In the event of a major disaster or emergency, we and our neighbours will likely be our own 1st responders! Studies show that 70% of survivors are aided by their neighbours and passers-by. City and Emergency Services officials tell us they may not be able to come to our aid for days or even weeks! We all know of neighbours (and pets) who could be in big trouble if no one steps up to help them survive a disaster – this may even describe our own home. E.g. what if a parent or pet owner is stranded away from the neighbourhood and can’t get home to their loved ones? But neighbours can come together NOW to plan, prepare and practise how to respond, reduce needless suffering and lessen losses. And the lives and losses we save could be our own!
Map Your Neighbourhood (MYN) is a simple, straight-forward, low-cost program that was developed after the unnecessary loss of life and property due to major wildfires in California. People actually died because no one knew or thought they might need help. It has now been used successfully throughout the USA. (The MYN process was taught in sessions at the Kerrisdale Community Centre through another project that received a different 2019 NSG.)
A neighbourhood is usually 25 homes or less. Residents of the 28 Bannister Mews townhouses attended free City of Vancouver Earthquake & Emergency Preparedness workshops held at one home, then gathered again to learn more about MYN disaster preparedness, and to map utility shut-offs and inventory skills (medical, military, child care, etc.), resources (tools, deep freezes, fireplaces, BBQs, etc.) and vulnerabilities (latch-key kids, elderly, disabled, language barriers, pets, etc.) in the whole complex. Bannister Mews residents are much better prepared now as individual households, and have a good MYN plan to help each other survive a disaster and the days and weeks that follow it. They will exercise their plan at least once a year beginning in December 2019. This was a very worthwhile and valuable project! We highly recommend that every ‘neighbourhood’ do it!

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