A Guide to Organizing Neighborhoods for Preparedness, Response and Recovery


Developed by:
Volunteer Center of Marin
650 Gallinas Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94903-3620
(415) 491-8915

With a grant from: Northern California Disaster Preparedness Network

Index:

Organization/Structure Progression Guide
Using This Guide
First Things First. Make Lists! Get information! Don't Reinvent the Wheel!
After That
Setting up the First Neighborhood Meeting
Parts of the First Neighborhood Meeting
List of Materials for Neighborhood Meetings
The Second Neighborhood Meeting

Appendix

Disaster Resource Directory
Community disaster Councils/Neighborhood Disaster Committees
Job Position Descriptions
Suggestions for Slide Show at First Neighborhood Meeting

Organization/Structure Progression Guide

Local Neighborhood forms neighborhood Disaster Committee which includes a Chairperson and other neighborhood members who develop a Neighborhood Disaster Plan which includes a Neighborhood Coordinator who oversees Neighborhood Liaisons and Neighborhood Teams

Organized Neighborhoods form the basis for a Community Disaster Council which includes a Chairperson and representatives from Neighborhoods, local government, community agencies, etc. who develop a Community Disaster Plan which includes Community Coordinators, Liaisons and Teams/Divisions

Local Government/Fire Departments develop a Disaster Plan which utilizes Incident Command System (ICS) and Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) which centers authority in an Incident Commander who oversees Divisions which include Operations who appoints and oversees Designated Community Coordinator who works with Community Disaster Council Neighborhood Disaster Committee

Using This Guide

Welcome !!

This guide was designed to help you organize your neighborhood, using resources in your community, while avoiding the usual pitfalls and/or reinventing the wheel.

Materials in this Guide can be reprinted with credit to the Northern California Disaster Preparedness Network and the Volunteer Center of Marin.

As you use this Guide and develop new or adapted materials for neighborhoods or volunteers, please send a sample to the Volunteer Center of Marin, 650 Las Gallinas, San Rafael, CA 94903. We'd love to see what it evolves into!!

Some Helpful Definitions:

(it might help to refer to previous page - Organization/Structure Progression Guide)
Community: Any contiguous area where people live and work, whether defined by government or not. This includes apartment complexes, condominiums, regional neighborhood areas, office buildings, towns.

Community Disaster Council:
A larger network of community representatives from neighborhoods, businesses, local organization and community groups who work together before and after a disaster to meet the disaster needs of a community. This includes representation from organized neighborhoods within its boundaries.

Community Disaster Plan: An organized, written plan for disaster preparedness, response and recovery within a community, implemented through support of neighborhoods and neighborhood plans.

Neighborhood: A smaller area, determined by city blocks, natural terrain, social or cultural enclaves or any other way its residents consider themselves as a "group." There are no rules, but time of a disaster by one or two people.

Neighborhood Disaster Committee:
A "disaster council" within a neighborhood that finds itself individually organized within a larger, unorganized community.

Neighborhood Disaster Plan: An organized, written and implement plan of disaster preparedness, response and recovery for a neighborhood, involving neighborhood coordinators, liaisons and teams.

Neighborhood Coordinator: Person designated as the neighborhood "leader" for the disaster plan, and acts as the liaison between that neighborhood and other neighborhoods and the larger Community Disaster Council. If there is not a Community Disaster Council, this person would be the chair of the Neighborhood Disaster Committee.

Neighborhood Liaison: Person designated to work within the neighborhood or some part of it, with the existing neighbors, with new neighbors, conducting disaster assessments during a disaster, and reporting to the neighborhood coordinator.
Neighborhood Teams: Groups of neighbors organized and trained to fulfill a specific purpose during a disaster - i.e.: first aid or search & rescue.

Disaster Resource Directory:
A written record of all pertinent priority disaster response information used by the neighborhood coordinators and liaisons during a disaster.

Player: A "playful" word to describe any person with a major part in planning and/or response in the local disaster project.

Other resources:

There are many good disaster preparedness publications that provide information about organizing neighborhoods. Even so, many address only one type of disaster, and none of them address everything. One very comprehensive and helpful manual is "Organizing Neighborhoods for Earthquake Preparedness", from the California Office of Emergency Services. Another is "Problems and Pitfalls of Organizing a Neighborhood" from Personal Emergency Preparedness Planning in Pacifica, CA.

Remember - Projects Have Life cycles

A neighborhood disaster preparedness project is never complete. It is a process, always evolving to adapt to changes in people's lives. The project will always be in flux because of its nature, its volunteers, and changing technology.

Volunteer Management

Members of your neighborhood who participate in this project will do so as volunteers. Managing volunteers takes special awareness and skill, and nonprofit organizations around the country have developed techniques, materials, and insights on how to do this well. The basic components of a good volunteer program are:
1 . setting the climate of the organization so volunteers are valued;
2. defining the work that volunteers are needed for; writing job descriptions;
3 . recruiting volunteers;
4. orientation and training for volunteers;
5 . supervising volunteers in their ongoing work;
6. volunteer recognition;
7. evaluation of volunteers performance;
8. evaluation of the overall volunteer program.

These eight steps are an integrated cycle. For a strong and growing program, no step can be omitted. They are also a sequence. For example, volunteer recruitment should come after the work has been defined, and after the organization has reflected on the role that volunteers do and will hold. For more information about volunteer management practices, contact your local Volunteer Center. In the San Francisco Bay Area, call 1-800-123CARE to locate your local Volunteer Center.

Don't Forget to Celebrate!

It is very important to remember and acknowledge your group's accomplishments. Even small steps accomplished today will alleviate a little of the fear of a disaster, build a bit more confidence in handling an emergency, add to the ability to share disaster education, and make households and neighborhoods more self sufficient to deal with the first hours or weeks of a disaster.

