What is Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness?
Neighborhood preparedness refers to a neighborhood-wide effort to share the training, education and resources that each person has in order to prepare in advance for disaster on a collective level.
There is so much to do... So get some help!
To do it right, preparing for emergencies can be a full-time job with a hefty price tag. But, it doesn’t have to be that way when you make it a collaborative effort among your neighbors. Many of the skills and equipment you will need in an emergency may already exist in your neighborhood. Use the Neighborhood Resource Inventory on the following page to easily compile of list of neighbors, equipment and skills each neighbor can offer to help in the recovery effort.
Coordinate with Neighbors
- Work with your neighbors to compile a list of available skills and resources. Make it a social event, like a block party - feed them and they will come! Put neighborhood preparedness as the only item on the agenda.
- Don’t be discouraged if the resulting list seems small — creativity and innovation are your most valuable resources!
- Camping gear such as tents, canopies and cooking stoves can be used for temporary shelter, a feeding station, first aid station, pet care center, etc.
- Individuals with a certificate or license for medical skills (MD, RN, EMTs, etc.), building skills (architect, construction worker, building inspector), utility worker or heavy equipment operator may be willing to lead in their particular area of expertise.
- Equipment and tools used for debris removal, home repair, snow removal, etc. could be shared rather than purchased. Be sure to include provisions for replacement, if necessary.
- Integrate this approach into your Neighborhood Watch Program or Homeowners’ Association. Don’t reinvent the organizational wheel; use what you have already in place.
- Invite the knowledgeable neighbors to teach disaster skills at a Neighborhood Watch or Homeowners’ Association meeting. Invite guest speakers from your local emergency management office, the fire department or the American Red Cross to discuss related topics.
- Start a “buddy squad” to check on elderly or disabled neighbors during and after disasters such as extended power outages or winter storms. Also check on children who may be home alone.
Start with What You Already Have
- Communications gear, especially amateur (ham) radio or citizen’s band radio, may be your only link to rescue crews, incident updates, local government or even others in the community if telephone lines and cellular services are down.
- Transportation such as 4-wheel drive vehicles, cargo trucks, boats, snowmobiles and ATVs may become the only means available to get through debris-strewn, icy, snowy or flooded streets.
TIP: After an earthquake, when pavement is broken and debris has riddled the roadway, a bicycle will be one of the best modes of transportation!