Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?
Organized | Maintaining | Safety
In Numbers | Printable
with the changing times, our relationships
with our immediate neighbors are not like
the “good ole days.” Forty
years ago, the majority of women were not
working outside of the home, and thus there
was a closeness with our neighbors that
extended beyond the “Hey, how are
We had so much time for each other back then. We felt more like
a family. Where have those days gone? Unless we need to borrow
something, are having car trouble, need someone to watch the kids
in a bind, or your power goes out and you want to know if theirs
has too, we really don’t communicate much anymore with our
neighbors do we? Maybe now you are surrounded by rental houses
or apartments where no one stays long enough to get to know them,
or your neighbors may have such conflicting work schedules that
you are like ships that past in the night.
the case may be, did you know that you
could include your neighbors as part of
your emergency plan? Think about it for
a moment. You can double your power by
teaming up; “networking” if
you will. Organized neighborhoods can bring
about a stronger sense of security. Rather
than just planning for yourself, how about
making a secondary plan; pulling together
as a neighborhood. What if something were
to happen to the adults in your household,
but your children were left alone? Would
your neighbors know to look for who is
missing, or injured? Who would account
for them? Maybe you or your neighbors have
special needs that others are not aware
of (ex: people with disabilities, special
medications or medical conditions, the
elderly, people living alone, small children,
etc.). The reality of any emergency/disaster
is that professional help may be days or
weeks away depending on the severity of
the incident, and you may not be able to
wait for help to come.
is where you and your neighbors come
into play. A neighborhood network
can empower you to become more effective
in helping each other within minutes
and hours after a disaster.
a “neighborhood watch” program,
you can become one strong team.
For businesses, your neighbors
are of course those community partners
that you have a standing relationship
with, or maybe those who have not
been in contact with yet. Rather
than just planning for yourself,
how about pulling together as a
neighborhood/community. Just think
of all the scenarios where you
might need the help of another
you have your first meeting, you might want
to designate a Captain for direction/information
purposes only. When working with other families
on a topic such as disasters, you have to
try to be sensitive to each family’s
feelings and beliefs. Let families make their
own decisions without causing them to feel
guilty or apart for the group. The Captain’s
role would probably be more like a Liaison.
family within the group should
have a copy of each other’s
emergency contact list,
including those out-of-town
contacts. This list should
include emergency response
numbers and those of relatives
and friends that can be notified
in case of a disaster. It is
also best if each family keeps
their list next to each telephone.
children how and when to
dial 911. You might
want to write a script for
them to follow that contains
their name and address so
they can convey the necessary
information clearly to the
the best escape routes from
work and school schedules to
support accountability for
each neighbor/family member
involved should someone appear
out where each family’s
utility shutoffs are and
how to turn them off. Create
map for each family involved.
an inventory of each family's
equipment and skills
that can be contributed as
discussed in your first meeting.
you can convince
the greater your group resources!
useful items to remember:
However you decide to get started, organized and maintain your neighborhood
network group, just remember, it's ok
to start out with a small group.
As long as you have the basics, you are on your way
to becoming an empowered and more effective neighborhood.Like the
saying goes, "There is safety in numbers." How
safe are you?
your neighborhood, you may not have very
much success getting families to buy into
your plan of networking, and that is ok.
You can start out small with 2-3 other families
besides yours and go from there.
the families you think will
be interested and arrange an informal
the types of disasters that
are most likely to happen in your
area and how, as a neighborhood,
you can help one another in case
of a disaster; natural or otherwise.
the skills (ex: medical,
technology, language) and equipment
(ex: chain saws, generators, ropes,
car jack, water pumping mechanism)
each neighbor has that can be helpful
in an effective response.
if you want to go in and purchase supplies as
a group, or as families.
the special needs such
as those listed above, including
a list of doctors and prescription
information. How would you help
these neighbors in an evacuation
or other emergency?
forget to discuss planning for your pets too!
about the possibility of taking
first aid and CPR training as
a family or group.
an annual meeting preferably
in September after school begins when
you have the new school schedule, or
you might want to meet twice a year
- when the time changes.
over all your lists and
inventory for any additions or corrections.
- In between meetings, each
family could try to get one more family
in the neighborhood involved in your
let them know what your group is doing
and answer any questions they may have.
I think a great idea would be to have
a neighborhood pot luck/block party
in the spring/summer time and have
a more casual, enjoyable setting for
the topic of conversation.