Sometimes the scope of disaster preparedness can be overwhelming and create a sense of helplessness in people - even those who are participating in neighborhood preparedness efforts. Ceremonies and bench marking events are important components of any neighborhood disaster preparedness project. In addition to acknowledging individual and collective successes, they affirm our hopes and our reasons for being active in the project. Remember to recognize the accomplishments of volunteers, publicly acknowledge the group's progress, note special efforts of public safety officials, and mark anniversaries and special dates in your neighborhood.

Thanks For Your Work!

When you took on the task of preparing your neighborhood for disaster, you undertook a life-giving effort. Disaster preparedness, and readiness to respond to disasters, will result in reduced property damage, fewer injuries, and saved lives. The individuals and families who live in your neighborhood are already safer and better prepared because of the work you have done thus far.

Thank You !!

First Things First

Make Lists! Get information! Don't Reinvent the Wheel!

Before you start to organize your neighborhood, you need to do some research and find out what is already being done. This will save efforts, particularly if there are existing organizations that can support your efforts. It will also avoid misunderstandings with other emergency response groups.
Through this research, you will gain important knowledge about major players in your community and county and how they can help your neighborhood become prepared. You will be building your own disaster network.

Start by making phone calls and contact the following departments. When you make contact, be sure to record names, positions, telephone numbers, and other helpful information for future reference. This will become part of your Disaster Resource Directory.

A. Local fire department or district.
B. The County's Office of Emergency Services.
C. The local Red Cross office.
D. A local chapter of RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services).
E. The local Humane Society.

A. Call the local fire department or district
Your local fire department is an important player in any community disaster plan. In an unincorporated area, the fire department usually becomes the authoritative body during a disaster for incorporated towns or cities the fire department may take direction from the city or town governments.

Once you begin to have neighborhood organizing meetings, it is critical to have fire department representatives participate. Their authority and needs are the "carrots" that will your neighbors to meetings. When we say to a meeting of West Marin residents, "Our community has four fire-fighter/paramedics to cover 43 square miles". people are more apt to recognize the importance of increasing their own self-sufficiency and developing community organizations.

1 . Does the fire department have a disaster plan or program that includes organizing neighborhoods? If so, how can you become part of that program?
2. Are there other disaster preparedness groups, Community Disaster Councils or organized neighborhoods within the fire district? If so, how can you contact them to learn about their activities?
3 . If the fire department does not have a program or plan for neighborhoods, would they be willing to meet and talk with you about preparing your community for disaster?
4. Would someone from the fire department participate in your neighborhood meetings?
5 . Does the fire department offer disaster training for neighborhoods? If so, what kind of training, where, when, and at what cost?

6. Can the fire department provide disaster pamphlets, videotapes, or other resources for use at the community meetings? Are these available in other languages as well as English?

B. Call the County's Office of Emergency Services (OES).
Your county's OES works with governments, agencies, and groups within the county to promote
and assist in developing disaster preparedness. They may be part of the county fire or sheriff's department.

During a disaster, County OES coordinates the response of government agencies. Depending upon the magnitude of the disaster, it can call on state and federal levels for additional relief assistance. This could include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

I . Does the county OES program include organizing neighborhoods for disaster? If so, what kind of training, where, when, and at what cost?
2. Can OES speak at neighborhood meetings?
3 . Can OES provide disaster pamphlets, videos, or other materials for use in the community? Are these available in different languages?
4. Does OES know of disaster related organizations or groups within the county that meet regularly to share disaster information? If so, who, where and when? Could a representative of your community attend those meetings? Are there other disaster preparedness groups, Community Disaster Councils or organized neighborhoods within the county? If so, how can you contact them to learn about their activities?
5 . Has this OES office identified any potential hazards in your community (flood zones, earthquake faults, chemical companies etc.)? If so, can this information be made available for use in your community?
6. What government agencies does OES coordinate with during a disaster?

C. Call local American Red Cross chapter.
The American Red Cross (ARC) is mandated by the federal government to respond to the needs of citizens during a disaster. The local ARC chapter usually meets the day-to-day disaster needs of the county such as family fires, small disasters, safety and disaster training, and other services. If the local ARC chapter is small and unable to fill some of these needs they usually ask for expertise from another ARC chapter or the ARC regional office. If a major emergency occurs, trained Red Cross volunteers will be recruited from outside of the area to help with the response.
1. Can the local ARC provide speakers for neighborhood meetings?
2. What ARC Disaster Training do they offer? When and where? Would they provide these training workshops in your neighborhood? Do they charge for disaster services?
3. Can the ARC provide disaster pamphlets, videos, etc. to the community? Are these available in different languages?
4. Has the ARC designated any sites in your community to be designated shelters during a disaster? If so, which buildings or locations?

D. Call local RACES chapter.
RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services) is a national volunteer organization that is authorized by the federal government to provide emergency communications for government agencies during a disaster. Local RACES members usually work in the field and through the county Office of Emergency Services. Members can and do work within communities and neighborhoods during disasters.

1 . Does RACES have any member operators in your area, community, or fire district? Who are they? Can you contact them to introduce yourself and tell them about the plans for a community disaster preparedness program?
2. Does RACES offer training for new amateur radio operators? If so, where, when, and at what cost?
3 . Would a RACES representative participate in a community meeting?
4. How does RACES fit into the overall county or community disaster plan?

E. Call local Humane Society.
Some Humane Societies have developed plans for the rescue of pets and large animals during a disaster. "Animal Rescue Kouncil" or ARK is the name of a project formed by the Marin County Humane Society to meet the needs of both preparedness and rescue. They have also developed a guide for larger, barnyard animals.
1 If the Humane Society has a disaster program for animals, can they provide you with written information to be distributed at a neighborhood meeting?
2. Would a representative of the Humane Society speak at a neighborhood ?
3 . Do they train others to help with animal rescue during disaster?
4. If currently have no program, would they be willing to prepare some information that would be useful to persons interested in caring for their pets and/or livestock during a disaster

After That

All the above research will result in a lot of useful information in organizing your neighborhood. The next step is to
A. organize the information;
B. build a start-up team to help;
C. define neighborhoods within your community; and
D. set the first neighborhood meeting.

