Preppers for the most part naturally want to encourage others to prepare for disasters, and they generally are willing to help others get started. The reasoning is simple; the more people prepared for a crisis the less looting, violence and theft during a crisis.
Otherwise, law-abiding citizens may believe they must steal to provide for their family during a crisis. Parents desperate for food and water for their children will go to great lengths to provide that food and water.
Networks: Is It A Sensible Move?
Networks are not necessarily designed to help people prepare before a crisis although many are set up with this express purpose in mind. There is some debate on what a network actually is and is it to help others at large or only those in the network.
A network should for the most part be put together to help the community as a whole. Ideally, the network would be set up to help coordinate relief efforts. To help match up individuals with certain tasks. A network is a means to survive when local, state or federal authorities are overwhelmed and cannot respond in a timely manner
To be effective a network should be set up to help everyone survive an ongoing crisis and the aftermath. This is accomplished by having a system in place that uses everyone’s training, skills and knowledge collectively. Consider what needs to be done in your home and community during the course of a normal day, and realize that many of the same tasks will still need to be accomplished in the days after a disaster has struck.
The individuals in your network do not necessarily have to be your neighbors. Some people may not want their neighbors to know that much about them. You may have a dispute with your neighbors and simply do not trust them.
Use friends that may know someone and that someone knows someone and so on. A network cannot be set up in a matter of days. It will take time to established trust and friendships. You have to trust and they have to trust.
Doctors, nurses and EMT’s can help, while you in turn, help them repair their home if damaged if you or someone else has those skills and someone else can offer them fresh vegetables or eggs. You see where this is going. Take a pencil and paper, list your skills and then those of your close friends, and then look for other skills that will be needed by everyone to survive.
You can essentially barter using knowledge and skills as currency
You can ask people if they would want to be a part of your network. Approach it from a crisis standpoint and point out what the needs of people in the community would be after a hurricane, earthquake, or tornadoes. Tell them you are collecting numbers and ask if they can be called upon to provide help during a crisis. Inform them of course that you and others would in turn help them.
Inform everyone it is a community effort and everyone is working toward the same goals. Point out some of the problems the local authorities had during hurricane Katrina and super storm Sandy and the more recent tornadoes that struck the Midwest of the United States.
It is not recommended that you tell anyone other than family or close friends how well prepared you might be as far as supplies, weapons and ammunition. People during a crisis will act differently and you have no idea how some may react, so keep your personal preparedness a secret.
You should identify people who have medical training and organizational skills along with military and law enforcement training and ask them to be a part of your network. Additional skills needed would be in agriculture, animal medicine, carpentry, engineering and so forth.
Who Is In Charge and How Much Do They Need To Know
You will have to establish a list; someone in the group should be the secretary responsible for names, occupation and phone numbers/addresses. Everyone in the group will need the names and numbers so each individual can operate alone if need be. If you centralize control and information then no one can operate alone and if one key player is disabled or missing, then the network will fail.
Essentially a network is list of people who can be called upon when their particular knowledge and training is needed. Individuals in the group do not need to know who is prepared and how well prepared. It would be assumed that people in the group would be responsible for their own supplies. The concept is to use combined minds and talent to survive the aftermath when hospitals and clinics are shut down for example.
The “pecking order” will be the hardest to identify because some will naturally assume they are in charge simply because they are who they are. You will have to give gentle nudges and establish priorities.
Communications will be important so you will have to gather devices that can be used during the crisis that does not rely on the local power grid, cellular towers or electricity. Ham radios, two-way radios and Citizens Band (CB) radios are ideal for emergencies.
Will It Work
People will have good intentions and what seems like a good idea on paper has a way of looking bad in reality. The biggest downside to an ad hoc volunteer network is that you have no idea how people handle themselves in a crisis. Many of those in your group will be thinking during the crisis that their family comes first, and that will be your attitude as well.
When networks really work is during an extended crisis, after the initial shock has worn off and people have had a chance to assess the situation. Once people have gotten their “footing” as it where is when they will come together to help others. People with talents that can be used will show themselves and offer their services.
People that live in the community will come together to help rebuild their community after they have seen to their family’s immediate needs. If you develop a network with this in mind, it can work. However, priorities must be identified triage if you will must be performed to ensure the most in need get the help first. This may cause a strain because everyone’s problems are a priority to them but you will need to explain to everyone this is for the collective good and it is time to come together for everyone’s benefit.
Unfortunately, aside from the crisis your biggest threat during any disaster is other citizens in the community. Keep the network professional and stress it not a relief agency for people to come to for food and water. It may seem harsh but if you start passing out supplies to everyone you and your family will suffer.
Ensure you know where disaster relief agencies will be staging such as the Red Cross and FEMA, so when people do ask you can direct them to the appropriate areas and agencies so they can get some emergency supplies.
Avoid asking for or giving out too much personal information. People not prepared will naturally seek out those that are during a crisis.
PREP NOW-PREP HARD