Join us every Monday for the 2014 Be Prepared Summer Challenge
Today’s Be Ready Challenge: Read about the Neighborhood Ready Plan and let us know how this might help your neighborhood.
Neighborhood Ready is based on the “Map Your Neighborhood” program developed by Dr. LuAnn Johnson of Washington State’ Emergency Management Division. There are currently 37 states and over 180 counties & cities are participating in this program.
In a disaster, your most immediate source of help are the neighbors living around you. These neighborhood ready groups are small, perhaps only encompassing the block you live on, and certainly no more than two blocks. It’s easier to mobilize a small group of 15-18 houses than it is to get a whole housing development to become vested in the process. Apartment dwellers can create groups based on the floor they live on.
Meet with Your Neighbors Before a Disaster
You could be creating a neighborhood watch program to complement the neighborhood ready program or have it work independently. Explain the program and its benefits. Enlist the help of your city or county office of emergency management. If they are not participating in the program you can download the information to begin the program here: Neighborhood Ready Booklet and here: Ready Neighborhood.
Have everyone fill out a skills and equipment inventory. Basically it’s’ a list of who knows what, who has what and who can do what. During a major emergency it will be crucial to know who has first aid training, where the chain saws are located and if there is an electrician on the block.
Map your neighborhood
- Sketching a basic layout with streets, lots and houses. It should include house numbers
- Assign each building a number (in order). This will let you easily match a house to the contact list.
- Mark the location of each natural gas meter (G) and propane tank (P)
- Create a contact list of your neighbors and match the assigned number to the contact.
Neighborhood Gathering Site
The Neighborhood Gathering Site is at someone’s home, though not inside because it is important that it is easily seen. The visibility will help remind everyone that they should come there after an event. A large front porch, covered carport, or an open garage will protect everyone from the elements.
Coming to this central location will help you organize an effective neighborhood response and reduce confusion. Be prepared to have neighbors show up that did not participate in the planning process.
The Neighborhood Care Center is inside someone’s home and is a place where children, the elderly and those with a disability can be brought so they are not alone and can be given care.
9 steps to take immediately following a disaster
- Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Tend to your family and their immediate needs.
- Protect your head, feet, eyes and hands. A bicycle helmet or hard hat protects from falling debris. Sturdy shoes protect from broken glass, nails, etc. Safety glasses protect your eyes. Leather gloves protect from sharp objects. Items to have in your “to go kit” CERT kit
- Check the natural gas or propane at your home. Shut off ONLY if you smell gas or hear a hissing sound. This is ones of the best ways to prevent fire.
- Check for obvious water leaks and electrical shorts. Shut off water at the house main and shut off the main breaker to your home ONLY if necessary.
- Place the HELP or OK sign on your front door or window. Posting this sign helps your neighbors locate those who need help first.
- Gather your fire extinguisher, first aid kit, flashlight, supplies or emergency kit. Bring these supplies with you to the Neighborhood Gathering Site.
- After steps 1-6 are completed take the items gathered from step 6 with you to the neighborhood gathering site
- Form teams at the Neighborhood Gathering Site:
-Team 1 – will listen to the emergency alert system (AM/FM) radio or to a NOAA Weather Radio and keep h=neighbors informed of what they learn.
-Team 2 – will check on neighbors who are elderly, those with disabilities and children who may be home alone. Escort them to the Neighborhood Gathering Site and/or Neighborhood Care Center if necessary.
-Team 3 – will check all natural gas meters and propane tanks and shut off the gas as necessary.
-Team 4 – will check all homes with the “HELP” card displayed on the front door or window, or with no card showing. Be prepared to give first aid. Trust your instincts. If something feels unsafe, stay out.
9. After your team has completed its work, go back to the Neighborhood Gathering Site. Share what you have done and the information gathered with the rest of your neighbors.
Thanks for joining us for the Be Prepared Summer Challenge – Just do one more thing to be prepared.
Other Be Ready Challenges:
Week 1 – Fire Escape Plan
Week 2 – Power Outage
Week 3 – Shelter in Place
Week 4 – Evacuate Your Home
Week 5 – Situational Awareness
Week 6 – Neighborhood Ready
Week 7 – Pets in Disasters
Week 8 – Vital Documents
Week 9 – Utility Shut-off
Week 10 – Top 5 Disaster Supplies
Week 11 – Emergency Alerts
Week 12 – First Aid
Week 13 – Day of Service