Shoreline: Map Your Neighborhood

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

By Chris White,
VISTA Ready*Corps Program Assistant  

Community Services Division
The recent earthquake in Haiti is a devastating reminder of the unpredictable dangers that are often ignored, but remain a very real part of life. Here in the Pacific Northwest we face many risks of our own, from windstorms to flooding to earthquakes of our own on the Cascadia fault. While the loss in Haiti is truly catastrophic, we have a responsibility to make sure that such disaster does not come to our own neighborhoods and families. 

With that in mind, the City of Shoreline has been rolling out a community building and emergency preparedness program called Map Your Neighborhood. This is Washington State’s award-winning program designed to strengthen community ties and utilize your block’s existing skills and resources to increase the preparedness of your neighborhood. The three main goals of the program are as follows:  
  1. Learn the first 9 steps to take immediately following disaster to secure your home and to protect your neighborhood.  It is hard to think clearly in these situations and these steps will help you act quickly and safely. 
  2. Identify the skills and equipment each neighbor has that are useful in an effective disaster response. Knowing which neighbors have supplies and skills helps your disaster response be timely.
  3. Create a Neighborhood Map showing the locations of each natural gas meter or propane tank as well as neighbors who may need to be checked on after a disaster. 67% of house fires following disasters are caused by leaking gas. Checking on children, elderly and disabled well help protect those vulnerable to injury.
As important as these three goals is the way the program operates. While all of the information and materials you need will be provided by the City of Shoreline, the program itself is designed to be run entirely by you and your neighbors in your own home. This grassroots-style set-up fosters relationships within your immediate community and a community that knows each other looks out for each other. This ensures that the skills taught will be utilized to their maximum effectiveness, so you can rest assured that in either a major earthquake or a brief power outage your neighbors will be there to look out for you and your family with the proper tools.

For more information and to get started please contact Chris White in the Emergency Management Division of Shoreline City Hall at 206-801-2256 or email. With one 90 minute meeting you can make your block a stronger, safer place - so get started today.

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