Have you mapped your neighborhood?

The author and her husband host a "map your neighborhood" meeting.
The author and her spouse lead a “map your neighborhood” meeting.

Living here in the Pacific Northwest we are routinely reminded that “the big one” is heading our way. And if you happen to chat with a geologist as often as I, it isn’t about if, but rather when that major earthquake will arrive. That’s not to say that we aren’t also vulnerable to a host of other emergencies: fires, windstorms, power outages and floods.

And while you may be prepared in your workplace for such events, today we ask the question: is your neighborhood ready? Our emergency responders remind us that we need to be prepared to help ourselves when our 911 systems are overwhelmed. And that is the beauty of the well-designed and fairly simple “map your neighborhood” program.

Map your neighborhood was designed years ago in Washington State, and has been successfully implemented across the country in efforts to better prepare neighborhoods and communities for when disaster strikes. Many communities throughout Oregon and Washington have taken advantage of this free-to-use program. The program relies on small groups of neighbors meeting and planning together how they will respond when disaster strikes.

Some of the key steps of the program include:

  • Watch a freely available video for information on planning.
  • Learn the nine steps to take immediately after disaster strikes.
  • Learn skills and equipment each neighbor has that are helpful in responding to a disaster.
  • Create a contact list and neighborhood map showing locations of neighbors who may need special help, and of natural gas and propane tanks that may need to be shut off.
  • Learn how to work together as a team in the first hours after a major emergency strikes.

Many of us are safety, health and wellness practitioners with a role in planning, preventing and responding to emergencies in our workplaces. Doesn’t it make sense that we too take a role in helping map the neighborhoods where we live? Watch the video and get started now! After all, September is National Preparedness Month. Let us know how it goes.

Find Map your Neighborhood Materials
Map you Neighborhood Discussion Guide
OccHealthSci topic: Emergency Preparedness in the Workplace