A. Organize and Ponder the Information from Your Research
Most of the information gathered will be valuable in proceeding with neighborhood organization. Review what has been gathered, and begin to think about the implications for your community. Is there a Community Disaster Council with which your neighborhood can connect with? Is there organized neighborhood training available through the local fire department or county OES? You have probably learned that some agencies and organizations have paid staff to help organize disaster preparedness and some have dedicated volunteers.

You have also learned that your geographic location determines the potential, inherent types of disasters your community needs to prepare for. Wildfires may be the greatest threat to some communities; flooding will be of greater concern to others. There may be more than one threat to your community. This information determines which threats to emphasize when organizing your community - or you can play it safe and emphasize everything.

The end goal for all communities is to be prepared to meet a disaster, but each neighborhood will get there a little differently. Recognize that local governments differ in their plans and level of activities, due to differences in structure, assignment of personnel, and the demands of higher priority community issues. Although all government entities are required to have written disaster plans, some are more active than others. Some plans include community involvement and others don't. However, since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, government agencies are showing increased awareness and interest in volunteer involvement in disaster preparedness and response. Governments are recognizing that trained volunteers will enlarge their work force following a disaster, and they are beginning to understand that it is better to establish community networks before a disaster.

You've learned a great deal from your initial research. You may feel elated or discouraged with all this information. Remember that organizing a neighborhood is an ambitious endeavor. It will take time, patience, persistence, and it will be an on-going job.

The rewards, however, are great. Having a neighborhood that is self sufficient is a comfort to all those involved. New friends are made, ideas are shared, problems are jointly solved, and a new sense of community comes into being.

B. Build a Start- Up Team
1. Enlist some help from your friends!
Draft two or three neighbors as you begin to shape goals and plan for the first meetings. Preparedness works when many neighbors take it to heart and feel ownership in the project. Don't try to do all the work by yourself - remember that a leader's job is to excite others with the vision of what is possible.

2. Set realistic goals
Keep it simple! Your goals should be a reflection of your neighborhood's needs, and attainable with a reasonable amount of work.

C. Determine the Boundaries of Your Neighborhood Within Your community
Neighborhoods can be defined by city blocks, streets, natural terrain, social or cultural enclaves. There are no rules, but the number of homes that establish a community should physically allow for an easy survey at the time of a disaster. Be sure the area is easy to walk in a short time because the information collected after a disaster may have to be quickly turned over to care-givers such as paramedics and fire personnel.

Detailed maps used by the county and town fire department and paramedics (usually called "Run Maps", a sample is included in the appendix), have been most useful in desire and identifying neighborhoods. They are usually free, are easy to obtain and already used by fire departments and paramedics. Organized communities can use these maps to show items such as propane tank locations, water tanks, swimming pools, or other resources that might have a positive or negative effect on a community during a disaster.

D. The First Meeting Now you are ready for the next step -- setting up the first neighborhood meeting.

Setting Up The First Neighborhood Meeting

Why Meetings?
The first step in developing a good community disaster organization is to prepare each household for disaster. Unless the majority of households are prepared it will be difficult but not impossible, to have a self-sufficient, organized neighborhood. A neighborhood meeting is the easiest way to start.

Setting up the First Neighborhood Meeting

1. Time and Place
With your start up team select a time and location when a good number of your neighbors can gather. Neighborhood meetings work best if held within the neighborhood and in a neighbor's home rather than in restaurants or public buildings. People attend and share information more openly in a less formal setting, which sets the tone for friendliness and cooperation. Some neighbors are hesitant to host a meeting in a small house - but remember small areas tend to help people talk to one another!

Neighborhoods could make the meeting more of a social occasion - like Saturday morning coffee or a Sunday afternoon barbecue - rather than a business function.

2. Recruit A Meeting Host
The host's role is to invite individuals to the meeting, share his or her personal interest in the need
for neighborhood disaster preparedness, and make everyone feel welcome. Even if the event must
be held at a community building, designate someone as host.

Recruiting a host for the initial community meeting can sometimes be discouraging, and creativity is necessary. Keep your ears and eyes open at other community functions for potential meeting hosts. Ask leaders in a homeowners association or community watch group to help. Divide the responsibilities of hosting a meeting - one person takes care of invitations, another offers their home, and another provides refreshments. Remind neighbors that by hosting a meeting they provide a very necessary and important service to their community - as well as getting to know their neighbors better!

3. Distribute Invitations
The most effective way to invite neighbors to a meeting is to hand deliver a written invitation. When the host hands an invitation directly to an adult household member, rather than mailing them or leaving them on the doorsteps, most neighbors will attend. This distribution process begins the process of neighborhood identification and recognition prior to the meeting.

Invitations should be distributed no less than three weeks prior to the meeting date. It is important to arrange for telephone or personal follow-up about three days before the meeting, to confirm attendance or persuade the uncertain.

Invitations should be simple and emphasize why it is important to attend the meeting - to learn about household and community self sufficiency, to meet local fire persons and paramedics, to get
to know neighbors, and to learn about available community resources. A sample invitation is in the Appendix-

Agenda and Objectives at the First Neighborhood Meeting

The goal of the first meeting is to get your neighbors together, to build on the interest in disaster preparedness, and start recruiting people who have disaster related skills to help with the organizing.

