Who will share your limited resources in a disaster situation?
Like most things around the readiness discussion, choosing who will share your limited resources in a disaster scenario should be decided well in advance of the occurrence. You can be certain that events will unfold in ways that you cannot fully predict but it helps to plan for a few key possibilities and adjust your preparedness plan accordingly.
Decisions about resource-sharing will likely come down to three factors: Love, Utility and Force. Implicit in this conversation is the degree of Trust you calculate and assign to people at each of these levels.
Love has First Priority – these are the people who you would gladly share your last ration of food with and who you trust implicitly to do what is best for you and the other members of the family.
Trusted Usefulness – those that can bring something to the relationship of value to your survival and that you can trust to be fair and responsible in your dealings with them.
Dangerous – Untrustworthy or unknown individuals (or groups) who might take from you by force.
A new social structure could replace the current one in the aftermath of the extensive societal upheaval that may come in one of a number of possible forms depending on the type of disruptive event. Planning that includes a cold look at the real relationships we have now, and may have in the future, is a useful and possibly life-saving exercise.
A ‘Sharing Hierarchy’ is useful to gauge and meter your
generosity when you are in survival mode.
Loved Ones - Your immediate family and dear friends should be your primary, some say only, concern. Whether they reside in your household or are away and may return to the nest in a calamity, these are the ones who will provide the critical nucleus around which your new life will revolve. Of course, the contribution to the good of the family is a shared responsibility and each member must contribute as to their ability. Trust is key to this dynamic. Ask yourself if your spouse or significant other would fit this criterion when things get difficult or dire. A significant disaster will force some people apart while bringing others closer, either through love or utility.
Friends – Don’t confuse friends with acquaintances. It is rare for one to have more than a few good friends. Rarer still are those that rise to the level of dear friend. Most people we know fall into the “fair weather” category – good to have a cocktail with now and again but not to share your last bottle of water.
Extended Family - aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives, who live nearby. Do you love or simply tolerate the people who you are related to by marriage or other branches of the family tree? If you only see them at holidays and funerals, they should be thought of as possible trading partners but only if they bring something of genuine value to the process, otherwise they need to be told no. One caveat – don’t show Uncle Morty your cache of supplies when he is over for Thanksgiving or he will likely show up empty-handed when things get dire.
Co-workers – (see ‘All Others’) If it’s your domineering boss, karma is being served.
Distant Relatives – (see ‘All Others’) There’s probably a reason you never visited them on vacation.
Neighbors – (see ‘All Others’) The Europeans don’t usually trust or associate with their neighbors for good reason.
All Others – Just Say No. While some acquaintances and associates will be trustworthy enough to be good barter or service providers, most will assume you should share your stores and supplies with them because of your “relationship”. They will not be happy to be told no when they are in critical need and you will have to protect against loss of needed supplies to those who you might have once thought of as a friend. Unless they have a necessary Frontier Skill that you need, another mouth to feed takes away from the resources of your loved ones. The difficult decision will be turning away the children but we have a long history of ignoring starving villagers on TV so this won’t be that different. One man’s callousness is another man’s survival skill.
The exception to the exclusions above are the members of a neighborhood EmergencyReady™ Community (ERC) group organized in advance of a crisis made up of cross-supporting members who come together in an emergency and bring skills, tools and resources to bolster the group. Invite everyone listed above to join and contribute to an ERC group. If they participate, they should prove useful in a crisis. If not, they should be easy to say no to should the need arise.