H.A.N.D.S (Home And Neighbor Disaster Support) Group
If there’s any place in the world we should be prepared for overcoming a disaster, it should be at home, in our own neighborhood, and among our friends and neighbors. Sadly, I think this isn’t the case with most of us. That’s just my perspective and observation, but, in all honesty, my personality isn’t given to having a large social network. Nonetheless, very few people I (tactfully) screen for the possibility of networking a H.A.N.D.S group are anywhere near on board with the basic concepts of preparedness, or are inclined to network for a supporting group. As a society we’ve become so dependent upon the security of the government that overcoming mental hurdles, physical challenges, and social upheaval leaves many without the prerequisite of a self reliant attitude to even begin to face a disastrous situation.
History shows us that there is security in numbers. Having a trusted community where there’s mutual protection and workload distribution goes a long way to overcoming a disaster. Ideally, your home is as ready as you can make it for any possible disaster. For most of us it’s an ongoing preparation. As it should be. A little here and a little there adds up. We also learn as we go. Sometimes we think we need something and we don’t, and sometimes we learn what we really need. Of course, food, water, core temperature control, medical supplies, and defense are certainly a constant. Food and water especially. They’re perishable items. Core temperature control items such as blankets, sleeping bags, and clothes most of us have, are easy to get, and will last many years. Cookware, bushcraft tools, mechanic tools, wood stoves, bicycles, night vision devices, hiking and camping gear and many other sundry items can last a lifetime.
Really the hardest thing to find in a survival situation are people you can trust. When people get hungry enough, they will murder. This is the time to have a HANDS group: people that have come together for mutual support. With a HANDS group the daily workload and security considerations can be managed much easier. We all have to sleep at sometime and someone must stand watch. Growing gardens, mending broken items, cooking, gathering firewood, tending to livestock, and other daily necessities take time and someone has to maintain security for the group. People of different backgrounds and skill sets that have a desire to expand their knowledge can be a real plus. Then of course, without friends and family loneliness itself will take its toll and can easily end in death. The lone wolf usually becomes the dead wolf.
So how do we start a HANDS group. I don’t know that there’s a pat answer. Slowly and cautiously for sure. Everyone is different and will have to be approached appropriately. As I said before, most seem to have trouble realizing the reality of what most likely may take place. Yet, with recent events such as COVID, the Texas winter power outage, and the corruption that’s apparent in politics, more people are open to preparing. However, even with a rise of preparation consciousness, bringing people together is a difficult thing. There’s a stigma in modern society about mutual support and preparation for disaster. Throughout history having a community of support was normal. As independent as the frontier families and pioneers were, they knew they needed to come together for protection and fellowship. I suppose that only as time rolls by, and the future reveals itself will we really know who’s who in the time of trouble. Nonetheless, if we can start with finding a few likeminded folks, the better off we will be. Plus we may make a few lifetime friends.
There seems to be romantic thought of bugging out to somewhere when the going gets tough. There’s nothing romantic about leaving your home. The necessities of life are at home, the comfort of familiar surrounding and things, and being an established part of a community equal a better time (no matter how difficult) than being a nomad or refugee. The bugging out scenario seems most popular among young males without families or investment in a home or community. That all changes for the single guy when he’s no longer single.
If at all possible, staying home is the safest and most comfortable place to be when difficult times come. Getting to know like minded people in and around your community is a great benefit and comfort. On the other side of the coin, knowing who not to trust, and where possible trouble may come from is beneficial also. It’s easier to prepare for the known than the unknown.
Of course, wherever there are people, there will be problems. Your group will have to work out the who’s who. Teamwork means everyone pulls their own weight and does what’s best for the whole group, but there are always boundaries. Someone will always want to be the dictator or will expect the others to take care of them while they leach off the sweat of others. This becomes a whole different subject but needs to be mentioned in this article. Not everyone can work together and we need to be realistic when we’re looking for teammates.
There’s much information out there on survival and prepping. Some good and some not so good. I think the place to start is with just some good sense. You can look around your home and see what’s really important and where you may be lacking. From there it’s just a matter of finding folks who have had experience in places that live from hand to mouth. In many countries, they don’t have medical treatment available, they take a chance of sickness every time they take a drink of water because of the lack of water treatment, or they’re in a continual famine that may be from nature or man made, etc. There are those in the preparation community that have lived in places like that and have first hand knowledge to draw upon. If I may make a couple of suggestions on where to start, I think these sites will be helpful:
1. https://www.plan2survive.com This is a great place for someone who’s been doing this for awhile or for the newbie.
2. https://fieldcraftsurvival.com/ Mike Glover and friends at Fieldcraft Survival share good, well rounded information from fishing and fire starting, to overlanding and shooting.
3. You can get good information from James Wesley Rawles’ websites and books; Clay Martin books are great if you like it plain, simple and to the point of what can happen if SHTF; And, of course, reading the accounts of Selco Begovic is a must.
To summarize: A Home And Neighbor Disaster Support Group would be the ideal setup if a disaster should happen. Our homes already have those things that are needed for survival and comfort and is easily augmented with additional supplies. With the help of likeminded family, friends and neighbors, we add additional skills and a greater defense structure to our area of operations. It’s a journey, but I think these suggestions are a good place to start. But wherever the journey takes you, I wish you the very best.