There will always be neighbors who choose not to become involved. You cannot force people to be prepared, but what you can and should do is keep them informed.
Suggested outline of topics for the first meeting (most of these are described in detail in the next section):

  1. Introductions and socialization
  2. Presentation by local fire department representatives
  3. Slide show
  4. Distribute Household Packets
  5. Discussion of preparedness goals
  6. Description of volunteer roles, recruitment of volunteers
  7. Decide on next steps and next meeting
Suggested objectives for the first meeting:
  1. Create a sense of urgency for developing personal preparedness in-ins in each household and in the neighborhood
  2. Distribute Household Packets to each household in the community. Make sure households that were absent also get information and materials
  3. Recruit volunteers for neighborhood coordinator and liaisons. If this project covers a large area with a number of neighborhoods, it may be necessary to recruit additional volunteer to coordinate the different neighborhoods
  4. Recruit volunteers to start Neighborhood Disaster Committee, or act as liaison to the Community Disaster Council
  5. Set a date for the second meeting
Tips on Having a Successful Meeting
  1. Record the meeting for future reference by taking notes or using a tape recorder. (This becomes part of your Disaster Resource Directory.)
  2. Make sure everyone has signed in, and received a household packet (included in Appendix)
  3. Always ask if there are additional questions, but don't let questions or stories take over
  4. Present a quick outline of what you envision as the neighborhood's disaster goals. Remember not to state your ideas as concrete. Try to get others to talk about their visions and ideas. Input from neighbors make this truly a community endeavor
  5. Don't distinguish between owners and renters. AR residents of a community need to be included in disaster plans and community meetings
  6. The maximum length for an evening meeting should be about one and a half hours, and include the presentation, questions and the start of organizing
  7. Invitations should be distributed early! The only time to expect a good turnout for a meeting scheduled in less time is one hastily scheduled immediately after a disaster
  8. Neighbors who attend initial disaster preparedness meetings can become quickly overwhelmed by all the information. Additions handouts should address specific audiences children, people with disabilities, and animals (included in Appendix)
  9. Absentee owners - people who own property in the community but do not inhabit their property on a full time basis - should be notified about the initial community meeting and any further disaster plans within the community. If possible, provide them with the name of the community liaisons, a map of the community, and a Household Packet. Advise absentee owners to designate a neighbor to look after their property during a disaster if they are absent, and prepare their property appropriately for a disaster in case they are present
Thank-you's!
Remember to write thank you letters. Volunteers can not be thanked enough! Send notes to the meeting host, the recruited community liaisons and all others who responded to the call for volunteers. It's a good idea to include the date of the next meeting in this letter, and any duties outlined for specific positions.

Parts of the First Neighborhood Meeting

Fire Department/District Presentation

Besides being an important player in a neighborhood disaster plan, and the "carrot" that will attract your neighbors to a meeting, the local fire department will cause your neighbors to take a much more serious look at that they need to do for their own survival, by helping them realize the limitations of disaster response personnel and equipment available to your community in a major emergency.

Fire personnel or paramedics can describe the location of responding stations, the number of personnel on each duty shifts, the physical area of their services, their roles and services during different levels of emergencies, and the value of neighborhood participation in their disaster plan.

Slide Show
Your neighbors will respond to slides and a narrative about their community and its resources. A local slide show is much more effective than a commercial disaster video - not that commercial videos are inferior in any way. They can and do provide compelling additional information However, showing both a slide show and a video may take more than the allotted meeting time. Use a localized slide show for the first community meeting and commercial videos as the subject of future meetings. Examples of what to include in a localized slide show are included in the Appendix.

Distribute the Household Packets
The goal of the Household Packet is to distribute a packet of information to each household that is not threatening, easy to read and identify, and contains comprehensive disaster preparedness information. The one included in the Appendix was developed after reviewing available disaster brochures and publications Your neighborhood's Household Packet can use these pieces or something else. Whichever is used in the packet, be sure they reflect the community's needs in a simple but comprehensive way.

Discussion of Neighborhood Disaster Preparedness Goals
These are suggestions of goals to discuss at the first neighborhood meeting.
  1. All households will be prepared for disaster with:
  2. Our neighborhood will be self sufficient and will have:
  3. To accomplish our goals, our neighborhood will involve lots of volunteers (so no one person feels like they have to do it all!) who are good spirited, supportive of each other, and remain committed to fulfilling the disaster needs of our community.
Description of Volunteer Roles; Recruitment of Volunteers;
  1. Using the Job Position Descriptions describe the role of neighborhood coordinator and neighborhood liaison. Ask for volunteers. A one-year commitment is necessary for all positions. If possible, do not allow the meeting to end without having these positions filled. If you have to, ask for a temporary candidate until a permanent candidate is found.
  2. Ask liaisons to take household packets to neighbors who did not attend the meeting and to give each a brief report of the meeting. Do not leave these on the door step - hand them directly to an adult household member.
  3. Ask liaisons to pick-up Neighborhood Disaster Registry forms from non-attending neighbors on a set date before the next meeting.
  4. Describe the other teams and ask for volunteers.
Set a date/agenda for the next meeting.
The second meeting should build on the first one. Neighbors who volunteered for positions should be at each meeting, as well as all others who wish to help organize the community. Information from the completed Neighborhood Disaster Registries (Part of the Household Packet) will be needed at the next meeting, so consider that in scheduling the meeting date. If possible, do not end the first meeting before a date for a the next meeting has been set. Don't forget to thank all participants and volunteers.

List of Materials for Neighborhood Meetings

  1. Before the Meeting
  2. At the first neighborhood meeting
  3. After the meeting:
  4. Absentee Owners Packet

The Second Neighborhood Meeting

Organizational Items
Before the second meeting During the second meeting: Agenda for the Second Neighborhood Meeting

1. Neighborhood Disaster Committee
If your neighborhood is individually organized and prepared in the midst of an unorganized and unprepared community - you should have your own Neighborhood Disaster Committee. Read the section on Community Disaster Councils/Neighborhood Disaster Committees for more information.

The Neighborhood Disaster Committee should be comprised of members of the neighborhood, especially people with skills to coordinate teams, and others who can support the functions of the
neighborhood organization. Every member should have a distinct role, and it should be for the benefit of the neighborhood, not the individual.

