehicles up and running will be a top priority when public transportation is down, and roads are blocked. Knowing someone who is a mechanic could make the difference between getting out of a dangerous situation quickly or not.
Downed wires are one of the biggest hazards in many weather-related disasters. Knowing an electrician could not only help you get your power running again, but it could save your life.
If the grid is down, how will people get the medications they rely on? Knowing a pharmacist may be the answer for obtaining life-saving prescriptions during a lengthy shut-down.
Police officers know the ins and outs of the communities they serve. Their knowledge of roads and escape routes, commitment to public service, and level of protection can save lives in a disaster.
Knowing someone who works in construction may prove extremely valuable if you need to repair walls, roofs, and windows in a damaged dwelling. Not only will a builder have the hands-on skills, but they will have the supplies needed to do the job. Once again, you can barter what you have for their goods and services.
Service Station Owners
There’s a reason many prepping experts say to keep your gas tank full as a way to prepare for an emergency. Gas stations may be among the first businesses to close when the SHTF. Becoming friends with a gas station owner may give you the time you need to fill up your tanks.
Our pets and livestock can face life-threatening injuries during a disaster, just as humans can. Who will you call for help? Building a relationship with your veterinarian can help when your furry friends are hurting. They also may put you in touch with people who can house your animals if you cannot.
Grocery Store Owners
The grocery store may be closed to the public during a widescale emergency, but what happens to the food inside during a crisis? Knowing the owner or manager of the store may give you the inside track to precious supplies.
Similarly, making friends with your local restaurateur may put you in line to get food when a disaster has shut down the business.
Sporting Goods Store Owners
These stores sell camping equipment, water purifiers, cookstoves, and weapons – all things that will be valuable during a crisis. If a widespread emergency has shut down their business, knowing the owner may help give you access to their essential supplies.
These experts have the knowledge of local plants that can serve you well as food and as medicine. Many of them already have an herbal medicine chest.
People who are experienced hunters can advise you on where and how to search for game. They also will teach you how to process, prepare, and preserve the meat.
An experienced angler knows where to find local fish and what to use to catch them. They have knowledge in making and repairing fishing gear as well.
Having weapons to use in the event of an emergency is one thing, but knowing how to keep them in excellent working order is something else. A gunsmith will be able to show you basic maintenance steps for your firearms and how to find or make replacement parts, such as springs.
At first, the need may not seem great, but teachers will be a valuable part of your survival coalition over the course of a long-term crisis. They have the knowledge, compassion, and experience to share with children and to help keep them occupied during times of severe stress.
As you look over this list, it may seem overwhelming at first. But the chances are good that you already know quite a few people with these skills. As you consider how to build your survival coalition, first ask the people you already know and trust.
Then, to fill in any gaps, look beyond that circle to the people those friends and acquaintances know and trust. And don’t forget how your own skills and experience will fit in to help others when they need it the most.