WHAT IS A NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK?
A Neighborhood Network (NN) is a group of residents in a geographically close area who have agreed to share contact information, special skills and equipment so everyone can stay informed and help support each other in the event of a disaster like a wildfire, earthquake or flood.
- First, a NN needs a Coordinator—someone to be the head honcho for organizing purposes. This responsibility can be shared among several people.
- All NN’s have a communication tree that includes ways to get in touch with each other. The trees vary in organization and content.
- Since many disasters can knock out the landline and cell phone systems, many NN’s use other methods of communication, such as Family Radio Service (FRS) and ham radios as a back up. FRS radios are fairly inexpensive ($25-$60) walkie-talkies and are sold at most electronics stores. For information about ham radios, please email email@example.com.
- Some residents plan ahead with one or two close neighbors and create a "buddy system" whereby each person agrees to take care of certain functions for the other if one is out of the canyon when disaster strikes. Your buddy might have a key to your house and be familiar enough with your possessions and property to rescue pets, turn off utilities, retrieve items of value or sentiment, care for children, and more.
- Because every neighborhood in the Canyon is unique, residents customize their NN structure to work for them.
WHAT DOES A NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK COORDINATOR DO?
Coordinators usually are people who enjoy organizing things and who are in the canyon a lot. Some smaller areas have one Coordinator while larger neighborhoods may have Co-coordinators with one or more Captains who are in charge of sub-areas of the neighborhood.
In general, most Coordinators:
Organize “block” parties, information meetings and potluck gatherings with neighbors once or twice a year to get to know each other and discuss emergency preparedness.
Create and update communication trees annually.
Develop (with assistance from residents in the NN) neighborhood disaster plans.
Collect updated information from the T-CEP Emergency Operations Center (EOC) regarding road closures, fire direction, evacuation plans, etc. Coordinators and Captains then broadcast this information to their Network via email, phone and/or FRS radio.
HOW DO I ORGANIZE A NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK?
It’s easier than you might think. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected to a mentor who will hold your hand through the early stages.
Collaborate with one or two friendly neighbors to organize an informational party. Distribute flyers to everyone inviting them to come to the party (hey, who can resist a party?). Use the customizable templates on this website for these planning communications or design your own.
At the party, gather everyone’s contact information and use your downloaded templates to create a communication tree. Then get a couple of people to share the ongoing responsibility of keeping your Neighborhood Network active. No special skills are necessary beyond the desire to help your fellow neighbors.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO GET PREPARED?
- Buy and learn how to use a FRS radio. During a real disaster, the EOC will broadcast up-to-date reports at the top of each hour on FRS channel 7. If you want to practice listening to the report and communicating it to your fellow neighbors with radios, please contact Neighborhood Network Leadership about how to best conduct a test. This will help you discover where you can hear the top of the hour report and who can communicate with whom.
- Learn how to use a ham radio and join the DRT.
- Take a Red Cross First Aid class and learn CPR.