One of the questions I am often asked is “How can I get my friends and family more involved in preparedness?“
- I mean, they just don’t “get it,” and I’m worried about them.
- They think I’m nuts.
- I don’t want to scare them.
While there are a LOT of answers to this–and some people who may never be interested no matter what you do–I have one suggestion that I believe will work for many.
Quick Prepardness Story
When I was first married, my mom gave me a three-month (or was it one month?) supply of food from the LDS Home Storage Center. Not the most exciting gift, right? And to tell you the truth, it didn’t get me all excited at all. That was not a memorable moment on the video camera.
But I was grateful. I was. I knew deep down that I should be better prepared. I just didn’t want to have to spend any time and money on it.
So while that gift didn’t immediately spark a crazy desire in me to go out and start spending hours and hundreds of dollars on preparedness stuff, it did break down the wall I had against working on it just a bit. It did bring some peace of mind.
And eventually, that gift was one piece of the puzzle that led (about three years later) to my getting more seriously interested in emergency preparedness when my twin boys were born.
I believe that many of your friends and family are in the same boat:
They know they should work on emergency preparedness, but they don’t want to spend time or money on it.
Maybe it scares them a bit or seems overwhelming. Maybe it looks like a waste of money and time (I mean, what if you never use all that stuff, right?). Maybe they think that getting involved in preparedness at all means they have to become “hard-core preppers” and start learning how to build bunkers and fight off zombies.
Why Be Involved in Preparedness? How to Convince Your Friends
Take the First Step for Them
Get them a preparedness gift! You spend a little time and/or money, and get them started. Maybe it will spark a conversation. Maybe it won’t. Maybe they’ll bring it up in a year after they’ve had whatever you get them.
But since I have been the “I’m not interested in preparedness” person before, I’m pretty sure that many of them will at least be grateful and find some peace of mind from your gift.
But Be Careful
You don’t want to scare them off. Get the wrong gift and you will only reinforce the expensive, obsessive, bunker building, zombie fighting stereotypes!
Make sure your gift:
- Is something they will reasonably use in the next few years even without a HUGE disaster so they can learn that preparedness isn’t just a waste of money and time.
- Is reasonably priced–so you can afford it AND so that they can see that not all preparedness supplies drain your pocketbook.
- In addition, I highly suggest you include a card with your gift that expresses how much you care about that person, and why you think the item you’ve bought would be a good thing for their family–including both everyday and emergency reasons. Then, offer to answer questions they may have about preparedness.
5 Suggestions for Convincing Someone to Be Involved in Preparedness
Here are five suggestions that meet the criteria above (with the exception of the card–you will have to take care of that!).
1. Red Cross Black Out Buddy
This little guy is a favorite of mine! I’ve given one to all my family members, and I own seven or eight myself.
It’s great because it can work as an everyday night light–and your friends and family will be able to use it NOW. Put one in your kid’s bedrooms to keep the monsters away. Put one in the bathroom or hallway in case someone needs to get up in the middle of the night.
But it doesn’t have to be a night light either. We keep one in our bedroom but have the night light functionality turned off because we like it dark.
If the power goes out, all the blackout buddies in your home that are plugged in will automatically light up, giving you immediate light if there is a power outage after dark, without having to search for a flashlight.
But pull it out of the socket and you have just that–a flashlight to get you around your house!
It is reasonably priced (typically around $15 for one or $20 for a pack of two). Find it HERE on Amazon (affiliate).
2. Butane Stove
I own three of these and have given one to my parents and each of my siblings.
I love this for camping. I like that it is just one burner. The double burner propane camp stoves made it difficult to fit and use two larger pots at once. Plus, if I only needed one burner, I still had to bring the double burner propane stove.
With this single burner butane unit, I can pack just one or all three depending on what I’m planning to cook, and they hold large pots well.
Use it in a power outage! Yes, some people (me!) use a gas stovetop every day that can be used in a power outage. But what if the gas lines are down too? Or what if you have an electric stove? Or what if you have a gas stove with an electric start, and you don’t know how to start it manually?
This butane stove can be safely used indoors (with a window open just to be safe). This is what you’ll see used at hotels or conference centers when they have in-house cooking demos.
You can find these at various camping stores as well as on Amazon HERE (affiliate) for around $25-$30 ($20 on a good day). THIS (affiliate) is the one I own.
3. 5-Gallon Water with a Spigot
This is something I found I was missing back when I purposefully turned off our water for a few days. Since then, I’ve gathered ten or so.
We take these camping. I like having a hand washing, teeth brushing station! We’ve also used ours for lemonade stands and bake sales!
If the water goes out, I promise you will miss having a faucet! Pouring water out of a jug or pumping it out of a 55-gallon barrel just isn’t the same as having a faucet. But using a spigot lid with a 5-gallon barrel is pretty darn close.
If you live in Utah, you may be able to find a 5-gallon water container for $5-$7 at the local Walmart or Macey’s grocery store, and I have even occasionally seen the spigots there for $1-$2 dollars.
You can also find both at camping/outdoors stores, though the containers are closer to $7-$10.
Online, you can find the containers and spigots on Amazon, but the prices are crazy high.
