So, yesterday afternoon, I get a frantic call from my wife - my 2-year old younger son had managed to lock himself inside an empty room in our new home, and she could not get him out. After suggesting a variety of ways she might open the door (she was not amused when I suggested kicking it in!), none of which worked, she told me to call a locksmith.

After hanging up the phone, I realized that a locksmith would take a while, and cost lots of money. Being an EMT on the rescue squad, I know the local fire chief quite well, so I called him. I know know he keeps a halligan tool in his car that would get him past the door quickly without too much damage.

Unfortunately, he was out of the village at the time. He did, however, give me the cell phone number of the police officer on patrol in the village, whom I also know pretty well. He stopped by the house and had my son freed within about five minutes of the call.

It occurred to me, that in addition to any skills and equipment that I might have accumulated over the years, it is the relationships with people like these, people nearby who are willing to lend a hand when things get tough, that will add a lot to my ability to survive whatever emergencies might come my way. If the power goes out, we'll all help each other. If someone is hurt or sick, we all come running.

Anyhow, I think that our relationships can be equally important to our survival during a crisis as our gear, and this small incident reinforced that. Going it alone is never the first option.