Disasters are major events which can strike anywhere and at any time. In a disaster, traditional 911 and first responder capabilities such as fire, police, medics, and utility personnel will be overwhelmed and unable to immediately assist individuals.
Preparing your neighborhood is vital. Neighbors will likely be the first ones to offer you assistance. Prepared neighbors are more effective in their response to a disaster and have an increased capacity to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after a disaster. The City and CERT have developed a Neighborhood Radio Communications Response Guide to support neighbors to communicate needs after an incident to the City Emergency Operations Center.
Knowing your neighbors can give you a critical advantage during an emergency. Good community relationships can help keep your family and neighborhood safe and simplify your family communication plan. By taking these simple steps, you and your neighbors can be better prepared:
- Make arrangements with your neighbors to check on each other’s homes and pets when traveling.
- Find out what specialized knowledge, skills, and equipment members of your community possess.
Knowing what is available to you in the event of a disaster can make your response more effective. The Map Your Neighborhood Program is a great tool to help in your neighborhood. This program was developed by Dr. LuAn K. Johnson, PhD, Public Education Manager, Washington State Emergency Management Division.
The 5 Steps to Neighborhood Preparedness Program, produced by the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department is a great resource for those neighborhoods planning at the neighborhood level. Establish a meeting place and identify your resources and capabilities within your neighborhood. Currently we have a few neighborhoods working on their disaster plan. If your neighborhood is interested in starting your plan, contact the Emergency Management Office, to be connected with people in your area!