If you must shop online, I would suggest getting your containers and spigots from Emergency Essentials. You can find the containers HERE (affiliate) for $8-$10 depending on the current sale price and the spigots HERE (affiliate) for around $2.
4. First Aid Book
A first aid manual is something that few homes have, but all homes should have. We keep one in our van and one in our house.
Almost every family (especially those with kids) will have first aid emergencies without any type of natural disaster or car wreck being the cause. Kids are kids and they get injured. Having a resource to turn to can bring great peace of mind.
This is fairly obvious, but there are many injuries associated with all sorts of disasters. To further complicate things, medical help will be slower in getting to you if the disaster is widespread. Having a quality first aid manual could be life-saving.
You can find quality first aid manuals all over for $5-$20.
Pick one that isn’t too scary or doomsday. Pictures and step-by-step directions are also very helpful. But you also don’t want it to be too detailed, long, or hard to understand as time may be of the essence. The book you pick should also have a clear, easy-to-use index.
THIS (affiliate) is my favorite basic manual, and you can get it on amazon new for around $12-$15 and used for less than $10.
5. Fill-Able Grab and Go Binder Pages
Yes, I had to put in a plug here for one of my own products! But truthfully, they meet the requirements!
Having all your important documents gathered in one place and ready to go saves time every day. You don’t have to spend items frantically searching through papers and filing cabinets before you head to the DMV, to get a passport, get the kids immunized, fill out school paperwork, etc.
I could go on and on…Having ID forms for family members readily available can help authorities find lost loved ones more quickly. Having insurance information right at hand means you can be one of the first to make a claim following a widespread disaster.
These cost just $3.99 HERE, and if you want to purchase multiple copies for multiple family members, contact me first, and I will set up a bulk discount for you!
How Do You Get Your Friends Involved in Preparedness?
Do you have ideas for:
#1 – How to get family and friends involved in emergency preparedness?
#2 – Gift ideas that meet the requirements listed at the beginning?
If so, leave a comment below!
11 thoughts on “How to Teach Your Friends to Be Involved in Preparedness”
Back in 2006, a few months before Christmas, I received my MAED/ CI. For this degree my action research paper (that’s what my school called the thesis paper) was on “Was my neighborhood prepared for a flood? “ With this paper fresh in my mind, the Christmas gifts I gave that year were gift bags with items for 72 hour kits plus a letter explaining why, that after spending so much time on emergency preparedness I felt the need too share what I learned with my family. I also gave them a checklist of everything they needed, encouraging them to complete their kits along with a current copy of Emergency Essentials catalog. I have later learned that many of them did complete their kit. Yay!
Great story Sheena! Love it!
I decided this Xmas to prepare a “Get home bag” for each family member. This will help them get started and realize the importance of being prepared.
Hello Misty! I have been encouraging my family members to get their amateur radio license but have had very little response so I sweetened the deal. The little Baofeng radios are not that expensive, they can be bought for under $30, and are a great entry level radio into the hobby. Now my grandson is in the class so I may get the opportunity to buy him his first radio!
Also watch for deals! I picked up a bunch of the spigots for the 5 gallon jugs for like 10 cents each on a closeout. My wife thought I was nuts to bring home 10 of them! Now I wish I would have bought more! That next summer, we broke 2 spigots on our own 5 gallon jugs and we also gave them to our kids when they bought the jugs for camping. I think I still have a few left but if I find another deal like that, I’ll grab some more!
Great tips and thoughts Robert. Thank you!
When talking about prepping don’t discuss end of the world scenarios. Pick a simple example of a time you used your preps. “We were sure glad we had extra groceries on hand when the engine on the car blew and we had a $2000 repair bill”. Or, “last winter when that ice storm knocked out our power for a week I blessed my butane stove.” People are more likely to listen when it is a scenario they can relate to.
Couldn’t agree more! These quite honestly are the types of things that actually happen most often anyway!
I’ve found it’s easier to get the kids involved than my spouse. But when a wild fire caused an immediate evacuation of our home and my spouse was home alone with the dogs it all became very real very quick. The Sheriff said, “You need to leave NOW! Get in your car and get out!!” She didn’t know what to grab, so she put the two dogs on leashes and went to the car and drove away taking nothing with her. She then called me at work and told me what happened and asked if there was anything she should have grabbed. I told her some specific older family pictures are not replaceable. She returned home and grabbed them and then departed again. That woke her up. Our son and I had bugout bags prepared, but now she’s interested in being more prepared with the document folder, etc.
Sometimes being faced with a situation you aren’t prepared for is the only way to wake some people up. HOpefully your home was okay!
I found a great quote that I would like to share with you because I know you are also LDS. I wonder if obedience is as much a key element to having food storage and being prepared.
“Can Food Storage Serve as a Protective Shield? Have you considered the possibility that having your food storage on hand might actually be serving as a protective shield, causing the Lord to turn away events and situations which might be harmful to you and your family? We must never lose sight of the fact that Heavenly Father rewards obedience in various ways.” Neil H. Leash, “Prophetic Statements on Food Storage, pg 134”.
Love this thought Cheryl! And I believe it to be true!