2. Developing a Neighborhood Disaster Plan
Keep it simple! If your fire department and/or local government has a disaster plan and it is available to you, use it as a guide. If your community is organized and already fits into the community disaster plan, that plan will help determine what needs remain for inclusion into your neighborhood plan. You may also have access to other disaster plans from the organizations you contacted at the beginning of this project.

3. Establishing Teams and Their Responsibilities
The position of Neighborhood Coordinator and Liaison(s) may have been filled at a previous meeting. Now, neighbors are needed to fill team positions and work on the details of their duties. Refer to the completed Community Disaster Registry forms (from the Household Packets) to find skilled people. Recruiting will be an on-going process because neighbors move in and out of the community. (Hint: If possible, try to get outgoing neighbors to replace themselves).

The positions and teams (see section on Job Position Descriptions) are workable in disaster situations. Your community may demand additional positions and duties. Just remember to keep it simple. Positions and duties always need to reflect the needs of the community. If they don't do that they are superfluous.

Before the Second Meeting Ends

By the end of the second neighborhood meeting your neighborhood has started developing an organizational structure to fit its unique needs to prepare for and respond emergencies and disasters. This is a big accomplishment.

What happens next is entirely up to you and your neighbors.

Be creative. What would you like to see happen?

Appendix

Disaster Resource Directory

Disaster Resource Directory (DRD): A written record of all pertinent and priority disaster response information used by the neighborhood coordinators and liaisons during a disaster.

There are two kinds of information that is collected about neighborhood disaster preparedness, and during the process of organizing your neighborhood:

Planning Pieces, gathered and used in preparing for a disaster: The non-priority Planning Pieces can occupy a file cabinet, or several binders, depending on the amount of information gathered. Information could include disaster products and vendor information, neighborhood meeting notes, disaster training classes, fund raising efforts, and so on.

Priority Information, used at the time of a disaster response: The Priority Pieces, however, must be in an easily recognized, easy to use 3-ring binder or notebook. The binder must be hard copies of information - typed, computer printouts or photocopies. Most importantly, it needs to be immediately and easily accessible to the Disaster Coordinator and Disaster Liaisons. This is your Disaster Resource Directory.

I. What To Include in a DRD
A DRD is a record of all pertinent information that could or would have an impact on a particular neighborhood during a disaster. It should include

As information is collected, weigh its importance. For example, it may not important to list how to administer first aid, but it is important to list the people in the community who have medical training, what their specialties are, and how to reach them. Likewise, it is important to have instructions, floor plans, staffing information and contacts for the use of donated facilities (a school or church used as a shelter), or the location of water storage tanks and their keys for shut-off. If a piece of information is one of the keys to the function of preparedness and/or response it should to ,be included in the DRD.

Remember to keep all sections of the DRD well-delineated, simple to read and up-to-date. Your goal should be to provide your neighborhood and its disaster personnel with a workable document.

II. Printed vs. Computerized DRD's
In this exciting time of electronic development, many of us tend to rely on computers to store information. Without question, the computer is an exceptional and valuable tool for storing tins kind of information and for updating and printing. However, in many disasters, particularly in rural area , power outages occur and in some cases last for long periods of time. Battery power is used up quickly. If all disaster resource information is stored exclusively on computers and there is not the luxury of generator capabilities during an power outage, the information can not be accessed in a timely manner. Computers are also subject to disaster damage (physical, power surges, etc.).
A printed directory allows the information to always be at hand. During a disaster, it provides the information to aid in a response or relief function regardless of whether the computer is working or even if there is a shortage of computers. A printed DRD is also an easy way to provide information to all the important players - including those who aren't computer literate or don't have access to a computer.
During a disaster, all players need to have accurate information readily available. With printed directories, volunteers with a wide range of backgrounds can assist with information functions.

III. Putting a Disaster Resource Directory Together

Don't Wait - Start Now
As disaster plans, players, supplies, equipment, and facilities, are acquired for the community, record of each should be developed, stored in a database and printed for distribution. It is important to start your disaster resource directory as soon as the fast relevant information is available. Information that is not recorded and printed has no use except to the person who collected it. In a disaster situation that person may not be available to share as a resource. It is not important if the DRD has only a small amount of information. What is important is the ability to access the information when needed.
Updating should be done as necessary - at a minimum once a year. As disaster players come into the project, they can help with the process of adding, expanding, and correcting information.

IV. Distribution of Disaster Resource Directories
The DRD's should be distributed to the major disaster players of the neighborhood - disaster council/committee members, neighborhood coordinators/liaisons, fire departments, any key community groups or agencies, and individuals who have a vested interest in the planning and response for your community.

Having this resource at their disposal for meetings, training and drills will help the neighborhood coordinators and players to become familiar with all parts of the project and not just their particular assigned section. In this way, all disaster volunteers and key players will be better informed about available resources. At the time of a disaster, they will know how and where to obtain resources to meet the needs of the community.

