Map Your Neighborhood

Earthquakes, Floods, Storms and Tornadoes – Is Your Neighborhood Ready?

Map Your Neighborhood – a program to bring your neighborhood together

NOTE: For a short training session on how you and your neighborhoods can more effectively help each other  in a disaster, watch this Map Your Neighborhood Training session that occurs at a Carbondale’s Liberty Village Neighborhood  Association meeting .  The video was produced  by WSIU TV  and features  former Councilwoman Dr. Mary Pohlmann.

Prepared neighborhoods are more effective in their disaster response and have an increased capacity to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after a disaster.

In a disaster, the neighbors living around you are your most immediate source of help. Traditional 9-1-1 responders (police, fire, medical, and utility) are quickly overwhelmed by demand. Knowing what to do in the first hour (THE GOLDEN HOUR) of a disaster response may save a life, reduce the severity of injuries, and reduce the amount of damage that you, your family and neighbors sustain.

Major Goal of Map Your Neighborhood:
To prepare neighborhoods (generally 15-20 homes in urban areas, 6-7 in rural areas) to be self-reliant during the first hours of a disaster response when traditional 9-1-1 responders are overwhelmed by demand.

Objectives accomplished during a 90-minute neighborhood meeting:

1. Learn the 9 Steps to take immediately following a disaster to secure your home and protect your neighborhood.
2. Identify the skills and equipment each neighbor has that are useful in an effective disaster response.
3. Create a Neighborhood Map showing the locations of each natural gas meter and propane tank (about 67% of house fires following disasters are caused by leaking gas); and the locations of each neighbor who may need extra help in a disaster, such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, or children who are home alone during certain times of the day.
4. Pick locations for a Neighborhood Gathering Site and Neighborhood Care Center.

1. Take care of your loved ones.
2. Protect your head, feet and hands.
3. Check the natural gas or propane at your home.
4. Shut off water at the house main.
5. Place the HELP or OK sign on your front door or window.
6. Put your fire extinguisher on the sidewalk.
7. Go to the Neighborhood Gathering Site.
8. Form teams to listen to the radio for alerts; check on elderly, disabled and children; check gas and propane; check homes with HELP cards and those with no card.
9. Return to Neighborhood Gathering Site to share what has been done.

How to Get Map Your Neighborhood Started in Your Neighborhood

1. Neighbor Host contacts Carbondale Office of Emergency Management Services (EMS) to get MYN materials and arrange for a Map Your Neighborhood trainer to attend your neighborhood meeting. City of Carbondale Emergency Management Services (618)457-3234
2. Neighbor Host (or trainer sent by Carbondale EMS) guides the neighborhood preparedness meeting using the Discussion Guide and/or the MYN DVD.
3. At conclusion of the neighborhood meeting, the Neighbor Host sends evaluation form to Carbondale EMS, so that the Carbondale EMS knows who has organized for disaster.
4. In a year, the neighborhood group meets again to update the Map, and to engage in a Table Top Exercise. Drills and exercises are held annually thereafter.
Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) was developed by Dr LuAn Johnson, first in Sunnyvale, CA and then in Seattle, WA. The program was implemented state-wide by the State of Washington’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) in 2006. This award-winning program has proven its effectiveness. During the Nisqually (Seattle) Earthquake on February 28, 2001, 92% of 460 organized neighborhoods effectively responded utilizing the 9-Step Neighborhood Disaster Response Plan. More than 50 counties and cities in Washington State are in various stages of implementing MYN. States which have adopted MYN include Alaska, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is enthusiastic about implementing MYN in Illinois.

You can learn more about Map Your Neighborhood by sending an e-mail to or at the monthly meetings of the Housing and Neighborhood Action Group at 5 pm the first Wednesday of each month in the Carbondale Civic Center.


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