After I took the 2008 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, I took their Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) workshop. Then, I gathered neighbors on my street to meet. We shared contact information, learned steps to follow in a disaster, and listed the resources we could contribute in case of emergency. For example, on my block, we discovered which neighbors are willing to assist with a chainsaw, have medical training, or may need assistance.
Since then, I read the New Yorker article “The Really Big One” and Sandi Doughton’s Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. I learned that the 2001 Nisqually 6.8 quake lasted 45 seconds. A 9.0 could shake for five minutes. We may be unable to reach hospitals or stores, and lack running water, power, phone, natural gas, etc. for weeks or months.
MYN is an increasingly important program. First, scientists say The Big One is a question of when not if. We will need resources to live on our own for weeks; even winter storms have caused us to lose power for over a week. Second, MYN is a way to meet our neighbors so that we recognize who belongs. Third, it builds community even if we don’t have an emergency, so it’s never a wasted effort.
So please contact Lynnette Eastlake at firstname.lastname@example.org or me to say you will host a MYN meeting of 10—15 households. We will organize a meeting of “hosts” to explain the MYN program, and then lend you a DVD to provide a format for the meeting with your neighbors.
I also encourage you to take the 8-week, $35 CERT training. It’s a blast to use a fire extinguisher! To participate on our Emergency Preparedness Committee led by Lynnette Eastlake, contact her or me.