Engaging Your Neighbors for Mutual Assistance

The repercussions from the Covid-19 Outbreak have taught us several things about the preparedness level of our family, as well as our local community, city, state and nation. You hopefully have realized that we have so far dodged a bullet with this first round of infections but we likely will not do as well if a second-round hits that affects our economy.

With that in mind, we all should have an updated plan and list of supplies, equipment and training that we need to obtain. As well as beefing up our own preparedness efforts, a very important thing we need to do is to start engaging our neighbors to build up the resilience of our community. In this first post on Community Preparedness, I want to talk about what Community Preparedness means and why it is important.

What Does Community Preparedness Mean?

When we usually think about preparedness, it is about our family. It is your responsibility to ensure that your family can survive a long-term disaster by having the basics covered like food, water, shelter and security within the context of our home. We next have to think about bugging out if necessary and that naturally leads us to think about being part of a survival group.

When preppers talk about belonging to a group, it usually means a Mutual Assistance Group (MAG) that has a location in the country that is setup to sustain a group of people when the normal world fails and is not coming back.

A MAG is a great idea and hopefully one day I will belong to a group or at least have some land that I can bug out too where I can start my own. In reality this is not realistic for most of us due to time and money constraints. So, for those of us that cannot be in a MAG, what do we do? We help to engage our community so that our mutual assistance group is the people in walking distance of our home.

Community Preparedness is the same concept as a MAG except applied at a neighborhood level. Community Preparedness means:

  • Working with, learning with, training with and preparing with the people in your local community to ensure that everyone involved will be able to survive a long-term disaster when the government and charitable services cannot come to your aid.

  • Assessing community risks together and developing plans to solve any issues that may arise.

  • Looking at the skills and resources each household has that can be applied to solve issues and help one another. Who has medical training, who has a chain saw, who is good at gardening and canning, who can do plumbing or fix a leaky roof, who can harvest animals and smoke meat etc.?

  • Sharing your knowledge and skills with your neighbors so that they too can do the things that you can do.

  • Answering the call for help whether it is a small personal disaster or a full-blown regional event.

  • Sharing Information on news and events to keep everyone informed.

What is Your Community?

Your “community” could be an entire neighborhood of homes, everyone on your street or even the 4 to 5 homes immediately around your house. The more homes that are involved, the more prepared your community is. The more prepared your community is the better you are able to provide food, water, shelter and security for all involved by taking turns doing the tasks needed for survival.

Your community can also be extended to your church or work. They may not be in your direct neighborhood but they may only be a few miles away. Your friends and co-workers have skills to share and resources to utilize when there is a need. They in turn can start engaging their communities to be prepared and now you have other local areas of people that you can work with towards survival.

Will All Households Participate?

Probably not but if the best you can do is 10%, then there is the 10% that you know you can count on for help. 

It will be hit or miss at first but eventually people will start to get involved and participate. They can then help educate and convince others to start preparing.

If you can utilize a paper newsletter, social media group, or an email list to communicate with everyone, they can start to learn about preparedness and see the level of preparedness of their neighbors increase. This will start to make some people feel left out and in turn get them on the road to preparedness.

One important aspect of Community Preparedness is how to deal with people that have chosen to ignore signs and warnings and when SHTF happens, will only have the capability to barely survive for a couple of weeks if that. We will dive into that some in a later post.

Why it is Smart to Get our Local Communities to Prepare

It is really good that you have prepared for your family but what if the disaster is a pandemic that causes economic upheaval and job loss which in turn causes food procurement and delivery to slow and then stop.

As more and more people get infected, maintenance becomes an issue with water filtration and the electrical grid. Three to four weeks later, crime is rising because people are not able to feed themselves and their families. As the saying goes, we are only 9 meals from anarchy.

So what seems like the smarter and safer thing to do if a catastrophic disaster happens that causes economic despair and civil unrest :

1 – Hunkering Down by Yourself

Lock your doors, cover your windows and remove yourself from any interactions with neighbors. You have a shotgun ready for anyone that has a need and you probably have to make an example at some point. You will be defending your family and your supplies from outsiders and possibly your neighbor 2 doors down 24 x 7. Your plan is to survive until the government shows up or most everyone in your neighborhood is gone.

2 – Bugging Out to the Wilderness

Pack up what supplies and equipment you can fit into your car and find a camping spot in a remote area where you will live off the land and then die of starvation.

3 – Surviving in a Community

You have helped guide your community into preparedness. Many have upped their preparedness levels with food stockpiles, equipment and knowledge in several areas. They have started gardens and are helping others do the same. You have setup a schedule for people to take turns watching the neighborhood 24 hours a day. You have people to help when you are sick or need a repair to your house. There are people with medical knowledge to help with physical issues and people that are growing medicinal herbs. You do not have any tomato seeds but you do have squash and corn seeds to trade with. You have community to help you survive. There is a plan in place for taking care of children until the parents can get home.

I think it is pretty obvious that #3 is by far the better option even if you cannot get everyone involved.


Having a prepared community ensures that all of those involved have a much higher chance of surviving a catastrophic event. So, what about you? Are you thinking about going it alone or are you starting to understand the importance of leading your community to a state of mutual assistance?

I am curious about your thoughts on this. Please feel free to comment!

Please also see the other posts in this series:

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  • Andrew Parks

    A lone wolf, is a dead wolf, as my friend Alan Kay likes to say. Community is everything.

  • One’s near-by neighbors would be ideal for a core community in a crisis. (a like-minded family 20 miles away is of much less value). A common hurdle is that one’s near-by neighbors are likely to include many folks with normalcy bias, if not an outright denial of a need to prepare. That hurdle seems to get lower after a crisis is underway. Like with the lockdowns and virus fears, neighbors who were previously in normalcy bias have their eyes opened. They’ll be easier to get onboard with community. The trouble is, they won’t have any time to prepare.
    This reality suggests that the preparedness-minded will need to prep for community members who are willing enough, but short on resources. An example could be: defense. The unprepared neighbor might not have equipped himself and done any range time, etc. Having a couple of budget “tools” to share could help that. The same could go for gardening. Having extra seeds to equip the non-gardening neighbor helps make them a resource instead of a burden.

    That’s my quick take,

    — Mic

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