Neighbor Helping Neighbor, Block by Block!
“In a disaster, your most immediate sources of help are the neighbors living around you.” (MYN)
Over the past several years our non-profit organization, Mt Washington Jessica Neighborhood, Inc. has been preparing our neighborhood, block by block, for a major disaster. MYN meetings and MYN/CERT drills have focused on what to do during the first hour of a traumatic and sudden event. An earthquake or windstorm, for instance, may knock down power lines and buildings, overwhelm phone lines and cause medical emergencies. We have prepared for damage assessment, radio communications, medical triage, and the storage of supplies.
This virus has presented us with a different set of challenges. We are staying home, wearing masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance. We have electricity, so the Internet and TV keep us informed. Nextdoor.com has been an invaluable tool in keeping the neighborhood connected. Its been very heartwarming to see how many people have reached out to offer grocery shopping or other help. And neighbors, like Carolina Forni pictured here, using their talents to create masks and other PPE for first responders. Thanks, Carolina!!
Here are some things we can do to support each other:
- Check on your neighbors. Find out if everyone is ok and if anyone needs anything.
- Keep checking on your immediate neighbors, especially the elderly, those physically or medically challenged, or those living alone. If your block has been organized with a Map Your Neighborhood Meeting, you have a contact list with the most vulnerable neighbors listed in the shaded boxes. If your situation has changed since your last meeting, let your block coordinator know so the lists can be updated.
- Invite neighbors who did not come to our MYN meeting to share their contact info (email address and phone number) so we can include them.
- Participate in the weekly 7pm Sunday evening radio drill by tuning in on your “walkie-talkie” to Channel 5. This exercise is organized by street name, so when your block is called say, “This is YOUR NAME on STREET NAME checking in.” (We use simple FRS radios. If you need one, just let us know! ) Its a wonderful opportunity to check that the neighborhood is safe and to practice our radio skills.
- Tell your friends & neighbors who are interested in learning about MYN for their blocks to visit our MYN page /map your neigborhood for more information. Until we can once again hold MYN meetings in person we will be experimenting with organizing blocks on Zoom.
The basics of MYN (knowing your neighbors, knowing who needs extra help and what collective resources your block has available) still apply to the coronavirus pandemic, which certainly qualifies as a disaster. Being a good neighbor has never been more important. We welcome all your great ideas on how we can continue to help each other during this challenging time. Meanwhile, keep hooting and howling at 8pm to show how much Mt. Washington cares about those working on the front lines and each other!
MWJN President, Pierre Landry, welcomes neighbors to the second annual “Potluck in the Park” at Cleland Bicentenniel Park on Saturday, June 16, 2018 (Pierre’s birthday!)
MWJN Supports Work Parties, Workshops, Events & Drills
MWJN supports our community with disaster preparedness, beautification and safety and welfare through educational events, exercises, improvement projects, and other activities that benefit our community.
We have organized small groups of neighbors to share information and create a plan for the first hour after a disaster. Twenty blocks have already participated in the 2 1/2 hour MYN workshop.
For 2020 we are in a holding pattern but will begin focusing on workshops for additional blocks within the Mt. Washington Jessica Neighborhood Boundaries when we can. Check out our Map Your Neighborhood page and contact us to get your block prepared. Events are on hold as well.
Every year we try to have a drill to practice our Map Your Neighborhood skills and sometimes to coordinate with our local Community Emergency Response Teams. The pandemic has made such team efforts unlikely and even unsafe. This year we will focus on Communications through a Drill on July 26th using walkie-talkies from our homes.
Please plan to participate in our Radio Drill on Sunday, July 26 from 2-4 pm. In a real disaster, being able to communicate with your neighbors is extremely important. We’ve been trained to do this by all going to the same place to coordinate a response plan. If something major were to happen during at stay at home pandemic, we would need another way to account for everyone. We have our contact lists, but if power were to go out and cell towers overloaded, our battery operated walkie-talkies would be a much better bet than phones or email/text.
We will have several opportunities (see News and Events) to practice and get our radios in working order before the drill. If you don’t know where yours are, now’s a good time to look. Please plan to participate on Sunday, July 26 from 2-4 pm. What else did you think you were going to do that day??
We won’t be going to our gathering sites but we can form “pretend teams” on the radio. There won’t be any incident cards to find, we’ll just discuss various possibilities over the radios. Find out more