5 People You Should Have in Your "Personal Emergency Kit"


They say it takes a village to raise a kid, but the truth is, it takes a village to get through life in general whether you have kids or not. And to exist in a relatively peaceful village, you have to ensure that you're surrounding yourself with the right people — especially for emergency situations.

I'm sure you can think of plenty of folks in your own life who lend a helping hand when you need it. That's great; keep them around. If you don't have these people, however, it's time you let your guard down and let some new folks in; you never know when you're gonna need them, but when you do, you'll be glad you found each other.

To help you evaluate who's missing from your "personal emergency kit," here are five types of people who can make your life easier in times of crises — plus a bonus guy who may be the most important of them all. (See also: Emergencies to Prepare For)

1. A Neighbor Who Will Alert You When There's Trouble at Your House

"Roseanne" is one of my favorite shows, and I love the episode when Roseanne thinks her uppity neighbor, Kathy Bowman, is giving all her high-end furniture and housewares to charity while Kathy and her family are on vacation. A truck, presumably from a Salvation Army-type establishment, pulls up to Kathy's house and empties it while Roseanne looks on in disbelief at her neighbor's frivolous "goodwill." Roseanne — spotting something in transit from house to truck that she deems too good for "charity" — goes over to the moving guys and pays them $20 for a tacky ceramic dog. Long story short, Kathy returns and tells Roseanne that she's been robbed blind, much to Roseanne's surprise. Excellent episode; that lady still cracks me up 20+ years later.

The moral of that anecdote is that good neighbors are hard to come by these days, so when you find one, hang on to them tight. This neighbor will help you rest easier while you're on vacation because you know they're looking over your home well, but they'll also keep a watchful eye even when you're away for just a few hours. This neighbor can collect your mail for you if you're taking an extended vacation, and call the cops if they spot strangers lurking about.

If you don't have a neighbor like this, get in one's good graces soon. You don't want to regret it later.

2. Someone Who Can Watch Over Your Kids at Moment's Notice

Those of you with kids know that there are times when you might need to put your kids in the care of someone responsible at a moment's notice to deal with any number of issues. Maybe you need to rush your spouse to the hospital in the middle of the night; maybe you just want to go to the supermarket in peace. Whatever the case, it's not a bad idea to create a relationship — preferably with another parent so you can trade off and establish an equitable rapport — who can serve as your go-to lifesaver when you need to pawn off your kids in an instant.

3. A Local Handyperson Friend Who Will Give Your Issue Priority

Picture it: Sicily, 1922.

Just kidding. That's the famous catchphrase of the "Golden Girls'" Sophia Petrillo – I watch a lot of TV Land, you guys.

Picture this instead: It's 4 a.m. and your toilet is overflowing, so much that water and other toilet-esque things are seeping into your carpet and hardwood floors, and you need this stopped now. Who ya' gonna call?

Hopefully your friendly neighborhood handyperson, whom you've treated very well over the years and sufficiently compensated for his or her time and expertise, will be on the case in a flash. Hopefully.

If this person isn't currently in your life, make him or her part of it immediately and be the best friend you can be. Unless, of course, you like the idea of trying to stop the rush of gushing you-know-what with your bare hands in the middle of the night. Diff'rent strokes, I suppose. (See what I did there? Too much TV Land!)

4. That Friend Who Will Drop Everything to Help You Out

You know how when you're moving and you need help carrying those heavy boxes of books up four flights of stairs and everyone on your contact list is suddenly busy? You can still consider those folks friends, I guess (albeit very loosely), but if they can't help you schlep your junk around town just for the heck of it, don't be surprised when they let you down many other times.

Instead, keep close that one friend who's there for you no matter what, no matter when you need them. This is the guy or girl who's spending an otherwise lonely Friday night with you; the person whose shoulder you can cry on; the one who will never judge you; who will pick you up on the side of the road when your car breaks down at 2 a.m.; the bestie who will bring you soup when you're sick; the amigo who will, in the same day, trash talk your lousy significant other with you then embrace him with open arms when you inevitably take him back for the fifth time; and above all, this is the confidant who will keep your darkest, dirtiest secrets safe and sound forever and ever — no matter how much somebody is willing to pay for them.

As you know, these kind of friends are hard to find and even harder to keep. You're extremely lucky to have this person in your life — and don't you soon forget it.

5. A Co-Worker Who Will Cover for You When You Can't Get to the Office

Late for work because you overslept? Can't make it in until noon because your kid accidentally tried to burn down the house this morning? Life happens, and these situations will go over much smoother — perhaps even under the radar altogether — if you've made a pact with an influential co-worker to cover each other when one of you can't make it to work on time or at all on a particular day. This person can bring your important documents to you from the office or help you finish up a few things while you're handling your emergency.

Bonus: That Dude Down the Block Who's Building His Apocalyptic Hideaway

You've seen him bringing in large buckets of rice and gallons upon gallons of water, lots of ammunition and firearms, tactical gear, and enough wood and concrete to build a bunker (which he is definitely doing); and you probably think he's crazy. That will all change when the zombie apocalypse comes, which just got kind of real by the way, and he's basically your last hope for survival. When that day arrives, he'll probably forget your name and leave you to fend for yourself, but it's not a bad idea to invite this dude over for dinner tonight, get to know him, befriend him, and eventually ask him to legally adopt you so you can have at least a little peace of mind when the ish hits the fan. This impending end-of-the-world scenario is hypothetical of course, but so was space travel at one point. Ponder that.

Do you have other people that we should have in our "personal emergency kits?" Let me know in the comments below.

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