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Contrary to popular belief, most preppers are not loners who spend their days perched in a rocking chair, shotgun at the ready, just waiting out for the Apocalypse to come. Most preppers are average men and women who you see every day, mowing their lawn, going to the office and paying their taxes. Normal. Everyday. People.

And just like normal people, they have family and friends they will want to protect and help during a disaster.

In addition, it makes sense to keep everyone informed of their roles and how they should respond in the event of a disaster. The importance of team effort for survival was reinforced after Hurricane Sandy. For example, a newscaster reported on a man who had run an extension cord from his generator to an elderly woman’s heater in a next-door house, so she could have heat for several hours each day. Other people swapped power for food, ensuring people were both warm and fed. Long before the authorities were on the scene to do anything, neighbors took care of each other.

Thus, during a disaster, teamwork is important. Getting family, friends and neighbors involved in a disaster plan will ensure everyone knows their responsibilities and everyone knows where to turn to for help, if needed. The old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place” is an apt way of thinking when it comes to involving your family and friends in disaster preparedness planning.

You can hold an informal meeting in your home and invite anyone you want; however, your Family Disaster Plan is the most important. Just be sure to ease them into it. If a someone is unaccustomed to a preparedness lifestyle, a sudden submersion in it can be quite a shock for them and possibly scare them off for good.

When holding the meeting below is a list each person, including children, who takes part in the planning meeting should know:

  • Why survival planning is so important
  • The most likely events for the area
  • How to best respond to each type of event
  • The importance of not letting stress lead to panic, confusion or poor decisions
  • At least 2 areas where everyone agrees to meet with outside the home. The first one should be in the neighborhood and the second outside the neighborhood
  • How to communicate should family and friends get separated
  • Contact information for one or more people outside the local area who can serve as central points of information when disaster victims are separated (i.e., each person calls the contact after the disaster to let him or her know they are okay and a current location)
  • An evacuation plan and route if ordered to leave the area
  • A predesignated emergency shelter for pets

Remember to hold review meetings regularly with your “village” because people tend to forget the small things as time passes and in survival it is quite often the “small things” that put you in the most danger.

This is especially true for children. Evacuation drills need to be rehearsed so they become second nature. If friends and neighbors are part of the plan, be sure to include them in drills and review meetings.

It takes a village to raise children. Likewise, it also takes a village to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in it before, during, and after a crisis.

Including people in the planning process is a way to engage them and get their commitment to implement survival tactics when necessary.