This is why neighborhoods all across the country are instituting a program called ‘Mapping Your Neighborhood’. The only cost is a couple of hours of your time and the willingness to step up to a position of leadership on your street. Mapping Your Neighborhood is a simple grassroots plan that relies on people organizing their own neighborhoods and building a network of contacts based on who lives on your block or in your immediate vicinity. Generally made up of fewer than 20 homes, a list is compiled of who lives where. Do they have natural gas or a propane tank? Is there an elderly person in the home, one who may need assistance in the event of a disaster. Are they on oxygen? How about insulin? Does anyone have a toddler or infant in the home? On the other hand, is anyone in your neighborhood equipped with a backhoe, generator, chainsaw or other item that could come in handy during a crisis. How about skills? Is anyone trained in medical care, maybe a nurse or someone who can give care to an elderly person or a young child? Does anyone have carpentry, electrical or plumbing skills? Anyone skilled in counseling, maybe a minister or professional counselor?
All these questions will be answered at your first neighborhood meeting. What is needed is for someone to grasp the vision of seeing their neighborhood come together and get organized on a very local level. Most groups also agree on a plan to check on your neighbors immediately after a disaster. Remember Y.O.Y.O. Only one meeting per year is really necessary and only then to update files. Some groups simply compile a list of their neighbors and make a basic plan while others do fundraisers to buy needed equipment like fire extinguishers, generators or community-owned chainsaws. How far you want to take it is strictly up to your local neighborhood.
To begin, contact your local office of Emergency Management or search online for “Mapping Your Neighborhood.” You will find information you can print off to get you started. If you want to contribute to your neighborhood, this may be just the opportunity for you. There is no federal funding, but most cities have someone who is designated to assist with disaster preparedness.
As always you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Other information can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.