Know Your Neighborhood

In a disaster such as a wildland fire, earthquake, pandemic, or other broad-based emergency, your most immediate source of help are the neighbors living around you.  The first hour is most effective in saving lives, reducing the severity of injury, and reducing property and environmental damage.  The reality is that most neighborhoods will be on their own for the first hours, days, or weeks following disaster.  If people have been hurt, if there is a fire, if property has been damaged, the real first responders will be you and your neighbors.  Fire, sheriff, medical, and 9-1-1 personnel will be overwhelmed dealing with immediate life-threatening demands. 

Contributing as an individual and working together as a team helps develop stronger communities and improve the quality of life in the community.  Get to know your neighbors.  Who knows what?  Who has what?  Who can do what?  Identify the skills and equipment each neighbor has that are useful in an effective disaster response.  Knowing which neighbors have supplies and skills ensures a timely response to a disaster and allows everyone to contribute to the response in a meaningful and timely way.  It is important that you become 2 Weeks Ready. 

How big should my neighborhood be?  A typical city block, corner to corner, both sides of the street can be 15-25 homes.  In a rural area such as Angwin, the “neighborhood” should include only as many homes as can comfortably be checked on in an hour or two.  When disaster strikes, we tend to respond to those things we can see.  At minimum, know your neighbors on each side of your own property.

This Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) Discussion Guide, prepared by Washington State Emergency Management, can help build and strengthen disaster readiness among neighbors.