Neighbors Rescue Man! World Gone Mad!

Another emergency, another news story about ...(dramatic pause)... regular people behaving exactly as they normally do.

In Cape Cod yesterday, an ambulance got stuck in the snow on its way to help a man who had collapsed outside his home. Out of the haze, an untrained force of neighbors appeared. Five neighbors used snow blowers to clear the road ahead while the others dug out the snow around the ambulance with snow shovels. It took two hours, but the elite squad of regular people and emergency medical technicians eventually got the man out, and he’s doing fine.

I like stories like these, but it is always intriguing how they are portrayed as exceptional. We know by now that the people who do most of the rescuing in big emergencies are regular people. God love ‘em.

When I give talks about my book, people often ask me about how they should prepare for a disaster, what they should have in their “kits,” etc. I tell them: Put batteries in your smoke detector. Exercise. Get good insurance. And if your neighbors invite you over, drop the duct tape and go, man, go.

This year, I’m proud to report, we got invited to three neighborhood holiday parties—all on our block, and we went to all of them. Finally some advice I can follow while drinking wine…

GeneralAmanda Ripley