The Best Ways to Help Your Neighbors in an Emergency

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Written by Laura Buckler

When disaster strikes, people are prone to rely on the local community for assistance. While it’s important to save yourself, the ones you love and your property, you should also consider assisting your neighbors.

Helping people who live nearby without jeopardizing your own wellbeing may seem tricky in extreme environmental conditions or another type of emergency. Still, there are things you can do without putting yourself at risk.

Talk to Your Neighbors

Communication is incredibly important in an emergency. One of the easiest and most important things you can do is talk to your neighbors in advance.

Establish some important information like who your neighbors are – their age, the number of family members, whether the family has young kids or people battling chronic medical conditions. Having this information will make it much easier for you to respond adequately in the case of an emergency.

You should also establish the right communication option in advance. Consider giving your neighbors a call to check in on them after an emergency. If a natural disaster strikes and communication networks are down, two-way radios will be ideal for the purpose.

Food and Basic Supplies

Emergencies make it very challenging for certain groups of people to get the required supplies for the purpose of survival. This is particularly true for the elderly and for disabled individuals. A single mom who’s taking care of her kids, for example, is another vulnerable person that will face hardships in an emergency.

Offer to provide your neighbors with basic supplies and food. These may include medicine, clean water, hygienic supplies and warm clothes.

The easiest thing you can do is check on your neighbors in the aftermath of the disaster. If they don’t have the required supplies to ensure survival in the coming days, you may want to offer a helping hand. Such a gesture can be life-saving for people who aren’t independent or who simply can’t leave their home.

Use the Skills of Other Neighbors

Once again, getting to know the community is essential.

While one of your neighbors may be a teacher, somebody else could have medical training. If you know the occupations and the skills of people who live in the community, you’ll find it a lot easier to offer adequate assistance in a time of need.

Make sure that you know whether a doctor, a firefighter or a policeman lives in the neighborhood. This way, you can ask for their assistance whenever someone who lives nearby experiences an emergency.

Open Your Internet Network

Natural disasters like hurricanes have the power to cut communications off altogether. For some people this means zero possibility for getting in touch with the outside world and letting relatives/loved ones know what’s going on.

If you still have internet connectivity, you may want to help your neighbors this way. Such a gesture is incredibly simple but it will allow people dealing with a disaster to request assistance fast.

Open up your network to the community. The same applies to electricity. There are numerous examples of people who have electricity opening up their homes and allowing others to charge their devices or store food in the fridge.

Whenever a natural disaster strikes, some of the simplest life necessities that we take for granted could disappear. This is why sharing available resources is going to be appreciated by everyone who’s currently missing the absolute basics.

Offer Transportation

There are many emergencies, including medical ones that necessitate a rapid response.

Knowing that you have elderly neighbors or people who struggle with chronic medical conditions nearby is the first step, as already mentioned. Make sure that these people know they can count on you if they experience a sudden medical problem that requires an immediate response.

In such cases, you should be capable of offering your neighbors transportation to a nearby hospital. It’s not going to cost you a lot but using your car to address an emergency could potentially save lives.

Volunteering to Rebuild the Local Community and Make it Safer

Members of local communities can do a lot to address emergencies and increase the resilience of buildings and infrastructure.

As a member of the community, you may want to consider volunteering your time and labor for the purpose of ensuring improvements.

Many such neighborhood organizations get formed in the aftermath of a disaster. If you want to, you can form a volunteering group in advance. Pinpoint the weaknesses of the area and the types of damage that could be experienced in an emergency. After analyzing the situation, you’ll know what to work on for the purpose of minimizing the risk of emergencies.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or jeopardize yourself for the purpose of helping others. Being an active member of the community, however, will give you peace of mind that you will also receive assistance in the case of an emergency. Don’t underestimate the numerous things that neighbors can do for each other and don’t hesitate to offer help when you’re being asked for it.


About the Author

Laura Buckler is an experienced writer with years of experience in producing content for a Scholaradvisor dissertation service and wide range of industries. Her favorite area of research and writing is personal development, sharing and motivating people through the written word. Follow her on twitter.

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  1. sorry but I not about to give my supplies away to someone who has done nothing to help them shelf.

    I would look in on an elderly or disabled neighbor. And supply transportation if it did not negative effect my supplies of fuel

    this is the old story of “the ant and the grasshopper” and I have heard in the past several time – “we will just come to your house”

    1. Hi olg guy, Certainly people should prepare on their own and avoid being dependent on others. That is the whole reason we recommend preparedness for any events. Definitely would look in on elderly or disabled people that would not have the ability to prep or lack mobility. Thanks for the comment.

  2. First off – big difference between a short term natural disaster type SHTF and a serious SHTF that most certainly will go extended long term with a sizable casualty count ….

    In either case you need to watch tipping your hand about prepping – fracturing your OPSEC is forever – exposing yourself in a minor SHTF will be nothing but problems when life & limb are on the line in a serious SHTF ….

    1. Hi Illini Warrior, Good point, distinguishing between a short-term emergency and a long-term SHTF disaster. This article was more focused on short-term natural disasters such as the one experienced in Houston during hurricane Harvey. We had people checking on neighbors, sharing supplies, generator power etc. One should still be careful and keeping OPSEC intact throughout either situation is important. Thanks for the comment.

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