Financing Neighborhood Emergency Equipment Purchases


Emergency equipment can be expensive!

If you’ve been reading our recent posts or visited our “serious survival equipment” store, then you know that you could easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to be more prepared.


Who does this ladder belong to?

It’s easy to make financial decisions for yourself or for your own family. You know how much you value each member! Certainly, committed “preppers” are known to spend thousands to build up supplies of food, weapons, etc.; they even build secure and secret places to store them in.

When it comes to items to share with others, though, the thought process is a little different. Here’s what we’ve experienced.

First, you have to truly value the lives and security of your neighbors.

Being pressured into being a part of the group may cause you to show up to meetings, but it isn’t enough to make you want to spend money for their welfare.

Honestly, there’s nothing we know of that will change a “me” focus to an “us” focus. It’s either there, or it isn’t. So, if some of your group members seem loath to participate in group purchases, after appealing a couple of times to the concepts of cooperation and mutual support, you’ll have to let them go their own way.

People who do support the group can coordinate individual purchases to good effect.

In our local neighborhood group, it just so happens that we’re already “sharing” a number of items. For example, Joe and I have a tall extension ladder that was left behind (too tough to pack) when a neighbor moved. The ladder ended up behind our house (see the photo!), and now it’s used by any of a handful of people on the street; they just come and get it.

Other neighborhood items, stored at various people’s houses, include a heavy-duty dolly, a lawn-mower, and an electric chain saw.

It’s the same with survival equipment. One neighbor has a heavy duty pry bar (six feet long); another has a pair of giant shears (for breaking padlocks!), and we have a number of solar battery chargers (described in our recent Advisory on communications). Some of our neighbors have golf carts that they have promised to make available in an emergency.

We all know about these items, and where they are located, and in an emergency we plan to share for the benefit of the group.

What about “really big” purchases?

Our larger group has made a number of more expensive purchases. You’ve read about our walkie-talkies and their batteries, the generators, and our pop-up tents. (Actually, I don’t think I’ve written about the tents yet. Watch for that one soon!)

Thanks to a committed and enlightened homeowners’ association board, our emergency team gets money every month via association dues. Even a dollar from every home in a community (and we have 300+) — whether once a month or once a quarter — can be enough to create a useful budget.

In the workplace, the same concept applies. An enlightened business owner will recognize the value of having appropriate emergency equipment and supplies on site, not to mention training. In fact, larger businesses probably already have a line item either in Human Resources or Insurance that would expand to include emergency preparedness purchases. You could head up the group to make recommendations!

Naturally, it takes a real campaign to get a financial commitment of this sort. We applied professional pressure (our background is in direct marketing!) and were able to make it happen, both in our neighborhood and in small businesses we’ve consulted to.

Is your group eligible for a grant?

We continue to search for grant money to support our neighborhood emergency response efforts. Our research includes individual insurance companies, our local branch of The Home Depot, and a couple of online groups that cater to First Responders. What we’ve discovered so far:

  • You need to be an established group, with an official non-profit status, ID number, etc.
  • It helps to have some particular or outstanding need – handicapped members, unusually dangerous location, etc.
  • Many grants are announced on a specific date. The organizations involved have a strict application procedure that may take months, so you need to start your investigation now.

One of our newest group members has experience with getting grants for cities. We’re working with her to see what we can come up with – and I’ll report on our progress!

In the meanwhile, put together your “wish list” of equipment your group could use effectively. Your list will be different from other groups’ lists. Just the action of making the list will involve more people and likely uncover creative ways to turn it into reality.

What’s on your list?

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team



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