Community Disaster Council Neighborhood Disaster Committee

Definition
Community Disaster Council: A larger network of community representatives from neighborhoods, businesses, local organization and community groups who work together before and after a disaster to meet the disaster needs of a community. This includes representation from organized neighborhoods within its boundaries.
Neighborhood Disaster Committee: A "disaster council" within a neighborhood that finds itself individually organized within a larger, unorganized community.
Tasks of a Local Disaster Council/Committee
  1. Act as a networking body between the neighborhood/community and the public safety (fire, police and medical) and/or local government for disaster preparedness, response and recovery;
  2. Take a leadership role in identifying and providing preparedness needs of the neighborhood/community;
  3. Have an active or supporting role in creating a disaster plan to represent the needs of the neighborhood/community.;
  4. Oversee the community/neighborhood disaster plan, that it is comprehensive and functional through regularly scheduled drills;
  5. Act as a support to the neighborhoods/community, local government and public safety agencies (fire, police, and medical) during a disaster;
  6. Develop a disaster needs assessment for the neighborhood/community, including people skills, supplies, and equipment;
  7. Recruit skilled and non-skilled volunteers, compiling this information, providing needed training and placing volunteers in appropriate positions/divisions within the disaster plan and Disaster Council/Committee functions;
  8. Help coordinate the skilled members (both neighborhood and public safety) responding to a disaster;
  9. Raise funds to meet disaster preparedness needs (education, training, supplies, equipment, etc.), and have the ability to purchase disaster related items, inventory, and provide appropriate storage as necessary;
  10. Meet as appropriate, until the structure of organization and support systems are completed and functional. Meetings, drills, and related work should continually reflect the need to maintain and update all aspects of the project.
Forming A Disaster Council/Committee
  1. Determine the physical area limitation (neighborhood, town, district, government body, etc.) that the Disaster Council/Committee will coordinate.
  2. Identify and record all current government disaster responders within tins area -fire, paramedics, public works, and their affiliation. (Review the "First Things First" section about phone calls.)
  3. Identify and record individuals, groups or organizations in the identified area who could be called upon to respond during a disaster - i.e.; community organizations, medical and mental health personnel, ham radio (RACES) operators, heavy equipment operators, care givers for people with special needs, animal rescuers, or child care providers.
  4. Identify and record government or non government agencies and businesses that are within or adjacent to the area who could be impacted during a disaster, such as schools, skilled nursing facilities, national/state parks, hazardous materials plants, etc.
Recruiting Members for a Local Disaster Council/Committee

Because of the magnitude of the tasks described above, it is extremely important to have a Disaster Council/Committee which is representative of the neighborhoods, groups, organizations, public safety and businesses in your area. Because of the involvement of these groups at the time of a disaster, they should play a major part in planning decisions, mitigation for preparedness, and response at the time of a disaster. By leaving out groups who have active roles in disaster, your response, planning, and coordination will be weakened. Roles planned for them may differ from their capabilities, which can include manpower, supportive equipment, and supplies - these items can also be overlooked, undocumented, or inappropriate. During your recruiting, make sure that the individual who is being asked to serve is aware and can fulfill the responsibilities that will occur during their participation. If the individual cannot fully participate it would be better to look further to fill the position.

Job Position Description/Duties

Neighborhood Coordinator: Person designated as the neighborhood -leader" for the disaster plan, and acts as the liaison between that neighborhood and other neighborhoods and the larger Community Disaster Council. If there is not a Community Disaster Council, this person would be the chair of the Neighborhood Disaster Committee.

Before a Disaster
  1. Co-chairs the Neighborhood Disaster Committee;
  2. Develops a working relationship with the local fire department/government official in charge of disaster response;
  3. Contacts Neighborhood Liaisons on a regular basis to encourage and help them schedule neighborhood meetings with the fire department and other organizations.
  4. Keeps the Neighborhood Liaison positions filled. If a Neighborhood Liaison needs to resign, the Neighborhood Coordinator asks them to replace themselves. If this is not possible, the Neighborhood Coordinator keeps a list of potential candidates and recruits replacement.
  5. Has "Household Packets"and neighborhood maps available for Neighborhood Liaisons.
  6. Makes sure information gathered and identified by Neighborhood Liaisons is tracked and recorded in the Disaster Resource Directory.
  7. Responsible for relaying pertinent neighborhood disaster information to the local fire department and/or appropriate agency.
During a Disaster
  1. Responsible for relaying disaster information gathered from the neighborhood to the local fire department and/or appropriate agency as soon as possible.
  2. Gathers information, supports the Neighborhood Liaisons and all organized team.
  3. Holds a debriefing for Neighborhood Liaisons and team leaders at the end of each day's disaster response, if this is not already being done by the fire department/local government.

Neighborhood Liaison: Person designated to work within the neighborhood or some part of it, with the existing neighbors, with new neighbors, conducting disaster assessments during a disaster, and reporting to the neighborhood coordinator.

Before a Disaster:
  1. Sponsors a neighborhood meeting once a year. Helps neighbors meet each other, develop "Buddy Systems", and make renewed commitments to their community. If an annual meeting is not possible, the Neighborhood Liaison surveys the neighborhood to find new residents, new skills, location of new homes and buildings, supplies and equipment, and vigorously encourages new residents to make/test a household plan.
  2. Recruits neighbors with disaster related skills for Teams/Divisions.
  3. Makes sure each household has a "Household Packet", and that the "Neighborhood Disaster Registry" is completed and picked up. Maintains one Neighborhood Disaster Registry form and gives a copy to the Coordinator
  4. Notes potential problems in area, such as people with chronic illnesses, latch-keys kids, elderly living alone, etc.
  5. Encourages all household to have visible (day and night) house numbers or other identification.
  6. Learns how to use the "Neighborhood Damage/Needs Assessment Work Sheet during a disaster.
  7. Gives appropriate information to the Neighborhood Coordinator and/or Neighborhood Disaster Committee for entry into the local Disaster Resource Directory.
During a Disaster
  1. Conducts a damage assessment (damage survey) of the neighborhood using "Neighborhood Damage/Needs Assessment Work Sheet" or similar form and relays the information as soon as possible to the Neighborhood Coordinator, other teams and/or fire department or appropriate response agency. Status of the neighborhood - good or bad - needs to be ascertained and passed on as soon as possible.
  2. Helps however necessary to stabilize neighborhood. Notes dire situations in red (red pen on the disaster survey forms or red flags/tape at locations).
  3. Conducts a neighborhood survey, even if there isn't an obvious disaster with obvious disastrous effects. For example - what may seem like a regular winter storm at one end of the neighborhood may be a bad winter storm at the other end, with downed power-lines and trees that impede the arrival of emergency responders.
  4. Re-survey, if necessary or if asked. For example - a daylight as opposed to middle-of-the night survey, or earthquake after -shocks.
  5. Remains on call to answer questions, informs the Neighborhood Coordinator, fire department and/or appropriate agency know his/her whereabouts every couple hours.
  6. Attends debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
  7. Acts as Neighborhood Coordinator if there isn't one (or he/she is on vacation!)

