Talking survival preparedness is fun when we get together with our fellow survivalists. We can wax darkly poetic on possible horrible scenarios and happily exchange tips and Web links with each other on how to pull our families through the Big One. It is instructive and we strengthen the social ties that will help us all pull through. So far so good.
But how about when we reach out to family and friends who don't prepare? We think the hazards are clear and the solutions just as clear, as well as being relatively easy to implement. But it is often frustrating to talk to these people as we get one of several replies: the Government will help us, that's too scary, we have supplies (1gal OJ, several old cans of food, 1.5 loaves of bread for a family of four), that won't happen (earthquake, flood, or wild land fire), etc.
I taught disaster preparedness and emergency medical classes for over twenty years so I long ago quit feeling frustrated by these retorts. I have encountered many people who literally burst into tears or fainted dead away when I covered these issues. I was very successful in “opening eyes” because I discovered what worked to get through to most of these people.
I followed good training principles by framing the problem in terms that impacted them while not raising their stress levels to the point where they spouted platitudes as a raised cross to the monster thoughts of disaster. Then, once you have their attention, then you can start to talk real world scenarios and preps without them defensively shutting out your ideas.
People pay attention to movies and books because they allow the viewer some personal distance from the stresses of disasters. Telling your friend that Helena could be devastated by a wild land fire in the South Hills is frightening as they contemplate having to flee with their spouse and kids through swirling, choking smoke. Discussing the issue in the context of the movie Earthquake lets them identify with the actors' reactions and response efforts with less personal stress.
I have found that humor works very well and gallows humor works even better. So did using mass media examples from movies and TV shows. Talking about epidemic flu preparedness becomes a little less threatening when you relate it to Dustin Hoffman's dilemma in Outbreak.
I have found two good Websites that offer disaster preparedness advice and tips in a humorous format that our non-survivalist friends can assimilate easily. Each uses a different approach; the article at the first site focuses on passing on tips within the frame of mass media horror and scifi movies while the other site, which is all preparedness info', presents information through the paradigm of a zombie holocaust.
The first site has an article that is a mad joy ride through tongue-in-cheek preparedness tips that will appeal to teens and young adults especially. The article reminds me of the Reagan era information pamphlet Meet Mr. Bomb that covered post-nuke survival so well ,and with such fun humor, that I used the booklet in a few of my courses. The illustrations and explanations in the DelSquacho article will have your family and friends laughing hard while they begin to consider the scary issues of survival. The movie allusions will keep the non-prepper's mind engaged while you start the discussion on how they can be ready for the unthinkable. The article is PG-13 or a “strong G” for language. The site is PG-13 to R for language, adult theme, and sexual content.
The second site, Zombie Squad (ZS), approaches survivalism from the standpoint of the modern myth of the zombie horde disaster. It is a membership organization that does charity work as well as conducting disaster preparedness workshops in their local communities. They even have a volunteer award program to further encourage their members to help their local community with preparedness. Membership costs $15/year and comes with the typical goodies.
Which preparedness lecture would you rather attend; the NGO lecture where you heard the same statistics and got a couple standard leaflets, or the seminar where the ZS members put on a great, fun show about how to survive when the living dead disrupt the delicate web of supply in your town and how you must try to be “The Last Girl” in a real life horror movie? They'd cover preparedness issues while keeping you strongly engaged in the show and giving you information that could mean life or death in a real disaster.
Their forums deal with standard survival issues, such as communication, as well as having one sub forum for personal survival experiences. Non-prepper family and friends can enjoy the Youtube video links and preparedness brochures from this site that mix preparedness with humor. The site is mostly G, with occasional forum posts going over into PG-13 for language.
We want to reach out to our non-prepper friends and neighbors, while keeping a low profile. Humor can do the job; it makes the subject less threatening for them and enables us to maintain some op sec as we are “only talking about crazy movies” not revealing ourselves quite so openly as preppers.
So go ahead, talk preparedness, just for laughs.