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.
But First, a Quick 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.
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 pocket book.
- 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–include both everyday and emergency reasons. Then, offer to answer questions they may have about 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 like an everyday night light–and your friends and family will be able to use it NOW. Put one in your kids 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.
3-5 gallon water with 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.
Most 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 item frantically searching through papers and filing cabinets before you head to the DMV, to get a passport, to get the kids immunized, to 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 wide-spread 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!
I Want Your Ideas!
Do you have ideas for
#1 – How to get family and friend involved in emergency preparedness?
#2 – Gift ideas that meet the requirements listed at the beginning?
If so, leave a comment below!