Neighborhood Teams: Groups of neighbors organized and trained to fulfill a specific purpose during a disaster - i.e.: first aid or search & rescue. Sometimes, teams fall under the authority of a Community Disaster Council rather than a Neighborhood Disaster Committee, and members are recruited from each neighborhood.

Valuing Teamwork
  1. "Team" means working together. Team members need to remember that they will be putting other people at risk if they work alone. If you work alone and are injured you have no one to go for help.
  2. Teamwork gets the job done in the most immediate and effortless way. Ego has no place in saving lives or disaster preparedness and response,
  3. Team members need to take care of their mental health as well as their physical health. Don't take risks, don't work too long. Take breaks, eat and drink appropriately. Dress for the elements. Review your attitude. Keep a sense of humor and show respect and gratitude to your fellow workers.
  4. First Aid, Medical, Stress Management Team

    Before a disaster
    1. Recruit additional members with medical skills (refer to Neighborhood Disaster Registries)
    2. Train as necessary for these positions. Coordinate disaster classes in First Aid and CPR for the neighborhood.
    3. Develop a functional plan for this team for use during a disaster. Work with other teams to avoid duplication and holes.
    4. Drill every six months and update skills as necessary.
    5. Identify and inventory equipment and supplies. Develop a method of rotate and replace supplies as necessary.
    6. Report information about team members, activities, supplies, equipment and needs to the Neighborhood Coordinator, Neighborhood Disaster Committee and appropriate agencies. Keep the Disaster Resource Directory up to date with activities.
    During a disaster
    1. Coordinate first aid and medical response, if appropriate, with the survey information gathered by the Neighborhood Liaisons.
    2. Administer first aid as necessary. Keep records of what was done and when. If situation becomes too large for the team to handle, notify the Neighborhood Coordinator or fire department as soon as possible.
    3. Notify appropriate teams as soon as possible of additional needs, i.e.: fire, search and rescue, safety and utilities, paramedics, or stress management.
    4. Arrange to transport the injured when necessary and as soon as possible. Record this information.
    5. Try to nuke injured neighbors comfortable while waiting for further help. Have an uninjured neighbor stay with them in the interim.
    6. Keep Neighborhood Liaisons, Neighborhood Coordinator and/or other appropriate teams or agencies informed of actions. Record what actions you took as soon as possible for the Neighborhood Coordinator to use in making family contacts, reporting to other agencies, etc.
    7. Attend debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
    Neighbors with Special Needs Team (elderly, people living alone, latch-key kids, people with disabilities)

    Before a disaster.
    1. Recruit neighbors with recognized (licensed or degrees) skills. Use Neighborhood Disaster Registry to identify potential team members.
    2. Use the completed "Neighborhood Disaster Registries" to identify neighbors with Special Needs. Meet with them individually and help them develop and test a disaster plan to fit their needs. Point out the advantages of having a "Buddy System" with their neighbors. Explain that this team may not be available immediately during a an emergency so they should not rely on its services.
    3. Ask if there is a community organization (similar to the Independent Elders Project in Marin County) that can offer assistance and advice in their disaster planning.
    4. Contact these neighbors every six months to see if their situation has changed. Also, check with the Neighborhood Liaison for new neighbors with Special Needs.
    5. If appropriate and authorized, give information (bedridden, uses oxygen tank, etc.) about these neighbors and their location to the Fire Department, and other neighborhood teams for use during an evacuation
    6. Report information about team members and their activities to the Neighborhood Liaisons and/ Neighborhood Coordinator for appropriate action. Keep the Disaster Resource Directory up to date.
    7. Develop a functional plan for this team for use during a disaster. Work with other teams to avoid duplication.
    8. Drill every six months and update skills as necessary.
    During a disaster.
    1. Coordinate response if appropriate with the survey information gathered by the Neighborhood Liaisons. Use your Plan.
    2. Check each neighbor with Special Needs as soon as possible and lend whatever support you can.
    3. If an evacuation is needed or has occurred, work with other neighborhood teams to make sure these neighbors have transport. Clarify what their destination will be. Record this information as soon as possible. Visit them, if possible, at the evacuation site and arrange for further needs. Do as much follow-up as appropriate.
    4. Keep Neighborhood Liaisons, Neighborhood Coordinator and/or other appropriate teams or agencies informed of actions. Record what actions you took as soon as possible for the Neighborhood Coordinator.
    5. Attend debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
    Search and Rescue/Safety and Utilities
    Before a disaster
    1. Recruit neighbors with appropriate skills. Use Neighborhood Disaster Registry to identify potential team members.
    2. Train as necessary for these positions. Fire department and local utility companies should be able to provide or help find appropriate training.
    3. Develop a functional plan for this team for use during a disaster. Work with other teams of to avoid duplication and holes.
    4. Ask the local fire department for their appraisal of your plan, because this team may work closely with the fire department in an emergency.
    5. Test an evacuation plans for the neighborhood.
    6. Ask every six months and update skills as necessary.
    7. Survey the neighborhood for potential problems - hazardous chemicals, uncontrolled vegetation, old bridges, limited access, utilities (propane tanks), etc. Record this information in the functional plan and/or on neighborhood maps for use during an emergency.
    8. Help the neighborhood to mitigate any identified problems.
    9. Report information about team members and their activities to the Neighborhood Liaisons and/ Neighborhood Coordinator for appropriate action. Keep the Disaster Resource Directory up to date.
    During a Disaster
  5. Coordinate response if appropriate with the survey information gathered by the Neighborhood Liaisons. Use your Plan.
  6. Check for possible missing persons and previously identified problem area . Mark all structures with identification tape appropriate to the circumstance.
  7. Mitigate problems as soon as possible, calling for other teams or additional outside help through the Neighborhood Liaison or Coordinator. as needed
  8. Work with other neighborhood teams as necessary.
  9. If the team feels it is necessary to evacuate all or part of the neighborhood without a directive from an authoritative body, notify the fire department as soon as possible.
  10. Keep Neighborhood Liaisons, Neighborhood Coordinator and/or other appropriate teams or agencies informed of actions. Record what actions you took as soon as possible for the Neighborhood Coordinator.
  11. Attend debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
Shelter and Feeding
Before a disaster
  1. Recruit neighbors with appropriate skills. Use Neighborhood Disaster Registry to identify potential team members.
  2. Ask the local American Red Cross to provide "Community Shelter and Feeding" training to your neighborhood
  3. Identify nearby Red Cross Shelters. If none are in the community, identify and obtain a building within the neighborhood or community that can be designated as a shelter. If this is not possible, it may be necessary to seek out and rely on homes in the neighborhood to be used as feeding stations and for shelter.
  4. Inform the neighborhood/community about the shelter operations and locations.
  5. Identify and inventory available resources, equipment and supplies. Identify needed equipment and supplies, costs and suppliers.
  6. Drill every six months (For example: provide a meal for a group within your neighborhood, or at a find raiser). Check supplies for rotation or replacement.
  7. Report information about team members and their activities to the Neighborhood Liaisons and/ Neighborhood Coordinator for appropriate action. Keep the Disaster Resource Directory up to date.
During a disaster
  1. Coordinate with the Neighborhood Liaison and Coordinator to determine the need for opening a shelter and/or feeding station for victims and workers.
  2. Notify Coordinator and Red Cross (if appropriate and possible) of decision. If opening a shelter or feeding station, notify the neighborhood and community.
  3. If a shelter/feeding station is open, track all clients and record operations and supplies etc. Following Red Cross procedures will keep the shelter operations structured and organized.
  4. Always be on call during a disaster as a shelter or feeding station may not be needed until a day or more into a disaster.
  5. Keep Neighborhood Liaisons, Neighborhood Coordinator and/or other appropriate teams or agencies informed of actions. Record what actions you took as soon as possible for the Neighborhood Coordinator.
  6. Attend debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
Communications
Before a disaster
  1. Recruit neighbors with appropriate skills. Use Neighborhood Disaster Registry to identify potential team members.
  2. Contact RACES and other communication entities to determine what types of communications are being used to communicate and what is best suited to your neighborhood/community. Consider roles for bicycles, runners, horses and the telephone.
  3. Identify and inventory available equipment and resources. Determine needed equipment and resources, costs and suppliers.
  4. Develop a phone tree to use if advanced warning is possible.
  5. Report information about team members and their activities to the Neighborhood Liaisons and/ Neighborhood Coordinator for appropriate action. Keep the Disaster Resource Directory up to date.
During a disaster
  1. Relay information, checking to be sure it is accurate, to the Neighborhood Liaison, Neighborhood Coordinator or others in charge, about the status of the neighborhood, teams/divisions, needed personnel, equipment and supplies etc., to the local fire department or appropriate agency.
  2. Relay incoming information to the Neighborhood Coordinator and/or Neighborhood Liaison who can, in turn disseminate that information where needed.
  3. Track and log, with the help of the Neighborhood Liaison or Coordinator, the number and location of evacuated/transported neighbors (medical and non-medical).
  4. Track and report all weather information, as appropriate.
  5. Log all communications.
  6. Keep Neighborhood Liaisons, Neighborhood Coordinator and/or other appropriate teams or agencies informed of actions. Record what actions you took as soon as possible for the Neighborhood Coordinator.
  7. Attend debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
Animal Rescue: The need for this team depends on the number and types of animals in your neighborhood.
Before a disaster
  1. Recruit neighbors with appropriate skills. Use Neighborhood Disaster Registry to identify potential team members.
  2. If there is a big animal population, hold a meeting with animal owners to discuss potential problems and plans. Consider creating two groups - one for small animals and one for larger, barnyard animals.
  3. Encourage all animal owners to license or document their animals (micro chips don't get lost and they can be used on large animals as well as small).
  4. Identify equipment to use during a disaster and make agreements to this effect with Owners.
  5. Identify and record alternate shelters, pastures, barns etc., to meet the needs for animal evacuation. Remember that Red Cross Shelters do not accept animals other than seeing eye dogs. Work with the Shelter and Feeding team to develop shelter alternatives for clients with pets.
  6. Identify and try to recruit the nearest veterinarians to participate on this team.
During a disaster
  1. Coordinate response if appropriate with the survey information gathered by the Neighborhood Liaisons. Use your Plan.
  2. Check with residents regarding the status of their animals.
  3. Arrange for evacuation and sheltering as needed.
  4. Arrange veterinarian care as needed.
  5. Keep Neighborhood Liaisons, Neighborhood Coordinator and/or other appropriate teams or agencies informed of actions. Record what actions you took as soon as possible for the Neighborhood Coordinator.
  6. Attend debriefing at the end of each day's disaster response.
  7. Notify local Humane Society of lost animals.

Suggestions for Slide Show

Put together a slide show for the Neighborhood meetings. These are some suggestions:
  1. Types of disasters:
  2. Past disaster destruction that has affected their local community
  3. Resources within the local community and county.
  4. Training and drills in your local community, including First Aid, CPR, Search and Rescue, Red Cross disaster classes (Mass Care, Damage Assessment, etc.) Emphasize the importance of training, and identify the time and places of classes held within the community or how to find out. If people have limited time encourage them to begin their training with a First Aid class.
  5. Making the Home Surroundings Safer:
  6. Household Plan.
    The Household Packet contains information to help your neighbors get everyone in the household involved in disaster planning, including young children, old people, and animals!
    Slides could show:
  7. When you aren't home
    Many of your neighbors are going to spend as much time in their cars and at work as they do at home. Encourage them to have disaster kits in their cars, in case they get stuck on the freeway, or at work, in case they can't get home for several days. Slides could show the freeway at rush hour, and a typical office.